Bettas are amazing! They can inhale oxygen from the air directly if there is a scarcity of oxygen in the tank. Maybe, that’s why a lot of betta owners ignore the importance of a filter.
It’s a huge mistake!
If you are willing to provide a healthy habitat for your betta, you must get a filter. Apart from the role of oxygen provider, a filter will ensure better water quality. The scarcity of oxygen in the water will not kill betta, but toxins, effluents, and odor will!
But how can you choose the best filter for a betta? It's like finding a needle in a haystack.
Don't worry; this guide will light you through.
A lot of fish keepers love this filter and for good reasons. It offers a much superior filtration process compared to other similar products.
There is another feature that makes it perfect for a betta tank. Other mediocre filters struggle with filtration if there is a low input flow rate. AquaClear, on the other hand, filters seamlessly even with a low input flow rate.
Moreover, due to their Re-filtration System, 50% more water gets filtered multiple times and has better surface contact between the input water and the filter media.
So, why is it in the first spot?
Simply because of offering a better quality product.
- A Hang on Back (HOB) type filter
- Has patented AquaClear Re-filtration System that filters water multiple times without increasing the output current flow
- Ensures multi-stage filtration (chemical, mechanical, and biological) with CycleGuard technology
- Filtration media contains AquaClear foam, activated carbon, and BioMax ensuring superior filtration
- Has adjustable flow rate control panel making suitable for shallow water fishes like betta
- Comes in five different sizes ideal for 5-gallon to 110-gallon tanks
Hygger is a widely popular name in the aquarium and fish keeping industry. Unlike the AquaClear filter, it is a sponge type filter – the best filter for a betta fish tank.
The filter is packed with tons of features, yet it is quite affordable. But you should never think of it as a “cheap” product. The quality is top-notch.
- It has multi-filtration functions that combine of bio-filtration, oxygenation, and mechanical filtering capability. At the same time, the water flow is drastically low making it a perfect option for bettas
- Comes with natural ceramic media balls that ensure natural growth of bacteria
- The small, coarse ceramic balls are covered by high-quality sponge that higher water absorption capability and creates a better habitat for nitrobacteria that to induce nitrogen cycle
- The water outlet is adjustable that rotates 360° and creates air bubbles
- Has Dual Sponge construction ensuring better filtration
- Comes with two suction cups that make the filter easy-to-install
3. Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter With Quad Filtration System – The Runner-Up
This model from Penn Plax has a massive number of fans due to reliability and superior quality.
You can see in the buying guide below that I have mentioned over and over to buy a filter that lets you adjust the current flow rate. This filter has not only a knob for that but also an adjustable water intake option.
Moreover, you will barely notice the current flow even at the default settings. The company claims that they have designed this model specifically for smaller fishes like betta.
Also, this is one of the most silent filters in the market right now. Other than some issues of durability for some customers, this filter is rock solid!
- Powerful filtration with three-stage water cleansing technology, the filter media is made of poly fiber cartridges
- Has a knob for adjusting the current flow rate as well as an adjustable water intake tube. This allows the users to have ultimate control over the filtration process
- Specially designed for aquarium-friendly fishes like betta as there is a minimum level of current flow
- This cascade design ensures extremely quiet operation
- The powerful pump has a flow rate of 20 to 300 gallons per hour depending on the model variation
- Has six variants suitable for small tanks (7 gallons) and large tanks (100 gallons)
4. Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber for Aquariums –Best Budget/Cheap Filter for Betta
What if you are looking for a small filter that you can use in your betta bowl? Tetra’s Whisper In-Tank filter is the model that you might be looking for.
This small hanging type filter is super easy to install. Due to having simple design ethics, it is also one of the easiest filters to clean.
Tetra went for simplicity and convenience rather than lucrative features while designing this filter. If you are looking for a cheap option that covers all the basics, then you should definitely consider getting this filter.
