Do Betta Fish Like Light? Let’s Find Out!

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Right from the start, artificial light played a major role in how bettas are raised. But, do betta fish like light? How do they react to sunlight? Do they need light? What impact does sunlight have on them? what are the pros and cons of been exposed to sunlight? These are some of the questions we ask ourselves simply because we want to do everything possible to make sure that our bettas live healthy lives. In this piece, we will be sharing our professional thoughts on everything you need to know about bettas exposure to light. So, should you leave your betta fish light on or off at night? let’s find out.

Do Betta Fish Like Light?

On one hand, betta fish like light, but on the other hand, they don’t! seems confusing right? Well, let’s break it down further. When it comes to bettas liking light, one has to be very specific. Bettas love the balanced scheduling of regular light and darkness. This proper scheduling helps them get proper sleep. The sleeping pattern is often formed by the kind of light they get.

Betta Fish Light On or Off at Night?

To help them sleep better, turning off the light is key. So, the best way to do this is to synchronize your sleeping pattern with his. What do I mean? When you go to bed at night, you’d turn off the light – right? Well, good! all you need to do is to also turn off the aquarium light or the light in the room where they are kept. However, you turn on the light when you wake up in the morning. Asides forming a better sleeping pattern for your betta, it also acts as a form of subconscious reminder.

Going back to where they are known to inhabit naturally, bettas are tropical fish. So, it is a natural thing for them to love all forms of light including sunlight. For instance, in the tropical part of Thailand where they are known to inhabit, the sun shines a lot in this part of the world, so, it’s only natural for bettas to love sunlight too. in summary, to give them a feel of their natural habitat, you must have the right lighting schedule – this means, you need to be conversant with when to turn the light off and when to turn it on.

Can Betta Fish See In The Dark?

They don’t need a perfect night vision since they tend to sleep when it’s dark. Bettas can see in murky water, but that’s just it. They aren’t able to see in true darkness. Betta Fish have a monocular night vision which means they can see in opposite directions. They find it difficult to adapt to changes in light. In a betta’s natural habitat, there is no need for a perfect night vision as they’ll probably asleep during this period. Basically, the best way they react to darkness is resting and sleeping.

What Kind of Light Betta Fish Like?

Like we rightly stated earlier, its highly impossible to provide them with natural lighting (as we proceed, we will help with that). But always remember, the closest you can get to creating a feeling of natural lighting, the happier your betta will be. Think about it – unlike many other deep-water fish, they (bettas) are used to natural light patterns (daytime and nighttime). So, to answer the most important question which is: do betta fish like light? You’ve got to focus on their sleeping patterns.

Opting for Sunlight For Your Betta Fish.

Do betta fish like light? Yes! but the sun? skeptically, it’s not a great idea! Meanwhile finding the right spot to place your tank in search of sunlight is not a difficult thing. The upside to this is the fact that it aids the growth of living plants in the tank and bettas to tend to enjoy it too. But these are the major upside to this. On the downside, it triggers the growth of massive algae in your tank which may end up spoiling the water tank. No doubt, direct sunlight is also capable of heating the water to an abnormal level. Make sure they are kept in places where they’ll get indirect sunlight from the sun rather than been exposed to direct sunlight. Also, if the room becomes dark during the night time, then it will be a perfect scenery for your betta.

Do betta fish like light but not sunlight?

Judging by the trajectory of this piece, we all know the right answer to that question. Yes, they do. Like we’d rightly stated earlier on, these guys were raised with artificial light. It all depends on the kind of light they were raised with. Some bettas were raised outdoor, this kind of bettas are used to sunlight and not the artificial lighting. But, generally speaking, bettas love sunlight, it tends to give them that natural feel. But, since you can’t bring the sunlight indoors, artificial light is a great alternative.

How to Create a Natural Habitat for Your Betta Fish:

If you are opt-in for a natural habitat for your betta fish, there are certain things you need to consider before creating the perfect scenery. Some of which include:

·        The Pearling Phenomenon.

