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The 5 Best Filters For Betta Fish Tanks

This post is for you if you are considering setting up a new betta fish tank or if you currently have one and are researching additional filtration options.

One of the most important aspects of fishkeeping is caring for your charges. Your betta's tank is their whole universe, therefore you must give an appropriate environment and the proper water parameters to keep them happy and healthy.

The world of aquarium filters can be confusing enough on its own, but when bettas' specialized needs are considered, things get even more difficult.

To assist you,  BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has compiled a guide to the best filters for betta fish tanks

First, we elaborate on why filters are necessary, then we review the most popular varieties and discuss what you should look for in a filter for your betta fish, and then we disclose our top five recommendations.

Looking for the optimal filter for your betta fish? Keep reading.


Aqueon Internal Quietflow Power Filter



The Aqueon Quietflow is an efficient type that delivers biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration. The fact that it delivers all three types of filtration indicates that it performs an outstanding job of maintaining clean water.

The Quietflow comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which is indicative of its high quality.

You may modify the flow rate, flow direction, and flow height, making it very adaptable to your betta fish’s demands.

What Size Tank does it accommodate?

There are four sizes available, accommodating 10, 15, 30, and 40 gallon tanks.

It it Simple to Use?

While the Aqueon Quietflow is simple to install, replacing the media cartridges requires removing the pump from the tank and opening it up, which may be a hassle.


  • Extremely quiet
  • Highly variable output flow
  • Providing mechanical, chemical, and biological filtering


  • Difficult to replace filter media
  • You cannot use your own media; only Aqueon cartridges are supported.


AquaClear Hagen Power Filter

If you’re searching for an effective, user-friendly filter for your betta fish, your search is over. This AquaClear type is equipped with mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.

In addition, its refiltration mechanism increases the water’s interaction with the filter medium, resulting in more efficient filtration.

Although the maximum quantity of water flow it generates is too much for a betta fish, the output may be adjusted to a more comfortable level for your betta.

According to fish keepers who have used it, this filter is robust, well-made, and dependable.

What Size Tank does it accommodate?

This type is intended for betta fish tanks between 5 and 20 gallons, which is ideal for the majority of betta fish tanks. However, it is available in four enormous sizes, allowing you to choose solutions for tanks up to 110 gallons.

It it Simple to Use?

As a HOB model, the AquaClear is quite simple to install. It is also easy to maintain and replace the filter media, since it is located outside the tank, so you simply open the media box and replace the cartridges.


  • Seven times as much filtering media as comparable models
  • Flow rate is easily adjustable.
  • Offers exceptionally efficient filtering


  • Not the most peaceful alternative
  • Requires manual filling prior to starting or resuming.


Penn Plax Cfu55Ug Fltr For 5.5 Gallon Aquariums

This under-gravel aquarium filter by Penn Plax is an excellent option for a tiny tank. It can be successful, but its efficacy depends on the substrate used to filter the water.

While some users assert that the water flow in a betta tank is optimal, others might disagree. Regarding bettas, a weaker air pump is preferable.

However, it appears to be a good and trustworthy option.

What Size Tank does it accommodate?

This specific type is only compatible with tanks up to 5.5 gallons, limiting its use.

It it Simple to Use?

All under gravel filters are simple to install when putting up a brand-new tank, but are very hard to add to an old aquarium.

Since they go under the substrate, you must begin with an empty aquarium, set the plate on the tank’s bare bottom, and then cover it with substrate before adding water.

The good news is that there is no media to change, as the substrate of your aquarium serves as filter media.


  • Requires little maintenance
  • Silent
  • Inexpensive


  • No chemical filtration
  • The substrate must be vacuumed to eliminate particles.
  • Can produce excessive water flow


Zoo Med Nano 10 Canister Filter, External

The Zoo Med Nano 10 is an incredibly efficient and effective compact canister filter that delivers mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration for excellent water quality.

This is a good option if you want a robust and dependable product that is unlikely to break down. It is more expensive than other options, but it is well worth the additional expense.

Regarding the output rate, opinions begin to diverge. Unfortunately, it is not adjustable, thus it is either at maximum power or off.

Some customers believe it produces a little amount of water flow, while others claim it is too powerful for their betta fish unless they disperse the water from the output.

What Size Tank does it accommodate?