- In-tank filter type that is the smallest design for the filters
- Uses BioScrubber and Biobag materials as the filter media that is both cheap and eco-friendly
- Has the hanger style design with two suction cups that are the easiest to install
- Comes with a separable bottom impeller that you can remove for better and easier cleaning
- Suitable small tanks that work perfectly even in two of water
- Comes in five different sizes suitable for 3-gallon to 40-gallon tanks
5. Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter – A Premium Choice
What if you are not looking for a cheap option, but a filter that doesn't sacrifice quality for the sake of pricing? If that's true, then the Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power filter should be the option for you.
I am calling it a premium option not because of the price tag but for the superior three-layer filtration process. It can take care of dirt and debris, odor, and dangerous toxins with sophisticated filter media.
The design is quite stunning, and you can get the true noiseless experience. As I said, you don't have to compromise anything with this filter.
- A fully submersible design that you can place both vertically or horizontally
- The output current flow rates are easily adjustable. Moreover, you can set the height and the direction of the output current too so that you don’t cause any harm to your betta
- Has three-stage filtration with precise media element to prevent all possible harmful agents. For example, the dense foam layer blocks dirt particles and debris, activated carbon layer cleanses toxic materials and odor, and the patented BioGrid layer takes care of the harmful ammonia and nitrates
- Uses replacement cartridges for easier maintenance
- Has decent flow rate capacity of 57 gallons-per-hour to 155 gallons-per-hour depending on the variant you are choosing
- Has four model variations that you can use in small, medium, and large tanks
6. Marina Power Filter – Reliable and Efficient
Marina Power Filter focuses on creating a better biological filtration that will help you to maintain a closest-to-natural environment for a betta.
Just like all the good filters, you can control the output current flow of the filter. In short, it’s packed with all the goodness you might be looking for.
The biggest downside of the filter is that all three designs are usable only in the smaller tanks. If you have a large or even a medium-sized tank, you can't utilize this filter properly.
- It contains two filter cartridges, a Bio-Carb and a Bio-Clear type. Both the cartridges are made of Ceramitek which is a highly porous ceramic material that focuses on biological filtration
- It is compact in size with a weight of just above one pound. The design satisfies both practical and aesthetic appeals
- Comes with the very desirable adjustable flow control mechanism
- Easy to install and doesn’t require any priming before the start-up
- Comes in three sizes; all of them are designed for smaller tanks
7. Fluval 207 Performance Canister Filter – Best Big Tank Filter
You might be feeling down as I ruled out the option of getting the Marina Power Filter. Don't worry; the Fluval 207 Performance Canister Filter is the best large tank filter that you can have!
This model is a big leap from their previous generation. However, you should only consider getting this filter if you have a large tank or looking for the best filter for betta sorority.
- Fluval has implemented their patented eTEC technology in this tank. A big tank requires a more powerful pump! That being said, it has a filtration rate of 145 to 383 gallon per hour – one of the most powerful canister filters in the market
- Although being extremely powerful, it’s unbelievably energy efficient. It consumes only 10W which is equivalent to an LED bulb
- Despite having powerful motors, it’s very quiet. They claim to be 25% quieter than their successor
- Comes with larger feet stabilizers offering vibration damping capability and safety
- The valves are redesigned maintaining their AquaStop design aesthetics
- Single action dual Lift-Lock motorhead clamps, redesigned primer, and EZ-Lift media baskets have ensured the easier operation and more stability
Best Betta Filter Buying guide: Things to Consider
Before you jump into buying a filter for betta, you should be well aware of the available types of filters. Not all types are suitable for betta fish.
Betta naturally lives in low current flowing shallow waters. So, you need to create an environment that somehow mimics that living condition.
So, rather than choosing an expensive filter, you should go for a filter that you can customize and have total control over the flow rates.
