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FAQs on Betta Systems: Lighting

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Light/ing is for your enjoyment or live plants if they're in with your Betta/s. Otherwise they are fine with just ambient lighting (i.e. whatever is in the room), just not bright 24/7
New Print and eBook on Amazon

Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

45 gallon, tall octagon tank...      5/10/15
I have 1 male Betta, 5 females in this 45gal, tall octagon shaped tank. I have led lights to reflect their colors more visually but wanted to know if I could use GloFish color booster in my Betta tank... black light theme...
would it help? Is it safe? Has it been tried? Any feedback from experience?
<Here's the secret with fish colours: avoid bright lights. The darker the tank, the more intense their colours will tend to be. If you want your fish to look washed out and pale, use bright lights, no floating plants, vivid coloured substrates, and bright shiny ornaments. The fish will subdue their colours in a desperate attempt to blend in and not attract the attention of predators. At least, for wild-type fish. Farmed fish such as Bettas are bred for their colours, and for the most part the fish can't adjust them much. Diet is important (you can buy colour-enhancing foods to use alongside a healthy, varied diet) and to some degree the environment (a dark substrate and overhead shade make even farmed Bettas look much better). Glofish Color Booster won't do much either way. It doesn't do much for Glofish either, which merely fluoresce under natural and UV light, much like a highlighter pen. Kept properly, Glofish make all the fluorescent protein they need, but kept poorly, they'll sicken for a variety of reasons no magic potion will cure. Bettas don't fluoresce, so there's no point adding a UV source (like a black light) though if you get a chance, do observe live corals under actinic or UV light -- they really do glow, and I think much more dramatically than Glofish thanks to symbiotic bacteria. In other words, there's no magic to making a Betta look pretty. Alongside good water and a balanced diet, dim light, floating plants, black sand substrate and you'll get the best possible colouration. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: 45 gallon, tall octagon tank      5/15/15

Thanks soooo much!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Lights too Bright for Betta? 9/21/12
Are 40 watt plant bulbs too bright for Betta fish?
<I doubt it, especially if there is some leafy cover the fish can get under. - Rick>
Lights too Bright for Betta?
Whew! Thank you. Very relived to hear that. And there will be live plants in
the tank with the fish. So It should have ample cover. Thank you.
<Worst case you get a less powerful bulb. - Rick>

Lighting  1/26/11
I recently got a newer, bigger tank (2.5 gallon, I would go bigger but that's all I'm allowed at college). It has a dark hood on it, and three sides are tinted a darker color resulting in the tank obviously being
darker, and appearing cloudy. Is the darker light ok for him,
<? Him?>
or should I take it off and find another lid for him?
Also, kind of a side note. I was considering getting flightless fruit flies since I hear about how live food is good for them (Any other suggestions?).
Would this be a good source or not really? Also, how do I get him to eat more? I try to feed him the Betta pellets
<I take it you're referring to a male Betta>
(New Life Spectrum Betta Formula) daily, but he just ignores me sometimes.
He is kept in a filtered system with it turned down as much as possible ( I think he actually likes the faster water because I see him right in the hardest current a lot) and a heater keeping it at 79 degrees. He has a floating log, and two plants. (Does this sound like an ok place for him?
I had two other Bettas that passed in a week,
<Environmental... Read here:
and the linked files above>
so I don't know if I did something wrong or if they had just were bad fish like my friends say. I do a 25% water change every three days and suction the gravel every week. Every water change I check the levels and all are in the normal/safe range) Is it because he simply is not used to eating that much or that food? Or should I be worried??
<And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betfdgfaqs.htm
Thank you so much for any help. If you have any suggestions to help me, they would be greatly appreciated =]
Michelle Eck
<Any amount and quality of light is likely fine, as long as it's not too bright. A hood on the tank is a good idea on a few counts... keeping water in, hands out, preventing the fish from jumping (oh yes, they can). Bob Fenner>

