Do Betta Fish Need A Filter? (Thorough Guide)

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Guide On Do Betta Fish Need Filter

Being a pet lover and specifically a fish enthusiast, I often come across people who really neglect the needs of their pets. These people aren’t bad humans; it’s just that they don’t have the proper knowledge of how to take care of their beloved pets.

A few days ago, I visited a friend, and he had gotten himself some pet fish, Bettas, to be specific. He had kept his fish in a simple fish bowl without any filters or heaters. Being a pet fish enthusiast, this wasn’t a very pleasing sight.

Upon enquiring, he told me that he read online that Bettas don’t need special care and can be kept in a simple fish bowl.

At this point, I realized that there are many people out there who don’t know how to properly take care of the bettas. So today, I will be telling you guys how to properly take care of your fish, specifically bettas. So stay with me till the end.


Do Betta Fish Need A Filter?


The very important question is, do betta fish need a filter? The very obvious answer to this is yes! Betta fish actually do need a filter. Yes, I am aware that there are circumstances where a betta can easily survive without a filter, but the chances of this happening are very slim.

Before we elaborate on why filters are important, let me first tell you what a filter does. As the name suggests, the primary function of a filter is to remove debris, rotten food, decaying matter, and other harmful substances.

image of an aquarium filter

Now coming to the point of why filters are important. These fish come from habitats that have free-flowing water, where there is less bacterial growth, and thus their immune systems are at less risk. When these fish are confined to a fish tank, the bacteria grow faster and cause health hazards for the fish.

The filter removes these bacteria and other toxins by sucking water in and passing it through different layers of sponges and other media.

Even though regular water changes are still necessary even with a filter, the frequency of those is reduced by using filters.


Why Are Filters Important For Your Betta?


As I previously said, these fish come from habitats that have a constant flow of water. This allows the water to be filtered naturally by removing any toxins, bacteria, and other harmful substances from the water.

Another benefit of using filters is that these filters are made of sponges. Due to this, they remove not only any harmful bacteria but also promote the growth of good bacteria.

image of imbellis betta fish
Credits: Navin Rai

The filters also keep the water moving. If the water stands still for a while, the carbon dioxide starts to dissolve in it, causing a change in its pH. This change in carbon dioxide levels and pH of the fish tank can greatly affect the health and growth of your bettas.

Using a filter to move water around also increases the oxygen level of the water, which is important for any aquatic plant that you have in the fish tank as well as your bettas.

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What Filter Strength Should I Use For Betta Fish?


Filter strength and pressure are not that hard to determine. This can be determined with some trial and error techniques. Just make sure that the pressure is not so high that your bettas start to get stuck in the current.

If the pressure is too high, this will start disturbing the fish and will cause them to get stuck in water currents. Another issue with high pressure is that sometimes fish get too close to the filter and, due to high pressure, get thrown away. This can cause physical injuries to your fish.

But make sure that the pressure is also not so low that water is not able to move around smoothly, making it stand in one place for a long time, which can change the carbon dioxide and pH level of the water, which can cause problems for the fish.


Do Bettas Need Heaters?


Different fish require different temperatures because of their natural habitat conditions. Bettas are tropical fish, which means that they need warm water most of the time.

Bettas can survive in cold waters as well, compared to other tropical fish, but cold water for an extended period can affect them.

Extended cold periods can result in bettas losing their appetite. So if your betta isn’t eating the way it used to, be sure to check if the water temperature is warm enough for them.

Cold temperatures reduce their metabolism, which results in a reduction in their food intake and slower food digestion. This can result in your bettas being bloated.


Different Betta Fish Habitats Without Filters


Keeping a fish without filters means that you will be majorly dependent on constant and frequent water changes and natural water filtrations. But performing water changes every day or every couple of days is not very convenient.

melano betta fish

So the best alternative is to produce such habitats that can perform filtration naturally. The very first thing that needs to be done is to find a way to keep the water flowing to avoid carbon dioxide accumulation in the water. For this, we can use underwater waterfalls. These will keep the water moving.

The next step is to line the bed of your tank with sea rocks and aquatic plants. These will filter the water naturally and will also provide a medium for good bacteria to grow.

We can also add forage or scup fish to the fish tanks. These fish are known for feeding on trash. That is, they will consume the majority of the excrement and trash collected in the tank.


Different Betta Fish Habitats With Filtered Tanks


Betta fish tank habitats with filters are comparatively much easier to build. You can add multiple different plants and rocks to the tank for aesthetic purposes. To provide these fish with a homely habitat, you can add some grass and tropical aquatic plants to the fish tank.

With this, you can use a heater as well to provide the perfect warm temperature for your fish. This will ensure that the fish can grow properly by having a proper diet. You can also add some reefs to the fish tank for your bettas to hide and rest.

You can also add some other tropical fish to the tank as well. Although there is a filter in this habitat, be sure to change your water at regular intervals.


How To Tell If The Filter Is Not Right For Betta Fish?


One of the major problems with filters is the water flow rate. Some filters have a very high flow rate, which can harm your fish. But how do we determine if the flow rate is too high for the fish? Well, the answer is very simple: by observing your fish.

image of blue and pink colored betta

If you see your fish struggling to swim in the direction of the filter or notice that the fish is being thrown away every time it gets near the filter, this means that the flow rate is too high and needs to be fixed.


Can I Turn My Filter Off At Night?


Although you can do this to save some electricity, I would not really advise doing this. As I explained, filters are a very important part of the fish tank and play a vital role in your fish’s health. Turning the filter off for an extended period can result in bacterial growth, which may harm the health of your fish.


Final Verdict:

Now to conclude everything that I said earlier, filters are an essential part of the fish tank. Be it bettas or any other fish; you should always add a filter to your tank to provide the best living conditions for your pet fish.

In addition to this, it is also good if you use a heater with your bettas so that they can get their perfect tropical conditions and can live a healthy life.

You should also change the water in your tank at regular intervals and not just be totally dependent on the filter to do all the work.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – How Long Can A Betta Fish Live Without A Filter?

A Betta can live up to 7 days without a filter. This time, spam can be extended if you have a habitat made in such a way that it does not require a filter, and you perform water changes at regular intervals.

#2 – Do Betta Fish Need A Filter In A 5 Gallon Tank?

The labyrinth organs in the bettas allow them to breathe from the surface of the water, which means that they might not need a filter in a big tank, but it is advised to use a filter to avoid inconvenience.

#3 – Do Betta Fish Need Air Pump?

Unlike much other fish, bettas do not require any air pumps. This is due to their labyrinth organ; they can breathe air from the surface of the water and do not require any additional air source in their fish tank.

#4 – Can A Filter Kill A Betta Fish?

As unrealistic as this may sound, a filter can actually kill a betta. This can be caused by the high water flow of the filter.