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Do Betta Fish Need a Filter?

In this article, we’ll answer the question of do Betta fish need a filter?

The quick answer is that it depends on factors such as tank size and whether or not you will be using live plants and how often you intend to clean your Bettas tank.

However, in general, I like to recommend that you do use a filter in your Bettas tank even if it’s as simple as a sponge filter. The benefits will outweigh the negatives.

Let’s look at things in a bit more detail below.

My Favorite Filters That You Can Use With Your Betta

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

What To Look For In A Filter For Your Betta

When buying a filter for your Betta, there are many essential factors that you need to consider. This is so that you can provide the most habitable living environment to your bettas.

Here are a few things you should look for in a filter for your bettas:

Slow Water Flow

Bettas generally prefer slow-flowing water because strong water currents tend to stress them out. Furthermore, if the filter is creating too powerful a current, it will keep pushing your fish. Look for a filter that has a slow water current or one with adjustable flow.

Easy to Clean and Maintain

Cleaning a filter should require minimal effort because if you spend too much time on cleanliness and maintenance, your Betta will get stressed out very quickly. You want to make sure to buy a filter that can easily be removed and cleaned in less time. It should also have an easily removable filter media to speed up the cleaning process.

Types of Filtration

The best kind of filter for your Betta is one that offers all three types of filtration, including biological, mechanical, and chemical. These filtration methods help keep the tank water clean, which further prevents your Betta from becoming sick. Reliability

A reliable filter ensures clean tank water and doesn’t compromise your Betta’s health. A filter that promises reliability will last you a long time and also get the job done with perfection every time.

Further Reading: Best Filter For Betta  

What Do Filters Do?

The main job of a filter is to clean the water in the tank by removing debris, the buildup of toxic substances like nitrates and ammonia, excess food, and the Betta’s waste products. This helps aerate the water to make it easy for fish to breathe. If all this waste isn’t adequately removed from the betta tank, it could poison your bettas.

On top of that, a filter prevents the weekly hassle of manually cleaning the tank by removing the Betta, replacing the water, and putting the bettas back in the tank. Besides, removing fish from the tank can be quite a nerve-racking experience for many people. It can be equally traumatizing your pet, too.

So, filters make life easy by keeping the water clean, and the chances are that your Betta will love you for it!

Further reading: How to clean a Betta fish tank.

Benefits Of Using A Filter In Your Betta Tank

Using a filter comes with multiple benefits, all of which are incredibly favorable for your betta fish’s health.

  • Place For Beneficial Bacteria To Grow
  • Removes Toxins Like Ammonia, Nitrites, And Nitrates
  • Water Circulation & Moves Water Around
  • Helps Oxygenates Your Tank
  • Low Maintenance, You Won’t Have To Perform Water Changes As Often

Can A Betta Fish Live In A Bowl Without A Filter?

Do betta fish need a filter? Not particularly. Can they live in a bowl without a filter? Yes, they can, but they do need more than a bowl. It is vital to understand plants’ importance and how plants act as natural filters to keep the water clean in the fish tank.

Having plants in your aquarium not only adds a touch of beauty and makes it attractive but also keeps your Betta healthy and alive. Plants naturally filter the water by producing oxygen and absorbing all the carbon dioxide and ammonia produced by your fish.

Plants also help create a natural ecosystem in the tank, and they reduce the growth of algae in the water since both of them compete for nutrients. Plants keep your Betta safe and provide them proper shelter.

When used as an additional source of filtration along with a filter, plants take your filtration system to a whole new level.

Further Reading: Learn more about Fish that don’t need a filter

Examples of “Good” Betta Fish Tanks without Filters

If you are going to set up a Betta tank without a filter I recommend you use a lot of live plants. If you’re not sure where to start with live plants check out our guide on setting up a small 10 gallon planted tank.

Examples of Betta Fish in Filtered Tank

There are many fantastic filtered tank options for your betta pet that you can consider. One of the best that I recommend often is the Marineland 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit

What Could Happen If You Don’t Use A Filter In Your Aquarium?

There are numerous risks associated with not using a filter in your aquarium.

Firstly, if you don’t use a filter, it can take a toll on your Betta’s lifespan because a filter works towards creating the ideal living conditions for your bettas.

Secondly, the absence of a filter means that the aquarium’s water will never be as clean as you’d like it to be. This means that you will have to keep replacing dirty water with fresh, clean water, but it will also cause a significant amount of stress for your pet, which can lead to them getting sick and dying.

Thirdly, the chances of water contamination become high without a filter because harmful chemicals and toxins may stay inside the tank only. And the whole time they are in the tank, your Betta runs the risk of being poisoned.

Adjusting The Flow: Is Your Betta’s Filter Too Strong?

If your Betta appears to be stressed, it is possible that the filter is too strong and needs to be adjusted. There are many things you can do to regulate the flow of the filter current, such as:

  • Use a pre-filter sponge

One of the easiest ways to adjust the flow is to use a pre-filter sponge. All you have to do is wrap it around the filter’s nozzle, which will allow it to slow down the flow.

