Do Betta Fish Need a Filter?

Last Update:
do betta fish need a filter

More than 30% of aquarists own or have owned a Betta fish at one point in their life. And this hobby starts way early. Back in 1890, where Betta fish was first imported into France and Germany. Aquarium filters were invented way sooner, in the 1950s but do Betta fish need a filter to survive?

You just started the hobby and got your first Betta fish, but you are left with a lot of questions. We have done all the research, and we have all the experience needed to give you the most trustworthy answer.

Besides the answer to the question of do Bettas need a filter, we will answer if Betta fish can live without a filter and what are the best filters for Bettas. We will help you choose the right filter (if needed) so your Betta with thriving and go healthier.

Betta Fish Habitats With vs Without Filter

To start off clean and clear, let us run you through the different scenarios of Betta fish tank conditions and give a definitive answer if Bettas are a type of fish that don’t need a filter or not.

How to Care for a Betta fish Without a Filter

In nano aquariums smaller than 2.5 gallons, you don’t need any type of filtering setup; in such cases adding a filter is actually more discouraged. Given that such small tanks aren’t spacious enough to distribute the water turbulence caused by a filter.

Bettas aren’t particularly known for being strong swimmers, and strong currents will probably cause them lots of stress while their long delicate fins will hinder them further in their mobility.

Typically, Bettas prefer slow-moving or even still water; this makes tons of caretakers to be fanatic about using no filter in their Betta fish tank while trying to mimic Bettas’ natural habitat.

Without a Betta filter and depending on the volume of the water, the quality is prone to degrading faster. That being said, the bigger the water volume of a Betta tank, the slower the water declination process will be. A very common issue of unfiltered tanks is fin and tail rot due to the rapid increase of toxins, nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia.

best 10 gallon fish tank for bettas

Another thing to consider if you’re thinking of going with the no-filter option is how often you will have to make water changes in comparison, which will cause natural good bacteria in the water to fluctuate in level/amount and, as a result, cause the environment added stress.

It is true that Bettas seem to prefer still or slow-moving waters. However, that doesn’t mean that unfiltered tanks are easy; depending on their volume, they can require anywhere from two 25% water cycles plus a 100% water change a week to one 25%-35% cycle weekly and one 100% change monthly.

With unfiltered tanks, you will also need to provide consistent water tests to see how toxin levels within the tank are progressing.

How to Care for a Betta fish with a Filter

It all seems like an obvious answer but is it all hardships with unfiltered tanks and a breeze as soon as you set the filter up?

Today’s market provides a wide variety of filters with different benefits, quirks, maintenance requirements, and benefits. Whatever filter you decide to go for, whether it’s an undergravel filter, a hang-on-back filter, or a sponge filter for Betta fish, you need to make sure that there is an option on the said filter that allows flow adjustment.

Best Sponge Filter for Bettas

As we mentioned, Bettas aren’t particularly distinguished in strength, so you want to make sure that you can really tend to their needs and not make them struggle in their environment. One solution is to purchase a Betta filter incorporated tank, so you can make sure that you’re not causing any stress.

Otherwise, consider buying a filter that is weaker than the capacity of your actual tank (say you have a 10-gallon tank; consider buying a filter fit for 5-gallon tanks). The reality is that mixing and matching products can prove to be really tricky.

Do Betta Fish Need a Filter?

Betta fish do need a filter to thrive in their tank. The best filter for Betta fish will help to keep the water clean and free of toxins, which will help to keep the fish healthy. Bettas can also live in small tanks without filters, but it needs a lot of maintenance. If you decide to go without a filter, make sure to do regular water changes and test the water often for toxins.

Benefits Of Using A Filter In Your Betta Tank

Maybe you still aren’t sure why you need to spend your money on fish that can very well survive without a filter, and that makes sense. There are, however, clear benefits to using a filter for Betta fish tanks, and we are going to list them below:

  • Filters reduce waste more efficiently.
  • Filtering aids in-tank oxygenation.
  • Fewer water changes allow for more effective growth of good bacteria.
  • Tankmates increase bio loads, so filters will simplify maintenance.
  • Maintenance, in general, will be way easier.

Recommended Filters for Betta Fish

Have you finally made a decision to purchase a filter? Well, read on to find out the best filter for Bettas and precisely what makes each of these products so special to us. From versatility and affordability to distinguished filtering methods, ease of maintenance, and affordability, we’ve got you covered.

Fluval 07 Series

Fluval 07 Series is a high-quality, reliable, and flexible filter that should definitely be on the top of your list when considering a new Betta fish tank filter. Fluval as a manufacturer has brought countless innovations to the market, and this 07 series is absolutely no different.

Fluval 107 Canister Filter Review

Let’s start off by noting that the filter is up to 25% quieter than any previous model Fluval 06. However, the setup simplicity remains uninhabited. With the new 07 models, re-engineering has provided higher filtering efficiency for tanks of up to 100 gallons, as any maintenance requirements are kept at a convenient minimum.

Due to bio foam equipment, the filter provides double the biological filtration of any other filter you’ll find on the market. Its form factor makes it perfect for any type of placement, and the fact that it’s an external filter adds to its quietness during the filtering process itself.

We found all these improvements very intriguing from Fluval, and we are certain they are exactly the much-needed tweaks to make Fluval 07 series one of the ideal candidates as a Betta fish tank filter.

