Do Betta Fish Need a Filter in Their Tank?

Unless you are a veteran fish keeper looking for a challenge, your betta fish need a filter.

As beautiful as they are, bettas are dirty. If you’re thinking about getting a few, you can expect to have to clean their tank routinely regardless of whether you have a filter.

Without a filter, you’d need to change the water in the tank very frequently and clean the tank just as often. A tank with a filter comes with many benefits, but so does a tank without a filter!

What are those benefits? Read on to find out!

Do Betta Fish Need a Filter?

Technically speaking, no, betta fish do not need a filter. They’re perfectly capable of surviving and living their everyday life without one.

However, a filter is a good safety net and eases a lot of strenuous tasks that are required when it comes to fish care.

Filters bring multiple benefits to you, your tank, and your fish!

Purple and Blue Betta

Benefits of Not Installing a Filter in Your Fish Tank

If you’ve been around fishkeeping for a while and are looking for a challenge, an unfiltered tank also has some good stuff to offer you. A major reason why people would prefer it is that a tank without a filter recreates a more accurate version of a betta’s ecosystem.

Although it requires a lot of attention, an unfiltered tank can sometimes be worth it since it gives the tank more time to develop beneficial microorganisms that can’t grow with a filter.

Moreover, a filter will definitely take your bettas some time to get used to.

In order to maintain the cleanliness of a fish tank, you need to do three important tasks:

Perform the former two tasks once a week whether or not you have a filter. However, if you don’t have a filter, you’ll need to change the water by 25% twice a week and 100% once a week.

Not being attentive to keeping the water in your tank clean can lead to the bettas’ tails or fins rotting. This is because the leftover food or feces turns into ammonia or nitrate over time, which can be deadly to your fish.

Another thing to note is that the smaller the tank, the more attention it requires since a smaller amount of water gets dirtier at a faster rate.

The Benefits of Installing a Filter in Your Betta Tank

Here’s what life with a filter in your fish tank can look like!

Waste Reduction

An average filter cleans your water of feces, leftover food, and harmful bacteria. This lessens the likelihood of your betta fish-catching any infectious diseases.


Filters don’t just clean the water, they also oxygenate it. This means that they supply the water with oxygen that benefits your bettas because they get easier access to oxygen from the water.

Good Bacteria

In place of the harmful bacteria that the filter removes, it grows beneficial organisms in the tank. These organisms build an enriching environment for your bettas.

Easier Maintenance

A filter decreases the amount of maintenance you’d need within a week. The level of maintenance required differs from brand to brand.

However, using an average filter will require only a 30% water change per week.

Maintaining a Tank With a Filter

A filtered tank is much easier to maintain and comes with several benefits. The important thing to note is that a filter should be compatible with your tank size.

If the filter is too strong, it will disrupt the flow within the water which will stress out your bettas because they won’t be able to swim properly.

We recommend a weaker filter for your tank size. For example, if you have a 10-gallon tank, try opting for a filter that is made for 5-7 gallons.

The best thing to do is buy a tank with a built-in filter that is made for bettas.

So that you can keep your bettas happy and safe, a filtered tank needs a 30% water change once a week.

Lucky for you, the filter takes care of the rest by neutralizing any dangerous chemicals in the tank such as ammonia or nitrate.

Lastly, an important tip when it comes to cleaning the filter itself, make sure to use tank water rather than tap water.

Blue Betta

The Best Filters for Bettas

Have you decided that buying a filter is the best option for you? Before you run out to the store, read a little bit more about the recommended types of filters that would best suit you based on your needs.

Tetra Whisper Internal Filter

The Tetra Whisper internal filter is a great option for people who don’t have too much experience with filters.

The filter is one of the most user-friendly choices in the market since it’s easy to use and comes with multiple automated systems. It unclogs itself, has a three-stage filtration process, and comes with a two-sided bio bag.

So, if you’re looking for a dependable filter, then this option may be the best for you.

Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter

The Penn-Plax Cascade canister filter is perfect for tank fanatics. If you have several tanks, or commonly change between them, the canister filter may be just what you need.

Why? Because it is super versatile!

The filter suits both freshwater and saltwater tanks and has a three-stage filtration process.

You can personalize the filter in many ways to better suit your tanks and the bettas that live in them.

The Recap

Bettas are independent fish and they can easily adapt and survive in different conditions.

However, just because they can survive without a filter, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be more comfortable with one.

So, do your bettas need a filter?

If you’d prefer to keep an unfiltered tank because you enjoy fish care and the attention it requires, then don’t bother with a filter.

But, if you want to make the job a little bit easier for yourself and guarantee extra safety, then buying a filter is never a bad idea.

At the end of the day, it mainly depends on what suits you and your fish!