Do Betta Fish Need a Filter? No!

Do Betta Fish Need a Filter

No, betta fish do not need a filter! Although some fish owners worry that their betta cannot survive without one, this is definitely not the case. Betta fish have evolved over many years in shallow puddles and slow-moving streams where there is no filtration system of any kind. 

As such, they are incredibly adaptable to all kinds of environments, meaning that familiarizing them with a tank set-up without a filter is both safe and simple.

All you need for a happy and healthy betta fish is some fresh water, a good supply of food, and an environment with good circulation so that their gills can get their necessary oxygen.

EpicFishTank Note:

It is important to remember that without a filter, there will be an increased burden for the betta keeper to perform frequent water changes and keep the tank clean as much as possible.

How to care for a betta fish without a filter?

Caring for a betta fish without a filter can be a bit tricky, but it can be done with a little extra effort.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Clean water: Betta fish produce a lot of waste, so you’ll need to change their water frequently to keep it clean. A good rule of thumb is to change about 50% of the water once a week.
  2. Proper temperature: Betta fish like water that’s between 76-82°F, so make sure to use a thermometer to check the temperature before you add your fish.
  3. Aquarium size: Betta fish are small, so they don’t need a lot of space. A 2-5 gallon aquarium is plenty.
  4. Plants and decor: Betta fish like to have some places to hide and explore, so add some plants and decorations to their tank.
  5. Food: Betta fish are carnivores, so feed them high-quality pellets or frozen or live food like brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms. Don’t overfeed them, as uneaten food can pollute the water.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to keep your betta fish healthy and happy even without a filter.

Can betta fish live in a bowl without a filter?

💡Yes, betta fish can technically live in a bowl without a filter. However, it is not recommended as it can lead to poor water quality, increased stress and health problems for the fish.

The lack of filtration system in the bowl means waste products and other contaminants will build up in the water, leading to a decline in water quality.

Additionally, a small bowl does not provide enough space for the fish to swim and can cause poor water circulation, which can also harm their health. It is recommended to provide betta fish with a filtered and appropriately sized tank for their optimal health and well-being.

Should betta fish have a filter?

betta fish tank with heater and filter
betta fish tank with heater and filter

While it is not necessary to buy a filter for their tank, having a filter in a betta fish’s tank is an excellent way to maintain the highest quality of life for your betta.

A filter helps to remove waste and harmful substances from the water, which can accumulate quickly in a fish tank, leading to poor water quality. Poor water quality can cause stress, disease, and even death in betta fish.

Filters also help to maintain proper oxygen levels and water flow, which is essential for the health and well-being of betta fish.

Using a filter in the betta tank helps to reduce the amount of maintenance required, as well as making the water cleaner and healthier for the fish. The filter assists in performing some of the nitrogen cycle processes, such as removing toxic nitrogen compounds from the tank. 

Nitrogen cycle helps eliminate ammonia levels and other pollutants that can be hazardous to your betta’s health. By using a filter and providing proper maintenance on it, you can create an ideal environment for your betta fish to thrive in. Learn how to cycle your aquarium here.

EpicFishTank Note:

It’s important to note that this process can take several weeks and it’s important to monitor the water parameters regularly and make adjustments as necessary to maintain the health and well-being of the fish.

How long can a betta fish live without a filter?

betta tank without filter

Betta fish are resilient creatures and can survive without a filter in a tank, as long as the water is kept clean regularly.

While the optimal living conditions for a betta include a heated aquarium with an appropriate filtration system, it is possible for one to live up to two years in a filterless tank.

This requires frequent cleanings of the tank and water changes at least twice weekly, or whenever the water appears cloudy. With proper care and attention, your betta will remain healthy without requiring use of a filter.

Best water change frequency for filter less betta fish tank

Betta fish may be able to survive without a filter, but it isn’t the most ideal for their long-term health. Without a filter, water changes become more frequent to keep water fresh and clean.

A filter helps make your work much easier by running water through a filter before releasing it back into the tank which keeps water quality maintained.

Depending on your betta tank size, here is the frequency at which you should change the water to ensure a healthy and happy habitat for your fish.

Tank SizeWater Change Frequency
1 gallon50% water change every 2-3 days
2.5 gallon50% water change every 3-4 days
5 gallon50% water change every week
10 gallon50% water change every 1-2 weeks
20 gallon25% water change every 2-4 weeks
30+ gallon25% water change every month


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Reza Darmesta Agustiar Avatar

Reza is a digital marketer and an avid freshwater aquarist. He's been keeping fish tanks for more than 10 years and has always been fascinated by the delicate balance of life in water.

Reza loves to share his knowledge about both digital marketing and fishkeeping with others, and he is always happy to help new aquarists get started in this rewarding hobby.

Winahyu Drajat Wibisono Avatar

Wibisono is a freshwater fish breeder who raises and breeds different species of ornamental fish like betta, guppy, flowerhorn, and goldfish. He has been in the business since 2018 and exports his fish to different countries. He is committed to providing high-quality and healthy fish to his customers.

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