If you take into consideration that the betta fish’s native habitat is in the relatively shallow waters of the rice paddies in Thailand, and not the bottom of the Mariana trench where those creepy fish of nightmares dwell, that should give you an idea why the answer is “YES”, betta fish do need light!
Betta fish are tropical fish. They need their aquarium environment to mimic their natural habitat as much as possible. This means good lighting and warm temperatures.
Now that we know that betta fish need light, what kind of light source should we provide for our betta fish? Right off the bat, our biggest concern should be that we don’t cook our betta with any given light source.
Betta Like Sunlight
Natural light from the sun can be perfect for your betta, but you don’t want your fishy under intense direct sunlight all of the time.
Natural light from the sun can be perfect for your betta, but you don’t want your fishy under intense direct sunlight all of the time. If you were to place your betta’s aquarium in direct sunlight, you run the risk of over heating. There’s also a risk of over exposure to ultra violet radiation. While betta fish sunburns aren’t really a concern, prolonged exposure to UV radiation can hurt their sensitive eyes.
All things considered as far as natural lighting is concerned, if you were to place your betta’s tank on a table in a room with windows, and yet not directly placed in the sunshine itself, your betta should be pretty happy.
One thing to note is that betta fish do not need natural sunlight. Artificial light can work just fine. Natural sunlight can, and in most cases will, cause an algae bloom in the betta’s aquarium. Depending on how you have your betta fish setup, you may want this for natural reasons. In most typical cases though, an algae bloom is not something you really want.
Algae blooms can really murk up your betta’s water, and quickly. There is an increased risk of bacterial infections like fin rot associated with algae blooms. All of this means that you will have to clean the betta’s tank more frequently, and all of this will end up causing undue stress to your betta fish.
Is Artificial Light Betta
you really do need to keep an eye on the water temperature until you understand the effects of the new light source.
Artificial light sources such as specifically designed aquarium lights can be great for both the betta and you! The betta fish gets the light that he needs, and you get to actually see your beautiful betta fish better! Betta fish have some amazing feature and colors often not noticed by their owner because the lighting conditions have never allowed for it.
With these artificial light sources however, you really do need to keep an eye on the water temperature until you understand the effects of the new light source. All artificial light sources are not created equal. Some can and will raise the aquarium’s temperature to deadly highs if not properly adjusted.
Another concern with artificial aquarium lights is that there is electricity involved. Electricity and water don’t really make for a safe environment for you or the betta. The concern about electricity and water mixing isn’t so great if you were to use a “made for aquarium” light. Most (if not all) manufactures of these products do take water into consideration when designing their product.
You can run into deadly trouble if you were to use a light source that was not designed for aquarium use. Betta fish have the ability, although not often used, to jump around and splash about.
Betta Have Rhythm (Circadian)
making sure that your betta fish has constant, natural daytime/nighttime patterns is very important.
On the topic of lighting and betta fish, betta’s run on what’s known as a circadian rhythm. We humans also run on this circadian rhythm, although not really as well as we should more often than not.
This circadian rhythm is a natural cycle that revolves around nighttime being dark and daytime being bright. This helps regulate the sleep cycle and keeps your betta fish (and us) healthy.
That being said, making sure that your betta fish has constant, natural daytime/nighttime patterns is very important. This means that if you provide your betta with an artificial light source, turn the light of at bedtime and on again in the morning.
Let There Be Betta Light
You can really sum up all of the above by saying that, yes, betta fish need light.
As I finish writing this, I can see a lot of scary sounding things about lighting and it’s impacts on you and your betta fish. This was not written to talk you out of providing your betta fish with light, artificial or natural. The scary stuff was put in here to, perhaps make sure that you have all the knowledge needed to provide your betta the best living environment in any given situation that you find yourself in.
You can really sum up all of the above by saying that, yes, betta fish need light. Natural and artificial light are both completely fine. Try to mimic the natural daytime/nighttime patterns of the real world. Make sure that the water temperature doesn’t get too high. Give your betta some shady spot like aquarium plants provide. Be mindful that anything running on electricity doesn’t get wet. Also, even at the risk of sounding too ethereal, just watch your betta fish for what it’s telling you. They make it obvious in their own way if they need, or don’t need, something.