Finley LOVES his hammock. He sleeps in it and hangs out next to it and sometimes even bubble nests around it. So I thought I’d create a tutorial on how to make one.
Here is a picture of it:
Why a hammock?
The reason that betta fish need/love hammocks so much is because it holds them near the surface of the water so that they can easily breathe air. Bettas have a special organ called a labrynth organ that allows them to breathe air in addition to being able to use their gills. Without a hammock near the surface, they would have to actively swim up to get air as needed, which for many bettas is every few minutes. By napping near the surface, they can instead simply stretch up to breathe and then go back to resting.
The hammock is made out of the plastic sewing canvas that I use for several other DIYs for him (see them in the DIY section). You can buy the sewing canvas at Walmart for $3.50. One time I found them in the office supplies section, and another time they were in the sewing section. You can also look on the crafts aisle. It is also available on Amazon. (As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn on qualifying purchases.)
Step 1: Cut a rectangle of plastic sewing canvas. Finley’s is 38 rows long and 18 rows wide. He usually hangs out the front of it like you see above, so I’ve been thinking about making one a little longer to see if he’s doing that because he likes being near the opening or because it’s too short.
As you cut, cut along the edge of the row as close as possible.
Step 2: Make sure all of the edges on the rectangle are smooth so that they cannot damage your fish’s fins. If there are any rough spots, use a nail file to smooth them out, then rinse off the area to remove the dust from filing. Run your fingers over the flat parts as well; sometimes there are pieces didn’t print right when they made it and they poke out a bit as you can see in the picture here (left).
Step 3: Hold the short edges of the rectangle together.
Step 4: Twist a piece of fishing line through both sets of holes along the edge. Be sure to leave about six inches of extra line along either end. Continue looping the line through the holes all the way across the edge. The line used in this picture is actually just some thick plastic line that I happened to have; if you go buy fishing line, the regular thin kind will be much easier to use.
Step 5: Knot the fishing line on either side of the hammock, then use the extra length on either side to tie it to the screen lid. If you don’t have a screen lid, you can tape the ends of the strings to the outside of the tank.
Step 6: I like to ‘furnish’ the area around the hammock for him with plants, which provide a bit more cover. I’ve tried putting some glass beads inside the hammock (because he loves to sit on those), but they always fall out when it gets knocked around. If you wanted to do that, you can secure them in place with aquarium silicone.
There are lots of great leaf hammocks and other betta hammocks (log, lotus, etc.) that you can buy online as well – I had used both my DIY one and a leaf hammock. The advantage of the DIY hammock is that it provides a type of enclosure in a way that just resting on a leaf hammock does not, and due to all the little holes on it, your betta can hang onto it really well and even determine just how high or low inside the hammock they want to be – my betta girl, Findee, will rest her fins against one of the holes going up the side if I’ve just added more water to the tank, making the water level higher than usual. Plus, you can throw it out if you ever need to (sickness, algae overgrowth, etc.) and just make a new one – you’ll have more than enough sewing canvas left over. Of course, it’s completely adjustable for your tank as well – as long as you’d like, as tall as you’d like, etc. I always make them while sitting right in front of the tank and Findee was so pleased with the first one I made her.
As I said though, there are many options for hammocks you can buy as well – lots more online than in pet stores too of course. Below are some pics of various leaf hammocks on Amazon – they’re clickable so you can go to the product page if you want. (As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Send me a pic of your fish enjoying their hammock – I’d love to see it! My email is Melanie @ GoodBetta.com. 💕