First, check out the available types of filter:
1. Hang on Back (HOB) Filters
The Hang on Back or better known as the HOB is quite an expensive choice. These filters come with a powerful pump that pushes the dirty water through the multiple layers of filtration media.
These filtration media tend to vary from model to model. You can even attach different filtration media of your own choice in these filters.
Being a modern design, they are quite easy to maintain and cleaner than the rest of the designs. Moreover, as a HOB is an external type filter, it will not occupy so much space like an internal type.
However, there is a major issue with this type of filter – the current flow is often too high. If you put a HOB filter in a small betta tank, it might cause more trouble than being a help. The high current flow of HOB is often too much, making this betta fish filter too strong.
The ideal choice should be maintaining a low to zero current flow while cleaning the water in the tank.
So, if an HOB filter doesn't have a current speed modifier, you should avoid buying it. If you are so determined to get a HOB type as it is easy to maintain, you should get a bigger tank. Otherwise, look for other options.
2. Sponge Filters
A sponge filter operates on the basic fundamentals. It doesn't come with tons of lucrative functionalities, but it gets the job done perfectly for bettas.
Rather than using chemical filtration media, it uses sponge. Typically, an air pump is attached to the sponge to push air through the sponge. So, it acts as a biological filtration media.
A sponge filter can create the perfect natural environment that the bettas prefer the most. Moreover, these filters are rather weak and can’t create a powerful enough current flow.
So, the biggest disadvantage of this filter is a boon for the bettas!
Furthermore, you can be in total control over the current flow rate if you use a sponge filter as you are using an air pump. You can even use it without an air pump, air stone, or a powerhead. However, it's recommended that you use one. Otherwise, the filtration process wouldn't be good enough.
So, considering the need of betta fish, a sponge type filter could be the best option for them. They are cheap, easy to use, and have low current flow.
3. Canister Type Filters
These filters are functionally almost the same as the HOB filters. It also cleans water by pushing it through multiple layers of filtration media.
Functionally, they are very effective – powerful, robust, and filtration process is spot on. Technically, there is nothing wrong with this type. However, they can be a bit too powerful for a betta tank.
If you must use a canister filter, make sure the current flow rate is kept at a bare minimum level.
4. Under Gravel Filters
An under gravel filter is the go-to choice for a lot of fish keepers. The reasons are understandable too. They visually create an illusion of a natural aquatic environment and don't have any large visual buffer.
So, how do they work?
It consists of several tubes that pull dirty water beneath the layer of gravel or the substrate media. Then, the water passes through the gravels leaving all the debris and contaminations behind.
As the water doesn’t get any chemical treatment, it can cause trouble. After a while, the debris will accumulate nitrate and ammonia, making the living conditions harmful for fishes.
Some under gravel filters use powerheads for sucking the water beneath the substrate layer. It increases the current flow rate making the habitat less suitable for the bettas.
5. Corner Filters
A corner filter is another older variant that you might consider for a betta fish. It is quite similar to the sponge filters with some fundamental differences.
These filters are placed in the back (or corner) of the tank. It has an air stone that pushes contaminated water through the filtration media. Typically, the media is a combination of different materials so that it can filter the water mechanically, chemically, and biologically.
A user can choose his or her preferred combination of filtration media. It’s a big advantage as you can make the combination suitable for the betta.
Moreover, as the filter uses an air stone, it will keep the current flow to a minimum level. The air bubbles also give the tank an aesthetic vibe.
The third great thing about these filters is that they are cheap.
So, what’s the downside?
The filtration process is mediocre and difficult to change compared to modern filters like the HOB or the canister types.
Current Flow Rate
Naturally, a betta fish lives in the shallow water in the paddy fields in the tropical lands. Such shallow water has a minimum current flow rate. So, your tank should have a similarly low current flow rate.
So, always go for a filter that has a low current flow rate in default settings. Otherwise, choose one that offers you adjustability. Your job will be to pick an option that cleans water properly without creating a high current level.
