Betta Light Requirements (More Important Than You Think)

Last Updated on 2023-08-26

When you’re caring for your betta, one of the most important things to get right is their light requirements. Not enough light or too much light are both going to have adverse effects, so getting the light right is vital!

So keep reading to find out how much light your betta should get, the best types of light, why they need light, and much more!

Do Betta Fish Need A Tank Light?

If you plan on keeping a betta, they’ll definitely need a tank light. However, you need to make sure that the light isn’t too intense, as this could stress your betta out, cause reflections in the glass and even burn some plants.

Why Do Betta Fish Need Light?

The main reason that your betta needs a light at night is that they’re diurnal. This means they rely on light to let them know when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to be asleep (like humans). Without this, they’re likely to become stressed out and sick as their immune systems will begin to weaken.

Why Is Too Much Light Harmful For Your Betta?

There are actually a number of reasons that too much light can be harmful to your betta! So when you’re picking a light, remember to keep the following in mind:

Your Betta Will Be Overstimulated

The first problem is that your betta is going to be overstimulated. While you may notice that they nap slightly during the day, most of their sleep occurs at night. If your betta is constantly around a light, then they’re not going to know when they should sleep.

It’s An Appetite Suppressant

If your betta is getting stressed out because there’s too much light, then this could also affect their appetite. It doesn’t take a lot to affect your bettas’ appetite, so too much light may definitely cause them to stop eating.

betta Fighting fish

What Happens If Your Betta Doesn’t Get Enough Light?

Their Appetite Will Be Suppressed

Once again, if there’s not enough light, your betta won’t know whether it’s time to eat or not, which can affect their appetite and possibly reduce it!

Their Color Will Fade

Secondly, not enough light can result in their color fading as well. This is because the chromatophores in the scales will stop producing colors. The reason the fading happens over time is that the old chromatophores will keep their color until they die, but the newer ones will grow without color.

It Can Affect Spawning

Lastly, not enough light can affect spawning in bettas, so if you plan on adding them to the tank, then you should be aware that it’s highly unlikely they will breed!

Do Bettas Prefer Natural Light Or Artificial Light?

When you’re keeping a betta in a tank, it’s best to provide them with artificial light. While natural sunlight is great for them, and in fact, great for any plants in the tank as well, the problem comes when it’s too direct.

Fortunately, if you use good artificial light, it’s going to have all the benefits of natural light and will also be strong enough to grow most plants in the tank too!

Do Bettas Like Sunlight?

While bettas like sunlight, keeping your tank in front of complete sunlight can be a terrible idea. And there are actually multiple reasons to avoid doing so!

Those reasons include:

The Tank Can Overheat

The biggest reason to avoid keeping your bettas tank in sunlight is that the tank can actually overheat if left in front of sunlight for too long. When this happens, if you’re lucky, your betta will just get a little bit sick, if you’re unlucky, they can end up suffering from temperature shock, and in the worst cases, your betta can actually end up being cooked alive.

Algae Will Bloom

All plants need sunlight to thrive, and this includes algae. When your tank is in direct sunlight for too long, then it’s only a matter of time before the tank will begin to get algae blooms. And while these algae blooms don’t tend to be harmful to your betta, they’re going to make your tank a lot more unsightly and could make it harder for other plants to grow.

Can Betta Fish See In The Dark?

Unfortunately, betta fish aren’t adapted to seeing in the dark, so leaving them in the dark definitely won’t do them any favors. However, one cool fact about bettas is that they have monocular vision. This means they’re able to see in two different directions at the same time.

But just because bettas can’t see in the dark, it doesn’t mean they’ll have the hardest time swimming in it. Bettas have a lateral line running along their body which allows them to sense movement, changes, and water pressure.

This means that even if they can’t see anything, they’ll be aware of objects that could be approaching, which they’ll need to avoid.

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How To Make Sure You’re Bettas Getting The Right Amount Of Light

Now you know how important it is that your betta gets the right amount of light. Obviously, too much or too little is going to have an effect on your betta, so getting the perfect amount is key. Here are a few things to keep in mind while looking after them!

