Best Filter for Betta Fish

Like most parents, you’ve probably done your research on fish before apprehensively saying yes to your children’s pleading requests for a pet, wanting to make sure you choose one that’s easy to look after. 

If that’s the case, then you’ll know that bettas can survive in conditions that require much less maintenance than other breeds of fish. But even so, a filter can make all the difference in improving their quality of life whilst reducing the level of care they need. 

There are a few things you’ll want to consider when purchasing the right filter for your betta, including the type of tank you have, how many fish live in it, and how frequently you’ll need to clean it. 

To save you fishing around for the best filter for betta fish, we’ve compiled some of the key information you’ll need to know and reviewed 5 of the best available on Amazon.

OUR TOP PICK

Our catch of the day is the highly rated AquaClear HOB filter which is ideal for tanks that are 5-20 gallons in size. 

This easy to install filter is incredibly versatile and doesn’t require too much maintenance, although cleaning is recommended every 2 weeks to keep things running smoothly and quietly. 

To avoid causing stress to your fish, you can control the water flow thanks to the patented AquaClear re-filtration system, and a slower flow rate means up to 50% of water is filtered multiple times. 

It effectively performs all stages of filtration and the power filter has a volume that’s 7 times as large as other branded filters. Included is an AquaClear foam, an activated carbon filter, and AquaClear biomax to create a healthy environment for your bettas.

Pros:

  • Multistage filtration
  • 3 media filters included
  • Easy to install
  • Adjustable flow control 

Cons:

  • Clean every 2 weeks

EDITORS CHOICE

The second filter we recommend is the Lefunpets corner filter which is the most affordable option on this list and fits neatly into any fish tank. 

It’s highly efficient despite it’s small, compact size and surprisingly quiet operation, which is perfect for smaller tanks up to 10 gallons in size, although you may want to boost performance with a HOB filter if your tank is on the larger size. 

It provides effective aeration and oxygenation levels to improve the quality of the water in your tank whilst keeping it clean with both mechanical and biological filtration. 

You’ll need to replace the filter media ever 6 weeks but it’s completely detachable to facilitate this and to make cleaning even easier. 

Pros:

  • Compact design
  • Effective filtration
  • Highly oxygenating
  • Easy to clean and replace media 

Cons:

  • Not suitable for larger tanks

BEST VALUE

Next on our list we have the Fluval 207 canister filter, redesigned to require less pumps and featuring a number of improvements including being 25% more durable, energy efficient, and easier to use with even quieter operation. 

Suitable for larger tanks up to 40 gallons in size, this filter will sit below the level of the tank to provide effective aeration and water filtration through all stages to keep your bettas happy. 

It’s easy to install and the media can be changed without difficulty. However, you may need to install a baffle due to prevent the high outlow causing stress to your fish.

Pros:

  • Effective, powerful filtration
  • Filters up to 40 gallons of water
  • Long Lasting

Cons:

  • Can disrupt a pre-established ecosystem at first
  • The water flow may be too high for betta

RUNNER UP

Next up is this Lefunpets sponge filter. It provides ultimate biological filtration to help your betta fish thrive thanks to an innovative design, featuring 6 vertical sections and a cylindrical shape. 

Best suited for smaller tanks, it operates effectively in enclosures that are 5-10 gallons in size, although you may find this takes up slightly more room than other filtration systems.

It’s air powered for quieter operation and an extended lifespan, and it connects simply to the air pump and the filter to ensure highly oxygenated water for your fish to thrive in. However, please note that an air pump and hose require separate purchase. 

You won’t have to worry about the airflow harming your fish as the only thing this filter will be trapping is debris in order to clean your tank, and it’s easy to clean thanks to the detachable parts for simpler maintenance. 

Pros:

  • Highly effective biological filtration
  • Quiet operation
  • Unique design to enhance performance
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Takes up space in smaller tanks
  • Air pump and hose not included

RUNNER UP

The final product on our list is this mini internal power filter from Koller, which is perfect for those who want an unobtrusive filter for smaller tanks that are between 1-10 gallons in size. 

It has an adjustable flow rate and can filter 10-45 gallons per hour for effective aeration, but the powerful performance won’t disrupt you or your fish thanks to its quiet operation. The energy efficient filter uses a low-voltage supply in order to prevent excessive disturbance to the water, as this could be stressful for your bettas. 

The filter helps to maintain crystal clear water for your bettas to keep swimming in using a foam block for biological filtration and activated carbon to break down waste materials in your tank. 

It easily installs on the side of your tank using suction cups and it features an integrated spray bar for improved water flow throughout the tank. 

Pros

  • Small, compact design
  • Quiet operation
  • Multistage filtration for healthy ecosystem

Cons

  • Plug can become warm to touch

Best Filter for Betta Fish Buying Guide

Do Bettas Need a Filter?

Helping your bettas thrive in their environment is even easier with the addition of a filter. Without one, bacteria and disease can spread through your fish tank the same way they would in a fishbowl, another common type of housing for bettas. 

They help to increase the oxygen levels in your tank which fosters the growth of microorganisms within small ecosystems. This all works together inside your tank to break down any uneaten food or waste to prevent a build-up of bacteria. 

