Do Betta Fish Need Light? How Much Do They Need?

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Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are among the most popular pets worldwide. Their endearing personalities and vibrant colors make them a favorite among aquarists.

But Betta fish also have very specific needs and preferences when it comes to their environment, one of which is the presence of light.

There are many theories about Betta fish’s relationship with light. Some believe they love it, while others think they prefer darkness.

do betta fish like light

So, how much light do Betta fish need, and is it necessary to provide light at night? Let’s explore these questions and more in this article!

Do Betta Fish Like Light?

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Betta fish don’t have any feelings toward light whatsoever. They need light in their lives, but it’s not like they can recognize it or enjoy it, unlike us humans do.

In other words, the only relationship Betta fish have with light is what it does for them, both for their body and their daily routines.

Light helps Betta fish’s coloration to remain vibrant and healthy, as well as regulate their bodily functions. Like other fish, Bettas rely on light to provide a sense of day and night, which affects their eating and sleeping habits. Without light, Bettas can become sluggish and disoriented.

That said, direct sunlight or intense artificial lighting can also make them stressed or ill. This means that providing Bettas with an ample amount of light each day is key to their well-being, but it’s important to know how much light they need in the first place.

How Much Light Does a Betta Fish Need?

How Much Light Does a Betta Fish Need
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Betta fish are native to the shallow, warm waters of Southeast Asia, so if you’re a Betta fish keeper, you will want to replicate their natural environment in the home aquarium.

This includes providing the right amount of and duration of light to ensure they stay healthy and happy.

Betta fish require a moderate amount of light in the aquarium – too much light can be stressful for them, but so can too little light.

A good rule of thumb for lighting for Betta fish is to have a light source that is on for 8-12 hours of the day. This light source should not be too bright and should be placed at the opposite end of the tank from the Betta’s hiding places.

Potential sources can be natural sunlight streaming into the tank or an artificial light source such as a fluorescent aquarium light and other types of light.

With artificial lighting, it’s best to keep the light on a timer so that it turns on and off at the same time every day. This will create a consistent cycle for Betta fish and help them adjust to their environment better.

Do Betta Fish Need Light at Night?

Do Betta Fish Need Light at Night
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Betta fish are used to sleeping in darkness in their natural environment. In fact, bright lighting, typically with blue and white spectrums in them, can negatively affect wildlife in the nighttime, even Bettas.

That said, it’s understandable if you want to be able to appreciate the beauty of your Betta at all times of the day. So if you plan to take a closer look at your Betta during the night hours, it is best to provide a dim light so that you can observe them without stressing them out.

This could be a small night light or a dimmed aquarium light. LED lighting that can provide adequate lighting during the day and can be dimmed at night would be ideal for this purpose.

Having only a dim light on at night helps the Betta adjust to a regular day/night cycle, which can help promote healthy behavior and a healthy immune system.

However, you should still provide periods of complete darkness, as this is the time that your Betta can fully rest.

If you’re worried about your pets not being able to see, don’t worry – they might not have good night vision, but they’re very sensitive to the minute changes of pressure in the water, which helps them “see” their surroundings.

Related: Can Betta Fish See in The Dark?

What Color Light Do Betta Fish Like?

What Color Light Do Betta Fish Like
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Unlike us humans, your Betta fish do not have a strong preference for a specific color spectrum of light.

However, it’s generally recommended to provide a natural daylight spectrum of light for Bettas, as it closely mimics their natural habitat and provides the best conditions for their health and well-being.

The color temperature that’s closest to natural light is between 4500K to 5500K. This spectrum of light will provide a bright, clear illumination that will not just be like the sun but will also bring out the vivid colors of your Betta.

It’s also worth noting that while Bettas don’t prefer a specific color light, they don’t like to be under excessive light. Whatever the color, too much light will stress them out and can lead to serious health consequences.

Best Light For Betta Fish

Best Light For Betta Fish
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When choosing the best light for your Betta fish, it is important to look for one that provides the right amount of light and can produce natural-seeming illumination, which will help the Betta feel more relaxed.

Several different types of aquarium lights can do this available on the market, which is the following.

  • LED lights. LED is often touted as the best kind of commercial lighting in the market today. LED lights are energy efficient and produce very little heat, and can even be programmable. Excellent examples of this include the Aqueon Clip-On LED Light, and the Fluval Plant 3.0 LED Planted Aquarium Lighting.
  • Metal Halide lights. Metal Halide lights are high-intensity lights that produce a lot of heat. They are best suited for larger aquariums and reef tanks. Phoenix Electric Company Metal Halide HQI is a great example of this.
  • Fluorescent Strip lights. Fluorescent lights are widely available, easy to install, and can be a good choice for small aquariums, although they do consume more power than LED. Some of the best you can get are those from brands like Aqueon, like the Aqueon Fluorescent Strip Light.
  • T5 Fluorescent lights. T5 fluorescent lights are slim, energy efficient, and produce less heat than metal halide lights. Products like the Fluval T5 Double Lamp aquarium are a good choice for larger freshwater aquariums and reef tanks.

Read More:


Do Betta Fish Like Sunlight?

Excessive sunlight exposure can be stressful to Bettas because their natural habitats in stagnant or slow-moving bodies of water don’t get a lot of sunlight. However, they do appreciate a regular night/day cycle with low to moderate light.

Do Betta Fish Like UV Light?

Bettas don’t need ultraviolet light, as they can’t detect it. Unless you have a UV sterilizer in your aquarium, UV light has no benefit to Betta health and should be avoided when setting up an aquarium environment for Bettas. Low to moderate levels of natural daylight spectrum is best for Bettas.

Can Betta Fish Sleep with The Light On?

Betta fishes fully rest in complete darkness, so it’s not recommended to keep your aquarium light on 24/7. The recommended amount of time for Bettas is about 8-12 hours, with only dim lighting in the evening and periods of complete darkness in between.

Can Bettas See in The Dark?

Bettas cannot see in the dark the same way humans do. However, they are very sensitive to changes in the water pressure around them, which helps them navigate even in complete darkness.

What Happens to Betta Fish without Light?

Betta fish can survive without light, but a lack of light can hurt their health and well-being. A day and night cycle plays an important role in a Betta’s circadian rhythm, and not having sunlight can disrupt this natural rhythm and cause stress and other health problems.

Final Words

Lighting is an important aspect of your aquarium. Not only does it help us better admire our pets, but it also plays a big role in our Betta’s circadian rhythm. If you want your Betta to thrive, you need to give them the right amount of light, which we’ve discussed here.

Now that you’ve read to the end, you can make informed decisions about what lighting is best for your Betta fish.

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