The best filter for a betta - Bettaboxx (2023)

What is the best filter for a betta?

There is no particular filter unit that is "best" for a betta. There are several factors to consider when choosing a filter, including size,production rate,Planta,tank mates, and to what extent that will be the casekeep your aquarium clean. For this reasonThe "best filter for a betta" depends on your aquarium setup.

In this article, we'll talk about the different scenarios in which you might choose a filter, and provide some tips to help you make a buying decision.

At the moment there are several filters that we recommend, although it makes sense to consider these recommendations in the context of the rest of this article, and to some extent our other article:Do bettas need a filter?

For the impatient among you, here are our recommendations, but read the rest of the article to learn more about betta filtration:

Aquarium filter We recommend:

Penn-Plax Cascade 300 Submersible Aquarium Filter


We think this filter or even similar models is a good choice since you are not limited by brand or filter specific cartridges or consumables. Allows you to add different media to the filter, which can be purchased individually. The nozzle is also adjustable and can be easily opened, which you may not want to do depending on the size of your Betta tank.


MarineLand Bio-Wheel Power Filters

Whisper Internal Filter - 10 Gallon

Tips for choosing a filter for your Betta

So, we are going to choose the best filter for a betta.

We've included our own recommendations for a good filter above, but if you don't like the look of these and plan on choosing another, here are some tips to help you with your decision.

(Video) The Best Betta Filters for Your Aquarium

Testing is important!

When it comes to betta care (and fish farming in general), remember that there is no set path. There are certain practices that you must follow, but betta keeping also requires a certain amount of experimentation. This is very true when it comes to filtration - there are a number of things you can try to find the optimal solution for your particular aquarium. What we have listed below are tips based on our own experience, but we encourage you to do more research on your own.

We love hearing about setups other people have created, so let us know about your filtration system or any other aspect of betta keeping you'd like to talk about.

The best filter for a betta has these characteristics:

  • One outlet/slow flowso that the fish can swim relaxed in the aquarium.

  • An easy to remove cartridge system– Filter media can be easily and individually replaced if necessary.

  • distance performance– Will the filter be able to do its job given the size of your aquarium? Will you be able to successfully circulate the aquarium and remove unwanted chemicals and debris?

  • media filter– Do you have more than one medium? In some cases it is better to have all three types of media (mechanical, biological and chemical). In other cases (for example, for optimal plant growth), it is better to have only one or two. We will go into more detail on that below.

  • reliability– Will the filter perform consistently? Is it likely to clog or break? It's well done? When choosing a filter, always keep in mind other people's experiences with specific products.

Other important things to consider

The size of your aquarium.You can choose a filter that is perfect in terms of the filter media offered, but has great performance. A strong production rate may not be a problem if you have a large aquarium, but it can be a problem if your tank is small. In a large aquarium there are areas where a current will not affect the water and will not create ripples on the surface of the water, making this a suitable environment for your Betta as there are parts of the aquarium where it can escape the current and therefore is not emphasized.

Does the filter have an adjustable outlet?It is important to match the performance of a filter in relation to the size of the aquarium. Adding a heavy-duty filter to a small tank will stress your betta. Therefore, it is important that your filter have the ability to customize the output or that you can modify the filter yourself (see ourArticle on awe filter) to control the output.

Aesthetics and practicality.Other traits that are not important to the welfare of the fish but may be important to the keeper areaestheticsYpracticability.Does the filter look good? Will the filter make noise? Are you upset if the filter makes dripping noises, pump noises, etc.?Of course, these concerns are secondary to the well-being of your fish, but they still need to be considered when purchasing a filter.

media filter

The typical aquarium filtration system consists of three different media; biological, mechanical and chemical. Each of these media does its own job, you can read about how they work on our page:Do bettas need a filter?‍Ideally, you want to be able to swap each type of media individually, since each media needs to be swapped at different intervals. For this reason, a filter with separate cartridges is often preferable to a filter with cartridges, which we explain in more detail below.

The optimal filter for a Betta will contain all three media, although a filter with only 1 or 2 of the media may still work well depending on your setup. While the typical filter comes with all three media, there are some filters that only come with one or two. We'll go into more detail on that below, but first let's take a closer look at why a cartridge filter isn't always optimal.

