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Do Betta Fish Need Light? Lighting Considerations

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Something I’ve strived to do over the past decade is to provide my betta fish with the best possible living conditions, and this includes giving them good light.

A betta fish does require a light in the aquarium, particularly to recreate a regular day and night cycle. Although a betta fish does not require a constant source of light, there should be some kind of light present to recreate a natural daylight environment. There are also other considerations.

Keep reading to find out exactly what kind of light your betta fish needs, how much of it, what some good lights are, and more.

Lighting Considerations for Betta Fish

A betta fish, just like any other creature that is awake during the daytime, is accustomed to a regular day and night cycle, which means that they need both light and dark. 

You can’t have your betta fish in total darkness 24 hours a day, but you also can’t provide them with 24 hours of light. There are various considerations to keep in mind when it comes to lighting for betta fish, so let’s talk about all of these right now.

The Light Schedule

In the betta fish’s natural environment, depending on the time of year, it will get anywhere between 8 and 12 hours of light per day. Therefore, whatever aquarium light you have, should be set to operate for around 10 hours every day.

If you really want to recreate the natural day and night cycle according to the seasons, provide your betta fish with more light during the summertime than during the winter. This is especially important if you plan on breeding.

A betta fish, in part, will be spurred on to start breeding when the seasons change, which is in part dictated by a change in the amount of daylight.

Furthermore, remember that the betta fish requires darkness at nighttime to rest. Just like us human beings, a betta fish will have a really hard time sleeping at night if they don’t get any darkness. Not providing your betta fish with enough darkness will not only result in a lack of rest, but may also affect their internal clocks.

Just like with human beings, sleep is one of the most important things that is required to keep a betta fish healthy. Sleep is when cells regenerate, when energy is restored, and more. If a betta fish goes too long without sleep, it will become extremely stressed out, become susceptible to disease, suffer from sleep deprivation, and eventually die.

The Type of Aquarium Light

Most people will likely choose to use some kind of aquarium light. However, not all aquarium lights are ideal for betta fish. First and foremost, a betta fish does not enjoy very bright light. Extreme brightness will cause stress in your betta fish. Therefore, using a low intensity or moderate intensity light for your betta fish tank is recommended.

Getting an LED aquarium light with an adjustable brightness setting is the way to go. This way, you can adjust it as needed. 

Furthermore, you might also want to pay attention to the color spectrum.If you provide your betta fish with a full spectrum light, it can help promote the growth of live plants in the tank, plus it will really make the colors of your betta fish pop out.

There are even some aquarium lights that come with customizable settings that help you simulate both dawn and dusk. 

On that note, make sure that you go for an aquarium light that is rated as being fairly durable. You don’t want to spend your money on an aquarium light just to have it break within a couple of weeks or months.

Provide Hiding Spots

Although your betta fish requires a good bit of light throughout the day, they don’t always enjoy being lit up at all times. Therefore, it’s a good idea to provide your betta fish with some areas in the aquarium where it’s much dimmer and there is shaded lighting.

Providing your betta fish with some caves, decoration, plants, and other hiding spots is ideal. This will allow your betta fish to retreat and feel secure in its own little area.

If you just have a large and empty tank that is totally lit up, your betta fish may feel stressed out because it’s constantly out in the open. Moreover, providing your betta fish with some decorations, rocks, and plants helps to mimic its natural environment.

A Note on Real Light

Mostly everything we’ve talked about so far today has been about artificial aquarium lighting. However, there is of course real light as well. Now, some people may be tempted to set up their aquariums in a really sunny area of their home.

Although this might seem like a good idea, because it would allow you to save money on aquarium lights, there are actually some pretty big drawbacks to doing so. A big rule of thumb with any aquarium is that you never want to set it up in an area where it will receive lots of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight is not good for aquariums.

First and foremost, too much direct sunlight can result in algae growth. If you have an algae growth in your fish tank, it can quickly take over, discolor the water, suffocate your plants, and create one heck of a mess that you’ll need to clean up.

There is also the issue of temperature to consider. If you have your aquarium set up in an area where it gets too much sunlight, this will cause massive temperature fluctuations. As you probably know, your betta fish requires a fairly steady temperature. 

If the temperature constantly fluctuates, especially between extreme highs and lows, it will cause some pretty big health issues.

Both temperatures that are well below or above the comfortable range for a betta fish can cause a litany of health issues, and at the very least, cause the fish to become stressed out. 

This in turn can make the fish more susceptible to disease, and ultimately result in its death. You never want the temperature to fluctuate in your barium, so setting it up in indirect sunlight is recommended.

A Good Aquarium Light for Betta Fish

If you are looking for a good aquarium light for your betta fish, then I would recommend the hygger Auto On Off LED Aquarium Light. This is actually the same one that I use in my own fish tank, so let me tell you a little bit about it.

·       This aquarium light comes in various voltages and sizes. There is a 14 Watt model for tanks between 12 and 18 inches, and 18 Watt model for tanks between 18 and 24 inches, a 36 Watt model for tanks between 36 and 42 inches, and a 42 Watt model for tanks between 48 and 54 inches.

·       This aquarium life features a simple mounting bracket that you just place on the rim of your aquarium. It’s designed to be extremely secure, so it should never fall down into the tank. Even if it does fall down into the tank, it should be more than durable enough to resist damage or harming your fish.

·       The hygger is designed to be totally waterproof, plus it has great heat dissipation too. All of the heat dissipates upwards, so it won’t heat up your aquarium water too much.

·       This is a great light to use for both fish and aquarium plants, but keep in mind that it should not be used for saltwater tanks.

·       What I personally really like about this aquarium light is that it comes with seven different colors, a 24/7 lighting cycle, an adjustable timer, and various brightness modes. The brightness can be adjusted anywhere from 10% to 100%.

Betta Fish Lighting – Final Thoughts

Now that you know everything there is to know about betta fish aquarium lighting, you can get to choosing the right light for your Siamese fighting fish. Just remember to provide them with a regular day and night cycle; they should be fine.