Limit The Amount Of Time The Light Is On Or Off

The first thing you should do is make sure you’re limiting the amount of time the light is on or off in the tank.

During the day, your betta should be getting about 14-16 hours of light, and then they should also be getting 8-10 hours of darkness in the evening. The easiest way to make sure this happens is by turning the lights on when you get up and then back off when you fall asleep.

However, if you’re quite forgetful, it’s also possible to add a timer to your tank’s lights, so this happens automatically!

Use Artificial Light Designed For Fish Tanks

As well as limiting the amount of time the light is on or off, you should also make sure you’re using artificial light that’s been specifically designed for fish tanks. Doing this will ensure you’re not overpowering your betta with light, and it will also help any plants in your tank to grow as well!

What Color Lights Do Bettas Like?

You may have noticed that most aquarium lights come in so many different colors, so is it possible that your betta prefers a certain color?

While there’s no definitive answer to this, we do know that bettas are able to see different colored light. But, as with everything else, the best thing you can do is make sure you’re keeping the tank as natural as possible, so you should just use natural colored light when possible.

What If The Light Makes A Reflection?

Sometimes it’s possible that the light is going to cause a reflection inside the tank, which can cause your betta to go into a frenzy and flare at everything. While this is good exercise for them in short bursts, over time, it’s going to weaken their immune system and stress them out massively.

If you notice a reflection, here are a few things you can try.

Make Sure There’s Light Outside The Tank

A lot of time, reflections occur when the light is on in your tank, but any light outside of the tank has been turned off. So only keep your betta’s tank lights on when the lights in the tank are on as well.

Cover The Tank

You can also try covering the outside of the glass on your tank. Doing this will stop any reflections from occurring, and you can still keep the glass facing you uncovered so you can see your fish!

Fill The Tank With Plants And Decorations

Lastly, you can also fill the aquarium with plants and decorations! Doing this will drastically reduce the chance of your betta seeing his own reflection! And it’s also going to make the tank look a lot nicer as well!


Here are some frequently asked questions people have about their bettas lighting requirements!

Do Bettas Like Blue Light At Night?

It’s not recommended to keep any light on in your betta’s tank at night as it’s going to disturb their sleep. So while it’s nice to see your betta at night, it’s still better for them to make sure the light has been turned off completely!

Are LED Lights Bad For Bettas?

LED lights are actually quite good for your betta! As well as providing a light that isn’t too strong for your betta, they don’t give off a lot of heat either. This means you don’t have to worry about the tank becoming too hot or water evaporating too fast!

Is UV Light Bad For Your Betta Fish?

UV light is good for betta fish as it can help them regulate their day. And on top of this, UV light can help plant growth in your tank as well! Just make sure you’re you don’t suffer from an algae overgrowth problem, though!

Do Betta Fish Need Light All The Time?

You definitely don’t want to be giving your betta light all the time. In fact, 14-16 hours of light a day is the recommended amount for them!

Do Betta Fish Need Light At Night?

As previously mentioned, it’s absolutely necessary to leave a light on for your betta at night, and in fact, it’s going to be harmful to them!

What Kind Of Light Do Bettas Need?

While bettas do well in most light, ideally you should use LED or UV light. UV light is great if you plan on keeping plants in your aquarium as well. However, LED lights are good as they’ll not only illuminate your tank, but they’ll also keep it a lot cooler

How Many Watts Should The Light Be For Your Tank?

Around 1 wat per gallon of water is a good amount for any betta aquarium, if you’re using LED lights, it might be a little bit less, and if you’re using fluorescent tubes, it may need to be a bit higher!

Do Betta Fish Need The Light Off To Sleep?

To give your betta the best sleep possible, you should make sure you’re turning the light off for at least 6-8 hours at night. If you’re not turning the light off enough you may end up disrupting their sleep.


As you can see, your betta’s lighting requirements really aren’t that difficult! If you can give them 14-16 hours of light a day and 10-8 hours of darkness, then they’re going to be happy!

On top of this, LED lights are the best choice because they’re not too hot, so they won’t evaporate the water or heat the tank too much!

If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website! Otherwise, have a great day!

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