AquaClear Filter

AquaClear Filter is a versatile and inclusive filter that might just be the ideal filtering solution for your precious Bettas. It comes in five different sizes to make sure each user will find a size that is compatible with their Betta tank.

aquaclear power filter review

The AquaClear HOB is one of the best HOB filters as it is a very simplistic and low-maintenance unit that provides uncompromised filtering quality. Keeping the filter itself clean is easy: just remove the three segments and clean them up without demounting the entire unit.

If you are the type of person who has specific preferences in terms of filter media, Aquaclear has you covered with its very spacious bio-media canister, which will allow you to improvise or use any type of media you are most comfortable with.

hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter

The hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter is the best sponge filter for Betta for many reasons, but we have to distinguish one of them undeniably. This product combines biological and mechanical filtration all in one unit, and an air pump powers everything to create a healthy environment for good bacteria to thrive and oxygenation for healthy fish and plants while also efficiently removing harmful ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.

The double sponge design allows for twice the amount of good bacteria and doubles the oxygenation in your tank to keep your Betta fish and your plants happy and healthy in their aquatic environment.

What to Look for in a Filter for Betta Fish

So we wrote a lengthy and elaborate list of aquarium filters that we like. But what if you decide you wanna look further? There are a few things that make or break a product, and they range from user experience to versatility and a bunch of technical points that need further elaboration.

Well, rest assured, we have not only done that but also made sure to provide a simple way to determine quickly if a filter is Betta worthy or not by evaluating the following qualities.

Flow Adjustment

Since we learned that Bettas are pretty picky about their nice and slow-moving waters, you need to make sure that the water flow isn’t too aggressive for their liking, as well as be able to adjust it since what works for someone’s Betta might not work for yours.

Type of Filtration

The most preferable filtration type for Bettas is an all-inclusive filter that provides chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration for your tank. All the methods combine to ensure the best quality water and thus the best health for your Bettas.

Ease of Use

Ease of usability with a filter, in our case, really means that a filter is easy to maintain, and that is very important for Betta fish. You don’t want an aquarium filter that gets clogged often and requires cleaning every now and again since that will surely disturb and stress the Bettas out.

Other Betta Fish Requirements

You just learn if you need a filter for a Betta fish or not. What about other requirements? We would like to mention a few since we already went over how picky Bettas can be about their environment many times in detail.

Water Temperature

A really good purchase you could consider for your Betta is a heater. This way, you can always ensure that no matter the temperature of the room in which your Betta fish tank resides, the water temperature itself will always remain appropriate for the fish. Many people may not know this, but Bettas are tropical fish. Therefore their ideal waters are really warm waters of about 70 degrees or so.

Water Flow

Since we were previously on the topic of filters, we would like to highlight a small detail about your ideal filter choice once more: consider choosing a filter with an adjustable flow so that you can make sure you’re not stressing out your Bettas physically, while also keeping the tank itself clean and clear and healthy.

Aquarium Size

And last but not least, we already settled that nano aquariums or bowls of under 5 gallons don’t need filters. However, we do urge you to focus on tanks of bigger volumes than 5 gallons.

Bettas need lots of tender love and care in order to thrive, and they are also some of the most mistreated types of fish by their owners due to misinformation and false advertisement. It is highly important that you try your hardest to provide the best conditions for your Bettas at any given time.


“Do Betta Fish Need a Filter?” – well, we made it all clear, and we hope we’ve guided you through a relatively stressful process when deciding to take care of Bettas. Deciding to take care of fish is a demanding task, especially for delicate and “picky” fish like Bettas. You need to make the correct decisions to provide them with a safe and healthy environment.

A filter can be one of those elements that can be crucial for a Betta fish’s wellbeing and therefore needs to be chosen responsibly. With those being said, we’re certain that if you decide that you need a filter for your Bettas, you’ll find the best options on the market in this review carefully crafted by our team.

Whether you decide to go with Fluval 07 and with their usual innovative product or with the Aquaclear filter that offers one of the most steady experiences with their products, you’ll be delighted either way. We took our time to take into consideration every detail to choose the best options and give the best advice so your Betta fish can live a peaceful and clean life.


Answering the question do Betta fish need a filter is one of the many questions you have when first caring for a Betta fish. Find the answer below to some of the most common questions about Betta fish.

Q: Can Betta fish survive without a filter?

Yes, Betta fish can survive without filters in tanks of under five gallons. However, it is highly recommended to use an aquarium filter for Bettas in tanks of over five gallons for the health and well-being of your Betta fish.

Q: Do Betta fish need a filter or bubbler?

Betta fish need a filter to help keep their water clean and free of toxins. Bubblers are not required but can provide additional aeration and circulation for Betta fish tanks. One of the best filters for Bettas is Fluval 07 an external aquarium filter, but if you want a Betta internal filter, then your best option is AquaClear Filter.

Q: Do Betta fish need an air pump?

No, Betta fish do not need an air pump. However, some sponge filters for Betta, such as the hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter, come with built-in air pumps that can provide additional aeration and circulation for Betta fish tanks.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

I am Mario, a experienced fish keepr and the editor-in-chief of Epic Aquarium.

At Epic Aquarium, we take our commitment to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews very seriously. Our team carefully reviews each product, and we only recommend the very best in terms of quality. We also consult with leading fish keeper experts to ensure that each article is based on the most reliable and up-to-date information available.

Disclosure: participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.