If you own tanks with lights, medium, and low lights, then you’ve probably not experienced this phenomenon. Pearling is a phenomenon occurs that happens when plants receive a high amount of CO2, light, other important nutrients, and end up producing excess oxygen. It is known as pearling because the oxygen released tends to come off in pearl-shaped form.

These pearl-shaped bubbles are only beneficial temporarily. In the long run, they don’t play an important in the overall longevity of the tank.

·        Finding a Window Spot.

When placing your betta tank indoor, one of the things you need to consider especially if you are going with the natural light is a window spot. To get direct sunlight, the tank has to be placed close to the window. Moving the tank close to a window means your betta will get direct sunlight or indirect sunlight depending on the sport where its placed.

The goal is to get sufficient light directly from the sun since that’s what you are opting for. The nearest you can get is to place your tank close to a window.

·        Bettas eyes.

All bettas find it easier adjusting to artificial light. But there won’t be a need for adjusting if you are using the natural light as there won’t be an issue of instantly turning on and off of lights which tends to affect bettas’ eyes. Bettas are carnivores, meaning, they depend on their sight to hunt down prey to eat. Humans can adjust to a different level of light. However, that’s not the case with bettas, it takes them 30 to 40 minutes to adjust to a different level of light. Safe to say, it is easier for them to adjust to natural lighting compared to artificial lighting.

·        Algae.

One of the issues faced when using natural light is the case of algae. Artificial lights don’t increase algae in the water, but that’s not the case with the natural light. Light sourced directly from the sun not only triggers algae but it also increases it. Algae can destroy your aquarium if not properly handled. However, some things can help prevent that. it prevents algae issue, the simplest thing to do is to blackout the tank for 24 hours opens the window after some time.

The Artificial Alternative for Your Betta Fish.

With the cons highlighted above, you may start to have a rethink, which is quite natural. So, what’s the alternative? The best thing to do at this point is to install artificial lighting in the tank. The most important thing to note when choosing artificial lighting is to select one that won’t alter the temperature of the tank. Anything higher than 78 degrees Fahrenheit will kill your betta fish. When selecting artificial lighting for your betta fish, avoid incandescent bulbs. These bulbs are not efficient, as they tend to give out more heat than light. When a bulb gives off more heat than light, it will definitely alter the water temperature. Rather than mimicking natural light, you might end up frying your betta.

When creating a natural scenery with alternative lighting, your best bet is to either choose Fluorescent light bulbs or LED lights. CFL (Fluorescent bulbs) is available and can be gotten from shops around you. If this is not available, you can opt-in for LED lights. LEDs tend to create natural sunlight scenery, and more interestingly, they are energy efficient and don’t trigger algae growth.

Compared to natural lights, artificial lights will give you a better view. This works perfectly when you mix this perfectly with the hours of lights off. CFL and LED bulbs will give the living plants the light it needs to grow without altering the water temperature because it produces no heat. Coupled with a timer, you’d have created the best scenery for your betta.

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The Difference between artificial light and sunlight – which will your betta fish prefer?

If your goal is to create a feel of natural lighting, then it goes without saying the fact that sunlight is way better than artificial lighting. As perfect as this might sound, it’s still not totally true. So, why is the sunlight not that perfect? There are two major disadvantages to the sunlight.

1.      Sunlight triggers and increases algae in the tank.

One of the disadvantages of sunlight is that it increases the number of algae in the tank. This automatically pollutes the water and directly affects the overall health of your betta fish. So, in case you decide to put the tank outdoor or expose it to natural light, you should always check for algae growth and be ready to take care of the water. This is where your water management skills come into play.

2.      Increases water temperature.

When exposed to direct sunlight, tanks (especially small tanks) will act as a magnifier. With the tank acting as a magnifier, the water will heat up. At high temperatures, the water becomes uncomfortable for the betta fish. This could be fatal for the fish. This phenomenon usually happens with the smaller tanks. On the other hand, when a large tank is exposed to direct sunlight, it makes the water temperature to fluctuate. Fluctuating water temperature is not also great for your betta fish.

