Are Betta Fish Sensitive To Light?

Are betta fish sensitive to light?In the wild, betta fishes are found in shallow waters like floodplains, rice paddies, and canals. So one might think that using artificial lights in their aquarium may not be too good for them. But, are betta fish sensitive to light? And if they are, what are the effects?

Betta fish are not sensitive to light. They thrive in natural lighting and need a proper day and night cycle. However, they can behave erratically when they are overstimulated by light. You can see this in their feeding behaviors. Therefore, there should always be a balance between light and dark.

In this article, we are going to discuss the proper light and dark cycle for your betta fishes. Also, we will talk about some of the effects of overstimulating them with light. So hush your worries as more likely than not, when you have the proper lighting, your betta fishes will do okay.

Do Betta Fish Like Light?

Yes, they absolutely adore the light! Given that they originated Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar, they are used to places with a lot of light as well as warm temperatures. Therefore, having natural sunlight for your betta fish will be perfect for them.

Just a word of caution, we are not talking about constant exposure to direct sunlight as this may also be bad for them. This is the case as the aquarium will be prone to overheating.

You really should not be concerned about your betta fishes burning in their aquarium, but constant exposure to natural sunlight can hurt their adorable but sensitive eyes. If you just place their aquarium in a spot where it isn’t exposed to the sun, you will be fine.

Effects Of Too Much Light On Your Betta Fish

Much like humans, too much exposure to light can bring some harmful effects. For us, we can get sunburned or even skin cancer, but for your betta fish, they become stressed and overstimulated. Take a look at some of the effects.

Refusal To Eat

As they are overwhelmed with light and cannot tell the day cycle from the night cycle, they can overexert themselves. Since they are so confused about what cycle it is, they will refuse food.

Illness And Injury

A stressed betta fish will surely have a lower immune system. Therefore, they are more prone to getting diseases. Also, in their weakened state, they cannot evade other fishes that are bullying them (if they live in a community aquarium) so the chances of them getting injured are high.


As your betta fish is confused as to when he is going to eat, play, sleep, etc. he will just keep on swimming and doing a lot of activity while there is too much light. You might just find him at the bottom of the aquarium when he is too weak to even do anything.

In this article, we show you 5 signs of lethargy in betta fish. If you notice these, you should be alarmed!

are betta fish light sensitive?

What Are The Lighting Needs Of Betta Fish

As we have already established that betta fishes are not sensitive to light, but they should also not be overexposed to light, it is a matter of finding the right balance.

More than that, it is also important to use the right lighting in such a case where you do not want to go natural in terms of lighting.

Natural Lighting

Although this type of light is good for betta fishes as this is what they are used to, it is not that highly recommended. The reason for this is that constant exposure to the natural sunlight causes the influx of algae in the aquarium.

This algae growth can pollute the water which can then lead to the formation of harmful bacteria in the aquarium. Also, as we have mentioned earlier, the natural light can affect the water temperature as the tank somehow acts as a magnifying glass (especially for small ones)

Unsteady water temperature levels can stress your betta fishes and can be even the cause of their deaths. So in the event that you plan to go the natural lighting route, it requires a lot of checking and maintenance.

You should also make sure that you put the aquarium in a place where there will be shaded areas so your fishes have an area where they can cool down.

Artificial Lighting

In the event that you want to use artificial lighting in your aquarium, the most important thing to note is that you should pick one that will not alter the water temperature in your aquarium. As far as temperature goes, it is okay for it to be between 74 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

If it goes higher, it can be dangerous to your betta fishes. So make sure that you keep the temperature in those levels. Here are some artificial lighting tips:

  • Incandescent bulbs are not that efficient as they give more heat compared to light. It is as if they are “mini suns” They will not do well in small aquariums.
  • LED lights are a good option as they mimic natural light, but they do not encourage the growth of algae. They also do not consume much energy, so your electricity bill will not suffer.
  • Fluorescent light bulbs are also a good option next to LED lights. These are mostly used by people who have betta fishes.

Balance The Day Cycle And Night Cycle

Betta fish are diurnal fishes. This simply means that pretty much like humans, when the sun is up it means that we go on with our daily activities, and when the sun goes down, it is time to go for bed.

Therefore, your betta fishes should know when it is time to play and eat and when it is time to rest. This is why it is important to turn off the lights in your aquarium.

Your betta fishes need at least 8 to 12 hours of light and 12 to 16 hours of darkness. So do not forget when you should turn on and turn off their lights.

For a lot of betta fish owners, they sometimes forget to turn on the lights as they leave it to natural sunlight. But you should keep in mind that too much darkness can also be harmful. It can affect their colors and the overall ph level of the betta fish need light?

How To Maintain A Proper Light And Dark Cycle

By this time, you know that having a proper day and light cycle is crucial for the lives of your betta fishes. There should always be a balance as too much light and darkness can have some consequences for them.

Of course, you also have your life and you have to go to work or go on social events. So you really cannot always check on the light and temperature in your aquarium. What can you do?

You can simply purchase lights with a timer. In this way, all you have to do is to plug in your lights and set the time on when they should be on and off. You can go about your day without even thinking if you turned on the light in your aquarium.

A good artificial lighting system that comes with a timer is the Nicrew Full Spectrum LED Light. It has three different lighting functions and modes wherein you can fully customize the lighting based on the needs of your betta fishes. This time here is awesome – you can check it out here!

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