Most people enjoy having lights for their aquarium because it makes it easier to see their fish. For bettas, the perfect lighting really helps their coloration stand out.
But, what color light do betta fish like? Can they even see various colors as we do?
Do Betta Fish Like Lights?
Yes, betta fish like light because it mimics their natural environment.
In the wild, bettas live in shallow bodies of water like marshes, floodplains, and rice paddies. The surface of these watery habitats is usually covered in dense vegetation. The water also lacks much flow, so the water may be murky.
Still, bettas prefer to swim near the surface of the water where they breathe air and catch their food.
So, they are used to bright, indirect light.
It’s best to avoid super bright lights. Instead, opt for softer, subdued lights.
Bettas Can’t See Well In The Dark
Make sure that you use some form of lighting. If you don’t use any lighting at all, your betta’s colors may fade.
Plus, bettas cannot see well in the dark, so they need light throughout the day. Still, don’t worry about them swimming into things at night. Bettas navigate in the dark through their ‘lateral line’.
The lateral line is a series of small holes in the scales on the side of your fish’s body. They allow your fish to sense vibrations, changes in pressure, and movement.
Bettas Can’t Handle Rapid Changes In Lighting
Bettas like light, but they cannot dilate or contract their iris instantly. Instead, it takes their eyes between 30-60 minutes to adjust to new lighting. So, you should avoid going from darkness to bright light or vice versa. This could damage their eyes or cause them stress.
Instead, consider getting a light that is dimmable. Or, turn on the room light before turning off the aquarium light.
Can You Use Sunlight Instead Of Natural Lighting?
It is never a good idea to use natural sunlight for any fish tank. Keep your tank away from windows. Natural light can cause excess algae and temperature fluctuations.
When your tank gets too much light, it encourages algae growth. Too much light over an extended period of time can cause algae to cover the sides of your tank and anything inside. Excess algae looks gross, can be hard to clean, and removes oxygen from the water.
Plus, bettas need stable temperatures to stay healthy and happy. Rapid changes in temperature can throw them into shock. This can lead to sickness and even death. Natural sunlight can raise the temperature of your tank several degrees in a short time.
Should You Leave Lights On At Night?
You should never leave your aquarium lights on overnight. You’ll want to replicate the day-night cycle as best as you can so your betta can rest.
If you leave the light on 24/7, your fish will remain active for longer and won’t get enough rest. This causes stress and confusion which can lead to illness and disease. Overstimulation may cause your betta to stop eating, causing starvation.
What Color Light Do Betta Fish Like?
Now, do bettas prefer a certain color of light? Do colored lights bother them? Can they even see colors?
Research shows that bettas can see colors similarly to how we can. But, the hues and shades of the colors vary slightly for bettas. Plus, some bettas can be colorblind, leaving them unable to see red colors.
It doesn’t seem that bettas really have a preference for one color over another. But, different colors do seem to offer their own advantages and disadvantages.
They Prefer Softer Lighting — Blue, White, Or Green
As we mentioned, softer lighting is better for bettas because they’re used to diluted light. For best results, try a soft white, green, or blue light.
These colors add a nice, peaceful glow to the water that helps your betta’s colors to truly stand out. They also provide your betta with good visibility without blinding or overstimulating them.
If you choose white light, be careful that it’s not too strong. Many white lights are very bright and will be too much for your betta. It’s better to opt for blue or green if you can.
Exposure to blue light seems to give bettas more energy and improves their digestion. Bettas are prone to digestive issues, so this is a definite advantage.
Bettas exposed to blue light seem to be happier, more alert, and seem to be able to see better.
If you prefer a more relaxing environment, opt for a green light instead. Green lights seem to calm bettas and reduce their stress. Having less stress will boost the immune system and encourage your betta’s health.
One study showed that bettas exposed to red light experienced less stress. Bettas exposed to 12 hours of red light a day experienced significantly less stress than those in regular lighting. The lower levels of stress also seemed to help the fish sleep better at night.
The researchers who performed the study believe that red light helps to regulate the fish’s circadian rhythm. This provides them with a more natural sleep cycle than they get with other colors of light.
The red light also seemed to promote their overall health. Their fins and scales became shinier, and their immune systems received a boost.
Yellow lights may also be okay for bettas because it mimics natural sunlight. It’s thought that yellow lights help them to see better. It also triggers their production of vitamin D which is good for their health.
Purple lights can be nice because they seem to combine the benefits of blue and red lights. It mimics their natural murky habitat, potentially giving them more energy. At the same time, it’s thought to keep them calm and reduce stress.
Bettas need regular lighting to mimic sunlight and the day-night cycle. For the most vibrant colors and the healthiest fish, we recommend choosing blue or green lighting. But, red, yellow, or soft white lighting can be effective as well.