Are Led Lights Bad For Betta Fish? – Other Options?

Do Betta Fish Need Light

You never know how much effect lighting has on an aquarium fish until you get a Betta. Its entire mood depends on how soothing the light is. Even though LED lights are the most affordable option, concern betta-keepers might wonder whether it is safe for the fish or not.

LED light is reported to be safe for betta fish. It is perfect for recreating natural daylight inside the tank. However, the light can get too harsh sometimes and might hurt the Betta’s eyes.

Bettas don’t have eyelids like the majority of fish. That’s why if you don’t want the fish to hide behind plants all day, make sure you make no mistake in picking the right lighting system.

Key Takeaways

  • LED lights are a perfectly safe option for a betta tank.
  • LED aquarium light will save your monthly electricity bill.
  • Incandescent light needs more electricity supply to reach the same brightness level.
  • No matter how safe LED lights are, turn them OFF during the night.
  • For nighttime lighting, dim the LED light and choose a warmer tone.
betta fish hiding behind wood
Owner: Shea Willis

Are LED Lights Bad For A Betta Fish Tank?

LED lights are the most popular source of brightness for an aquarium tank. It’s cheap and efficient at the same time. We don’t think we can say the same thing for any other type of light.

Here are the top 5 reasons LED lights are the best option for a Betta tank.

1. It’s Cheap

LED light bulbs are more expensive than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. You can get an LED bulb for $2.50, while its counterparts are only about $1.50. Then, how are we claiming LED bulbs to be cheaper? Well, when you calculate the annual electricity bill, LED ends up saving you as much as $250. We have calculated it for home LED bulbs. But an aquarium light should also maintain this equation.

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LumensLED (watt)Incandescent Light (Watt)
 8005-watt 30 -watt
100012-watt 60-watt
185015-watt 100-watt
300032-watt 200-watt

As you can see, to illuminate the same 5-gallon tank with 800 lumens, you need a 5-watt LED. But an incandescent light must be at least 30 watts to give the same effect. And, it’s a no-brainer that a 30-watt bulb is going to need more electricity supply than a 5-watt bulb. So, the monthly bill is going to be higher for incandescent lights. And, the larger your tank is, the more money you would have to pay.

That’s why LED aquarium lights are preferable.

2. Provides Clear Vision

Unlike the “yellowish” hue you get from halogen bulbs, LEDs provide a crispier and brighter light. The light tends to focus more on a particular area rather than scattered all over the place. This special quality makes LED lights more desirable when you are not intending to illuminate the whole room.

That’s exactly what we all want from an aquarium light, don’t we? Even if you get a 2-watt LED light instead of the recommended one (suppose 4-watt), the fish will still be able to navigate. Such mistakes are not negligible for any other kind of lighting.

Do you want the fish to think it’s full-moon outside? Or do you want to recreate an orangish sunset vibe? Whatever color you need, you will easily find an LED alternative to that. In fact, color-changing LED lights are the new trend among Betta-keepers.

purple betta fish with white fin
Owner: digitalakrobat

3. No Heat At All

Old-fashioned lighting technologies like an incandescent or halogen bulb produce too much heat. Almost 95% of the total energy it receives is used to increase temperature. Since you are attaching these lights on top of the tank, the water temperature can rise pretty soon.

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That’s a big red flag. Bettas are really sensitive about their water temperature. They can go into shock if the temp rises or lowers beyond the ideal range. Luckily, you don’t have to put your fish into such discomfort by switching to LED lights.

4. Helps With Plant Growth

If you have lots of herbs like moss and sword amazon in your tank, you have to consider their needs, too. Usually, a planted tank needs more light than a simple Betta tank. Some of the lumens are absorbed into the plants. It’s recommended to give at least one hour of sunlight to such tanks. It boosts the plant’s growth significantly.

However, it’s a hassle; not every tank is easily movable. So, a useful alternative is LED lights. The brightness is pretty similar to sunlight and provides adequate lumens for every living being inside the tank.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Having LED Aquarium Lights?

LED lights have no physical side effects. But one disadvantage is that the light is too strong or too harsh. Such white lighting is rarely available underwater. So, you can’t create a natural vibe with LED lights.

Another problem is the emphasis on choosing the right LED light. You see, a slight mistake can hurt your Betta tremendously. We have previously said Bettas don’t like being exposed to harsh or glaring white light. It stressed them a lot. But at the same time, you can easily pick a “too bright” light. The difference between a 5-watt and a 12-watt LED is humongous. The first one only offers 450 lumens, while the second one can produce 1000 lumens.

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So, you have to learn to calculate how much brightness your betta tank needs.

Last but not least, LED lights must be dimmed during the night. Otherwise, it will hamper your Betta’s naptime. Betta fish likes it when the tank is dimmed or partially illuminated during the night. It’s not a big headache if you are using halogen lighting. Such lights are never too bright to begin with. You will even see your fish happily sleeping without changing the brightness level a bit.

But the case is completely different with LEDs. You need to make sure the light has a regulator. That way, you can reduce the brightness each night.

teal colored betta fish swimming downward
Owner: Claudia Yaneth Rodriguez

Are Colored LED Lights Bad For Bettas?

Just like white LED lights, there is confusion about colored LED lights as well. Please be assured that colored LED lights are not harmful to your Betta in any way. But some betta fish react negatively to certain colors. You can easily figure that out by keeping track of its behavior.

Here is a list of popular LED light colors and how the fish might react.

ColorsPossible Effects
RedLow-stress level
YellowLooks natural

 If your Betta is already super active, we don’t think you would want to add a blue light. It will stimulate the fish even more. Sometimes, blue lights might interfere with the Betta’s sleep if kept on during the night. The opposite happens with red light. It has a calming effect on Bettas. So, it’s the most desirable color for nighttime. Apart from these slight behavioral changes, there is no chance of physical harm.

Before You Leave!!

If you have settled your mind on LED light, want to check out the color options? Some colors really make the fish pop out. At the same time, some colors help the fish sleep better. It’s up to you to pick any of them. For now, just check out our discussion on “What colored lights do Bettas like the best?”

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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