Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by Matt

As we have written about before in our article Can Betta Fish Live In Bowls? Betta fish can’t be without clean and filtered water in the aquarium environment. As such you will need to get the best filter for betta fish for your tank. 

In this article we will take you through a number of things. First of all general information such as why you need a betta fish filter and what the benefits are to your tank. Later in this section we will tell you how to look for and purchase the best betta fish filter for your betta tank setup. There are a number of factors to consider that you may not initially realize.

Finally we will list and review what we here at CoralRealm view to be the best betta fish filters available on the market at the moment. We will also give our recommendation for the best filter for betta tanks.


Best Filter For Betta Quick Table

Betta Fish Filter General Information

Betta Fish Filter General Information

In this section we will go through why you need the best filter for betta fish as a key part of your tank setup. 

You will also find information on the different types of betta fish filter available and the key differences between them. 

There are certain features you should be looking for in the best filter for betta fish, and we will lay out these as well. Therefore you should gain a broad base of knowledge so that you can purchase the best filter for your betta tank.

Why Do You Need A Betta Fish Filter?

It is a common myth that betta fish can thrive in small tanks without a filter. 

This might be because they are found naturally in Thailand’s rice paddy fields, marshes, and rivers. These environments often have low water movement and are considered to be quite ‘dirty’. 

Betta fish are labyrinth fish, which means that they have a specialized labyrinth lung-like organ which enables them to breathe air. But this is only a backup; they still get the vast majority of their oxygen via their gills by breathing water.

Betta fish need clean, clear water to be healthy, and more importantly, to remain healthy. Without a filter your betta tank will accumulate dangerous chemicals such as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, released from the decomposition of debris. Even at very low concentrations, ammonia poisoning and nitrite poisoning can occur. While nitrate has to build to high levels for nitrate poisoning to occur, it is still very serious. Without a betta filter algae can quickly proliferate as well. 

What Are The Benefits of a Betta Fish Filter in your Tank?

A Betta fish filter will provide many benefits to your fish tank setup. We will run through them here and hopefully you will see, and agree that it is an absolute necessity to have the best filter for betta fish installed in your aquarium.

Removes debris to clean the tank

First and foremost installing a filter in your Betta tank will remove the floating debris in the water column

This debris is captured by the mechanical filtration media inside the filter. Coarse mechanical media will capture the larger particles while fine media will capture the smaller particles. 

It is always a good idea to install a coarse media pad before a fine or polishing media pad. This is known as the pre filter. The coarse pad will remove debris which will otherwise quickly clog the fine pad.

Removes toxins and dangerous chemicals

Biological and chemical filtration works to remove the dangerous and toxic chemicals and compounds found within the water column.

These toxins are far too small to be caught by even the finest of mechanical media pads, so you need another way of removing them. These toxins include ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and heavy metals.

Water aeration 

As the filter pumps or trickles the newly filtered water back into the tank, the water becomes agitated and aerated. 

This means that more oxygen is introduced into the water column than would be just via diffusion from the surface alone. 

Your Betta fish needs a high oxygen concentration to be as healthy as it can be. If your tank is oxygen deprived then your Betta will suffer detrimental health conditions.

Gets the best from your Betta Fish

All of the benefits listed above work together to get the very best from your betta fish. 

You will find that installing the best filter for betta fish will increase the overall health of your betta. Not only will this increase the overall activity levels of the betta fish, but will also increase the brightness and brilliance of their fins.

This is good news for your betta fish, but is also great news for you, as you will get more enjoyment from your betta tank.

Features to look for in the Best Filter for Betta Fish

Three stage filtration

There are three filtration types; mechanical, biological, and chemical. Ideally the best filter for betta fish will have all three of these filtration types. Triple stage betta filters will provide increased filtration power and better water quality.

As we have touched on before, mechanical filtration will remove the floating debris from the water column, while the biological filter will remove nitrogen based compounds like ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Dosing the betta tank with an aquarium bacteria supplement such as API Quick Start or Seachem Stability will quickly colonize the biological filter with bacteria from the nitrogen cycle and so will start working faster to remove these toxic compounds.

Finally the chemical media will remove substances like tannins which cause discoloration, heavy metals, and other contaminants.

Low flow rate

Betta fish don’t like turbulent water. In their natural habitat they live in places of low flow, so to get the best from them you need to recreate this. Betta fish do sleep, and getting a betta hammock is a great way to watch them. They don’t want to get blown off with high flow!

It can be a difficult balance. You still need a filter with a sufficient flow rate to turn over the tank water approximately two-three times every hour. This will provide the appropriate water quality needed. But you don’t want to buy the most powerful filter you can, as it may create too much of a flow for your betta. 

