How Do Fish Sleep | Fish Sleeping Habbits

How Do Fish Sleep


Do fish ever sleep? It is probably the most common question that pops in our mind whenever we look at a fish.

Those tiny little creatures with no eyelids hover around the water all time. But how do they get the energy to stay active all day? Do they take a power nap in between? Even if they do, then how do they sleep? These are some typical questions that keep gathering in our minds.


So, if you are wondering, do fish ever sleep, the answer is yes. But their way of taking rest is different from ours. They stay motionless with slow breathing movements. Fishes usually sleep near the bottom or middle column of the water for 8-12 hours and remain active all day long.


Do fishes ever sleep?


Well, this is one of the most sought-after questions of every curious mind that want to know about the sleeping behavior of a fish.

The answer to the question, do fish ever sleep, is no more a secret. Fishes do not sleep in a similar way as mammals do. However, that does not mean fishes do not take rest. To keep up with the energy for the whole day, they need to take some quick rest, which keeps them functional for the entire day.

According to researchers, fish can effectively reduce their activity and metabolism rate while resting. But they do remain alert about any danger that can come in their way while sleeping.

While some fishes prefer to float in a safer and hidden place, few others like to locate near their nest.

How do you know if a fish is sleeping?


Now that you know the answer to your query, do fish ever sleep, you must be wondering how do fish sleep in a tank, right?

Well, you can easily tell whether a fish is sleeping or not by looking at it. Fishes have the habit of lying completely motionless when they feel the need to rest. You can find them near the bottom, in the middle column, or at the surface area of the water.

Their brain makes them slow enough to respond to things going on around them. You can even see that some fishes do not respond at all. However, don’t think them to be dead!

Also, if you notice closely, you will see that their gill movement becomes very slow as their breathing slows down while resting.

How many hours does a fish sleep?


Usually, fishes require more rest than land mammals. Diurnal aquarium fishes need as much sleep as we do. They require an average of 8-12 hours of sleep every day to keep their functions active.

You will see that most of the fish species stay active during the daytime. As the light gets dimmed, they go back to their safer area, where they prefer to sleep. However, the scenario is just the opposite for nocturnal fishes.

Do fishes sleep in aquariums?


Do fish ever sleep in an aquarium? It is a common question that can come to your mind if you are a newbie fish owner. Yes, they do sleep in fish tanks. Similar to their wild natural habitat, fishes also sleep in the aquarium.

However, as fishes are introduced to a tank, they may face insomnia in the initial days. But as soon as they get familiar with the tank, the fish will feel safer to rest.

Since they have no eyelids, it’s difficult to recognize them sleeping by looking at their eyes. So, it is better to check out their motion. They tend to be motionless and breathe slow when they are asleep.

Where do fish sleep?


Now that you know the answer to your question, how do fish sleep, it’s obvious to ask, where do fish sleep. Well, this is entirely dependent upon the fish species and their respective sleep patterns.

Most of the time, bottom feeder fishes prefer to lie down near the bottom area of the tank or over the sand substrate. On the other hand, some fishes prefer to sleep, floating in one place.

However, when it comes to shy fishes, they prefer to sleep inside the hiding spots, safeguarding themselves from predators and attackers. Also, they like to stay hidden there when they don’t feel like facing the world.

Do fish sleep at the bottom of the tank?


Yes, most of the time, bottom feeder fishes tend to sleep in the bottom area of the tank. There are many fishes like catfish that spend most of their time near the base area. Hence in such fishes, you can see the tendency to complete their sleep cycles at the bottom of the tank.

However, if a fish is not a bottom feeder but still tends to stay gathered at the bottom area, then you can take it as a sign of illness or weakness.

Do fishes sleep at night?


Are you now wondering, do fishes sleep at night only? Well, similar to humans and other animals, most fish species tend to sleep at night.

Most of the fishes you will come across are diurnal by nature, i.e., they move and perform all activities during the daytime. And they prefer to rest in the night hours.

However, some species are nocturnal and mostly become active at night. These nocturnal fishes sleep during the entire daytime in a crevice or at any place where they prefer to stay hidden.

Do fish need full dark sleep?


No, fishes do not require darkness for their sleep. They can do fine with lights on. However, it is recommended to turn off the lights of your aquarium during nighttime, as most of the diurnal fishes won’t understand if it is day or night.

Switching off the aquarium lights will help them know that it is nighttime and they must sleep now. Thus, it will help them to maintain a continuous sleep routine.

Do fishes sleep with their eyes open?


While looking at the fishes of your aquarium, you might come across the thought, do fishes sleep with their eyes open or close.

Well, it is pretty weird to think of an animal that sleeps with its eyes open. Especially for fishes that live underwater for their entire life, it’s obvious to think that continuous contact of their eyes with water can ruin their sleep. But nature created them in this way. They do not have eyelids. Thus, there are simply no options available for them to sleep with their eyes closed.

Do fish sleep upside down?


Are you thinking, do fish sleep upside down? Well, it’s a pretty natural question to come to our mind as we, humans, do it daily. But is it the same for fishes too? Maybe not!

A sleeping fish is probably stationary, but it stays upright. They do not try to turn sideways or even upside down when they sleep.

If you notice a fish sleeping upside down, it may not be well. Usually, fishes having ailments in their swim bladder tend to lie sideways by their body or upside down. Swim bladders are the organs that help in maintaining their buoyancy. So, when they have issues with their bladders, they might get upturned.

Do fish sleep on their side?


Are you wondering, do fish sleep on their side or not? Well, that is completely dependent on their comfort level and sleeping pattern.