(Video) The 5 Best Betta Filters of 2023 (Reviews & Buying Guide)

Why a cartridge is not always optimal

Most aquarium filters these days come with all 3 filter media, known as 3-stage filtration. The three media are known as mechanical, biological, and chemical. It is quite common for any built-in aquarium filter to have all three media, each of which is easily removable and replaceable.

However, you can find a filter that has a replaceable cartridge. The cartridge is manufactured by the aquarium company to fit the particular filter. But beware; Removable cartridges are not always the best option, as they can be inconvenient when trying to change media at different intervals. While they are made with the fishkeeper's convenience in mind (because it is theoretically easier to fit a new cartridge than to replace each media individually), this can limit control over water chemistry. We've factored this into our list of recommended filters below.

If you want maximum control over your betta's water quality, your best bet is to aim for a filter with individual removable and replaceable cartridges.

Filter cartridges and maintenance

Some filters require cartridges or inserts to be changed approximately every month. The cartridge can vary from filter to filter, but typically a replaceable cartridge filter has a carbon or mixed carbon cartridge that needs to be replaced periodically. Charcoal is a great means of removing toxins from the water, but if it is not removed on a monthly basis, it can build up again and the toxins can back up into the aquarium.

The sponge insert may vary in size on each filter. When to rinse/clean depends on the number of animals in your aquarium. The more cattle, the more often it should be rinsed. The mechanical sponge is a place for beneficial bacteria to thrive in the filter, so it's best not to replace it. In fact, it only needs to be replaced when it withers over time. It just needs to be removed, rinsed (with fresh water) and reinserted. Most mechanical filter media is heavy-duty and not designed to shrivel up and will typically last for years. The same goes for biological media: nothing lasts forever, but it rarely, if ever, needs to be replaced. Over time, biological media can deteriorate, but it will be years before this happens.

Aquarium companies make cartridge filters in a number of ways, but there is general agreement that a cartridge filter is second best to a filter that accepts separate media inserts. see oursfilter pagefor definitions of that terminology and explanatory diagrams.

Select a filter

Now that we've covered the various aspects of filtering you should consider, let's take a look at the scenarios in which you might choose a new betta filter.

Scenario 1: Choosing an aquarium with a built-in filter

If you're buying a tank that comes with a built-in filter, you'll need to do some research to verify that both the filter and the tank are suitable for the setup you want. For example, you may want to check if the filter has a cartridge with separate inserts for each media, rather than two media combined in one cartridge. This shouldn't be the case with most aquariums with built-in filters, but it's worth checking.


Most standard freshwater aquarium filters, particularly those that come pre-assembled in an aquarium, tend to contain biological, mechanical, and chemical media. In our experience, most of the inline filters in Fluval's freshwater aquarium range have all 3 media in their filtration. This will work great as long as you consider how each medium affects the chemistry of the water.

The typical filter system should come with a carbon cartridge. Charcoal removes organic compounds from aquarium water, along with other unwanted chemicals that, if they accumulate over time, can be harmful. This insert should be replaced every one to two months. Aquarium plants love these organic compounds, however they consume them as fertilizer and need them to thrive. When keeping aquarium plants, it is also a good idea to give them a chemical plant fertilizer. Having a carbon cartridge in your filter is not a good idea if you want to encourage itplant growthIf your filter has sponge, biomedic, and carbon cartridges, you can replace the carbon cartridge with more sponge or biomedicant if you intend to keep live plants. When the carbon from the filtration is removed, the plants counteract it and act as a filter themselves. Aquarium plants are a great natural filter. You can read about it in ourPlant items.‍To give you a real life example, we purchased the Fluval 19L for our current betta. We wanted to be able to remove carbon (the chemical medium) from the filter to promote optimal plant growth. The Fluval 19L's built-in filter makes it easy, and that's one of the reasons we chose it. The built-in filtration is mechanical, biological and chemical. It comes with a sponge insert + 2 inserts: one for biosac and one for carbon. The charcoal sack can be easily removed or replaced, which is what we did on ours. Basically, the Fluval 19L gave us flexibility. It's a great out-of-the-box solution for Betta keepers. You can remove the carbon if you want plant growth, or you can leave it on if you don't intend to keep live plants and prefer to keep the chemical medium.

Another reason we like the Fluval 19L is that its filter has an adjustable output. Performance on the lowest setting, combined with the 19-liter tank volume, creates a stress-free habitat for a betta. The spout is also adjustable, allowing you to tilt it in a specific direction to further control the placement and height of the stream.