Whilst you could technically forget the filter and clean your fish tank by hand, we highly recommend installing one for happier, healthier fish. 

Types of Filter

Canister Filters

Suitable for use in most fish tanks regardless of size, canister filters offer powerful filtration by pumping water through a pressurized external canister before it re-enters the tank.

They tend to be discreetly located either underneath or behind your fish tank so as not to draw focus from your beautiful bettas, and they’re quiet while they operate. 

While their high water flow rates are great for aeration, they can be stressful for your fish because of the pressurized outflow. However, you can mitigate this by installing a baffle. 

Sponge Filters

Sponge filters are an inexpensive choice that are great for a thriving ecosystem as they encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. You can choose to add a carbon filter if necessary, but there’s otherwise no need for chemical filtration as they provide both mechanical and biological stages. 

The porous spongy material filters the water by using an air stone to create circulation instead of using a pressurized pump. There’s less disturbance to the water with this method, which is perfect for betta fish. 

They’re not very inconspicuous, so you may have to get creative in turning your filtration system into a feature within your tank, but there are plenty of decorative fish tank accessories to help you with this.

Hob Filters

Designed to hang-on-(the)-back of your tank for easy access to the media, HOB filters draw water through a filter which covers the three main types of filtration: mechanical, biological, and chemical. 

Their mechanical filtration is better than you’d find with a sponge filter, but the sponge is superior when it comes to biological filtration which can be a good way to prepare your tank for you to later switch to a hob filter. 

Adjustable flow rate will be an important factor as otherwise the high pressure can be stressful for your betta fish, but with slower flow rates, the water is processed a number of times for effective filtration. 

Undergravel Filters

As the name suggests, this type of filter is positioned under the gravel in the form of a set of plates. They filter water which travels past the gravel along the bottom of the tank to provide excellent mechanical and biological filtration. 

They require more maintenance than other types of filters as bits of debris or dirt can end up trapped inside the filter which can affect their performance. 

It can also produce a strong outflow despite their ability to reduce currents along the bottom of the tank, which can cause issues for your fish.

Corner Filters

As one of the most traditional types of filters, corner filters are best suited for tanks that are 25 gallons or less in size. They usually sit in one of the back corners and can be customized to perfectly suit your betta fishes’ needs. 

Water is forced through the filter by an air stone to provide mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. This ensures a gentler airflow so your fish can just keep swimming.

They’re also affordable, but changing the media is a lengthier process and it can be tricket than with canister or HOB filters. 

Internal Power Filters

Finally, we have internal power filters. These have an internal flow meter which allows you to adjust the airflow to face pretty much any direction. 

They’re great for smaller fish tanks and help to redistribute the water flow to keep your fish swimming happily. 

You’ll have less control over the filtration media which isn’t ideal for tanks that struggle to maintain balance in their tank’s ecosystem, but works effectively in already-clean environments. 

So Which is the Best Filter for Betta Fish?

In terms of keeping your fish healthy, the two most important factors include the following: 

Flow Power

Betta fish prefer calmer water, so the first thing to look out for is a filter that won’t disturb the water too much. This can affect their ability to swim or cause unnecessary stress to your bettas which can harm their overall happiness and health. 

Some filters are adjustable, or if you find your fish are struggling with the level of water flow you can install a baffle on certain filters to prevent too much disruption to the water. Hanging filters are also an option to reduce motion in the water.

Filtration Stages

The three main stages of filtration in an aquarium are mechanical, biological, and chemical, and each one plays a role in maintaining the ecosystem in your tank. 

       1.  Mechanical: First, particles are removed from the water using media such as ceramic cylinders, filter floss, or porous sponges. 

      2.  Biological: The next stage breaks down waste and lingering bits of food with the help of useful bacteria, which is encouraged to grow using permeable ceramic cartridges or bio-ball media. 

      3.  Chemical: To re-balance the tank’s water chemistry, this final filtration step eliminates any lingering impurities which carbon is often used for. 

As the balance of your tank’s ecosystem can be delicate, you’ll need to consider what media your tank will need depending on what other fish you have living in your tank.

Ultimately, the best type of filter for your bettas will depend on a few different variables, including tank size, the number of fish, and your aesthetic preferences.

You may also want to consider how easy it will be to access and clean your filter and how difficult it will be to change the media, as this will determine how much effort is required for maintenance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my tank?

The frequency with which you’ll need to change the water in your tank is drastically reduced when you install a filter, in fact, it’s actually not recommended as much because you’ll disturb some of the benefits of the filtered water. 

With that being said, you’ll still need to change 25-50% of the water in your tank every week and aim to complete a thorough clean each month. For larger tanks, changing about 15% of the water every couple of weeks will suffice and you get away without deep cleaning for another month or two. 

How many betta fish should I have in one tank?

Male bettas should be kept separately and out of sight to avoid stress, whereas depending on the size of your tank (and their temperaments!) female bettas can live together in small groups. You’d need a minimum of a 20-gallon tank for a group of about 5 bettas.