When you add a betta fish to your family you want to make sure they have the best filter possible to keep their environment squeaky clean.
But betta fish are finicky little creatures and many filters are too strong for them and will create an aquarium they hate living in.
Luckily, we’ve done an extensive amount of research to tell you which filters are the best for betta fish.
Why you need filters for betta fish
Aquarium filters for your tank are necessary for a few reasons.
First, it helps keep the tank water clean by filtering toxins, ammonia, and nitrates out of the tank. This helps create a clean environment for your fish to live in, keeping your betta fish healthy. Filters introduce water movement, getting rid of stagnant water that can promote the growth of harmful bacteria and carbon dioxide buildup.
Next, filters aerate the tank and introduce oxygen into the water. Water oxygenation is crucial to ensure your fish can breathe adequately in all areas of the tank.
It is important to carefully consider what you’ll use for your betta fish filter. Some aquarium filters are too strong for betta fish, causing damage to their fins and making it difficult for them to swim against strong current. Betta fish tanks need a more gentle filter compared to other fish.
Listed below are a few of our favorite betta fish filters, as well as what to avoid when buying a betta fish filter.
Types of filtration
The filtration process has three stages to keep a tank clean: mechanical, chemical, and biological.
Mechanical filtration removes the solid particles. These filters hold onto debris, such as uneaten food, and need to be changed regularly to ensure they do not get clogged.
Chemical filtration removes dissolved debris from the water, getting rid of odors and discoloration. This stage of the filtration process removes debris that was too small for the mechanical filtration media to catch, and is an important step in keeping your betta’s tank clean.
Biological filtration breakdowns and transforms ammonia into less harmful substances. This filtration stage keeps some beneficial bacteria while removing unwanted chemicals in your fish tank, which is important to the water quality.
5 best betta fish filters
1. AquaClear CycleGuard Power Filter
For many years, the AquaClear CycleGuard Power Filter has proved to be one of the best aquarium filters. This filter is popular among aquarists everywhere due to its effective ability to keep the tank clean, and its adjustable current rate. It is a hang-on-back style filter which creates a gentle and low flow power into your betta tank. The flow rate of this filter can be adjusted, ensuring the most flow rate for your betta fish. Betta fish require low flow filters to replicate their native environment. They originate from slow moving ponds, and their delicate fins could get damaged with a higher current.This gentle current makes it a great betta fish tank filter.
The AquaClear filter uses three different filtration media to ensure your betta fish tank is kept clean. The first layer of foam filters out bigger debris, such as fish waste and uneaten food. The second layer of activated carbon helps to absorb odors, and get rid of debris that has dissolved into the water. The third layer of ceramic rings allow for some healthy bacteria to reenter the water, creating more stable levels in your aquarium. If bacteria levels are not stable, your betta fish can develop illnesses that could be fatal. While some healthy bacteria is good for the tank, it is crucial to ensure harmful bacteria is filtered out.
This filter is a bit more expensive than some of the other styles of filters available, but has proved to be worth the money. It can cause some extra water splashing and evaporation due to the hang-on-back style, and it is a bit bulkier than some of the other options. These few downfalls don’t seem to deter many aquarists, as this filter is one of the most popular filters on the market.
This filter is great for betta fish as you can control the flow rate. It’s a gentle and effective filter for your betta tank! The AquaClear filter is also a popular choice for community tanks as it is great at keeping your tank clean.
- Adjustable flow rate – gentle enough for a betta tank
- Multi-stage filtration system keeps the tank really clean
- Good for a community tank
- Can be big and bulky
- Can cause more tank evaporation due to the lidless style
- A bit more expensive
2. Sponge filter
Sponge filters are another popular choice when it comes to aquarium filtration in betta fish tanks. Sponge filters differ from power filters mainly in how simple they are. Sponge filters are mainly advantageous for mechanical filtration, and are an inexpensive option for betta fish filters. Sponge filters, like the Hygger Quiet Aquarium filter, are also great for betta fish tanks because of how gentle they are.
These filters require three parts to function: the sponge filter, an air pump, and a tube to connect the two. The air pump pushes air through the tube, creating suction for the sponge. This enables the sponge to suck in debris, providing both mechanical and biological filtration systems. The Hygger filtration system comes with suction cups to hang onto the inside of your tank. This makes installation easy and ensures your filter stays in place.
