Can Betta Fish See Color: Interesting Facts About Its Vision

Can Betta Fish See Color
Japanese Fighting Fish is reader-supported. When you purchase through one of our links we may earn an affiliate commission (at no extra cost to you).

Do you ever wonder just how similar betta fish are to us, humans? 

Now, you’re wondering! 

You might have already come across some fascinating facts about betta fish vision, which has probably aroused your thirst for more enthralling fishy details.

Wait, are betta fish colorblind? If curiosity has led you here, we’re in this together. Let’s explore these existential ponderings.

Can Betta Fish See Color?


Yes. Betta fish see color. They can perceive over 300 different colors and the shapes of objects at shorter distances. 

Looks like betta fish live in a more colorful world since they can see color plus ultraviolet light.

Bettas can see ultraviolet colors as UV lights travel in different wavelengths in water due to light scattering differently. They can see ultraviolet lights as waves of colors. Sounds like fun, right?

Bettas may, in general, have multicolored vision like humans but in different hues and textures.

Though not a result of poor vision, shades are different as betta eyes are evolutionarily adjusted to see in the oceans of Southeast Asia and other water habitats.

Are Betta Fish Colorblind?

color blindness test

Now that we’ve answered the mind boggler, can betta fish see color? It is only logical to wonder if the list includes all colors. And whether they perceive less or more multiple colors than us.

Can betta fish perceive the color red? Not really, so we can declare them colorblind by any standard.

However, they can see blue and green colors properly. The environment, rather than genetics, largely cause color blindness in bettas.

Depending on the color, different light wavelengths travel at unique frequencies, causing a variation in brightness. Even with excellent eyesight, longer wavelength colors are less visible in the water.

Considering colorblindness when filling the aquarium with toys and plants would be wise.

However much you love red, opt for other colors. Imagine being in a room filled with objects of colors you cannot tell. Stressing, right?

How Do Betta Fish See?

Fish Eyes

Bettas have more cones in their eyes, allowing them to see even better color shades than humans. Cones are one of two photoreceptors that enable the eyes to perceive color.

Like other fish, bettas have eyes on either side of their head, allowing monocular vision with a very wide field.

Summed up with their metaphorical senses of taste and smell plus their lateral lines, they seem to have a sixth sense guiding them.

Your colorful fishes, especially the males, can be belligerent towards perceived intruders, other males, or even rather dominant surrounding colors.

As you might already suspect, light behaves differently in water. And wavelengths shorten due to refraction, as water is denser than air. Betta fish see color with shorter wavelengths better.

UV light becomes visible as their shorter wavelengths get even shorter, consequently less absorbed in water.

Can Bettas See in the Dark?

See in the Dark

Betta fish have worse vision than humans in darkness. They may appear to see in the dark as their lateral lines, which are their primary sense, give them an excellent sense of smell and taste.

The fish cannot see in the dark, but their lateral lines have tiny holes that detect changes in the water pressure, enabling them to know their bearing and surroundings. The lateral lines’ changes in water pressure allow them to move in pitch darkness.

Turning off the tank lights in the betta tank for 12 to 16 hours at night should be customary to manage irritation.

Although fish need darkness for rest, the plants and microorganisms in the aquarium need light for  8 to 12 hours a day. So, it would be best if you found a balance. Plus, lights are for aesthetics too.

How dark should the fish tank be? LEDs have enough light for your fish to see and perceive colors properly and for you to see your fish. LEDs are also economical and do not produce excessive heat.

LEDs are easily found in different colors deemed fish-friendly, like blue, green, and in red color.

Do betta fish see in color? They do, however, steer clear of incandescent lights as they generate excessive heat that increases the water temperatures in the tank, enough to stress or even cause physical injury.

You can always try out fluorescent lights. Though colored bulbs of different light wavelengths other than blue, red, and green might prove ill-advised.

How Good is Betta Vision?


Just how good is bettas’ vision? It can spot its owner in a group of people outside the betta tank, but not good enough to identify objects several feet away.

Bettas are better adapted to see in shorter distances, as clear water stretches over 100 feet are hard to come by. They are more reliant on their lateral lines for needs like movement and feeding.

In some circumstances, bettas can perceive red light wavelengths but with difficulty.

Can Betta Fish See Humans?

Can Betta Fish See Humans

Good sight is not where this nature’s marvel stops. Bettas are intelligent, which allows them to accurately identify and interpret what is in their sights in the aquarium light. How intelligent are we talking? Bettas can spot their owners or the person who often feeds them and respond to their mere presence.

They may burst into life whenever they spot you, though not as enthusiastic as “man’s best friend,” it acknowledges the shared bond.

How Does Betta Vision Compare To Human Vision?

How Does Betta Vision Compare To Human Vision

Human vision, unlike bettas’ vision, is infinite. Humans can see stars in galaxies millions of miles away. So do we have better vision than betta fish? Maybe.

Bettas have blind spots right ahead of them. Their eyes protrude outwards to minimize the effects of the blind spot. The lateral line is their best tool for spotting predators or prey in natural settings.

We can both spot numerous colors, but betta fish have more cones than humans and can see UV.

What Do Betta Fish See?

What Do Betta Fish See

Bettas can even tell humans apart in proper circumstances as their intelligence and good memory enable them to decipher the difference correctly.

All this needs ample lighting, and not too much light as overstimulation from high-intensity lights leads to agitation in fish and an adverse increase in stress levels in your bettas.

Fish can also spot themselves in mirrors only that they are not aware it is their image and not other tank mates. Bettas despise mirrors as they will initially flare up their fins whenever they spot themselves, though they make them more tolerant of others.

You got that right. Mirrors may offer agitation therapy to fish, though it takes bettas some time to get used to them.

It is advisable to avoid mirrors as the bettas get agitated by their imaginary tank mates, leading to acute stress levels.

Fun Fact: Bettas get excited when they see things! What do they do when this happens? Find out in our post, Betta Flaring: 7 Reasons Why They Do This & How To Detect It.

Watch This!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can betta fish see the color red?

Bettas have difficulty perceiving colors that have longer light wavelengths, like red. Longer wavelengths are absorbed faster and easily in water, making them scarce.

Bettas, like humans, have trouble seeing a red fish or other red objects in water over 70 feet away. Their vision worsens in low-intensity light.

Can betta fish see the color blue more easily? Yes. Blue has shorter wavelengths, thus easier to spot.

What light do bettas see more easily?

A betta sees ultraviolets as they have much shorter light wavelengths, making them easier to spot in the aquarium.

Artificial light should be well-moderated. Avoid high-intensity lights of different wavelengths of light.

Do betta fish see in color?

Of course, they do. How else can they tell when food is in the aquarium or even how to maneuver through the objects in the tank? As much as they are near-sighted, bettas have a pretty defined color vision.


Bettas belong to the gourami family and are as characteristically unique as other fishes. Their vision is essential for survival and should be fiercely protected.

You should promptly address issues of cloudy eyes, popeye, and other eye illnesses, to ensure you bettas live optimally. Failure to do so can lead to severe discomfort and infection spreading from one betta to its tank mates.

Last Updated: July 13, 2022