Do Betta Fish Like Light?

The main purpose of the aquarium light is for you to better-see your aquarium in all its glory. But yes, I would say Betta fish like light. It allows them to see and gives them that all-important internal-clock.

They definitely don’t like sunlight on their aquarium though, that’s for sure. And actually, while we’re on the subject, there are a few other good things worth knowing. Throughout this article, we’ll go into a little more depth about it all, including:

  • Light duration
  • Light types
  • Light power

So sit back, relax, and let’s get this thing on the road.

How Long Their Light Should Be on For

Betta fish come from the shallow rice fields of Thailand with the sun high in the sky. The light allows them to see so they can avoid predators, find mates, eat food, and so on. But most importantly, it keeps their internal clock in check. It gives them a defined environment to be awake in, and a defined environment to rest in. Without these environments, Bettas would become very stressed.

Just imagine, you’re in a box that no light gets into. You would definitely lose your internal clock and might even go a little crazy. The same idea goes for your Betta fish. And when it happens, their immune system weakens, allowing for a greater chance of illnesses, infections, parasites, and the works.

Ideally, you would turn the lights on and off at the same time everyday, making out to about 10-12 hours, that would enforce a solid day-night schedule for your Betta. But we get it, with a job, family, house work, and a million other things on your schedule, it can be pretty easy to deviate from the having the lights turn on and off at the same time.

What we have found to be a complete life saver in a situation like this is using an outlet timer to automate the entire process for you, even when you’re not around. Essentially, just plug the timer into the wall, plug your light into the timer, and program a time for when you want the timer to turn the lights on and off each day. Easy peasy.

What Type of Light Is Best for Betta Fish

There are many different types of aquarium lights on the market today, and for the most part, your Betta won’t be too fussy about which one you use. The biggest thing is to make make sure that you don’t rely on direct sunlight to light up the tank and you don’t use incandescent light bulbs. Both of these can be a bad thing for your aquarium.

First of all, incandescent light bulbs and direct sunlight can both cause the temperature of the water to fluctuate. If the fluctuations are frequent enough or drastic enough, your Betta will become stressed.

Secondly, having sunlight beam onto the tank will cause algae problems. You see, algae is just like other plants, it utilizes the energy from the sun and other resources to develop. With an increase in algae like this, as the fishkeeper, you’ll have to clean the aquarium more frequently and more thoroughly if you want to keep it looking in tip top shape.

How Powerful Their Light Should Be

When it comes to the power of aquarium lights for your Betta, the thing you need to be thinking about is the wattage of the light bulbs. As a general rule of thumb, most fishkeepers recommend installing a lighting system with 1.5-4 watts per gallon of water in your aquarium. Going below this range will cause your tank to look fairly dim, and won’t do the beauty of your fish any justice. Going above this range will cause algae to grow quicker, and can cause the temperature of your aquarium water (and your electricity bill) to increase.

If you need a little help with the math on what wattage is appropriate for you size of aquarium, feel free to use this calculator below:

Aquarium size:

Gallons Liters

Not sure?

Oops…Looks like you didn’t enter a volume.


You should use watts.

Summing It All Up

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Throughout this article, we have covered just about all of it when it comes to the topic of “do Betta fish like light?”. But before you go, let’s review everything one more time.

The right amount of light will cause your Betta fish to look and feels it’s best. Direct sunlight should never be used, rather 1.5-4 watts per gallon of water from a proper aquarium light for 10-12 hours per day. The only time you would really want to deviate from these general guidelines is if your Betta fish is stressed or ill. In this situation, turning off the lights will allow them to rest and have a better recovery.

Till next time.