There are a few downsides to sponge filters. They can take up a large amount of space in your tank, and are not the most aesthetically pleasing filters to look at. Some sponge filters make a slight bubbling noise that some may find irritating, however it is usually not bothersome enough to outweigh the pros.
Overall, sponge filters are a great, inexpensive filter for your betta fish.
- Gentle, low current – great for a community tank
- Inexpensive – great value for cost
- Easy to maintain – few mechanical components
- Takes up space inside the tank
- Can make a bubbling noise
- Not aesthetically pleasing
3. Tetra Whisper Internal filter
The Tetra Whisper Internal filter is another good betta fish filter. While it can create too strong of a flow in smaller tanks, it is a great filter for tanks ten gallons and larger.
This filter provides a three stage filtration system to your betta tank. First, the Bio-Bag catches and holds debris and fish waste. Next, the carbon removes odors and discoloration from your tank. Finally, the Bio-Scrubbed provides biological filtration, breaking down ammonia and other nitrates in the tank while keeping some beneficial bacteria.
This filter can be a bit large and bulky for smaller tanks, which is another reason we recommend it for at least a ten gallon tank.
The Tetra Whisper Internal filter is great for a betta fish tank as it is gentle enough while still keeping the aquarium clean.
- Three stage filtration system
- Can create too strong of a current in smaller tanks
- Somewhat bulky – sits inside the aquarium taking up space
4. AZOO Aquarium Mignon Filter 60
The AZOO Mignon filter is a great budget friendly aquarium filter. It is a hang-on-back style filter, with a mechanical and chemical filtration system. It is quiet and can filter through quite a bit, keeping your aquarium clean!
The Mignon filter is best for smaller tanks up to five gallons in size. It has an adjustable flow rate, making it ideal for many kinds of fish including betta fish. This filter is easy to clean and maintain.
- Adjustable current flow
- Budget friendly
- Good choice for small betta tanks
- Not the best option for larger tanks
5. Aqueon Quietflow LED Pro Filter
If you have a ten gallon tank or larger, the Aqueon Quietflow LED Pro Filter may be a good choice! It is very quiet, and provides great filtration to the tank. This filter has mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration stages, producing a clean aquarium with improved oxygen levels.
Some people may find this filter to create a bit too strong of a current for their betta fish tank. Because of this, this filter is only recommended for larger fish tanks ten gallons and up. However, there are a few ways to lessen the strength of the current, such as with a bottle or a sponge over the outflow. Watch this video to learn how to baffle your filter with a water bottle.
- Very quiet
- Good at getting rid of ammonia and other nitrates with its effective chemical filtration system
- Great for tanks ten gallons and larger
- Could be too strong – no adjustable flow rate
- Can buffer with a plastic bottle or sponge over the outflow
- Can only use brand-specific filters
- A bit too big for smaller fish tanks
Not only are plants great for adding decorative pieces and providing shelter for your fish, but they are also a great source of biological filtration! They absorb ammonia and nitrates, and produce oxygen in your tank.
While plants are not a substitute for a filter in your aquarium, they are an inexpensive and easy way to add extra biological filtration to your tank. Betta fish love having plants in their tank to provide shelter and hiding places, and they also add a decorative touch to your aquarium.
If you want to add plants, consider these three:
- Marimo moss balls
- Java fern
What to avoid when buying a betta fish filter
Your betta fish needs a filter in its tank, but there are a few things to avoid when choosing a filter.
Avoid high powered filters that make create too strong of a flow for your betta fish. This can stress your betta fish and make swimming around difficult for them. It could even damage their fins.
Also avoid filters that may clean out too much of the good bacteria in your aquarium. Betta fish require some healthy bacteria in the tank, so it’s important to ensure your filter is not cleaning out too much of the good bacteria. This will cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your tank. Look out for cloud or dirty water, or betta fish illnesses.
Proper betta fish care starts with choosing the right filter. Choosing the right betta fish filter will ensure your betta’s tank is clean and that their environment has the right level of flow.
Which filter will you be using for your betta fish? Drop a comment and let us know!