Do Bettas Need Filter? [Or Not?]

Bettas are aquatic animals. If you plan to have them as pets, you must keep them in an aquarium, bowl, or tank with freshwater. So, do bettas need a filter? It’s a million-dollar question people frequently ask online.

Bettas don’t need a filter to survive as they can live without a filter in the tank or bowl. However, water reproduces various bacteria to endanger bettas’ lives with water-borne diseases, the filter keeps the water clean and bacteria-free. On the contrary, the filter produces a current that can bother betta’s fin.

Are filters good for bettas? How long can a betta fish live without a filter? Do bettas like sponge filters? What studies tell us about bettas’ filters? I recommend reading the entire article to get an insight into these questions.

Do Bettas Need a Filter?

You can keep bettas as pets in tanks or bowls with or without a filter. Nevertheless, it’s a debatable question as experts opine differently. A group of schools thinks bettas don’t need a filter because bettas live in a tank or bowl of water holding 2.5 gallons.

If you use a filter on a bettas tank, it will require current.  Eventually, the filter uses the current to filter water to clean and keep the water bacteria-free. But the current your filter uses for water filtration can bother bettas and damage their fins.

Another group thinks bettas need filters because bettas are always on the move in the water. Because of their movement, water can be turbid. And turbid water can reproduce various bacteria to endanger bettas’ lives with various water-borne diseases.

Thus, water-borne diseases might affect bettas’ lifespan. Turbid water and chemicals that contain in water might cause bettas’ immunity to weaken. So the emergence of the filter is a blessing. While the filter ensures the tank water is clean and bacteria-free, it can also extend the lifespan of bettas.

What Do I Think?

I definitely believe bettas need filter. Just because bettas can survive without a filter in a 2.5 gallon tank or bowl, that doesn’t mean you should keep them in such a way. Just surviving doesn’t mean being happy.

As you are the owner of the betta, it’s your duty to ensure your betta passes its day peacefully and happily. To ensure that, you’ll need to have at least a 5-10 gallon tank with a solid filtration system.

Without these, your betta might survive, but it will never be a happy one.

What Do Filters Do For Bettas?

Bettas are great to have as pets. You can inhabit them in an aquarium or tank. But keeping your bettas in a bowl or aquarium without using the filter can be quite troublesome for you because there are foods, chemicals, or other rotten substances found in the tank or aquarium.

See also  Can Betta Fish Eat Frozen Bloodworms?- Is It Healthy?

If you don’t filter your bettas’ tank or aquarium, the rotten substances can reproduce detrimental bacteria. Besides, bettas often fight in the aquarium and can make the water turbid. By using a filter, you can clean the water while filtering the harmful substances from the betta tank.

Most importantly, if you use a filter, you may often need to change the water that maintains a clean and safe betta tank.

9 Reasons Why Bettas Need A Filter

Before taking your betta fish home, you need to think of buying a filter for your bettas. Using a filter on the tank for bettas is essential. But I wonder if you knew other upsides of filters except for filtration. A filter not only ensures bettas’ water filtration but also adds more advantages for bettas to ensure a safe life for them.

The following 9 reasons will help you learn why bettas need‌ a filter:

1. Easy To Clean

Keeping bettas in the tank can create debris and contaminate the water. But using a filter you can clean your betta tank easily. You don’t need to remove your betta fish while cleaning the filter and it will save your time as well while cleaning the wastes.

2. Easy To Maintain

Your betta filter may get dirty and contaminate the water in the tank with other substances produced from water. Maintaining a betta filter is a cinch. Just remove the parts to clean and locate them again by yourself.

3. Remove Toxins

The water tank that is used‌ for bettas can produce toxins like nitrites, ammonia, and nitrates. These toxins are extremely harmful to your bettas. So filters can remove these toxins to ensure a place to live for bettas.

4. Water Circulation

Using a filter on the tank ensures good water circulation for bettas. If the water circulation is good, bettas live peacefully. Consequently, water can move around the bettas.

5. Slow Water Flow

Bettas like slow water flow in the aquarium. Fast-moving water and current can depress your bettas. If you use a filter on the tank for bettas, the water flow will be slow. The filter ensures moderate current and water movement for betta fish.

6. Low Maintenance

Bettas require low maintenance. You can clean the filter every 8 to 9 months. And you can do it yourself (DIY) without a hassle.

7. Supplies Oxygen

Bettas get sufficient oxygen from the water tank only because of having a filter on it. Filters ensure water movement to produce oxygen for bettas. 

8. Current

 Filtration occurs with the use of current. The current helps the water move around. But be aware of the fact that a strong current can damage your bettas’ fins. So make sure an ideal current level the filter delivers on the betta tank.

9. Require Less Water Change

The best thing about using the filter on the betta tank is you hardly need to change the water. The filter is capable of cleaning and removing all bacteria, toxins, and other harmful substances left on the betta tank.

Can Betta Live Without A Filter?

Bettas are aquatic animals and a filter isn’t a must for them to live in the aquarium. But if you consider ensuring a long lifespan for bettas, you cannot rule out the importance of having a filter on your tank.  Water reproduces bacteria from chemicals, foods, or other substances that threaten the lives of bettas.

See also  Do Betta Fish Need Air Pump?