However there are ways of lowering flow and turbulence. A spray bar is a great way of spreading the outflow of water from a filter over a larger area. You can also create a baffle cheaply and easily. A baffle is a brilliant way to reduce circulation and flow in the tank.

Low noise level

The last thing you want is a loud betta fish filter. Especially if you have a small nano betta tank with only the single betta. 

Every aquarium owner wants and needs to be able to enjoy their tank and their fish without an incredibly noisy filter driving them crazy! So make sure that you pick a betta fish filter which is quiet while operational. Only the best betta fish filter!

Types of Betta Fish Filter

There are a number of different types of betta fish filter out there on the market. Knowing which is best for your betta tank setup can be very tricky if you don’t actually have the full information on what types there are! This following section should help to clear things up a little.

Canister Filters: Canister filters are external to the fish tank itself. They normally reside next to or underneath the tank. This can be a good thing as they are often out of sight and so aren’t an eyesore. It will also free up space in the tank itself. They work by drawing water in through an intake valve and passing it through the filtration media, before pumping it back into the tank via an outflow. 

Power Filters: Power filters can be one of two types; they can be hang on back (HOB) or internal filters. The HOB power filter will hang on the aquarium rim, while the internal filter will sit submerged in the tank itself. Both types of power filter work by drawing in water through the intake and pushing it through the filter media inside, before putting it back into the tank via the outflow. 

Sponge Filters: Sponge filters are extremely basic filters. They sit inside the tank and work by drawing water through a sponge to trap debris. Sponge filters are normally powered by air stones and a small pump. While these are very basic they can be good for betta fish as they don’t create much flow. 

Under Gravel Filters: Under gravel filters sit below the substrate at the very bottom of the tank. They normally use a pump and air stones to draw water through the substrate of the tank and over the media, before returning it to the tank.

7 Best Betta Fish Filter Reviews

Best Betta Fish Filter Reviews

In the following section we will review the 7 best filter for betta fish that are on the market today.

We have mainly chosen betta filters which are aimed for smaller tanks. In the main betta fish are kept individually in small or nano tanks, which is why we have chosen these filters. If you have a betta in a larger community tank you may wish to choose a larger capacity filter.

1) Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter

Tetra Whisper EX 45 Filter For 30 To 45 Gallon aquariums, Silent Multi-Stage Filtration, Blacks/Grays
  • WHISPER QUIET The Tetra Whisper EX Power Filter provides silent multi-stage filtration for clear clean water
  • FAST SETUP Sets up easily right out of the box – no priming required
  • CONTINUOUS FLOW Moves water continuously to prevent debris buildup
  • NO-MESS FILTER CARTRIDGE CHANGES Design minimizes dripping to make cartridge changes easy
  • SIZE This filter fits 30 to 45 gallon aquariums

The Tetra Whisper EX Power Filter is a brilliant HOB power filter which comes in four different size options. This is brilliant as you can choose the one which is the right power for your betta tank. The smallest is suitable for tanks between 10-20 gallons, the next is for 20-30 gallon tanks, then 30-45 gallon tanks, and the largest is suitable for 45-70 gallon tanks.

Set up is incredibly simple and easy with the Tetra Whisper EX. It is ready to go straight out of the box, so all you need to do is insert the media and attach the strainer, then clip it on the side or back of your aquarium. There is no priming required which makes the setup a lot easier!

The main thing a betta filter needs to do is provide high quality filtration for your tank. This is what the Tetra Whisper EX provides in spades. It is equipped with multi-stage (three stage) filtration with a bio-scrubber. The water is forced through multiple densities of mechanical media to capture all debris. Carbon removes odors, discoloration, and impurities that are found in the water column, while the bio-scrubber removes toxic ammonia and nitrites. 

The Tetra Whisper EX models also come with timestrips which notifies you when you need to change the carbon filter. The timestrip will change from white to red when all available carbon has been used in purifying the tank’s water.

2) AquaClear HOB Fish Tank Power Filter

AquaClear Betta Fish Tank Filter 5 to 20 Gallons
  • Aquarium filtration system that offers superior contact time with filter media and energy efficient pump lowers operating costs
  • Quick and easy installation; we recommend that you clean aquarium filter every 2 weeks for maximum operation and efficiency
  • Provides optimal mechanical; chemical; and biological filtration
  • Comes equipped with AquaClear Foam; Activated Carbon Filter and BioMax and Cycle Guard for superior water quality
  • Filtration volume is up to 7 times larger than comparable fish tank filters

This AquaClear HOB Power Filter is a brilliant filtration system for tanks between 5 and 20 gallons. There are also different models available if you have a smaller or larger tank. 