It always a smart move to pick a filter that comes from a well-known brand. You should be looking for reliability rather than going for a feature-heavy option.
The Easier, The Better
A good filter is always easy to handle. If you need to spend hours to install the device or changing the filter media every time, it’s not worth it.
There are plenty of options available in the market that are relatively easier to install and maintain. You don’t need to get stuck with a “Cryptex!”
Can You Change the Media Frequently?
Having a filter means that it would get dirty eventually. If you don’t change the filter media regularly, the filtration efficiency will deteriorate.
So, you should go for a filter that offers better access to the media cartridges. Moreover, the design should be convenient so that you don’t damage other components of the filter while cleaning or changing the media cartridges.
These are the little things that create the differences between a mediocre filter and a good one.
How Big Is Your Tank/Aquarium?
One of the biggest mistakes that a new fish keeper makes is that they don’t install a filter fitting to the size of the tank. A filter can only filter a certain volume of water properly.
For example, if you install a filter that can only filter out 5 gallons of water in a 20-gallon tank, the filtration process would be up to no good. Moreover, it would cause put unnecessary pressure on the filter.
Moreover, you should also check the filter efficiency. Check the filter’s “gallons per hour” or “liters per hour” rating.
A less powerful filter will not cause that much of a harm, but an over-powerful filter can be life-threatening for bettas.
FAQ on Filter for Betta
What Are the Benefits of a Filter For Betta Tank?
- Betta will feel better and thrive in an environment rich with oxygen.
- Apart from supplying oxygen, a filter also removes debris and effluents from the water keeping the water fresh and clean.
- A chemical filter can get rid of harmful chemicals like ammonia and nitrates that might be life-threatening for bettas
- A biological filter helps beneficial bacteria to grow in the tank. It improves water quality while creating a better ecosystem.
- A good filter also keeps the tank cleaner making it suitable for single betta living in a smaller tank.
- Filtration process helps a betta fish to remain healthy, and they live longer.
How to Slow the Current Flow Down in A Filter?
Are Sponge Filters Good for Betta?
- As I have said before, the sponge filters are an excellent option for the smaller ornamental fishes like betta. This type of filter incorporates mechanical and biological filtration.
- As the sponge is a very dense material, it reduces the output flow to a great extent. Moreover, being a biological filter, it helps the good bacteria to grow.
- Both of these benefits work together to create the perfect living condition for the bettas.
- They are very cheap too. So, you can always buy one if you don't know how to set up a sponge filter for betta fish.
How Often Should You Clean a Betta Tank Filter?
- No, having a filter is not enough to keep the betta tanks clean. Even the filter needs to be cleaned.
- Before you begin, you should check the water quality first.
- Ask yourself, is dirty enough?
- A dirty tank will turn yellowish to greenish in color because of the ammonia contamination. A betta tank will eventually turn yellowish as their feces have level ammonia.
- Excessive ammonia can induce toxicity that can prove to be lethal for your fish! So, change the water periodically.
- If your tank already has a filter, you should change a fraction of water every week. The amount is as follows –
If you don't have a water filter, you have to replace all the water every week.
Can a Filter Hurt a Betta?
- Fish keepers are often afraid of installing a filter as they think it could hurt their betta. Such speculations are only true if the filter produces heavy current flow.
- As bettas are poor swimmers, heavy current flow will stress them and will eventually make them weaker. Moreover, if the filter suction power high, it can cause similar trouble too.
- As long as you have taken necessary measures to reduce the current flow rate, such accidents as highly unlikely to happen.
- So, the bottom line is – having filters will not hurt a betta as long as you are maintaining things properly.
If I am to name one to be the best filter for betta fish tank, I would definitely go for AquaClear Fish Tank Filter or Hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter. Both of these two are equally great loaded with features.
However, if you are looking for a sponge filter for betta, go for the Hygger's filter. The runner-up would be Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter as it gives total control over the input and out current flow.