Betta's Lighting   7/12/07 Dear WWM, <<Tom with you, Jeannie.>> We keep our Betta, Bartholomew, in a 5.5 gallon tank with one of the short sides against a wall. The wall blocks any direct light coming from the windows which are several feet away. The only light the tank receives during the day is indirect light and it is minimal. The tank is not in the dark but nor does it receive much light. <<Okay.>> In the morning the room lights (recessed spot lights) are on as well as his tank light from about 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM. In the evening, the same lights are on again from about 6:00 PM to about 11:30 PM. The only light on during the night sleeping hours is a night light located about 8-10 feet from the tank. Is my Betta receiving enough light? Do we have him in the dark or with insufficient light for too much of the day? Please advise. <<I would say that Bartholomew is getting adequate light, Jeannie. Keep in mind that, in the wild, Bettas live in an assortment of water conditions, many of which are dim/murky. I've got mine in a 'lighted' tank but keep the lights diffused to provide a more natural level of light for him. No need to be concerned about the amount of light your Betta receives. He's fine with what you're providing.>> Thank you for your help. Jeannie <<You're quite welcome. Best regards. Tom>>

Better Betta  5/11/06 Hi Bob, No questions, nothing pressing, just thought I'd let you know about the (good!) changes in the tank. I changed out my 15-watt incandescent bulb for a 10-watt fluorescent.  Not only does it look great (Betta Terrence looks neon blue now!), <I'll bet!> the Elodea is looking greener (maybe it's just the better light making it look that way but I'd like to think it's healthier), and best of all the temperature never varies more than a degree up or down from 79, whether the light is on or off.  I don't have a heater, so I'm surprised at how warm it stays, but I've gotten the same temperature from two different thermometers.  The room IS rather warm now that I think about it.  (I talked two friends who have the same tank kit into getting the same fluorescent "bulb" and they're just as pleased so far.) I gave the gravel a good vacuuming.  I didn't make a clean sweep of the whole thing but I was surprised at how much junk I got out.  I also changed the filter carbon.  And ta-da, nitrates are now below 20.  (Ammonia and nitrites still 0.)  I think a snail harvest is in the near future... I'm trying to bring the nitrates down as far as I can. I scraped a good deal of algae off the tank walls and it doesn't seem to be growing back as fast.  And I found a Ramshorn snacking on what was left. Thanks for all your help!! Rachel (Terrence's mom) <Yay! Thanks for the update. BobF, out in HI>

Betta light 24/7? (12/29/03) Hello <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have recently bought a male Betta, and I have him in a 4 litre tank 8.5 inches tall by 6.5 inches wide.  The tank has a two piece lid, one which sits right on the tank, which has 2 air holes, and another hood which is attached at back of the tank, which can be left open ( I have it open almost all the way.  There is an incandescent bulb in the hood.  As he is a tropical fish I have been leaving the light on to make sure the water is warm enough ( I live in Ontario Canada).  Will leaving the light on 24 hr/day cause him any problems? <Bettas and other fish don't have eyelids, so keeping them in tanks that are always lit is going to make it difficult for them to get any sleep. I would suggest getting a small (25 watt) heater for the tank. I've seen some that are small enough for even tanks this small.> I found lots of information on your site, just not this particular subject. Thanks, Maryann   <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Bright Bettas Hi, I just transferred my three Bettas from separate 2.5 gallon tanks to a eclipse system 12 tank with homemade lexicon dividers. The Bettas had a heater but no filtration or special lighting in their old tanks. My question involves the lighting. It seems awful bright and I was wondering since the fish are at the top a lot and do their eating up there is the lighting a concern for their eyesight? Plus, I turn off the filter for a few hours (especially to feed them) so they can relax without the current buffing them around. If I clean the tank every 10 days I don't think this is a problem, do you? Thank you, Linda <Don't worry about the light. I'm sure it is no where near as bright as sunlight. As long as it's not heating the water, you're OK. The filtration does concern me a little. Bettas do not need or want a lot of current. Is there anyway you could deflect the flow enough to leave it running? If not, then your plan of turning it off for a few hours is a sound second choice. Adding a sponge filter would be a good idea. Don>  

