Can betta fish see in the dark?

Can betta fish see in the dark?


crown tail male betta fish


The betta fish, or the Siamese fighting fish, are very popular pet fish sold in ornamental fish bowls. First discovered in Southeast Asia, they used to live in rice paddies and warm flood plains of the region. They adapted to the harsh climate in the region, due to the frequent storms and drought cycles, making them a very versatile fish. Part of their main charm is their gracefulness and multicolored hues. As innocuous as they might look, though, these fish are highly territorial, and placing these fish together will result in a fight.

betta fish ready to fight

History of betta fish:

Having its origins in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, the betta fish are named after an ancient Asian warrior clan, called Bettah.

Their popularity as a pet began around 150 years ago, when Thai children used to collect these fish and place them in the same pool to watch them fight.

This gave them the name Siamese Fighting Fish (Thailand was then called Siam).The popularity of this sport rose to such extents that the Thai King regulated and taxed them. Their scientific name, Betta Splendens, literally translates to beautiful warriors, and these majestic, strikingly colored, long-finned fish do complete justice to that title.

How to take care of betta fish:

The betta fish has an ability typical of labyrinth fish: it can breathe oxygen directly from the air and also take in oxygen through its gills.

anatomy of betta fish

This means that the betta fish can spend a short amount of time outside the water breathing in oxygen around them if needed.

Since they live in rice paddies with shallow, stagnant water, or slow moving streams, they are used to warming water temperatures.

If you?re planning to buy betta fish, ensure that their aquariums are cleaned regularly, water temperature is maintained between 76 to 82F and plants are placed inside the aquarium.

Take care that the plants should be inside the aquarium and not placed near the surface of the aquarium, since the fish take in oxygen from the surface of the water, which can instead get used up by the plants.

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These fish seem to enjoy having decorations in their living space, so adding a few ornamental rocks and decorations might be a good idea. This provides them with hiding places which make them feel safe.

Betta fish should be kept in aquariums of at least a capacity of 2.5 gallons per fish. They are also omnivorous; in the wild, they mainly subsist on insect larvae and insects.

Plant roots are not a sufficient dietary source for these fish. As an alternative, you can feed them protein based flake foods, which are easily available in pet stores, for their sustenance.

Betta fish have a tendency to jump out of the aquarium to search for larger bodies of water, so it is useful to have a lid on the aquarium, with enough perforations to allow for sufficient oxygen in the tank.

Lifespan of a betta fish:

The Siamese fighting fish can live for around 3 to 5 years.

Behavior of Betta fish:

Betta fishes are normally pretty active and playful during the daytime. They need day-night cycles;their bodily functions and natural processes are disturbed if they are kept in dark rooms for eight to ten hours, which in turn affects their health.

When in a well-lit environment, they can easily see and swim in the aquarium.

In fact, they can even recognize their humans and follow your finger around the aquarium. However, keeping them in well-lit environments for too long can also have an adverse affect on them, since they utilize the nighttimes to sleep, relax their muscles and restore energy.

Can betta fish see in the dark?

betta fish resting at bottom of aquarium

Betta fish have weak vision in the darkness.

They have what is called monocular vision- that is, they can see in two different directions at the same time; however, this comes at the cost of their depth perception.

Their low vision is due to the slow functionality of their iris, meaning they take time to adjust to changes in brightness.

Due to this, they do not rely solely on vision to help them move around. They have lateral lines on their sides, with small holes to help measure water pressure.

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Since water pressure is slightly different around objects (for example, a pressure wave is created when food or other objects are dropped in the tank), and increases the deeper they go, betta fish are able to navigate with a combined sense of vision and sensory organs.

Interestingly, bettas do have color vision, even if their range of colors is limited.

They possess the ability to perceive lights of different wavelengths, and this is an attribute based on the living habitats of the fish.

Color vision in fishes is found in a full-light environment (that is near the surface of the water), since the wavelengths that can pass through water to reach depths are limited.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Betta Fish Vision:

1. So can betta fish see in the dark?

Not very well; they need the combined powers of their weak vision and sensory organs to navigate in darkness. Indeed, it is rare for them to want to navigate in darkness; they prefer to rest themselves at night.

2. Is it alright to keep the fish in a naturally lit area of the house?

Yes, that would be the best spot to place your aquarium. The fish would greatly benefit from the natural day-night cycles available.

3. My aquarium is in a dimly lit space of the house; how can I provide sufficient light?

You can consider using artificial lighting to simulate daytime conditions for the fish.

4. How many hours should I keep the aquarium lit?

It is recommended to gradually dim the light before switching it off if possible, as a close approximation of natural light; however, the fish should not be kept in complete darkness for more than 8-10 hours.

Betta fish care:

5. Is it okay to keep two bettas in the same aquarium?

No, if they happen to be male bettas, they?d fight to the death. Male bettas are extremely aggressive.

6. Is it okay to keep a betta with other fishes in the aquarium?

Yes .

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7. What kind of food should I feed my betta?

Many pet stores sell special betta food. Alternatively, a good diet would also be frozen or dried blood worm and brine shrimp. The betta food is still recommended, due to the additional vitamins and minerals added to the food. Take care not to overfeed the fish to avoid lethargy.


While bettas are an excellent choice for pets, they need to be properly taken care of. T

heir requirements include a heated aquarium, well-lit environments, and filtered, clean water. Betta behaviors are fascinating to observe for fish lovers, and while some aspects of their behavior, with regard to their mating behavior or swimming habits, have not been covered in this article, their basic tendencies for activity and rest have been discussed.

Since bettas need regular light cycles, it is necessary to allow the fish to rest in darkness at night.

However, suddenly placing them in a dark environment during their day cycle could cause some panic and discomfort in the fish.

While the fish have poor vision in the darkness, they can still use their vision in conjunction with their pressure sensitive body lines to navigate to a safe place in the aquarium.


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