The Zoo Med Nano 10 is appropriate for 10-gallon aquariums. Due to the inability to modify the flow rate, we do not suggest this product for betta tanks smaller than 10 gallons, since it will increase water movement.

It it Simple to Use?

We appreciate how simple it is to install this filter, and the fact that it is not buried in the tank makes it simple to replace the media.


  • Effectively filters mechanically, chemically, and biologically
  • Extremely quiet
  • Simple to use


  • No flow modification
  • Not the most affordable choice in this list


AZOO Mignon Filter 60

Although the AZOO Aquarium Mignon Filter 60 isn’t the most effective when using the included media, you may easily change it with your own media to get more than sufficient efficiency for a small aquarium.

The flow rate is simply adjusted, allowing you to generate calmer water for your betta fish if it is too powerful at full strength.

This is not the most lasting and dependable filter available; it is more of a budget type; nonetheless, it is quite affordable.

What Size Tank does it accommodate?

It is only appropriate for tanks up to 3.5 gallons, thus many betta owners will find it insufficient for their aquariums.

Is it Simple to Use?

As with other HOBs, the AZOO Aquarium Mignon Filter 60 is incredibly simple to install, replace, and clean the internal media.


  • Area for the use of filter media of your choosing
  • Runs very quietly
  • Modifiable flowrate


  • The provided media are ineffective.
  • Requires manual refilling after being turned off


All of the aforementioned filters are of good quality and appropriate for betta aquariums. We never discuss or propose equipment that is unsuitable for its intended use or will not perform effectively. However, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) must select the best filters for betta fish tanks and winner for our compilation, and in this situation, we would say:

The Aqua Obvious Power Filter is the clear winner. It is available for aquariums ranging from 5 to 110 gallons, has many levels of interchangeable filtration, and is all-around excellent. It is very effective, widely used, well-reviewed, and favored by current and former owners.


How do You Reduce the Flow Rate of a Filter’s Current?

There are several options available. If your model’s flow rate is changeable, you may simply reduce it. If it isn’t, you may try decreasing the outflow using a store-bought or handmade baffle or by partially obstructing the filter’s intake.

Alternatively, you might add several embellishments to disrupt the water’s flow and create pockets of stillness. Consult this excellent post to understand more about these techniques.

How to Confound a Filter

Using a filter baffle to slow the flow rate is a simple do-it-yourself technique that may be accomplished in several ways. Anything that is safe to put in the water and slows the flow of water without stopping it will work.

A plastic water bottle may be trimmed to fit over the outflow mechanism. Alternatively, you might utilize a sponge filter to diffuse the flow. Additionally, you can wear pantyhose. Follow this link for a look at a few of other techniques.

How frequently should a Betta tank with a filter be cleaned?

This will depend in part on the size of the tank and the number of other critters that share it with the betta. Expect to do a weekly water change of 20-40% on average.

The substrate may also be vacuumed once per week. However, this might potentially be extended to every two weeks. You must make your own determination depending on the amount of debris you detect during cleaning.

Bettas: Are sponge filters beneficial?

Sponge filters are ideal for delicate ornamental fish and weak swimmers because to their mild mechanical and biological filtering. Using a sponge filter to clean your betta’s water is an excellent technique to avoid damaging his fins.

Will a Filter Hurt a Betta?

As bettas are weak swimmers, some people are scared to use a filter in their tanks for fear of harming the fish. Filters that generate powerful currents can harm or stress your betta, but the risk of being sucked into the intake pipe is far greater!

However, it is still necessary to have one to maintain clean and healthful water. Don’t let these concerns deter you. Using a filter with a low flow rate or baffles to reduce the flow will safeguard your betta from injury.

Can Betta Live Without a Filter in a Bowl?

Yes, they can survive in a bowl without a filter, but they won’t thrive (unless you’re really knowledgeable and skilled in alternate water management practices!)

Bettas don’t produce much of a mess and like slow-moving water, so many individuals believe it’s OK to keep them in small bowls or cups.

However, it is more healthier and more enriching to maintain your betta in a decent tank with a filter, even if the tank is somewhat tiny. Simply pick a filter with a low flow rate or cover the filter to make it betta-friendly.

Buyer's Guide

Why do Betta tanks require filtration?

Some people assume that betta fish do not require a filter in their tank since they can come to the surface of the water and breathe air.

