Do Bettas Like Light? All Your Questions Answered!

Last Updated on April 20, 2022

A well-lighted aquarium full of decor such as driftwood, rocks, and plants will surely give you a pleasing sight to look at as you relax in front of your betta tank. A good light source will let you fully appreciate the iridescent colors of fish.

But, do bettas like light or is it just for the aesthetics?

Betta fish have many variations and the colors breeders have improved on is so amazing. The magnificent colors are a sight to behold because of their graceful flowing fins and tails. This gives us betta fish enthusiasts a lot of enjoyment.

Let’s discuss several details regarding aquarium lighting and how much light betta fish really need.

How much aquarium light does a betta need?

There are plenty of 5-gallon betta fish tanks sold in the market with built-in LED lights. This gives a beginner in fish keeping lesser things to worry about. Just because the tank came with the light doesn’t mean that the light must be turned on 24/7. Betta fish sleep too so they need time to rest in the dark just like when we sleep at night.

Related: Can Betta Fish See in the Dark?

In the wild habitat of the Betta fish, the water is shallow and has plenty of vegetation. This means that sunlight plays a major role in the daily life routine of Betta fish. They have a day and night cycle. During the day, they can hide amongst the foliage to protect them from too much light. They like to sleep when the sun wakes up. You must try as much as possible to make the light cycle of your tank similar to this.

Leaving the light for too long will cause overstimulation in your betta fish. It will make your betta tired and shorten its lifespan. Overstimulation can lead to a lack of appetite. If your betta fish doesn’t get enough light, then they can lose their vibrant color. They will look dull and weak.

This may make you think of placing your betta fish tank where natural sunlight can shine on it. This isn’t good because the intense light of the sun and the long duration can cause algae to bloom in your fish tank. This is one of the nasty things that make people quit the hobby. This will also make the temperature of your fish tank erratic which isn’t good for its inhabitants. Do yourself a favor and avoid direct sunlight for your betta fish tank.

Aside from your betta fish, you may have also put live plants in your aquarium. Plants need light to survive because they need light to perform photosynthesis through which they get their energy to grow. The stock light included in a betta fish tank kit usually isn’t strong enough for aquatic plants that require high-tech bright lights. Choose low-tech plants that do not require too much light such as anubias, java fern, dwarf sag, and java moss. This will provide your betta fish a more natural home and will help keep the water in good condition.

You can turn on the light of your betta fish tank. Having a timer set to automatically recreate this cycle can be helpful. But, the room receives enough indirect sunlight then you can stick to just turning on the light when you are at home for 2 hours upon waking up then giving it a rest in the middle of the day. Turn the light back on 4 to 6 hours into the evening and turn it off before you sleep. 

Related: Betta Fish Care in a Nutshell

Do Bettas Like Light

Do betta fish like light?

Betta fish will appreciate seeing around its home. It is a territorial fish and will patrol its area of control. Betta fish are hunters and will continuously explore their environment. Seeing its food will also entice a betta to eat. This will give your betta fish stimulation during feeding time. Bettas like light so they know when to wake up just like when you wake up in the morning light. 

LED aquarium lights produce less heat compared to standard light bulbs. This will give you peace of mind that the light will not heat your betta’s home. LED aquarium lights consume less energy and have a much longer lifespan. There are high-end LED lights being sold that have modes that let you customize colors and intensity and cycle schedules.

There are LED lighting fixtures with a “moonlight” setting. This is the “night time” cycle and allows you to view fish behavior in the dark. Humans can see the wavelength that creates a blue color while not interfering with the fish’s sleep.

Can artificial light kill betta fish?

LED lights will not kill betta fish. It is actually a superb choice for Betta fish because it will not lead to too much temperature fluctuations in the water column.

Betta fish aren’t fond of super bright tank light. In their natural habitat, they have lots of plants to hide in to protect them from the sunlight. Betta fish like to rest too when given the chance. They like to sleep on leaves of live floating plants and on wide leaves of aquatic plants. 

Too much light can stress out your betta fish. If you have a stressed pet daily because of too much betta fish light then it’s prone to disease. You can buy a dimmable light fixture if you haven’t bought one yet. You can provide lots of plants as hiding spots so the betta can rest under the shade if it needs to. It would be good to mimic the day and night cycle we all experience since fish need to sleep too.

Betta fish will enjoy having a light cycle that resembles the natural light flow of how we experience day and night. Provide 8 to 12 hours of light. You can do this by turning the light on when you wake up in the morning and turning it off just before bedtime. You may also use a timer that will automatically turn the light on and off as needed.


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