Do Betta Fish Need Filters?

Do Betta Fish Need Filters

Betta fish have the unique ability of surviving in waters with little oxygen because they can breathe oxygen directly from the air. Because of this, some believe that they don’t need a filter. So, Do Betta Fish Need Filters? 

A filter does more than just aerate an aquarium, it also works to clear out toxins and debris from the tank that, if accumulated enough, can be extremely harmful to your fish. So ultimately yes, betta fish would benefit a lot from having a filter.

Best Betta Fish Filters Comparison Table

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What Do Filters Do?

A filter’s job is to clean the water in the system by removing debris, residues and toxic substances like nitrates and ammonia. It also works to favor gas exchange, such as helping oxygenate the water, and prolongs the need to carry out water changes.

Do Betta Fish Need Filters

The Three Types of Filtering Methods

Most filter systems have three main properties – mechanical, biological, and chemical. All machines work with a pump that distributes the aquarium water to the filter medium.

1. Mechanical Filtration

Mechanical filtration removes the solid debris and dirt from your tank. It occurs when water is drawn through physical ‘filters’ and particles are caught and trapped. The filters can be finer or coarser depending on how effective you want it to be at catching debris, however it cannot remove ammonia from the water.

2. Biological Filtration

Biological filtration is the process of using the nitrogen cycle to break down harmful ammonia in the water to less damaging nitrogen compounds. This form of filtration happens when we provides a means for bacteria and other microorganisms to grow and transform the fish waste, such as biotowers and live rock.

3. Chemical Filtration

Chemical filtration is the method used to remove unwanted compounds on a smaller molecular level that mechanical filtration can’t reach. One way to do this is by adding carbon or chemical resins to the filter to react with the toxins in the tank.

This however, is a process that can become harmful to your fish after awhile and needs to be changed and removed from the water. Another way for chemical filtration to work is through protein skimming, where molecules can be eliminated on the surface of the water.

The Nitrogen Cycle in Brief

The nitrogen cycle, utilised by biological filtration, works if there is enough surface area for bacteria to colonize and develop. This can occur on all surfaces of the aquarium, but especially in the biological media of the filter. Therefore a larger surface area of the media with a good supply of oxygen is more beneficial for housing good bacteria and a healthy tank environment.

Do Betta Fish Need a Filter?

A filter is necessary to provide ideal living conditions for any aquatic animal. Fish are constantly excreting substances that can contaminate the environment they live in, along with closed outside systems having to deal with leaves and other residues falling into the water.

Without a filter, aquarium water can become cloudy and toxic as waste and debris accumulates in the tank. These toxins alone can be harmful to your fish, along with being sensitive to parameter fluctuations that may weaken their immune systems and leave them more susceptible to disease.

Frayed or rotten tails, or dulled colors are some indicators that your betta may not be thriving in its aquarium environment.

Utilising filters can clear anything that could harm your betta in the long run, and creates healthy gas exchange and higher levels of oxygen in the water. All of this working to make a space your betta can thrive in and enjoy.


Do Betta Fish Need Filters

Betta Fish Requirements

Betta fish need a stable environment to properly flourish in their tank. Specifically having a consistent warm temperature through use of a heater and having clean, filtered water are the two most beneficial requirements for your betta.

Can Plants Help With Filtering a Tank?

Plants can be a good supplementary addition to the filter as they help create a natural ecosystem in the pond and reduce algae growth. They also create a higher water quality level in the aquarium and ensure a safe habitat for the fish to play and hide in.

Do Betta Fish Need Filters

Can Betta Fish Live Without a Filter?

Betta fish cultivate their nests in smaller, still waters such as rice farms, puddles, swamps and pools. These environments have slow flowing water. Fast flow would stress the fish out.

A betta can survive in an unfiltered, stagnant tank with frequent water changes for a brief period, but over time the fish will diminish in health if a proper filter isn’t installed. A reliable filter ensures your tank water is always in good condition and protects your fish from parasites, harmful organisms and toxic, unhealthy water. It takes away water stagnation and can help your fish happily thrive.

What to look for in a filter for your Betta


How Are Bettas Different From Other Fish?

Betta fish have physiological, evolutionary adaptations that allow them to live in habitats with low oxygen content in nature, which gives them a specific resistance. They are Anabantids or Labyrinth fish and can come to the surface to breathe when they need to. This means some betta species can survive in shallow stagnant water environments longer than other fish species.

Are Strong Filter Currents Harmful?

If the filter current is too strong, betta fish are likely to become tired and stressed with frayed fins. This can later lead to them having difficultly swimming and causing them to hide or stay at the bottom of the tank.

Most filters are not ideal for tanks under two gallons, which means you may need to increase the size of your habitat. It’s recommended to use a filter with flow regulation or a weak filter current to help care for your betta. You could also place a plant or ornament on the water outlet of the filter to decrease the impact of the water flow.

Sponge Filters for Betta Tanks?SunGrow Betta Sponge Filter, Works for Tropical Fish and Breeder Aquarium, Perfect for Fry and Small Fish, A Must-Have for Aquarium Hobbyist, Airline Tube Not Included, 1 Pack

Sponge filters offer shallow flow filters that are ideal for bettas, shrimp, and other small, calm water species. They’re not particularly attractive and need to be cleaned quite regularly, but do provide great filters for smaller betta tanks as they don’t push strong currents that may disrupt the environment.

Tip for Choosing a Filter For Your Betta

When choosing a filter for your aquarium, keep in mind that it’s important to select a flow that is suitable for your betta and the size of the tank. Sponge filters may be a good option is you don’t have a larger habitat. Whereas other filters may be more effective in larger tanks to ensure the environment is effectively getting cleaned and looked after.


Things to Note When Buying a Filter

Making sure the current output flow is low or there’s room to disperse the flow from the filter is an essential thing to look for when buying a new filter.

Look for a filter with a cartridge system that makes it easy to remove and replace any mechanical, biological, and chemical filter stages. This means it can keep operating for longer with only the replacement of small parts, instead of the whole machine.

Some natural ornaments such as deadwood might leach impurities into the water, which might require chemical filtering. So, ensuring you have a filter that provides the services your aquarium environment needs.

Make sure your filters match the aesthetics of your tank. While a filtered system has to be functional, it should be as harmonious as possible with the overall theme of your tank.

Take Care of Your Betta Fish.

Do Betta Fish Need Filters

It’s a common misconception that betta fish will flourish in small, undecorated tanks. Whereas in reality, they thrive in larger tanks filled with plenty of greenery for them to hide and play in. Males are usually ornamental and are better off solo. Female bettas can live peacefully in community aquariums with other fish.

Ensuring your fish have heaters and filters is essential in taking good care of them.

Final Comments

The shelf life of a betta fish tends to be short and susceptible to disease and poor medical conditions in unfiltered, small tanks. Betta fish do need filters to keep the water clean and debris and waste free, to ensure they have a healthy environment to live in.