Keep in mind that a betta fish is hardy and can live happily in a variety of water conditions, but some other creatures can be quite particular when it comes to an aquarium environment. A betta fish could live happily with just a sponge filter as long as you replace and flush the filter every month or so.regular water changes. If you plan to keep other residents with your betta, you may need to invest in a filter that can maintain a water condition suitable for the overall ecology of the aquarium. This also brings up the fact that the more critters you have in the tank, the more waste it creates, which means more ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Your filter should be able to handle it.

Scenario 2 – Adding a filter to an existing aquarium

The other scenario is that your tank does not have a built-in filter, in which case you need to select one to add to it. The filter you choose determines how much control you have over individual replacement of the three filter media. For example, if you choose a filter that uses an all-in-one cartridge, you may be forced to switch from biological media to chemical media at the same time. This is not ideal; we explain why in more detail below. If you opt for a filter that takes your media in separate cartridges (or have a cartridge that can be modified to allow you to swap media at different intervals), you retain the ability to swap them out individually and this ultimately offers more control and flexibility.

There are some inexpensive aquariums on the market that are made specifically for betta fish. This means they come with a filter unit that is also great for bettas in terms of size, practicality, and filter media (see ourbest bedding aquariumsArticle). This may not be the case if you purchase a separate filter for your betta to add to an existing aquarium. It's certainly not impossible, but there are a few factors you need to consider.

For example, if you are adding a filter to your aquarium, finding a suitable filter unit for a water volume of less than 5 gallons that does not create a strong current and is not bulky in the aquarium can be challenging. This is another reason why keeping a betta in an aquarium with a betta is best for you.5 gallon or larger capacity.

Below we have listed some good filters for Betta aquariums and how they work in terms of replacing the three different filter media. We've also included some of the other pros and cons so you can pick the right one based on your setup and budget.

Filters we recommend

Hopefully, we've explained the theory behind Betta filtration enough that you can now make an informed decision about choosing a new filter. While it's difficult to simply recommend the best filter for a Betta, the options below take the following into account:

  • Reliability, durability: does it do a good job?

  • Media Change – Is the media easy to rinse/change individually?

    (Video) Best 10 Gallon Betta Filter !! Long-finned Fish LOVE This !!

  • Output: does it create a strong current? Does it disturb the surface of the water? If so, can you be easily surprised?

  • Size: will this fit comfortably in a 5 gallon aquarium?

  • Noise: how much noise does the filter make? Does it get noisy after long use?

Penn-Plax Cascade 300 Submersible Aquarium Filter

The nozzle on this filter, as well as the pump, make the output flow easily adjustable and easy to mist to create the most comfortable home for your betta.

Another benefit of this filter unit is that you don't use an all-in-one cartridge - you can monitor and replace each media individually, which is great for maintaining consistent water quality.

It produces a low hum but it is not particularly loud.

MarineLand Bio-Wheel Power Filters

This is a nifty little filter as it removes oxygen from the water by vigorously agitating the water with a wheel in the filter unit rather than in the aquarium which would normally stress a Betta.
This technology also provides the beneficial bacteria inside with a healthy amount of oxygen, which helps maintain the colony. Again very reliable and does the job of filtering well.

However, it is a persistent filter; It cannot be submerged and may not be compatible with an aquarium with the hood or lid on. It is also a cartridge filter and you need to buy special cartridges for it. No hum, but you can hear the oxygen wheel ripples/splash on the filter.

Hagen – AquaClear 20 Powerfilter

If you want a quiet filter, this is probably the best. No filter is completely silent, but the Hagen AquaClear 20 Power Filter does a good job of keeping noise to a minimum.

Another benefit of this filter unit is that you don't use an all-in-one cartridge - you can monitor and replace each media individually, which is great for maintaining consistent water quality.

(Video) DIY Betta Box Filters - Did They Work?

Internal water filter BETTA 150

As with the previous waterfall, this filter's nozzle and pump make the output flow easily adjustable and easy to direct. Another advantage of this filter unit is that it does not use an all-in-one cartridge. We found this filter extremely easy to use and reliable.

On the downside, it currently only ships to the UK and Europe. CanSee it here on


1. How to Choose the BEST Filter for Your Aquarium! (Beginner Guide)
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