Best Filter for Betta Fish (Low Flow Aquarium Filter Reviews)

best low flow aquarium filters betta

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Here is a guide to help you find the best filter for your Betta fish tank.

First, we’ll start with our top recommendations so you can make a quick decision if needed.

Then, we’ll give you a brief guide on selecting the best low flow aquarium filter for your Betta.

Next, we’ll give in-depth reviews of some of the best filters on the market based on your chosen setup.

Finally, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding the topic.

By the end of this article, you’ll not only feel confident selecting the best filter for your Betta tank setup, but you’ll know precisely what makes it so great.

Let’s dive in, shall we?


Best Betta Filters (Quick Overview)

Last update on 2021-05-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Do Betta Need Filters?

First and foremost, we need to address one critical point.

Though you may see people housing Betta fish in small bowls or vases without filters, this is something you should avoid at all costs.

Betta fish are super-simple to care for, but you’ll still need a full aquarium setup for your Betta, including adequate filtration.

Now that that’s out of the way, we can further discuss the topic.


What Is The Best Filter For A Betta?

You’ll have varying filtration needs based on your tank’s size and the type of filter you prefer.

You can generally have similar filter setups for most Betta tanks ranging from 5 to 20 gallons in size.

There is no official best filter for a Betta fish tank. There are many different factors to consider, such as type of filtration media, fish tank size, quality of manufacturing, and the water current’s strength.

We’ll get into those specifics in a later section, but for now, understand that it’s impossible to select one “best” filter for any and every Betta tank.

This article seeks to guide you toward selecting the best filter for your unique Betta tank setup.

But first, let’s look at the different methods you may need and choose a betta tank filter.


Choosing the Best Betta Filter

fighting fish betta

Generally, there are two ways you may come across a filter for your Betta tank.

In the first situation, you can choose one of the many Betta Aquarium kits on the market, many of which already include filters.

You can start with the filter included in the aquarium kit, but you’ll want to double-check the filtration system’s requirements and features to make sure it suits your needs.

Most aquarium kits contain filtration on three levels: biological, chemical, and mechanical.

For the most part, this is okay, but you should consider how this affects the water chemistry.

For example, if you want to keep live plants in the tank with your Betta, you may have different filtration needs than if you go an alternate route — using artificial decor.

Another instance where you’d need to consider the type and strength of filtration media is if you plan to have a community tank.

While a single Betta can get away with just a sponge filter and frequent water changes, for example, other tank companions may have different needs.

It always pays to do your research when it comes to making any decisions about your fish tank.

For the most part, aquarium kits will be okay to get you started and may even last a good, long while. But you still need to pay attention to every part of your tank setup.


Best Betta Filters by Filter Design

This section will give our recommendations for the best Betta tank filters by filter design type and size.


HOB Filters for Betta Aquariums

Hang-on-back (HOB) filters are popular choices for many aquariums because they are easy to use, don’t take away space inside the aquarium, and are hidden on the tank’s back, so they also don’t ruin the look and feel of the setup.

HOB filters work by hanging on the back of the tank. The filter sucks water out of the tank and pulls it through a filter, then runs the water back into the aquarium.

While HOB filters are often the go-to for many fishkeepers, they tend to be too powerful for Betta fish, who prefer lighter currents.

Additionally, though HOB filters provide more robust mechanical filtration, you might consider adding a sponge prefilter so that Betta and other small fish don’t get pulled into the strong current of the HOB filter.


Best HOB Filter for Betta Tanks

Last update on 2021-05-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We tried the AquaClear 20 filter with a 5-gallon aquarium and can recommend it because it’s well-priced but does an outstanding job of filtering tank water.

The AquaClear 20 is an excellent filter for tanks from 5 to 20 gallons and is as whisper quiet as advertised, which is a huge plus.

We loved that this filter provides three-stage filtration — mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. And out of all the filters we’ve tested over the years, we can confidently say that the AquaClear brand consistently provides the highest-quality filtration, leading to the cleanest water.

One thing about Bettas is that they prefer calm water, faring poorly in strong water currents. The adjustable water flow from this filter means that you can slow the flow output by up to 50% — creating a gentle flow perfect for your Betta.

As a bonus, this filter is easy to maintain and clean.

The biological filtration media is left alone — the more bacteria that grow, the better!

The mechanical filtration media is a small sponge that can be rinsed in seconds and reused multiple times.

And the chemical media is activated charcoal, which can you can replace in less than a minute.

It’s truly a quality filter, and we don’t have too many reservations about it.

Buy it for your 5 gallon Betta setup!


Sponge Filters For Betta Tanks

Sponge filters are often overlooked, as many people and manufacturers prefer other styles.

As such, you might be wondering if sponge filters are suitable for Betta fish. The answer is generally yes.

Sponge filters are great for Betta fish because they usually prefer and thrive in very gentle water currents.

Many other filters have mechanical filtration methods that are too strong for Betta fish, and you’d be left with the inconvenience of manipulating them in some way to make them weaker.

Sponge filters, on the other hand, are gentle by default.

It’s all the in the way sponge filters work.

Sponge filters are simple mechanisms where an air pump draws water through the sponge, filtering the water in the process.

The mechanical filtration occurs when the water makes physical contact with the sponge, filtering out debris.

Biological filtration takes place when, over time, beneficial bacteria colonies grow on top of the sponge, digest toxic substances, and convert them for increased safety.


