Do betta fish need lights?

In this post, we will answer the question “Do betta fish need lights?”. We will also discuss the importance and effects of an appropriate lighting system in your betta fish’s life.

Do betta fish need lights?

Yes, betta fish do need lights. Having a proper lighting system in place for your betta fish tank is really necessary. Having the right lighting for your betta influences the quality of life and even the health of your fish. 

In addition, it also enhances the natural colours and the entire appearance of the animal. The incorrect illumination, on the other hand, can potentially make your betta sick, according to some sources. Therefore, despite being a seemingly simple question, it is really necessary to know the ideal amount of light for the species.

Do betta fish like light?

When we set up an aquarium with light at home, we are creating a complex aquatic environment, with many particularities. For this, several accessories can help us, such as the thermostat filter and lighting.

The aquarium for betta with light is very important since most aquatic pets do not close their eyes to sleep. As a result, they require a biological clock that is well-regulated and capable of accurately determining when it is day and when it is night.

This is where aquarium lighting comes in. This item allows the fish to regulate itself, always resting at the necessary time. So, in general, we can say, yes, that betta fish like light.

Do betta fish like darkness?

Just as our swimming friends need light, they also need a few hours of darkness to rest. As we’ve discussed before, fish sleep with their eyes open, which is unusual. Therefore, your pet must be in a quiet place with no incidence of light at night. So, remember to turn off the aquarium lighting after a few hours. Just like us, betta fish like the dark to rest.

Adjusting the lighting

As betta fish need both light and moments of darkness, having an aquarium lamp is essential. These accessories provide adequate lighting, at the ideal intensity for your fish’s health.

Best of all, they are readily available at a variety of specialist shops. Below, we have separated some tips for choosing the ideal lighting for your betta fish.

Betta fish need light between 6 and 8 hours a day. Avoid very sudden lighting changes. To do this, program yourself to turn the light on and off during the day. Choose an LED bulb. In addition to being powerful and resistant, these models are cold and don’t heat your pet’s water.

If possible, choose a model with a timer for activation and deactivation. That way, you will have one less item on your daily to-do list. Providing the ideal amount of light for your friend, he will be able to develop healthier, keeping company for a long time.

How does too much or too little light affect your betta fish?

It is recommended to keep the aquarium light on for around 8 hours a day, but some aquarists would like to leave their aquarium lights on 100% of the time, as they look much prettier that way.

Even, the colours of the fish stand out much more, in addition to being more active. However, doing so can have very bad consequences. In the same way, not using any lighting in your aquarium, also negatively affects your animals, including the betta.

·      Colour Dimming

·      Changes in Appetite

·      Low Stimulation

Colour Dimming

Lights help bring out your betta’s colours, but this is not just an optical issue of light reflection. When in the dark, bettas tend to have changes in their colour, becoming darker and faded. This is possible to observe when we wake up during the night, turn on the lights and observe the aquarium. In these moments, we can observe how the betta when sleeping, is much less bright than during the day.

Changes in Appetite

As with too much light, too little light also takes away from the betta’s ability to understand its schedules. This will profoundly affect your appetite and your sleep.

Low Stimulation

Just as light agitates the betta, the dark tends to decrease the animal’s agitation level. So if you keep the lights off all the time, the betta tends to be a slower, less responsive animal.

What sort of lighting is best for your betta fish?

The light in the case of a betta aquarium (not planted) is used only to illuminate the fish and create the day and night cycle for the animal. That is, it does not necessarily have to be a very expensive lamp, specialized for aquariums. Any artificial lighting will do, as long as you do not put a lamp so bright that it irritates the fish. At around 20 lumens per litre, that is more than enough.

Can I use sunlight to light up my betta’s aquarium?

In theory, it is not impossible to use sunlight to light an aquarium, and it might even seem like a great option, as it could mimic the natural light cycle found in nature.

But the truth is that the environment of an aquarium is different from the natural environment, as it is a body of water in a closed system, without the gigantic volumes found in nature. Therefore, it is important to use a light source that is easier to control than natural light.

It is better to avoid sunlight. It is even a recommendation to keep aquariums away from windows or doors that lead out of the house. That is because even a short period of sunlight can increase the chances of algae, as well as cause short rises in temperature, which are extremely harmful to fish. This is an even bigger concern in small aquariums (very commonly used for bettas).

Automate aquarium lighting to ensure the light cycle

It can be difficult to have the discipline to maintain a well-defined light cycle for your betta fish, as even maintaining an organization in our own daily lives can be a complicated task. But knowing how important this is for your fish, luckily we have a way to make this process easier.

Through the use of timers, we have the option to automate all aquarium lighting. We just need to turn the lights on to the timer (preferably digital ones), set the on and off times, and that is it. Now your fish lighting will be guaranteed even when you are not at home.


In this post, we answered the question “Do betta fish need lights?”. We also discussed the importance and effects of an appropriate lighting system in your betta fish’s life.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Do betta fish need lights?

What kind of lighting does a betta fish require? 

A betta should have between 14 to 16 hours of light per day. You may need to buy timers for the aquarium light to make sure that the lighting is controlled. Depending on the aquarium, timers may already be installed; however, if this is not the case, you may put a timer on the plug socket that controls the aquarium’s lights.

When it comes to my Betta fish, should I leave the light on or turn it off? 

Excessive sunlight may cause your tank’s water to heat up to unpleasant or hazardous levels, and it can even affect the number of algae in your tank, which can lead to bacterial diseases in your fish. Most betta fish have a day/night cycle that is quite similar to ours. The recommended lighting schedule for your betta is 8 to 12 hours of light and 12 to 16 hours of darkness every day.

Is it possible for betta fish to sleep with the light on? 

Light is important to Bettas because it helps them to recognize when it is time to get up, and they prefer a darker environment to sleep in. This will enable your Betta to have a normal sleeping routine that corresponds to your own.

Do LED lights bother fish?

Fish do not rely as much on light as plants. The use of incandescent, fluorescent or LED lighting for fish tanks is generally permissible; however, owners should be aware of the heating concerns that incandescent lights can bring and that LED lights are brighter than the others. 

Is it possible that LED lights are too bright for betta fish? 

According to the sort of fish you have, you will want to think about the colour temperature of the water. But generally, the lighting should not be too bright for a daily tank since it could stress your betta fish. Too-bright lighting may also result in algae growth.

What kind of light is best for betta fish tanks?

The best option for the betta fish tank lighting system is using LEDs. They are extremely economical and will not overheat the tank water. The second option should go for fluorescent lights and the last option should be incandescent.


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