Do Betta Fish Require Light? (All You Need To Know)

In the wild, betta fish live in shallow places like rice paddies, marshes, and stagnant ponds. These places are murky and dark, and this makes us believe that betta can live without light in captivity. Let us know what the truth is. So, Do betta fish require light? Let us find out.

Betta fish require light as it helps them remain active and healthy, and they can see the food properly. In addition, Bettas have poor vision and require light to see properly. Ensure not to keep the light on at night as they need dark to rest. LED light is the best for your betta tank.

This article will also discuss how we can create a perfect betta tank. So, let us get into it.

Do betta fish require light in their tank?

Betta fish require light in their tank.

We must provide our betta fish with everything that can mimic their natural habitat.

Usually, bettas live in shallow places like rice paddies, stagnant ponds, marshes, and slow-moving streams. In such places, the water is murky and dark, which means bettas will do fine in a tank with no lights.

But, providing lights to your betta fish will improve their well-being.

Also, if you see it another way, bettas prefer a well-planted tank to thrive, and when you add plenty of live plants to your betta tank, you will require lights to keep them alive.

Providing your betta fish with a day-to-night light cycle will help you keep them happy and healthy.

Also read: Do Betta Fish Need A Heater?

What are the advantages of adding lights in our betta tank?

Adding lights to your betta tank will help your betta:

  1. Seeing the food properly.
  2. Be active
  3. Remain healthy

Bettas cannot see well in the dark. 

We can say that bettas have worse vision than humans in the dark. 

So it will be hard for them to locate the food and eat. Adding lights and keeping it on for a recommended time will help your betta see the food properly. 

Adding aquarium lights will help you keep your betta fish active.

Betta will be more active and swim around when the light is on. 

A dark environment will make your betta fish lethargic and prefer resting most of the time.

A betta must be active and swim around during the daytime to remain healthy.

How many hours should we keep the lights on in our betta tank?

Consider keeping the lights on in your betta tank for 6-8 hours during the daytime.

Make sure not to keep the lights on for more than 8 hours as it can promote algae growth, and also, your betta will not like the lights more than that.

Your betta fish will require a dark environment when it’s their time to rest.

So, consider keeping the lights off during nighttime so your betta can rest comfortably.

Also, keeping the lights off during the night is necessary to maintain the day-to-night cycle.

Can betta fish see in the dark?

Bettas cannot see properly in the dark.

Betta fish eye comes with poor iris functionality.

Iris is a part of the eye that determines how much light to get in.

So, with poor iris functionality, your betta fish don’t do well in a situation of quick light change, which means your betta will not be able to do well if light increases or decreases quickly.

When you switch off the lights of your betta tank, it will not be able to see properly for a long time as its irises will take a long time to expand and take more lights in.

So, bettas cannot see in the dark due to their poor iris functionality.

Also, bettas cannot see depth very well as they have a very poor depth perception due to monocular vision.

Bettas have monocular vision, which means they see different images from each eye.

Also read: Do Betta Fish Need A Filter?

Which is the best light for my betta tank?

If your betta tank has no source of indirect sunlight or the place doesn’t get enough light during the daytime, adding artificial light is the best option.

LED lights are the best light for your betta fish tank. Also, you should prefer artificial lights in which we can increase or decrease the brightness according to the need.

These are some artificial lights we recommend adding to your betta tank:

  1. Hygger Full Spectrum Aquarium light.
  2. Aquaneat LED Aquarium Light.
  3. Hygger Advanced Full Spectrum LED Aquarium light.

Adding floating plants to your betta tank will help you reduce light penetration and provide shade to your betta fish. 

How to create a perfect betta tank?

It is necessary to provide our betta fish with everything in captivity that they require in their natural habitat.

Even we can give them a more beautiful life by providing freshwater conditions with balanced water parameters.

Adding a heater, filter, light, hiding spots, and plenty of live aquatic plants will help you create a perfect betta tank.


Betta fish prefer a well-heated tank to thrive. Adding a heater to your betta tank will ensure their adequate water temperature.

Betta fish require a water temperature between 78-82 °F.

Also, bettas and every other fish require a stable water temperature to prevent stress, as unstable water temperature causes stress to your fish.

Adding a heater to your betta tank will ensure adequate and stable water temperature.


A filter is the most necessary thing you should consider adding to your betta tank.

Adding a good filtration system to your betta tank will ensure good water conditions by eliminating harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite.


As discussed above, light is necessary for your betta tank as it cannot see well in the dark.

Also, looking for food in the dark becomes more challenging for your betta. 

So, if your betta tank is placed in a room that remains dark during the daytime and there is not any source of indirect light, then you must add artificial light to your betta tank.

Hiding spots

Betta needs plenty of hiding spots to rest and also to feel safe.

Especially if you have other fish in your betta tank, creating hiding spots for both of them becomes necessary.

Bettas are aggressive creatures and can harm another fish in the tank or vice versa. 

Also, creating hiding spots prevents stress in betta fish as they will be aware that they have a spot where they can rest or hide when vulnerable.

Live aquatic plants

Adding plenty of live aquatic plants to your betta tank will help mimic their natural habitat.

Also, dense live aquatic plants are great hiding spots for your betta fish.

Your betta fish will love to relax between the highly dense plants.

Now, with all these things, you must create a perfect betta tank:

  • Do a regular water change.
  • Check the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels regularly.
  • Use a water conditioner whenever performing a water change to dechlorinate the water.
  • Avoid adding bigger, more colourful, and more aggressive fish than your betta fish.
  • Avoid keeping two male bettas in the same tank.


Bettas require lights in their tank as it makes it easy for them to find food, remain active and healthy, and see properly.

Betta fish have poor vision and cannot see much in darker environments.

Also, bettas love to live in a planted tank, so you will have to add a light to their tank for plant growth and survival anyway.

However, betta fish don’t like bright light much, so consider adding a light with a controller for adjusting light intensity.

Ensure not to keep the lights on at night and for more than 8 hours.

Betta will require dark to rest at night.

Reference: NCBI, Journal

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