Can Betta Fish See Color?

Last Updated on April 19, 2022

Can betta fish see color? A question that we’ll answer in this article.

Bettas or also known as Siamese fish are one of the most beautiful aquarium fish pets. They have beautiful and vibrant colors that add charm to your place, plus being curious and sociable makes them one of the perfect home pets.

But, with their vibrant appearances, do they, themselves, appreciate how they look?

In this article, we’ll help you shed light on how betta fish’s vision works.

Let’s start!

Can betta fish see colors?

To put it simply:

Yes, betta fish can see colors and is good at identifying shapes!

Bettas can see pretty well in short distances, but betta fish vision is not that sharp. They can identify colors like blue, red, and green.

The thing about their eyes is that they have a monocular vision that allows them to see objects in two different directions, which also means they can see two images at once.

Having a monocular vision helps them see potential dangers from the directions on each of their eyes, but it may also be harder for them to focus on certain objects.

Betta fish can see colors, yes, but since colors have different light wavelengths, their ability to see each of them may vary.

Also, recognizing the colors in depth is not their forte. The iris of bettas isn’t fast in recognizing colors like orange and red wherein both colors have longer wavelengths, so adjusting to different lights in an instant is difficult for their eyes.

Last, there are various types of betta fish species that have different color visions as well. For instance, the Crown and Veil tail bettas have better color vision and recognition than Delta and Double tail bettas.

Do bettas have favorite colors?

There isn’t enough evidence whether betta has favorite colors, but since bettas have their quirks, having a color preference can be their thing too.

To give you an idea, colors are a factor in how your betta will respond to other tank mates. Some males can become aggressive to colors they think are a threat to their spaces.

Bettas are territorial, especially the males. They like to protect their space and are quite aggressive when they see other male bettas near their areas.

You can see how your betta fish react to certain colors when they flare their gills and dart around the tank. So check how your betta behaves when you introduce a different tank mate so you can be sure that both of them will live comfortably with each other’s company.

Figuring out your betta’s favorite color would be a task for you as an owner, as each of them will have their preference.

One example is from a Reddit user where they shared that the color their betta likes are the color pink and the other user said his betta likes the color of fire.

How do betta fish see color?

The longer the light wavelength is, the faster it is to get absorbed by the betta.

For example, they can absorb the color red quicker while blue and green aren’t as easy.

Bettas retina has cones than rods. To put it simply, having more cones the better it is for them to focus on objects and see different shades of colors.

Bettas can see more colors than we humans do. Aside from what colors we normally see, bettas can also see ultraviolet colors. So that’s one interesting fact about betta.

But, some betta may not see colors well. For instance, a betta may see blue and green, but not red.

Keep in mind that their color perception is not as good as ours, after all, they live underwater and the situations in their environment are different.

There are some factors that you need to consider as well:

  • Clearness of their water
  • Depth of the water
  • The distance of the object
  • Brightness/darkness of the room

Do betta fish change color?

Bettas have beautiful vivid colors that put them in the spotlight when surrounded by other fishes. They are a charm that beautifies the room they’re in.

Now that we know that bettas can see colors, can they also change their colors?

Short answer: yes.

Bettas can change colors because of various reasons. Here are the common ones:

Stress – A stressed betta can go through a condition called “stress stripes” where stripes are visible from their gills to their tail. It can either be a combination of colors such as red, black, or white.

Aging – Colors of older bettas will change and fade over time. As bettas slowly approach their life expectancy of about 5 years, their previously vibrant colors may fade.

You may notice it begin to lose its vibrancy at around 3 years old.

Illness – Bacterial and fungal infections can lead to your betta to have patches of discolorations. A disease called ich is common and runs along the body and fins with white spots.

Know how to identify subtle signs in your pet. Their diet, water temperature, and living conditions all matter.

Being quick to react to any little signs can affect your betta’s overall quality of life.

Related: Do Betta Fish Change Color?

Can betta fish see in the dark?

Can betta fish see in the dark?

Bettas cannot see well in the dark.

Having lights on your tank will illuminate the natural color of your betta. But as much as it highlights the color of your pet, what’s more, important is if it’s good for your betta.

Bettas are used to dark and muddy waters as they live in rice paddies and swamps. But being in their natural environment, the natural sunlight is their primary source of light that helps them navigate their areas and find food easily.

They also identify light as daytime and darkness as night time. Daytime being their schedule for finding food while nighttime is their time to sleep.

Knowing this helps them have better sleep, and the dangers of not having this differentiation can affect their sleeping schedule.

Even though they have poor night vision, they can still navigate within the area pretty well using other senses.

But you don’t have to worry about their activities at night, as they will spend most of their nighttime sleeping. That is if you’ve established a healthy sleeping schedule or light/dark pattern in their daily routine.

Remember, at least 8-10 hours of light is enough for your betta.

Do betta fish like colored lights?

Betta fish prefer natural colored light that’s the same as their environment.

Colored lights can stress your betta, especially the RGB lights that fade in and out. Imagine living 21/7 in a room with flashing lights that change every second.

Do not leave the light on for longer than 8-12 hours as they need to adjust their vision and need to know whether it’s day or night time already.

Related: Do Bettas Like Light? All Your Questions Answered!

Types of aquarium light for betta fish tank

Your betta needs to live in a place that mimics their natural habitat. Here are the common lights available:


A fluorescent bulb is the go-to lighting for betta as it doesn’t produce a lot of heat and has a longer life span. It also encourages plant growth if you have live plants inside the fish tank.


LEDs are economical and don’t heat the water inside the aquarium. It’s widely used among betta owners, as it also mimics natural sunlight and doesn’t encourage algae growth.


Incandescent bulbs tend to get hot and heat the water quicker, especially water in smaller tanks. Water temperature can fluctuate, which can negatively affect your betta.

This light is a no-no, so if somebody recommends it to you, it’s best to say no and opt for fluorescent or LED for your betta.

Some key things to remember:

  • Make sure that your lighting fixtures aren’t too intense, as betta needs to see their surroundings well.
  • Turn off the lights at night for them to rest
  • Provide shaded areas inside their fish tank
  • Keep water temperature between 74 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit (23-26degrees Celsius)
  • Do not expose them to direct sunlight

Final thoughts

There you go. In a nutshell, bettas can see different colors, but their perception is not in-depth and the clearness of how they see colors is still a question.

Whether they see colors well, research, and do the proper betta care at all times.

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