Black Light Would it be okay if I kept a black light on by my Betta at night?  It's not going to hurt him is it? <<Go right ahead. As long as he doesn't start craving alcohol, things should go just fine :) -Gwen>>

Betta lighting inquiry Hi there - <Well hello...this is Jorie> I got a Betta a couple days ago to keep me company at work.  He appears happy, very active and relatively well adjusted in his five gallon tank with a heater (it had been cycling for a few days prior to his arrival, treated, etc. - temperature between 75-80), some pretty rocks, his little cave and a couple of fake plants, though after reading your site I'll be replacing his hanging filter with a sponge filter (it kind of looked like he enjoyed playing in the moving water from the hanging filter). <Sounds like a great setup for your Betta! Only comment I have it with regards to the temp. range...hopefully you aren't letting it fluctuate between 75 and 80 degrees, as that's a pretty big difference for the little guy.  Keep it as close to 80 as you can, and even more importantly, keep it as constant as possible. With regards to the hanging filter, I think you are referring to a small power filter of sorts - I have that setup on both of my 3 gal. Betta tanks and have never had a problem.  As long as the water output flow isn't too strong, the Betta will be just fine, and as you've noticed, may even enjoy it.  No need to switch to a sponge, in my opinion.> Anyway, I'm usually here only eight... okay, some days nine or ten... hours a day.  Should I leave the light on for him when I go home?  Or perhaps every other day?  As they have no eyelids, I don't want him to deal with sleep deprivation, but simultaneously, that means he has about 14-16 hours of relative darkness during the winter months and I don't want him to become sick or depressed. <I wouldn't recommend leaving the light on all the time, as that may interfere with his sleep.  He should be just fine with between 8-10 hours of direct light per day.> Additionally, largely because I like pretty colors, I've been thinking about getting him a Miracle Beam Treasure Chest System or maybe the Tri-Light (cycles through different colored light) to entertain me, and possibly him. <Each Betta truly does have a unique personality, so I can't predict with 100% certainty what his reaction to this will be, but I think either choice should be just fine.  Sounds like he's living in style!!>    You  might not want to include this on your posting - I don't want to get in trouble for directing business to them or away from them - it's just for your convenience: <No worries, you're just providing info. - I do it when responding to people's posts here all the time, and I don't believe it's a problem!> Link to treasure chest system: http://store.worldpetstore.com/lastreasches.html < http://store.worldpetstore.com/lastreasches.html> Link to tri-light:   http://store.worldpetstore.com/mibetr.html < http://store.worldpetstore.com/mibetr.htm>  > I read on your site that the Miracle Beam claim that it improves overall fish well being is merely capitalism at its best/worst, but if it doesn't bother him, it would certainly entertain me.   <I'm not sure I buy the claim that this will "improve" the fish's well-being, but again, I'm fairly confident it won't hurt it.> However, I am now concerned that perhaps the multi-colored light will bother him - or worse, harm him. Obviously I can't believe the capitalist pigs claims of safety... Should I be concerned? <I don't think so, but just pay careful attention to the Betta's actions both before and after installing the setup.  If he appears freaked out, then obviously remove it, but I think it should be just fine.> Finally, how important is it to provide him with live plants?  A large number of Betta owners appear to provide a live plant for their fish.   I'll do that if it will truly improve his overall quality of life - and if it will, perhaps you can make a recommendation. <There are many reasons that live plants are beneficial to a freshwater aquarium, but they are by no means essential.  Both my Betta tanks have fake plants and decorations, and I have two very happy, healthy Bettas! With regards to the plants, many Betta owners are mis-informed that the Betta *needs* the peace-lily for food, and even worse, as per the instructions of certain stores, will not feed the Betta after getting the plant.  This is absolutely NOT in the fish's best interest, and will ultimately cause malnutrition and worse, starvation.  If you're up for the challenge of live plants, by all means, feel free, but you are totally OK just leaving fake, aquarium-safe decorations and plants in the tank.  Purely a matter of preference!> Much thanks, Jennifer Nottingham <You are welcome.  Sounds like a little Betta paradise you've created...wonderful! I'm sure your guy is quite happy...keep up the good work! Jorie>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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