Do Betta Fish Need a Filter

Water Quality is Important for Betta Fish

Do Betta Fish Need a Filter

Just like all pets, Betta Fish enjoy living in a good environment. There’s one question that prospective Betta owners would want an answer to, and that is, do Betta Fish need a filter in their tank?

I have seen thriving Betta fish in many wonderful tanks that had filters and didn’t have filters.

Water Quality

The Key to a healthy Betta Fish is having good water quality.
How that is achieved can be done in many ways.

Oftentimes it is done using a filter.
There are also many people who use live plants to purify the water in the aquarium.

Though there have been many cases where Betta fish keepers set up tanks without a filter, a filter goes a long way in keeping the aquarium safe for your Betta. It is important to understand that the Betta Fish can cope without a filter for some time, but this may affect the length of time they live.

Since Betta Fish have a special ability to breathe air from the top of the water, they can survive in a relatively small amount of water that might not be of good quality. They are very hearty fish. But I would suggest keeping a Betta Fish in an aquarium with a filter or live plants or both.

Fish Tank with Filter and Live Plants
Aquarium with Filter and Live Plants

It’s also preferable that the filter you install in the fish tank should be a sponge or slow flowing so as to prevent causing injuries to this pet fish’s fragile fins.

I use a combination of a under gravel filters, sponge filters as well as a power filters in a variety of combinations in my fish tanks.

Size of Fish Tank

Installing a filter alone may not sufficiently keep this pet happy in the aquarium. There are other care requirements you need to understand regarding keeping Betta fish safe. For instance, I recommend at least a 5 gallon fish tank.

You should also exercise caution when using filters in your Betta Fish’s aquarium. For instance, avoid filters that dump or suck up too strong as they can push around the Bettas, thereby causing injuries to their highly delicate fins.

Filter Types

My Betta does well with the Aquaclear 20 Power Filter in a ten gallon tank. It’s easy to use and filters the water very well. Even thought this filter can cause a lot of water flow, I put some plants or other decorations to disperse the flow. My Betta loves the tank he is in.

Aqua Clear 20 Hang on Back Filter
Aqua Clear 20 is a good filter for a 10 Gallon Tank

The under gravel filter I use is the Penn Plax brand. I like this brand because I don’t have to punch out the lift tube holes. Unlike some other filters, this filter has slots in the lift tube holes to snap the lift tubes on. This prevents the gravel from going under the filter. See my video on How to Set up a Fish Tank for a visual explanation.

You also need to understand the type of betta fish you have or you intend to keep. For example, if you have long-finned betta fish varieties, they enjoy an environment with very little current and filtration in place.

Water Treatment

It is also important to use a quality water conditioner just before allowing fresh tap water into the tank. The best water conditioners I found are AmmoLock and Stress Coat. They are the best combination water conditioners to use for the optimal health of All Tropical Fish including Betta Fish and Marine Fish.

I’ve used them for decades and I wouldn’t trust my fish’s health to any other water conditioners. One reason why experts discourage the use of standard tap water is that it contains chlorine and chloramines which are harmful to fish. Tap water has the potential of killing all the beneficial bacteria found in the filter.

Water Temperature

The water heater you provide should have a thermostat as Betta fish enjoy staying in warm water with temperatures ranging from 75 ºF to 82ºF and some cases higher.

If you have a Betta Fish in a tank where the water temperature is below 74 or 75, then I would consider getting a heater. I keep heater off in the summer. My room is set at 74 and the Betta Fish do great. In the winter I leave the heaters on set at 78.

The general rule of thumb for heaters is 5 watts per gallon. So for a 10 Gallon Fish Tank, you would need a 50 watt heater. This is the heater that I use.


So In my opinion, As long as the water quality of the fish tank is good and stable then using a filter is optional if the tank has live plants and frequent water changes are done.

By Following these guidelines, I hope you enjoy your Betta Fish for Years to come. How many years? Find out How Long Do Betta Fish Live next!