Whether you’re a first-time fish keeper or a seasoned pro, you may be wondering, “Do betta fish need light?”
While Betta fish do need light, they don’t need it as much as some other fish species. In the wild, bettas live in murky waters and don’t get a lot of natural light. However, they do need some light to help them stay active and healthy in the tank.
In this post, we’ll break down the basics of betta care and tell you whether or not your fish needs light to thrive. Keep reading for more information!
Do Betta Fish Need Light?
Like most other animals, Betta fish do need light in their lives. Light helps fish to regulate their sleeping patterns, eating habits, and overall energy levels.
In the wild, Betta fish live in rice paddies, streams, canals, and other murky waters. These habitats don’t provide a lot of natural light because the sunlight can’t penetrate the water that well. There may also be a lot of debris, including falling leaves, that block out the sun from fully reaching the fish. Due to this, Bettas are well-adapted to living in low-light conditions.
But while Betta fish don’t need a lot of light, they still need some light to help them stay healthy. They use light to help them identify food and avoid predators. Their natural predators are birds that swoop down from above to eat them. By being able to see the light reflecting off of the water’s surface, Bettas can spot predators coming from a distance and have time to hide.
In captivity, Betta fish don’t have to worry about predators, but they still need light to help them find food. Most Betta food is floating at the top of the water, so they need to be able to see it in order to eat.
Light also helps Bettas stay active. Wild Bettas are constantly on the move, swimming around in their natural habitats. This activity helps them stay fit and healthy.
Captive Bettas don’t have as much space to swim around, so they may not get the same level of exercise, but natural or artificial light still helps stimulate their activity levels. One study found that fish that were exposed to more light had lower levels of melatonin and thus were more active.
Benefits of Aquarium Lighting for Betta Fish
To sum it up, while Betta fish don’t need a lot of light, there are still some benefits to providing them with aquarium lighting.
- Helps Bettas stay active: As we mentioned, light helps Bettas stay active and swim around more. This activity is important for their overall health and well-being.
- Allows Bettas to see food: Aquarium lighting also helps Bettas see their food. In the wild, they rely on natural light to help them find food floating at the top of the water. In captivity, aquarium lighting can provide the same function.
- Helps Bettas stay healthy: Light also has some important health benefits for Bettas. One study found that fish that were exposed to more light had lower levels of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is linked to sleep and stress. By reducing the amount of melatonin in their bodies, fish are able to stay active and avoid stress-related health problems.
Betta Fish Light Schedule
Now that we’ve answered the question, “Do betta fish need light?” it’s time to talk about how much light your fish needs and what kind of light schedule is best for them.
As we mentioned, Bettas are well-adapted to living in low-light conditions. This means that they don’t need a lot of light to stay healthy and happy. In fact, too much light can be harmful to Bettas. They are a tropical species, so they do best in warm water with a moderate amount of light.
The ideal lighting schedule for Bettas is 8-12 hours of varying degrees of light followed by 12 hours of darkness. This schedule mimics their natural environment and helps them maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
During the day, Bettas need a few hours of bright light to help them stay active and find food. They also need some time in dimmer light to rest and relax. The best way to provide this is to use an aquarium light with a timer, so that you can set it to turn on and off at the same time every day.
Of course, Bettas need complete darkness to sleep. With your aquarium light timer, you can make sure that the light turns off automatically and doesn’t disturb your Betta’s sleep.
Best Lighting For A Betta Fish
Aquarium lighting come in all forms, from fluorescent bulbs to LED lights. So, what is the best lighting for a Betta fish?
The answer depends on a few factors, including the size of your aquarium and the type of fish you have.
- Type of light. For Bettas, we recommend using an LED aquarium light. These lights are energy-efficient and produce very little heat, which is important for tropical fish like Bettas.
- When choosing an LED light, look for one that is specifically designed for aquariums. These lights are typically waterproof and have a lower risk of leaking into the water. They also come in different colors, so you can choose a light that will complement your Betta’s coloration.
- Light intensity. As we mentioned, Bettas don’t need a lot of light. In fact, too much light can be harmful to them. Look for an LED light that has a dimmer setting so that you can adjust the amount of light your Betta gets throughout the day.
- Design. Aquarium lights come in all shapes and sizes. The size and shape of your aquarium will dictate what type of light you need. For example, if you have a small aquarium, you may want to opt for a strip light that can be easily mounted on the side of the fish tank. A clip-on may also work well.
- As for the size of your light, it should be proportional to the size of your aquarium. A good rule of thumb is to use a light that is about one-third the length of your aquarium. So, if you have a 10-gallon aquarium, you would need a 3-watt LED light.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the best Betta tank light that you can buy today.
Aqueon Clip-On LED
The Aqueon Clip-On LED Light is a great option for small aquariums up to 20 gallons in size. It has a versatile mounting screw that makes it easy to attach to the side of your tank, whether it’s framed or frameless. The light is also customizable, albeit very limited – you can only control whether you want it all-on, blue on, or off. However, there’s no timer built-in, so you need to purchase a separate one for best results.
Fluval Plant Bluetooth Nano LED Aquarium Light
If budget isn’t an issue for you, you might want to consider Fluval’s Bluetooth Nano LED Aquarium Light. It’s a lot more expensive than the others on this list, but it does have plenty of offerings for its hefty price. For one, it mimics the fish’s natural environment with its 24-hour setting: sunrise, midday, sunset, and nighttime. You can even customize your light configuration or select a preset one.
