Do Betta Fish Need Light?

Do Betta Fish Need Light

As a betta fish owner, there are a lot of things you need to be wary of. If this is your first time, you might wonder, do betta fish need light? If so, then how to ensure your fish is getting the lighting it needs to stay healthy.

A betta is one of the lowest maintenance fishes available, however, it is something that needs proper care too. Without sufficient darkness, your betta will not be able to rest and feel stressed. Without sufficient lights, your betta will feel stressed. It is all about finding the right balance.

In today’s article, we will read do betta fish need light? If so, how to provide proper lighting, how to ensure your betta is getting enough rest, and how to create the ultimate lighting routine for your betta.                                               

Do Betta Fish Need Light? 

A betta fish needs light. In fact, it needs plenty of it. But it only requires light during the daytime. A betta likes to sleep in a pitch-black dark area. 

Bettas are very similar to humans. It needs to sleep in darkness, and it needs light during the daytime. So, the answer to your question is, a betta needs light, but only during the daytime. The lights should be turned off when it is sleeping.

If you are keeping your betta in a fish tank, then you should allow it to sleep in complete darkness so it can rest properly.

Why Do Bettas Need Light?

The reason bettas need light is that their sleeping cycle is very similar to ours. A healthy betta requires 8-12 hours of light and 12-16 hours of darkness for it to rest. 

In the wild, a betta lives in the shaded area of the water. It never lives directly under the sun. This is why it does not require sunlight to survive properly.

However, due to living this way in the wild, bettas are used to waking up in the morning and going to sleep when the sun goes down and the area is completely dark. 

So, if you can’t recreate this for your betta at home, your betta will most likely suffer. 

What Kind Of Lights Should You Use For Your Betta?

The great thing about bettas is that it does not require sunlight to survive. As I have mentioned in the previous paragraph, a betta needs lighting to maintain a regular routine just like it does in the wild.

If you are keeping your betta in a fish tank, or an aquarium, using artificial lights will do. You can set lights in the tank and control it according to your betta’s needs. 

See also  Is Sunlight Bad For Betta Fish? – Should You Rely On It?

You should use regular artificial lighting for your betta.

A lot of the time people opt for LED lights for their betta. The reason behind this is due to different lights, the coloring of your betta looks more gorgeous and majestic to the eyes. 

The thing about using LED lights is that bettas can see color just like us. In fact, their eyes are very similar to ours. There are no scientifically proven studies that show, LED lights can irritate your betta. 

If you are using blue lights to enhance the hues of your betta, then do not leave it on. you can keep the blue light on for an hour and then turn it off again.

A lot of the time, people ask whether they can leave the blue light on in the fish tank at night. The answer is, no. You cannot do that. I have said this over and over, a betta likes to sleep in darkness. Leaving the blue light on will irritate the betta and disrupt its sleep. 

However, using regular lights is better because it is safer. And when it comes to pets, better be safe than sorry! 

How To Find The Best Lighting For Your Betta?

While lighting is important for your betta, you can also overwhelm it by providing too much light for it. In simpler words, your usage of artificial lights might be too much and it might become too bright for the betta to handle. 

You do not need a very powerful and bright light for your fish tank. The proper measurement of light for LED lights is 1 watt per gallon. It can be below 1 watt per gallon as well but it should not cross the 1-watt limit. 

For fluorescent lights, you should not go over 3 watts per gallon. 

Things To Be Careful Of When You Are Using Artificial Lighting For Your Betta

As much as we have been emphasizing on the importance of darkness and light in a betta’s life, there are things you should be cautious of. You can’t just set up lights on your fish tank and forget about it. Here are some things you need to be careful about:

  • Due to the usage of artificial lights in the tank, the light might reflect on the sides of the tank. Your betta will most likely notice it. This is a very common phenomenon amongst pets where they see their own reflection and think of it as a threat. 

If your betta is starting to act aggressively after turning on the lights in the tank, then it is taking its own reflection as a threat. 

If your betta is living alone in the tank, then it might act more aggressive and erratic. 

Here is how you can solve this problem:

  • This problem can be solved quite easily. When you are turning on the lights of the tank, be sure to turn on the lights of your room or the room the tank is in, as well.
  • Introducing your betta to the light slowly, and getting it used to the lights is a great idea as well. However, this might seem very complicated to some people. 
  • You can try to darken the outer area of the tank by using paper. 
See also  Does Bright Light Make Betta Fish Turn White?

If all these remedies do not work, then you should go back to the pet store and find a weaker and softer light. 

Why Should You Use Artificial Lights Instead Of Sunlight For Your Betta?

