Question Do Bright Decorations Stress Out Fish?

Luxwing

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Long time no post! Recently upgraded from a 10 to a 29 gallon tank and have 9 Cory cats, one common pleco and a half moon betta in a partially planted tank. It's partially cycled already thanks to the filter media and substrate from my previous tank and I was happily posting images of it online until I got a message from someone saying that bright decorations stress fish out.???

I did some googling and can't find anything about it. Is there anything to this? So my bright silk plants and anemones give my fish the heebie jeebies?

If it matters, the fish don't seem stressed. The cories school and dart around like usual, the pleco... Is a pleco, and the betta fish is timid but he's also fairly new.

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SM1199

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I'm going to attempt to take this from a scientific approach.

First you have to ask the question... Do fish see colors? And from what I understand, yes, at least some do. One group did studies with bettas that show female bettas are drastically more likely to breed when presented with a red male betta than a blue male betta. Also, a lot of sexual dimorphism is based off of colors, and of course, this wouldn't be advantageous if other fish were not able to distinguish the colors.

Second... How do fish react to colors? Well, as already said, a lot of it has to do with sexual dimorphism for competition or attraction. So, theoretically, a semi-aggressive fish like a betta could be stressed out by bright colors if he perceives competition strictly based off of color. However, a lot more of the perception of competition has to do with movement and shape. If you stick a red index card in a betta's face, he's probably not going to flare at it (unless he's my friend's betta who flares at even plain pieces of paper), because it's not the shape of a fish and it's not moving like a fish.

Also, colors might indicate a predator to them... But I don't believe that is likely, since something like a bird that eats fish isn't going to have a lot of bright colors on it since it would scare away the fish as it nears the surface of the water. Same with most predators; they're disguised for a reason. Color alone shouldn't equal predation to a fish.

And another thing... Some tropical fish prefer darker places similar to their wild habitats and are easily overwhelmed by excess light. In that case, bright decorations will only help reflect even more of that light into their faces. BUT, these fish are often labeled on care sheets as being sensitive to light and to keep lights dim, so if that's not the case with the species you own, I wouldn't be worried about it.

Long story short, I personally do not believe bright colored decorations cause stress in fish, unless it's an overbred betta who's hyper-aggressive and responds to anything (in which case, he'll be overwhelmed by tank mates alone). But your guy seems chill, especially if he's tolerating tank mates. In my opinion, I prefer natural decoration over bright decoration, but no harm done with bright colors.
 

Addie42

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I'm going to attempt to take this from a scientific approach.

First you have to ask the question... Do fish see colors? And from what I understand, yes, at least some do. One group did studies with bettas that show female bettas are drastically more likely to breed when presented with a red male betta than a blue male betta. Also, a lot of sexual dimorphism is based off of colors, and of course, this wouldn't be advantageous if other fish were not able to distinguish the colors.

Second... How do fish react to colors? Well, as already said, a lot of it has to do with sexual dimorphism for competition or attraction. So, theoretically, a semi-aggressive fish like a betta could be stressed out by bright colors if he perceives competition strictly based off of color. However, a lot more of the perception of competition has to do with movement and shape. If you stick a red index card in a betta's face, he's probably not going to flare at it (unless he's my friend's betta who flares at even plain pieces of paper), because it's not the shape of a fish and it's not moving like a fish.

Also, colors might indicate a predator to them... But I don't believe that is likely, since something like a bird that eats fish isn't going to have a lot of bright colors on it since it would scare away the fish as it nears the surface of the water. Same with most predators; they're disguised for a reason. Color alone shouldn't equal predation to a fish.

And another thing... Some tropical fish prefer darker places similar to their wild habitats and are easily overwhelmed by excess light. In that case, bright decorations will only help reflect even more of that light into their faces. BUT, these fish are often labeled on care sheets as being sensitive to light and to keep lights dim, so if that's not the case with the species you own, I wouldn't be worried about it.

Long story short, I personally do not believe bright colored decorations cause stress in fish, unless it's an overbred betta who's hyper-aggressive and responds to anything (in which case, he'll be overwhelmed by tank mates alone). But your guy seems chill, especially if he's tolerating tank mates. In my opinion, I prefer natural decoration over bright decoration, but no harm done with bright colors.
Lol my betta mushu will flare at my pink cactus but not my green cactus when I hold it up to the tank to show him
Maybe mushu hates the pink colour, who knows.

I don't think that your fish will care too much about bright colours but I guess if I had to choose between looking at trees and leaves all day VS neon pink I would choose trees?
 
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