Marineland 32996 LED Aquarium Light
The Marineland 32996 is an excellent all-around choice for most aquariums. It’s an LED light with a full spectrum that creates a natural look in your tank while providing the necessary lighting for plant growth. Its LEDs are said to mimic the natural underwater effect of sunlight shining through the water. There’s also a blue light mode that you can use as a night light for your tank. It’s suitable for aquariums up to 30 inches long.
NICREW Classic LED Plus
The NICREW Classic LED Plus Aquarium Light is a good option for planted aquariums up to 24 inches in length. It has both white and blue LEDs that provide the necessary light for plant growth while also creating a natural-looking underwater effect. The light also features a built-in timer so that you can automatically turn it on and off as needed.
MingDak Submersible LED Aquarium Light
Lastly, if you need one that can be submerged in the water, the MingDak Submersible LED Aquarium Light is a good choice. The light has a suction cup that allows you to attach it to the side of your tank. It even comes with a built-in timer so you don’t have to buy one anymore.
Do Betta Fish Need Light At Night?
Betta fish don’t need light at night. In fact, they need periods of total darkness or else they won’t be able to properly enter the resting state that their brain and body needs.
If you really want to be able to see your fish at night, it’s recommended that you use blacklight in your Betta fish tank. Blacklight doesn’t produce any light that can disturb your Betta’s sleep, but it will make them kind of glow in the dark. This can be a fun way to watch your fish at night without disturbing their natural sleep cycle.
What Color Light Do Betta Fish Like The Best?
Bettas don’t have color vision, so the color of the artificial light doesn’t matter to them.
However, Betta fish prefer dimmer lights to brighter lights in their Betta aquarium. Not only does it not hurt their eyes, but it’s also more similar to their natural environment.
This could mean using red and blue light as opposed to pure white light, or white and blue light.
Do Betta Fish Need Sunlight?
As mentioned above, wild Betta fish typically live in murky waters where there isn’t a lot of sunlight. This means that they don’t need direct sunlight to thrive. In fact, too much sunlight can be harmful to Bettas and your aquarium tank in general.
If you have an outdoor pond, make sure to provide your Betta fish with plenty of hiding places so they can escape the direct sunlight if they need to.
Signs Your Betta Is Not Getting Enough Light
Think you may be lacking in the light department?
There are a few signs that you can look for to determine if your Betta is not getting enough light.
- Your Betta is lethargic. One of the most common signs that Bettas are not getting enough light is that they become lethargic. If your Betta is lying at the bottom of the tank and not moving around much, it’s a good sign that they need more light.
- Your Betta is not eating. Another common sign of Bettas not getting enough light is that they stop eating. In the wild, Bettas rely on natural light to help them find food floating at the top of the water. If they don’t have enough light, they may not be able to see their food and will go hungry.
- Your Betta’s colors are faded. Healthy Bettas are bright and colorful. If your Betta’s colors are faded or dull, it could be a sign that they are not getting enough light.
Signs Your Betta Is Getting Too Much Light
On the other hand, there’s also such a thing as a Betta getting too much light. Here are the signs!
- Your Betta is hiding all the time. If your Betta is constantly hiding, it’s a sign that they are getting too much light. In the wild, Bettas would hide in the shadows to avoid predators. If they’re constantly hiding in your tank, it means that they’re feeling stressed and exposed.
- Your Betta’s colors are bleached. Sometimes, Bettas that are getting too much light appear to have their colors bleached. This is because the bright light fades their colors over time.
- Your Betta has trouble swimming. Too much light can also make it difficult for Bettas to swim. This is because they rely on lighter and darker areas to help them orient themselves in the water. If everything is brightly lit, they can become disoriented and have trouble swimming.
What To Do If Your Betta Is Getting Too Much or Not Enough Light
If you think your Betta is getting too much – or not enough – light, there are a few things you can do.
- Move the tank away from windows. If your tank is placed near a window, it would be hard for you to control the amount of light that your Betta gets. Try moving the tank to a different location in the room to see if that makes a difference.
- Install a light timer. Another way to help control the amount of light your Betta gets is to install a timer. This way, you can set the lights to turn on and off at the same time each day.
- Change the type of light bulbs you’re using. If you’re using regular light bulbs, try switching to fluorescent or LED bulbs. These types of bulbs give off less light and won’t be as harsh on your Betta’s eyes.
- Use a lower wattage light. Another way to reduce the amount of light your Betta gets is to use a lower wattage light. This will give off less light and be easier on your Betta’s eyes.
- Add more plants to the tank. If your fish is getting too much light, one way to fix it is to add more plants to the Betta tank. This will help create more hiding places for your Betta and provide them with some relief from the bright light.
- Add a cover to the tank. Another way to reduce the amount of light getting into the tank is to add a cover. This could be a piece of fabric or even just a paper towel. Just make sure there are a few holes punched in it so that your Betta can breathe.
Do Bettas need light to live?
Bettas do not need light to live, but they do need it to thrive. In the wild, Bettas rely on natural light to help them find food and avoid predators. Even in a Betta tank, without enough light, they may become lethargic and stop eating.
What type of light is best for Bettas?
The best type of artificial light for a Betta tank is fluorescent or LED. These types of bulbs give off less light and won’t be as harsh on your Betta’s eyes.
How much light do Bettas need?
Bettas need at least 8 hours of natural or artificial light per day. Anything more than that can be harmful to their eyes.
So, as you can see from this article, while your betta fish may not need light as much as other fish, it is still important to provide some form of light for them.
This will help keep them active and healthy, and can also be a fun way to add some decoration to your home. Plus, by putting an aquarium light in its tank, your Betta will know what time of day it is!
What light are you planning to put in your Betta fish tank? We hope you’ll enjoy picking from our list!
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