do betta fish need a filter

Do Betta fish need a filter ?

Do betta fish need a filter?

The question ” Do betta fish need a filter ?” has lately been popping up quite often on the web.  Yes,they do need a filter. Constant filtered tanks are more useful for the betta. Filter helps to retain useful bacteria during cleaning and neutralization of ammonia and nitrates.Filtration of betta tanks reduces their maintenance.

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To know whether betta fish need a filter or not,you have to consider factors such as the size of the tank,tank mates and also their maintenance level. The betta need a filter but as well,it can survive without it so long as they are well-cared for. The survival for betta without a filter occurs under rare circumstances.

The filter types for betta fish includes ; Undergravel filters,sponge filters,hanging on the back Power filters (HOB),and the internal filters. When buying a filter, always consider the tank size as said earlier, filter quality,and most importantly if it has an adjustable flow.


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Below is detailed information on filter types,each with it’s pros and cons;

1 Power filters

They are also called hanging on the back Power filters (HOB). They hang on the back of aquariums as the name implies. This filter performs all the time three filtration processes, that is, chemical, mechanical and biological filtration processes. For a beginner,you are advised to use the Power filter because it’s quick.

One of the importance of using this filter is that ,it comes with a siphon to suck water into the filter. Water flowing into the filter media is cleaned and pumped back into the water.

The filter is ideal for 5 to 10 gallons and even larger tanks.One is advised to go for a power filter with an adjustable flow rate which is a prefilter.

When you want to buy a hanging on the back Power filter, consider the quality and also go for the one with bio wheel. The bio wheels spin as water passes through them.

2 Internal filters

These are filter placed inside the tank logically from the look of the name.Internal filters are usually mounted on the walls with a suction cup for sucking the debris.

Internal filters need an airline on it’s outwards with a  pump. Air is pumped beneath the filter to pass through the cartridges producing air bubbles which Ultimately clean the water. The clean water is released at the top of the filter.

Internal filters reduces the space for swimming and the volume of the water for your betta. Submersible filters are attached to the tanks via the suction cups performs well if not powerful.

3 Undergravel filters

It uplifts tubes pointed towards the water surface. The presence of airstone at the top of the tube  makes the water to begin being sucked through the undergravel. The Undergravel filter undergoes two filtration processes, that is, biological and mechanical filtration processes where it sucks all the debris which later stucks in the gravel.

Since the airstone on the gravel is oxygenated,it highly boosts the growth of useful bacteria.

Undergravel filters are disadvantaged in a manner that they lack consistency. Water passes through different spots at different rates making other spots to hold a lot of debri which needs their removal through gravel vacuum. The failure of debris removal causes hydrogen sulfites into the tank which is poisonous to your betta.

Despite the single drawback, Undergravel filter still qualifies to be the best for your tank .


With a planted aquarium,do not use this filter simply because it will require regular cleaning and filter disturbances which may be harmful to your plants.

4 Sponge filter 

This is a reliable filter for use in case you have stored your betta in a small tank.Sponge filters need an air pump to easily help in the flow of oxygen and water. The filter is different from the power filter because while the Power filter is powerful, sponge is not.

This filter is made of a sponge material which does both mechanical and biological filtrations. The two are not enough until chemical filtration is added as well.

Sponge filters are appropriate in quarantine and breeding tanks.Quarantine tanks require no maintenance as it doesn’t undergo chemical filtration.

Always clean the sponge after every week by use of your aquarium water from the tank. Consistent cleaning is able to remove debris stuck on the filter.Rinsing does not interfere with useful bacteria


Advantages of using a sponge filter

  1. It’s affordable and easy to set up
  2. It’s always perfect for young betta with oxygenation as an added advantage.
  3. They suit in tanks of up to 10 gallons.

Why betta fish need a filter

Filters remove ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. This is the most important reason, stopping them from piling up.Excess ammonia becomes stressful to your betta and at the same time weakening their immune system. Delayed removal of the harmful substances will eventually lead to the death of betta. Ammonia is poisonous to your fish.

The sponge filter retains useful bacteria to feed on ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. With the help of bacteria the three chemicals still stand out safe. As this beneficial bacteria is increases in the tank a lot of it also ends up in the filter.

Filters, especially canister filters,  help to keep the tank clean from the debris like decaying matter,faeces, rotten food, chemicals and harmful bacteria. The filter does all this work.Incase harmful bacteria are noticed in your tank,they ought to be removed with immediate effect.

How does filter remove these harmful substances?

It does so by sucking in water,passes through a variety of media Making both the tank and the water clean for the betta. After all these processes, consistent water change becomes limited.

With the help of filters,there calls for less water and tank maintenance.

Betta Fish tanks without filters

Filters are harmful to your betta when used in tanks carrying 2.5 gallons and below. For filters are known to be producing strong currents which when used in small tanks will automatically stress your fish. Betta do not need strong currents due to their poor swimming and their fins which distabilizes them from mobility.

Water reduces its volume in an unfiltered tanks. The water volume has to be large and water quality to be low to easen it’s maintenance.Debris will build up to ammonia, nitrites and nitrates to stress the betta making it sick.That sickness is called tail and fin rot.

Apart from these harmful bacteria, beneficial bacteria are also  available. Constant water limits the inhibits thriving of useful microorganisms and stress the betta as well.


  • Though it becomes sophisticated to resolve whether the betta fish need a filter or not, for this case, the answer is ,”Yes.”Why?
  • The reviewers say , caring for betta fish without a filter is tiresome.This means it is easy to maintain the betta with filter.
  • The recommended size for betta is 5 and above gallons whereas be the minimum size has to be 2.5 gallons.