Can Betta Fish Live Without a Filter?

Betta fish need specific water requirements to stay healthy or survive. The water will have to meet certain parameters whether you’re using tap water or from other sources.

One of these parameters includes ensuring the nitrogen cycles are proper. An aquarium filter helps with nitrogen regulation. Therefore, filters are ideal for betta fish survival.

However, they can live without a filter if you make adjustments to the water often and monitor the nitrogen cycles.

Making It Safe for Betta Fish to Live Without a Filter

The labyrinth organ in betta fish allows them to survive in small bowls.

This is because they can breathe atmospheric air. As a result, Betta do not need a filter in the aquarium to survive.

That said, they will die if you do not change the water frequently.

Change the Water in the Aquarium

You will need to partially change the water in the aquarium if you don’t use a filter.

Ammonia builds up rapidly if there is no filter in the aquarium.

Your betta fish will eventually die if the ammonia build-up is not controlled. Furthermore, the fungus and bacteria will kill your betta fish.

Partially Replace the Water Once or Twice a Week

Partially change the water in the aquarium by 20% to 35% once or twice every week. Changing the water partially will ensure that the parameters stay consistent.

Make sure not to change the water completely. Doing so will shock or stress your betta fish, which can catastrophic to their health.

You should also make sure that the new water temperature is the same as that in the aquarium. Temperature changes can stress your betta fish.

A partial water change is also the right step because it won’t remove beneficial bacteria from the aquarium water. Ood bacteria develop in aquarium water when there are betta fish in it.

Thus, this bacteria will help betta fish stay healthy. Therefore, regular partial water changes will help betta fish survive without a filter.

Why Filters Are Ideal for Betta Fish

A filter in your betta fish aquarium is ideal for their health because the filter circulates water. It also enables nitrifying bacteria to settle on the filter media.

Therefore, the bacteria then break down the toxic ammonia that builds up over time. As a result, the water is safe and ideal for betta fish.

Aquarium Filter Help Make It Easier to Take Care of Betta Fish

Considering the filter will keep the water safe, you won’t need to partially change the water as frequently as you would without a filter.

Thus, it’ll make it easier for you to take care of betta fish, especially if you have a busy schedule.

Best Filters for Your Betta Fish

You should note that all types of filters are not suitable for a betta fish aquarium.

Betta fish are small and lightweight fish. Therefore, you must not get a powerful filter that can push them around in the water.

A Sponge Filter Is Ideal for Betta Fish

The best type of filter for a betta fish aquarium is a sponge filter.

AQUANEAT Aquarium Bio Sponge Filter up to 60 Gal Breeding Fry Betta Shrimp Fish Tank

These filters do not have strong currents, making it comfortable for betta swish to swim.

The weaker currents result from less amounts of water being drawn in and out of the filter.

Characteristics of a Sponge Filter

Sponge filters look a little different from regular aquarium filters.

They have an air stone that’s present within the sponge.

They may not look very attractive in your aquarium, but they are an effective waste management system.

If you’re unhappy about a sponge filter’s aesthetic design, place rocks and plants to hide it.

It’s a Mechanical Air Filtration System

A sponge filter is a mechanical air filtration system. At the sponge’s center, air bubbles travel down the air tube.

These air bubbles will then have to rise again. In that process, the bubbles allow the sponge to draw water.

The Sponge Is Large

The sponges on these filters are large. Therefore, they have a large surface area to enable the colonization of nitrifying bacteria.

As a result, sponge filters do an excellent job at maintaining proper nitrogen cycles in the aquarium water.

Moreover, you won’t have to change the water very frequently thanks to this filter.

What You Must Know About Sponge Filters

Sponge filters are ideal for betta fish, yes. However, you must ensure that you take the right steps to keep them working best.

You will need to clean the sponge filter frequently.

This is because detritus and debris will start to collect on the filter after some time. Therefore, it will stop water flow if you do not remove the debris and residue on the filter.

Changes in the water and airflow can affect the nitrogen cycles in the aquarium water.

Avoid Power Filters for Your Betta Fish Tank

Power filters are great for most types of aquariums. However, they can be harmful to betta fish.

This is because they provide high current, making it difficult for your betta fish to swim.

Power filters are especially a bad idea if your betta fish aquarium only has 10 gallons or less of water.

How to Tell If the Filter Is Not Right for Betta Fish

The easiest way to discern if an aquarium filter is not right for betta fish is to pay close attention to the water current. The water flow on your filter is too strong if:

  • Your betta fishes swim frantically against the water current
  • The fish seem to hide from the filter or stay away from it

You should change your filter if you observe any of the two situations above. If you already have a water filter, you don’t necessarily have to purchase a new one. You can place a tank sponge on top of your filter’s intake part.

The Ideal Setup for Your Betta Fish Aquarium

Setting up your betta fish aquarium in the best possible way is integral to their health, happiness, and survival. Here’s what you need to know.

Ideal Volume of Water in the Tank

If you have an aquarium with betta fish and small fish only, you don’t need a lot of water. Anywhere between 5 and 10 gallons of water is ideal for betta fish. An aquarium with a volume between 2.5 and 5 gallons is good too.

However, you will have to clean the filter or replace the water more frequently with this volume range.

A tank with less than 2 gallons of water is bad for betta fishes’ health. The water will get contaminated with fungus and algae too quickly for the filter to keep it clean. As a result, your betta fish may get sick and eventually expire.

A Heater

Betta fish need to live in a specific temperature range to survive. The temperature also must remain consistent to prevent them from experiencing stress. The ideal temperature range is 76 degrees Fahrenheit to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use a high-quality thermometer to measure the temperature.

The best way to keep the temperature in the correct range and consistent is to install an aquarium heater. Measure the temperature before installing the heater. After installation, switch on the heater and let it run for a few hours.

Next, measure the temperature with the thermometer again. The temperature should be in the ideal range.

You should only consider not using a heater if you are 100% sure that the room’s temperature will stay unchanged.

However, it’s best not to take the risk of not getting a heater for the tank.

A Sponge Filter

A sponge filter is the best type of filter for betta fish and other small creatures like shrimp.

Live Plants in the Aquarium

Keeping live plants in your betta fish is essential for creating a healthy environment.

These plants improve the water quality and prevent the growth of algae. It also helps stabilize the pH in the water by providing oxygen during the day.

In addition to a better environment, live plants will make your betta fish feel at home.

As a result, they can live comfortably for a long time. Moreover, some betta fish keep themselves protected within live plants. They also build bubble nests around them for additional comfort in their surroundings.

Some plants that you could consider getting include:

  • Anubias Nana
  • Amazo Sword
  • Java Moss
  • Water Sprite
  • Marimo Moss Balls
  • Anacharis
  • Pennywort

If you want to add a few silk plants, make sure there are enough live plants in the tank.

However, make sure to avoid any décor items with sharp edges to keep your fish safe.

Last Few Words

There is evidence to suggest that betta fish can live without a filter. However, it is ideal for their safety, health, happiness, comfort, and survival.

A tank without a filter is both risky and requires more work to keep it safe and clean.

Therefore, it’s best to get a sponge filter for your betta fish. There are many affordable options that can help prolong your fishes’ lives.

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