Betta Fish are among the most popular freshwater Fish globally, and there is a lot of information about them. One question that many people have asked themselves: can they see color? The answer to this question, as it turns out, is not so simple. In this article, we will discuss what we know about Betta Fish eyesight and how it may or may not affect their ability to see colors such as red or green.
Can Betta Fish See Color?
Bettas are known as Siamese fighting fish, but their natural habitat is actually tropical waterways across Asia. They come from blackwater habitats where they live among tannins that give the water its tea-like hue. If this were to be replicated in captivity, it would not only look unappealing for people wanting an aesthetically pleasing tank. Still, it would also cause problems with lighting – due to how dark these waters are naturally Bettas cannot see reds or oranges very well.
Bettas eyes are also quite different to human eyes. For a start, they only have one central pupil that opens and closes vertically. They do not see as well as humans either – although their vision is reasonably good at short distances, it has been found to be poor outside of around 50cm. The study was able to show this by challenging bettas with shapes moving towards them from various angles. In every instance, the Fish oriented themselves away from a movement that came from beyond their field of view.
It seems that Bettas may use other senses such as lateral line detection or vibration detection when hunting prey in murky waters. This fits into a broader too where many animals living in low light conditions have sacrificed some aspects of their vision to improve other aspects, such as smell or hearing.
What Affects The Way Bettas See Color?
The water in which Bettas live is often dark and contains tannins. This means that reds, oranges and yellows are not very visible to them.
In addition to this, when kept as pets, or buy betta fish online must be housed with other Fish. However, because they come from blackwater environments where there exists a natural pecking order (where only one male of each species will get access to females), it can lead to fights between males for dominance. This is because many pet Betta fish have lost part or all their fins through these fights. Therefore, it has been suggested that perhaps even if they could see colors such as red, orange or yellow well enough, it might not matter because these colors may trigger aggression within the tank.
However, it is worth noting that some bettas are kept alone – especially in tanks where their fins have been cut off (a practice known as ‘finning’) to reduce aggression. As a result, these Fish will likely not show any signs of color blindness if they can see colors at all due to the fact that there would be no trigger for aggressive behavior toward other Fish.
Why Are Bettas Able To See Some Colors More Than Others?
Betta Fish can see some colors better than others. For example, it seems that they cannot see reds and oranges very well, but they have a greater sensitivity towards blues and greens. This is probably because these colors stand out in their natural environment where there exists a lot of vegetation – while the other mentioned colors would be harder to detect against the tea-like watercolor.
Another interesting observation was made when researchers compared Betta vision with other similar species living in blackwater conditions. It turns out that although all of them could only make out blue/green contrasts, the ability for each animal to discriminate between different shades within this range varied significantly. Some animals were found to be much keener than others at telling the difference between shades of blue/green, while some were unable to tell them apart whatsoever. It is thought that these differences in color vision may be due to specific adaptations each species has made for its niche environment.