Although this is true, it does not mean that your betta does not require a filter, as aquarium filters do more than only supply oxygen to the tank water. Here are several justifications for installing one:

  • While betta fish may survive in water with little oxygen, they flourish when there is more of this vital element.
  • In addition to cleaning the water, aquarium filters remove dirt and debris, such as uneaten food and fish excrement, from the tank.
  • Chemical filtration filters assist in removing hazardous compounds from water, such as ammonia and nitrates.
  • If you select a model with biological filtration, it will provide a habitat for beneficial bacteria, so enhancing water quality and contributing to a balanced environment.
  • Due to the fact that male betta fish must live alone, they are frequently housed in tiny aquariums without filtration, and it can be difficult to keep such aquariums clean through water changes alone.
  • Generally, Betta fish housed in an aquarium with filtration are healthier and live longer.

Which Filter Types Are the Best?

Now that you understand why your betta needs a filter, let’s examine some of the most common varieties available.

Since bettas dislike water currents, one of the most important qualities we’re searching for is the ability to reduce the flow rate.

Sponge Filters

This is one of the oldest and most fundamental filtering methods. How do sponge filters function? By means of rising air bubbles, they force water through a sponge, providing biological and some mechanical filtration.

Due to their lack of strength, they have gone out of favor and are mostly primarily employed in fry and hospital tanks.

Nevertheless, since sponge filters are driven by an air pump, it is simple to reduce the flow rate to keep your betta fish content.

HOB Filters

Hang on Back (HOB) filters are a strong kind that employ a pump to force water through various filtering media (the material used varies by model) and back into the tank via the return line.

Without adjustment, many HOBs with a significant output flow are inappropriate for betta fish. However, several models enable the flow rate to be reduced without compromising performance.

However, because betta tanks are often tiny and HOBs are exterior to the tank, they are popular because they provide extra space within the aquarium for the residents.

Canister Filters

Canister filters, like HOBs, force water through a mixture of filtration material. Although highly efficient, they may be too potent for the common betta aquarium. If you pick a canister type, the output rate must be adjustable to a very low flow.

Under Gravel Filters

Under gravel filters consist of a plate that rests beneath the substrate and a number of intake tubes that draw water down and back up through the substrate.

The beauty of a UGF is that the substrate itself functions as a filter medium, however this means that debris can accumulate in the gravel, and because there is no chemical filtration, nitrates and ammonia levels can be elevated in tanks using these substrates.

Some under gravel versions have powerheads on the intake tubes, making the water flow too powerful for betta fish.

A Note on Current Reduction

Obviously, the best course of action is to get a filter that is suitable for your betta fish and does not generate a current in the water. However, if you discover that your carefully selected model generates more water flow than you anticipated, there are several ways to lessen the current.

A flow baffle is essentially anything that may be used safely to partially block or disperse the output or return flow pipe. Both mesh screens and (clean, unused) soap dishes can be utilized to divert water flow.

Many betta keepers also place pantyhose over the water intake pipe to restrict water flow through the filter and preserve the betta’s fins.

Some individuals additionally prefer to construct a screen out of live plants or appropriate tank ornaments in front of the discharge flow to assist disperse the water and give a tranquil environment for their betta.

What to Look for in the Most Effective Betta Filters

What should you specifically look for in a betta aquarium filter? These are some of the most crucial characteristics.

  • A low production rate. As mentioned previously, betta fish do not thrive in flowing water. Select a device with a low (or readily adjusted) output rate to prevent it from generating a current.
  • It should go without saying that the model you choose should be effective. If does not maintain the water clean enough for your betta, then it is inadequate for the task.
  • It is undesirable for your filter to malfunction or be unpredictable. Choose one from a reputable brand that is well-made, sturdy, and dependable.
  • Simple to use. Something is wrong if you feel like you need a master’s degree in engineering to operate your selected aquarium filter. Choose one that is straightforward to install, configure, and launch.
  • Media access. The majority of filtering media must be updated or cleaned on a regular basis, therefore it will make your life easier if each type of media is easy to access and replace without bothering the others. If your selected filter takes only particular cartridges, ensure that they are readily available.
  • In accordance with the size of your tank. You must pick a filter that is neither too strong nor insufficiently powerful for the size of your aquarium.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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