Do Betta Fish Like Colored Light? Should You Use LED’s?


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Bettas are some of the most popular fish to have in the home thanks to their brightly designed bodies, flowy tails, and ferocious attitudes. For the most part, this fish is easy to take care of, too, which is a major plus for newcomers in the fish-owning world. However, it’s important to know the proper lighting for your betta’s tank in order to keep them happy.

betta fish in colored light

Do betta fish like colored light? Betta fish require a regular schedule of light and dark to regulate their sleeping patterns. They prefer natural light, or a plain white LED light that mimics natural light. While you may be able to get by with a blue light at night, betta fish prefer complete darkness to keep from becoming stressed.

Knowing the importance of light when it comes to your betta fish is important. We are going to discuss why the betta fish likes light in the first place and how to make sure your betta stays stress-free. We’ll also be sharing a few other tips and tricks for a top-notch aquarium for your fierce fishy buddy.

Do Betta Fish Like Light?

Betta fish have a love-hate relationship with light. They require an ample amount of light during the daytime while they are awake but prefer it to be pitch black at night so they can get a good night’s sleep.

A regular schedule is what keeps a betta from becoming too stressed out, which can lead to an unruly and unhappy fish.

But why? Out in the wild, your betta lived in shallow waters, including canals and rice paddies.

These shallow waters gave him plenty of access to sunlight, which is why they require at least 8 to 12 hours of sunlight and 12 to 16 hours of darkness.

To put it simply, think of your betta fish of needing a sleep schedule that is similar to yours.

Do They Like Colored Lights?

If there is one thing you might consider when creating your betta’s tank, it’s the lighting. Since many bettas have majestic, stunning colors of reds, blues, whites, greens, and more, it’s no wonder why many people try to find colored lights that amplify these hues. But are they really the best choice?

While there hasn’t been a ton of studies conducted on whether or not bettas like colored lights, one thing to know is that bettas can see color. In fact, the betta has eyes that are closely related to a human’s eyes.  (source)

That being said, a betta may not be entirely happy with colored light in their tank. Bettas prefer natural light in their tank to help them regulate their sleeping pattern and keep them from becoming stressed.

Will Colored Lights Bother Them?

By now, we know the importance of light when it comes to your betta fish, and how it’s always best to choose a more natural light source or try and mimic a natural environment for your betta. But do colored lights actually bother these creatures?

A lot of people want to use a blue light at night to see their betta swimming around. While this might be okay for a short period of time, it’s always best to turn the lights completely off at night time to let your betta sleep.

Since your betta is able to see colors, he won’t be able to get as good of sleep with a blue light on in his tank.

Best Ways to Get Consistent Light for Your Betta

Consistency is key when it comes to your betta, and he prefers natural light as opposed to colorful, artificial lights. Of course, you will need to be careful when choosing the light source for your betta. Here are a few helpful tips:

Always Opt for Natural Sunlight

There is nothing like natural sunlight when it comes to your betta fish. This is their favorite type of light, as it mimics what they are used to in the wild. We recommend that you find a spot in the home that receives a good amount of natural sunlight each day.

Stay Away from Direct Sunlight

While it’s important to find an area that receives a good amount of sunlight, your betta fish should never be placed in direct sunlight. This is due to the fact that:

  • Direct sunlight can heat up your betta’s tank. According to Do Betta Fish Like Light? the increase in temperature of the water in the tank can lead to a very sick betta or one that is almost cooking.
  • Direct sunlight also increases algae growth in the tank. Aside from having to clean your betta’s tank way more often than you would like, too many algae can actually be harmful to fish, according to Algae – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly by United Tech.

Use a Timed Light

You’re not limited to sunlight with your betta fish, though. You also have the option of using artificial light to keep him happy. “Artificial light encourages nutritional benefits such as Vitamin D,” says the blog Lighting by Bettaboxx.

This is a major advantage, plus the fact that artificial light won’t cause an increase in temperature or algae growth.

Just keep in mind that artificial light will need to be turned off and on manually unless you opt for artificial light with a built-in timer.

These are highly recommended as they will automatically shut off at a specific time, which allows your betta to get his much-needed rest at night time.

Tips for a Top-Notch Tank

Now that we know the dos and don’ts of light when it comes to your betta’s tank, you’re probably wondering if there is anything else to keep in mind. We’ve come up with a list of 4 other things your betta will enjoy in his tank.

  1. Plants. Bettas love a plant to hide behind, so having a couple in your tank is a great idea. Plus, live plants add a dose of oxygen for your betta.
  2. Leaf hammock. As much as bettas love hiding, they enjoy resting on a leaf even more. Specially made leads can act as a little bed for your betta, which will keep him happy and healthy as he relaxes in his tank.
  3. A mirror. Bettas are known for their ferocious temperatures, and they truly love a good fight. Popping a mirror into his tank will allow him to indulge in his natural territorial personality. Just make sure the mirror doesn’t stay inside for longer than a few minutes to avoid unwanted stress.
  4. Fluval moss ball. Your betta fish loved to scavenge the surface of the water in his natural habitat, and a Fluval moss ball will allow him to enjoy this behavior- even in his tank. He will be curious about the ball, which is also acting as a natural cleaner.

To put it simply, your betta fish likes an area to relax on, a place to hide in, and some type of floating toy to pique his interest.

Final Thoughts

Betta fish prefer natural sunlight or artificial light that mimics their natural environment. They prefer to get on a regular sleep/wake pattern, so ensuring their tank has natural light during the day and complete darkness at night is ideal for their health and happiness. As bettas can see color, it’s best to avoid colored lights to ensure your betta does not become unnecessarily stressed out.  Because a stressed-out betta makes for a stressed-out owner.

April

I'm an avid animal lover, former veterinary assistant, and blogger. My undergraduate work included a pre-veterinary curriculum and some graduate work along those lines as well from Cal Poly in Pomona, CA (GO BRONCOS!). These days I blog about all sorts of animal-related topics. Many I have or currently personally own, some I don't but am just interested in. Nothing in this blog should be construed as veterinary advice. I am a 100% advocate that if you think something is wrong with your pet, take it to a vet.

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