I have been saying that bettas do not require sunlight to survive at all. I have also recommended using artificial lights over leaving the tank in sunlight. 

This might make you wonder why you should do that. You can think of it as extra spending. However, leaving the tank in sunlight is not safe for your betta at all. Here is why;

  • Leaving the tank in sunlight may cause algae blooming in the tank. This will cause the water to get dirtier often and reduce the visibility inside as well. But this does not stop there. 
  • With more production of algae in the water, there will be more bacteria trapped in the water. This will physically hurt your betta by causing various diseases. 
  • Leaving the tank in sunlight will cause the temperature in the water to go up rapidly. With warmer water, your betta will feel more uncomfortable and will become very stressed. 

The solution to all these problems? Use artificial lights for your betta. You will be able to control when to give your betta rest by providing it darkness and when to give it light. 

What Can Go Wrong If Your Betta Gets Too Much Light? 

A lighting routine is an absolute necessity for a betta. Without a proper lighting routine, a betta’s natural living cycle will be disrupted.

As a betta is a tropical fish, it has a very similar sleeping routine as us, humans. This means, your betta will not be able to sleep with the lights on, just like you.

When you will be unable to provide your betta with the darkness it requires, here is what can go wrong.

  • A betta likes to sleep in complete darkness. If you plan on letting your betta sleep with the lights on, chances are its sleep cycle will not be completed. A betta needs to sleep for at least 12-16 hours a day. 
  • Without proper sleep, your betta will be hyperactive and overstimulated. This will disrupt their regular lifestyle, make them very tired and weary frequently.
  • Without proper sleep, your betta will be very stressed. It will start to act very jumpily, nervous, and will swim around very erratically in weird motions and directions. 
  • With their sleep cycles getting disrupted, a betta will slowly start to lose its vigor and strength. It will most likely start lying down at the bottom of the tank at odd hours. 
  • As a human, you will agree that when you do not get proper sleep, you do not feel good. Now, bettas are very similar to humans. Without proper sleep, your betta too, will not feel great. It will not live happily at all.
  • Without proper sleep, a stressed betta can start jumping around. Bettas can jump quite high as in the wild, this is how it transports from one place to another. Your betta might start jumping out of the tank.
See also  How Often Should You Change Water In A Betta Tank?

Now, this might not sound bad, but a betta is a fish. A fish cannot survive without water. If your stressed betta spends 10 minutes out of the water, it will die. 

So, without a lighting routine, you might end up killing your betta. Now you understand, why a lighting routine is essential for your betta. 

How To Find The Best Lighting For Your Betta

What Can Go Wrong If Your Betta Doesn’t Receive Sufficient Lighting? 

Up until now, I have explained why darkness is important for your betta and what happens if it doesn’t have enough of it. But it is important to know what might go wrong if your betta does not receive sufficient lighting either. 

By reading this far, you might have thought, keeping your betta in complete darkness might be the better option. You are absolutely wrong. Both light and darkness are equally important for a betta to live happily. 

There are many things that can go wrong if your betta doesn’t get the lighting it requires.

Bettas are very versatile. It does not need sunlight to survive or function. However, a betta needs at least 8-12 hours of light in a day for it to lead a regular life. 

However, as I have mentioned already, bettas live in the shaded part of a waterbody. The reason it needs lighting is because a betta has a similar sleep cycle as a human being.

Bettas use the guide of lighting to wake up from sleep and when the sun goes down, it likes to go back to sleep again. 

If a betta does not receive enough lighting, it will slowly lose its majestic color. As we know, part of the gorgeousness of a betta comes from its healthy and vibrant color. 

Without enough light, your betta will start to lose its color. It will slowly turn into a dull and pale-looking fish. 

As I have mentioned, sunlight is not needed for your betta to survive. However, if you continue to keep your betta in complete darkness, it will slowly start getting stressed and will not live happily in its tank.

In order to keep your betta happy, you should keep it in a fish tank with lights. Turn the lights on when you wake up, turn it off, when you go to sleep, so your betta can rest properly. 

Final Words 

Allow me to sum it all up for you.

  • Keep the lights on during the daytime. 
  • Keep the lights off during nighttime. 
  • Create a proper routine that includes both lights and darkness throughout the day to keep your betta well rested. 
  • Do not use LED lights as it might not be something your betta is fond of. 
  • Sunlight can harmful to your betta. Artificial lights are safer. 
  • Your betta requires 8-12 hours of light and 12-16 hours of darkness for it to rest properly. 

A betta is one of the easiest fishes to keep. However, they too need proper care. With these tips, you will be able to gift your betta the healthy life it requires. 

Sharing is caring!

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.


This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.