Why is My Betta Fish Zooming Around the Tank?

Betta fish are very common fish that are purchased as pets and can be found in almost any pet store.  They are fantastic starter fish for people that are just starting their pet fish journey because they are so low maintenance. If you have a Betta, you might have noticed your fish darting around the tank. 

Why is my Betta fish zooming around the tank? It can be very normal for your fish to have a lively swim session once a day or less often depending on its personality but this behavior can also be a sign of more serious issues if your Betta is bumping into the tank wall, swimming erratically or swimming in circles or upside down.

There are a few reasons for this type of behavior so the most important thing is properly identifying the type of swimming.  Is the fish just zooming around once a day or less?  Is the fish swimming erratically?  The answers to these questions will narrow down the reason for the behavior. 

What are Betta Fish Zoomies?

The best way we can explain zoomies is to relate the behavior to dogs and cats.  Most of us have seen a dog or cat randomly run around in a frenetic way.  They are happy and have a sudden and surprising burst of energy.  

This is what we mean when we say Betta zoomies.  This is a sudden burst of energy that your fish has and begins swimming quickly around the tank.  Maybe they are also wiggling its fins in a beautiful way at the same time.  

If you have never seen this you will be almost mesmerized the first time.  It is fun to see. 

Are Zoomies a Bad Sign?

If what you are seeing is really zoomies then no, it is not a bad sign. This is just a random behavior that your fish has to release some pent up energy.  

We have a Betta that has the zoomies every night at 9 pm almost on the hour.  It lasts for less than two mins but we wait and watch because it is beautiful. 

However, if they are not really zoomies then the behavior can be a sign of problems or stress. Once you know the difference between zoomies and other erratic behaviors, it will be clear which behavior it is. 

betta fish zoomies

Signs of Stress not Zoomies

There are some telltale signs that you are looking at signs of stress and not zoomies when it comes to your Betta fish. Sometimes owners will confuse zoomies with erratic swimming because when the Betta is zooming it can seem strange.  

When the fish is zooming they are still in control of their bodies and will not bump into anything.  They are simply swimming rapidly to dump the unused energy.  However, erratic swimming is not predictable, may last longer, and could injure the fish or be a sign of another issue. 

Erratic Swimming

When a fish is swimming in an erratic way they will seem very strange and the swimming will seem off. There are key behaviors that are considered erratic swimming and should not be confused with zoomies. 

  • Bumping into the tank walls is classic erratic behavior.  This should not be ignored especially if the fish has been in the habitat for any period of time.  Even in a new tank, fish will not typically run into the sides. 
  • Rubbing or banging into the tank decor is another erratic behavior that should be considered a warning sign of something bigger that is wrong. Fish will get close to the decorations and plants but will not generally want to rub up against them or bang into them. 
  • Swimming upside down/problems swimming should be concerning to Betta owners.  This is a sign of illness, not zoomies.
  • Swimming in circles is another behavior that should never be confused with Betta fish zoomies.  This is not normal for any fish. 


Betta fish have a reputation for being aggressive and they are carnivorous fish.  They should not be trusted in a tank with most other fish because of this aggression.  However, unwarranted aggression should not be confused with zoomies and vice versa.

Zoomies are a generally happy behavior and are not a sign of stress, aggravation, or aggression.  It is important to know what behaviors are normal and which ones are abnormal.  This will be great in the overall care of your Betta.

We have already said that aggression in certain circumstances can be normal but if your fish is aggressive for no apparent reason, that is a sign that something is wrong. 

What do I do if I See Signs of Erratic Behavior

If you notice that your fish is swimming erratically or unnecessarily aggressive, the first thing to do is make sure it is not just Betta fish zoomies. There are a few things to check first if you notice there is a behavior or possible health concern with your fish. 

  • Check the Water.  Fish spend all of their lives in the water.  Not only do they swim in it but they breathe with it. If there is a problem with the water then there will be a problem with your Betta.  Check the temperature, ammonia levels, and other chemicals that could be in the water and harm your fish. Checking the Ph levels is also a good idea.
  • Make sure the environment is not stressful.  Bettas can be sensitive to any kind of change and become stressed out.  Don’t allow anyone to tap on the tank walls, try not to have the tank near loud sounds, and if you added a new tank feature, you may need to take it out for a while. 

Enjoy the Zoomies

If you have a health Betta that has a relatively common occurrence of the zoomies we encourage you to enjoy this peek inside the natural world.  The energy that is building up inside our finned friends comes out in a beautiful display that we get to see. 

A zooming Betta is a sight to see and we hope that if you haven’t experienced it, that you get to soon.  But be careful not to confuse possible warning signs with zoomies.

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