The main reason behind using a filter on your aquarium is to keep your bettas bacteria-free.  Bettas’ water might get turbid with time. Changing the water frequently is of no use if you don’t use the filter.  Consequently, turbid water can make your bettas sick and the rotten substances can cause different water-borne diseases to infect your bettas.

Dirty water can weaken bettas’ immune system. Most importantly, long-lived bettas are habituated with natural filtration. So you need to bring a balance that facilitates a sound and healthy growth of your betta fish.

Are Filters Good For Bettas?

Not all filters are good for bettas. But the filter is undoubtedly a great option for bettas that live in the bowls or tanks. It provides oxygen to bettas, purifies the contaminated water that contains bacteria, and keeps your aquarium or tank clean to make bettas life wonderful.

There are a plethora of filters available in the market, including canister filters, sponge filters, HOB filters, and corner filters. Meanwhile, finding the best filter for bettas among many is pretty intimidating.

If you decide to buy the best filter for your betta tanks, you need to consider the following factors to not be deceived:

  • Level Of Noise: Bettas dislike the loudness of the filter. So, find the one that produces less sound.
  • Size Of Filter: Filter size depends on the gallon of water your betta tanks hold. So choose one that fits the best in your aquarium.
  • Size Of The Tank: While finding the best filter for your bettas, you need to consider the size of the tank first.
  • Filter Strength: You need to pick the one that comes with the best settings and features to generate sufficient power to filter your tank water for betta fish.
  • The Price: Spending cents on filters that don’t serve your purpose is just a waste. While purchasing, make sure the filter is price-worthy.

Do Bettas Like Sponge Filters?

Bettas like sponge filters because sponge filters provide more comfort and sufficient oxygen than any other filters. Besides, sponge filters generate a low current and provide a slow flow of water that bettas like the most. As the current in the tank is not strong, bettas enjoy their movement in the water.

How Long Can A Betta Fish Live Without A Filter?

Without a filter, a betta can survive up to 3 to 10 days. But normally a betta fish can live around 2 to 5 years as a pet. If you don’t use a filter for your bettas, the water might get turbid and water may reproduce harmful bacteria. Eventually, you will require frequent water changes. But it brings no good for bettas rather it lessens the lifespan of your bettas.

Should You Change Water Weekly Instead Of Using A Filter?

You shouldn’t change water weekly instead of using a filter on your betta tank. Changing the water frequently might help your bettas survive for a time, but it cannot be a long-term solution. Using a filter can clean your betta water tank from bacteria and debris. Bettas like clean water. On the contrary, changing the water weekly can depress your bettas.

Don’t Betta Fish Breathe Air And Prefer Muddy Ponds?

Bettas have a labyrinth organ that lets them breathe air at ease from the surface. Because of that bettas can survive in the least oxygen environment. In addition, bettas prefer muddy ponds as their origin is from murky, and shallow water. As bettas can breathe, they can adapt to any situation especially if you bring bettas home as pets.

See also  Can Betta Fish Play Dead?

But some toxins like nitrites, ammonia, and nitrates make the water dirty. These toxins are extremely sensitive and deadly to bettas. So I recommend you change the water regularly.

Why Do Pet Stores Keep Bettas In Fish Bowls?

Pet stores prefer keeping bettas in fish bowls to tanks because fish bowls are more decorative and cheaper than usual tanks.

They create an excellent sight. All you need for your bettas is to ensure them warm clean water and food to survive in the bowl. 

How To Choose A Filter For Your Betta Tank?

What filter would be the best for your betta tank depends on the type and size of your betta tank you have. The betta tank size helps you determine the flow rate of the water your betta requires and you can choose the filter accordingly. The filter will cycle the whole water of the tank 4 times an hour.

So you need to choose the filter keeping the things in mind like, how low the rate of the water should be, how much water or how many gallons of water your betta tank can hold. If the water flow is strong, bettas cannot swim comfortably because they don’t do well in fast-moving streams.   

Is The Filter Flow Too Strong For Bettas?

Most exotic pet lovers, especially those who keep bettas in the aquarium as pets, don’t know if their filter flow is too strong. The following signs will tell you if your filter flow is strong for bettas:

  • Bettas struggle to swim if the current is strong in the tank.
  • If bettas don’t swim straight, it means the filter flow is strong. 
  • Bettas avoid the areas in the tank where the current is strong.
  • Bettas hide under the plants or caves in your tank when they cannot stand the strong flow of the water. 

How To Adjust The Flow Rate Of Filter?

If you found your betta tank’s water flow rate is strong, you need to adjust your filter’s flow rate. Below I am going to tell the ways how you can adjust the filter flow rate for your betta tank:

  • Buy An Adjustable Filter Flow: The strong flow rate in the tank is not good for your bettas.If your filter doesn’t have the adjustable feature to adjust the flow rate, you should find an adjustable filter that can measure the rate of the water flow for bettas.
  • Decorate The Aquarium With Plants: To stop the current flow, you can decorate your betta tank or aquarium with plants and other substances. The plants and cave structures will help the flow rate of the filter slow down for bettas.

Wrap Up

Do bettas need a filter? The answer to this question has been the epitome of the entire article. Bettas need a filter for extending their lifespan. If you plan to have a betta as a pet in the future, I recommend you use a filter on your betta tank to let bettas enjoy and live peacefully.

Sharing is caring!

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.