Sponge filters are also quite cost-effective.

  • Change the settings 

If you have an adjustable filter, change the settings, and switch it to the lowest point. This will quickly limit the flow of the filter inside the tank and regulate the water changes.

  • Use plants and other decorations 

One of the simplest ways to adjust a strong filter flow is to make use of plants and decorations inside the tank near the filter. Plants help create artificial caves, which are effective ways to slow the flow rate in the aquarium.

So Do Betta Fish Need Filters? Honestly!

There’s no straight and simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to the question ‘do betta fish need a filter.’

It seriously depends on numerous factors like the level of care you give, the size of the tank, your Betta’s tank mates, etc. Bettas have always been known to thrive in either scenario when provided with the right conditions and care.

However, it’s always a good idea to invest a tank with filters at the same time. Filtered betta tanks make life super easy considering how convenient they are. Moreover, if you use an unfiltered tank for Betta and forget to change the water as per schedule, things can become terrible for your pet very quickly. In this case, they sure do need a filter.

Easy Aquarium Maintenance
Aquarium Log Book

This Aquarium Log Book is the best way to make note of all the steps you take when caring for your aquarium. Easily keep all your aquarium tasks, schedules & plans all in one place.

So, as they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and investing in a filtered tank for your Betta will eventually prove to be an excellent decision. You will also notice that your pet will thoroughly enjoy a filter because it means less stress for them!

Common Questions About Bettas And Filters

If you are a beginner looking to get a betta fish as a pet, you probably have a lot of questions about bettas, filters, fish care, etc.

Take a look at frequently asked questions about betta care that will answer a lot of your queries and concerns.

How Long Does A Betta Fish Live?

There are often varying opinions and answers to this question, but betta fish typically have three years of lifespan. When you buy a betta, it is likely to be somewhere between 6 months to 1 year of age so you can expect your pet to live for another two or two-and-a-half years approximately.

However, if you provide them with the ideal living conditions and meet all their tank requirements, they can live up to 5 years old.

Further Reading: Average Lifespan Of Betta Fish

Can You Keep A Single Betta Fish In A Vase?

It is not uncommon for people to forgo buying a proper tank or an aquarium when they have a single fish to look after. There’s also a common misconception about bettas that they don’t require a lot of space. That is entirely untrue because bettas need more room and space than what is offered by a vase. This species of fish loves to swim around and is also known to be quite active. Keeping bettas in a vase will simply restrict their movement, and you certainly don’t want that for your pet.

On top of that, the smaller the space for your pet, the faster the living conditions become toxic because of all the excess food, decay matter, and fish waste.

The ideal tank size for bettas is anywhere from 5 gallons to 10 gallons.

How To Tell If Your Betta Fish Is Sick?

There are many ways to tell if a betta is sick, but you should ideally look for the following four major signs:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Damaged fins
  • Lethargy
  • Growth of white fungus on the scales and fins

What Should You Feed Your Betta?

Since bettas are carnivores and live in the wild, their ideal diet consists of high animal protein. They are known to eat live food that majorly includes bugs. When held in tanks and aquariums, they need a varied diet that should typically add flakes or pellets featuring fish meals, frozen or live versions of the food that they eat in the wild, such as worms bloodworms, and daphnia, to name a few.

Further Reading: What Do Betta Fish Eat?

Do Betta Fish Require A Heater?

Bettas are tropical fish that live in warm waters in the wild. The ideal temperature they need is between 75 – 80F. If you live in warm climates and your home is continuously at 78F or above, you don’t need a heater for your Betta.

However, if the temperature tends to vary at nights and during the winter months, you should consider getting a heater for your pet. After all, it’s a good idea to have a heater in your Betta’s tank to prevent problems and maintain an ideal water temperature inside the tank consistently.

Further Reading: Betta Heater

Do Betta Fish Breathe Air And Live In Mud Puddles?

No, a betta does not and cannot live in mud puddles. It is a myth and a reason used by pet shops to justify keeping them in tiny plastic cups.

Betta fish are anabantoids, a class of fish with a unique organ called the ‘labyrinth’ that helps them breathe air. Bettas breathe in atmospheric air using this organ, which gives them the ability to thrive in areas with low-oxygen concentration like rice paddles.

Why Does My Betta Like His Filter?

Your fish betta likes his filter because it creates stable and balanced water parameters inside the tank and combats sudden water changes. He loves how clean the water is and how he isn’t feeling any stress due to constant water changes.

What Other Things Do Betta Fish Need To Thrive

Bettas need a filter and probably a heater, too, but it also requires the ideal temperature, slow-moving water, and an adequate amount of space to thrive. You can also decorate the tank with rocks, plants, and other objects to make it aesthetically pleasing and exciting for you and your fish.

What Kind Of Fish Can Live Without A Filter?

Numerous fish varieties can easily thrive without a filter. Some of them include goldfish, guppy fish, pea pufferfish, zebra danios, white cloud minnows, and ember tetra, to name a few.

Do Betta Fish Need a Filter