Best Sponge Filter For Betta Aquariums 

Last update on 2021-05-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This affordable sponge filter package from the hygger aquarium store is such a great deal because it comes with two spare sponges, a bag of bio-ceramic media balls, and a whisper-quiet submersible foam filter.

The hygger sponge filter precisely suits fish fry and other sensitive, small fish that enjoy gentle water flow. So, it’s the best sponge filter for Betta fish.

This filter is perfect for 10-40 gallon tanks, and the sponges are easy to clean — you gently squeeze them and rinse them with aquarium water.

Keep in mind that while this is an excellent sponge filter, you do still need to purchase an air pump, sold separately.


Canister Filters for Betta Tanks

The canister filter is another excellent style of filter for Betta tanks.

With canister filters, a pump draws water out of the tank, through the filtration media, and then pushes fresh water back in.

Since the filter sits outside the tank, canister filters are sometimes called “external” filters.


Best Canister Filter for Betta Aquariums

Last update on 2021-05-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The best canister filter for small tank setups is the Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter.

As indicated in the product title, this filter works best for Betta tanks below 10 gallons.

So if you have a nano tank for a single Betta, this filter might be perfect for you.

The Zoo Med Nano filter is straightforward and designed to be easy to operate. So you don’t have many options or settings.

The good thing is the biomedia chamber is flexible. You can put whatever biomedia you’d like inside, so you do have control over that.

Your Betta will appreciate this filter’s whisper-quiet design, gentle flow, and the fact that it’s an external filter leaves more room inside the tank for your fish to swim around.

All in all, the Zoo Med Nano is a great canister filter for a Betta tank up to 10-gallons in size, and if you go with this option, you’ll be happy with the outcome.

RELATED: Do Betta Fish Have Teeth (And Do They Bite?)


Betta Tank Filtration FAQ

best low flow aquarium filters betta

Now that you know the top filters for your Betta tank let’s go over a few key questions many people have about the topic.


1- Can a filter be too strong for a betta?

Yes, filters can be too intense for Betta fish, which don’t need strong water flow.

Even though some aquarium kits come with included filters, sometimes those filters can still prove too harsh for a Betta.

In this case, there are a few things you can try to make the environment a little bit better.

First, luckily, some filters have an adjustable flow rate. It’s wise to check the specs of any filtration system or aquarium kit before purchase. If you do have an adjustable flow rate, reducing it to a gentler current is all you’ll need to care for your Betta.

If your Betta tank filter does not have an adjustable flow rate, you can cut an inexpensive pair of pantyhose and fit the material over the filter to act as a barrier, slowing down the water flow.

Last but not least, you can strategically place aquarium decor such as rocks and plants around the filter, obstructing water flow, so the result is a much gentler current for your Betta.

As a bonus, this makes your tank more attractive, too!


2- What is the best filter for a 2.5-gallon Betta tank?

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Your best bet for a small 2.5 to 3-gallon Betta aquarium filter would be the AZOO Mignon 60.

We tried it on a Tetra 3-gallon tank, and it was the perfect fit!

We loved that it was super-quiet with minimal vibration.

Also, it doesn’t require an extra pump and includes a prefilter (this makes sure your fish don’t get caught in the filtration system – very important!)

The only thing to be aware of is that this filter’s included sponges aren’t very high quality.

It’d be a great idea to order some higher-quality sponges when you order this filter, as you’ll get increased biological filtration. Meaning, there will be more room for good bacteria to grow while keeping larger debris from going back into the water.


3- What is the best filter for a 5-gallon Betta tank?

Last update on 2021-05-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We tried the AquaClear 20 filter with a 5-gallon aquarium and recommend it because it’s well-priced but does an outstanding job of filtering tank water.

The AquaClear 20 is a great filter for tanks from 5 to 20 gallons and is as whisper quiet as advertised, which is a huge plus.

We loved that this filter provides three-stage filtration — mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration.


4- Can I turn my betta filter off at night?

Filtration is a critical part of aquarium care. For the most part, you should never turn off your filter — not even at night.

The only good times for turning off aquarium filters are during power outages, between cleanings, or if you have a sick fish and need to add chemicals/medications to the water.


5- Why does my Betta hang around the filter?

The most common reason Betta fish hang around the filter or any other single area of the tank is that the water current is too strong.

Betta fish prefer gentle currents and will find areas of the tank where water is calmer.

See if you can adjust the water flow to a gentler current. That should help your Betta feel more comfortable.


6- Can Betta live without a filter?

Betta fish can live without filters, but housing your fish in a tank without a filter is stressful for them and you.

Fish require fresh water to eliminate toxins, bacteria, and debris.

If you don’t have a filter, you have no way of providing the cleanest water, and you’ll have to change the water yourself far more frequently.

So while a Betta fish can live without a filter, not only will they live shorter lives, but those years of life won’t be very pleasant!

As such, we do not recommend housing Betta fish in tanks or bowls without filters.


7- Does filter noise bother betta fish?

Some fish can be sensitive to noise and vibrations coming from filters, while others can adjust fairly quickly.

The only way to tell is to observe your fish!

Check for erratic swimming, gasping at the top of the tank, slow movement, or hiding away or behind the filter.

If your filter is noisy and your Betta shows signs of stress, consider upgrading to a quieter, higher-quality filter.


Final Thoughts on Betta Tank Filtration

We hope our article gave you insight into some of the best options for filtering your Betta tank water.

Good luck with building the perfect aquarium setup for happy, healthy fish!


P.S. Don’t forget to check out our entire vault of fishkeeping equipment guides and reviews!


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