If you have a broad-leafed plant in your tank, then you can often see your fish lying on their side near the broadleaf to get some more comfort and serenity.

Do fish move when they sleep?


Did you just notice your fish move a bit while sleeping? Well, don’t worry, this is nothing unnatural about them. Most of the time, fishes tend to move while sleeping to keep themselves partially aware. It helps them to stay alert from predator fishes, or birds, which feed on them.

However, there is also another reason why most fish species move even when they are asleep. It helps them to get a constant supply of oxygen as the flowing water passes through their gills.

Is my fish sleeping or dead?


If you are an aquarist, the first thing that can come to your mind while seeing a fish motionless is whether it is dead or just sleeping. Well, you need to look for some signs in them to determine this.

If your fish float at the top of the tank, then it can be a concern for you. It can either mean that the fish is dead or injured enough to move. If you find your fish to lie at the bottom area atop the tank’s substrate, then probably the fish is no more. Whenever you are in doubt regarding things, make sure to look for the signs of life in it.

Check whether the fish’s gill has any movement during breathing or not. You can also touch the fish gently. If it moves away or starts swimming, then undoubtedly it is alive. But if it does not respond, then it is certainly dead.

So, when you see them motionless, don’t always panic thinking, ‘is my fish sleeping or dead,’ investigate the matter following the above-said tactics and then conclude.

Do betta fish sleep upside down?


It may be common for bettas to sleep on their bellies. But occasionally, you can see them resting upside down. This activity of your fish can be concerning for you. So, you must check immediately if the fish is sick or not.

How much do betta fish sleep?


How much a betta would sleep, that is utterly dependent upon the individual fish. You might sometimes notice betta fishes sleep during the daytime, or sometimes you can find them taking a long nap at night.

Similar to us, they also require a sufficient amount of rest to stay active and healthy. However, as light plays a significant role in sustaining the sleep routine of fishes, you can control your betta fish’ sleeping with the aquarium lights.


Where do betta fish sleep?


Most of the time, you can find your betta fish lying near the gravel. It is quite normal behavior for them to lie and sleep in the bottom area of the aquarium. However, it is better to stay cautious about the signs for their health.

Do goldfish sleep?


If you are a goldfish owner, then, while looking at those cuties in your tank, it is quite natural for you to think, ‘do goldfish sleep.’ Well, yes, they do take some rest to cope up with their busy schedule of swimming around.

However, goldfish do not naturally sleep in the night, similar to land mammals. All they need to have a good sleep is a dark and quiet ambiance. While many fishes prefer to sleep in the nighttime, goldfish prefer to take a power nap whenever the tank environment is dark and quiet.

Thus, it is better to keep the noise level low when your goldfish is sleeping, or else they can awaken.

Do catfish sleep?


Whether a catfish sleeps or not, it depends on the type of catfish. While a few catfish species prefer to have a sound sleep at night, others are nocturnal, which prefer to stay awake at night and sleep in the daytime.

Do jellyfish sleep?


Do jellyfish sleep? Well, this is probably the most interesting question an inquisitive mind can come up with. Those weird-looking sea creatures are really hard to imagine sleeping. But are they like us?

Most surprisingly, jellyfish do sleep. But do you know what is more interesting about these creatures? Jellyfishes do not have brains, yet they still feel the need to sleep. Sounds weird, right!

Do clownfish sleep?


Clownfish are another fantastic fish species that look lovely with their bright color patterns and are always full of energy. So, are you wondering, do clownfish sleep? Well, yes, they do take short naps to keep themselves active. You can find a clownfish sleeping on its side at the surface area of the tank.

Also, you can find them adopt a shell or remove the inside of a piece of coral as a pseudo-anemone and stay near or in this host to sleep well. However, since they do not have eyelids, they will stay awake for the whole day if you do not switch off the aquarium lights. They mostly prefer darkness to fall asleep.

Do starfish sleep?


Do starfish sleep? Well, this is a common question to ask if you take much interest in the weird-looking starfishes. However, the quickest answer to this is that they do not sleep. But you can often see starfishes come out from their hiding areas during darkness or in the evening. It makes us assume that they sleep throughout the day.

Nevertheless, the reality is entirely different. Starfishes prefer to hide themselves during the daytime. In the daylight, they spend their time waiting for suitable periods when they can come out and prey. So, they barely sleep or take rest, unlike other sea creatures.

How do fish look when they sleep?


Have you ever seen a fish when they sleep? It is simply a fun sight to look at. Fishes look completely motionless when they are deep asleep. At times, you can also find fishes to move slowly while sleeping, unlike the times they move normally.

However, do not expect them to close their eyes. As already said, fishes do not have eyelids. So, definitely, they will not be able to close their eyes while sleeping.

So, if you haven’t noticed how do fish sleep in a tank, be attentive to check it out. You’ll be amazed!

How do fish sleep in the ocean?


Like all other species, ocean fishes also sleep in a similar way. However, since the ocean is wider and there are many chances of getting attacked by predators or becoming someone’s prey, fishes residing in the ocean are more alert.

Thus, most ocean fishes prefer staying in a shoal, which makes them rest altogether in a group. Also, some of the fishes like to hide in the corals to sleep safely.



So, now you have the answer to both the questions, ‘do ever fish sleep’ and ‘how do fish sleep.’ Similar to most other species in the world, fishes also require sleep to stay healthy and active. Their sleeping cycle is as crucial as ours, as it keeps them fresh, boosts their immunity, and prevents sleep deprivation.

However, if you are keeping some fishes in your aquarium, make sure they get a proper amount of sleep as per their requirements. Also, if any time you notice something unusual in your fish’ sleeping behavior, be cautious enough to check if they are asleep or injured.