If you can deal with all of these, then feel free! But, if you aren’t an expert when it comes to water management, it won’t be a good idea to dabble into it.

Why Does Betta Fish Like Light?

I think it’s safe to say that bettas love and also need light. So, why do they need light? Light plays an important role in the existence of man, the same goes for bettas too. light is as important to bettas as it is with humans.

Just as humans are diurnal, bettas are also diurnals too. what this simply means is that when the sun sets, it means we are ready to sleep. The daytime/nighttime cycle is as important to bettas as it is to humans. It tends to affect their sleeping patterns. In simple terms, before going to bed at night, you should remember to turn off their lights the same as you’ll with yours.

Next to the importance of light for bettas, it’s how many hours of light they need on a daily basis. Typically, bettas need eight to twelve hours of light every day. On the other hand, they need twelve to sixteen hours of darkness. So, the best thing to do is to turn off your lights before going to bed. Simply put, a pre-bedtime habit will do the trick.

Do Betta Fish Like Light But Not Excess Light?

Even though betta fish like light, excess light is not ideal. Too much light means your betta won’t catch enough sleep. Also, when you fail to turn off the light as at when due, it affects your betta negatively. Doing this all the time will result in your betta being lethargic, stressed out and sick. To put it in a more understandable form. The excess light will cause:

–         Overstimulation.

Overstimulation tends to happen when your betta is exposed to excess light. When the light stays on, your betta will think that it is daytime, and as we all know, bettas don’t sleep much during the daytime. So, your betta may remain awake for as long as the light stays on. This means your betta fish will be hyperactive all the time. In the long run, if this is not dealt with could lead to stress and sickness.

–         Loss of appetite.

One of the common issues faced when there is excess light in the tank is your bettas loss of appetite. When bettas stay active for a long time, they get tired and in the end, lose their appetite. It affects their entire pattern including sleeping and feeding pattern. When your fish doesn’t know when its feeding time and sleeping time, it tells negatively on their health.

The dearth of light:

On the flip side, too much darkness is also not good for your betta. Over time, it leads to your betta losing its colors due to insufficient exposure to sunlight (or light, generally). The verdict is; too much darkness and light aren’t favorable for your betta. Asides forming a wrong sleeping pattern, it also makes your betta hyper. Balance is key.  However, it is important to note that the dearth of light is not the only thing responsible for your betta losing his color. Some other things responsible for betta skin fading are the temperature, PH level, and algae bloom.

Timer – the key to a perfect day and night cycle for a betta fish.

One major solution to an unbalanced daytime/nighttime cycle is making use of the timer. First, ensure that the light you are using suits the tank. This is important in case you forget to turn off the light, you won’t have to worry about bulbs producing heats. After all, good bulbs hardly produce heat which may alter the water temperature negatively. You can get a plug-in timer for $10 to $25. Even though they are relatively expensive, they will save you a whole lot of stress. All you have to do is plug the time into the closest outlet and connect the aquarium light.

Next, program it in such a way that the timer will automatically imitate the daytime/night time cycle. This is something you ought to try. One of the main benefits of using a timer is that it lets you travel, spend days/months away from home without having to worry about anything especially your betta’s health.


So, in conclusion, do betta fish like light? Yes! Betta fish like lights. But just as there is a balance to everything in life, there shouldn’t be excess light or dearth of light. If you are opting for natural light, then you should know the pros and cons surrounding that light source. In the long run, artificial lighting is the best option. We’ve helped you solved the pertinent questions: do betta fish like light? Do betta fish prefer sunlight? Choosing between artificial and sunlight, amongst other things.

Get the right bulb, a good timer and your betta will enjoy the scenery. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. We’ll be glad to hear from you.

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