It provides triple stage filtration in a system that offers increased contact time between the water and the filter media. 

You are able to control the flow rate, so that if you see that the flow is too high and your betta is being buffeted a bit, you can lower the flow rate. With the recirculation system, if you do lower the flow rate up to 50% of the water is filtered again, meaning you are provided with increased filtration power.

The media baskets are designed to prevent water bypass, which means that all water is sent through the filtration media. 

The AquaClear HOB Power Filter comes equipped with all three of mechanical, chemical, and biological media included. If you find you want to add extra then AquaClear offers an extensive line of media online.

Installation is very easy and simple, and you also get an extended warranty period so you can have peace of mind in case anything goes wrong.

A unique waterfall design enables the newly filtered water to be returned to the tank silently. The water gently breaks the surface tension to reduce the buffeting effect of the water, but still creates beneficial oxygenation. This is perfect for a betta fish filter as bettas prefer reduced water circulation.

3) Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filter

Tetra Whisper Internal Filter 10 To 30 Gallons
  • UNIVERSAL DESIGN: Tetra Whisper 20i Internal Filter is an all-in-one air pump and water filter system.
  • INTERNAL FILTER: Mounts on the inside of your aquarium with clip (included).
  • CATCHES DEBRIS: Dense, dual-sided mesh filters debris and fish waste.
  • AERATES WATER: Air-driven design filters up to 125 GPH while oxygenating water.
  • CONVENIENT DESIGN: Uses large easy to change Bio-Bag cartridges; filter mounts inside aquarium, making it possible to place tank flush against the wall.

There are four different size and power options available with the Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filter. The smallest is for tanks up to 4 gallons while the largest has a capacity up to 40 gallons.

The Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filter resides inside the tank itself. It is an all in one air pump and water filtration system. It is incredibly easy to put inside the tank, with a simple and easy to use clip system. You can adjust the clip so the filter fits both high and low water levels.

Triple stage filtration is housed inside the body of this filter, which provides you with clean and clear water. A handy cartridge design allows for easy media cleaning and changes. 

What is good about this betta filter is that it sits inside the aquarium. This allows the tank to sit flush against the wall. However if you have a very small tank it can take up precious space. Although the Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filter is small itself.

4) Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter

Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter
  • Water filter for nano tanks and aquariums up to 10 gallons
  • Created for use in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums
  • Designed to be easy for new users to prime, customize, and even open
  • This filter was also built to be convenient with a compact, space saving design and quiet, anti vibration brushings
  • Package includes the Nano 10 external canister filter, spray bar system for greater aeration, mechanical filter sponge, bio ceramic filtration media, and carbon chemical filtration media

The Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter is a brilliant canister filter designed for small nano tanks up to 10 gallons.

With triple stage filtration packed into the small canister it provides powerful cleaning way above its weight. It houses a mechanical filter sponge, bio ceramic filtration media, and activated carbon chemical filtration media. All this works to leave your betta tank looking sparkling clean. 

Designed to be very simple to set up and prime, it shouldn’t prove to be a problem even if you are new to the hobby.

The Zoo Med Nano 10 is built to be very compact, so you should be able to find a good spot for it out of the way of your nano betta tank. Having a canister filter means you don’t have the eyesore of an internal filter whilst getting powerful filtration.

Anti-vibration brushings mean the Zoo Med Nano 10 runs very quietly. A great thing if you don’t want to be disturbed by the running of your betta filter!

What makes the Zoo Med Nano 10 one of the best filters for betta fish is the inclusion of a spray bar. This spray bar increases the area that the newly filtered water is spread over, meaning less turbulent water for your betta fish.

5) Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter

Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filer, 10 Gallon
  • Premium internal filter that are ideal for aquarium or terrarium use
  • Three stage filtration: mechanical, chemical and biological
  • Fully submersible in a vertical or horizontal position with adjustable return flow rate
  • Direction and height of water return is also adjustable
  • Uses Aqueon Replacement Internal Filter Cartridges

The Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter is a great internal power filter for smaller aquariums. There are four size options available; the smallest has a capacity of 10 gallons and a flow rate of 57 GPH. The middle sizes have a capacity of 15 and 30 gallons respectively, whilst the largest has a capacity of 40 gallons and a flow rate of 155 GPH.

Triple stage filtration is used by the Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter. Mechanical filtration is in the form of a dense foam to remove debris. Chemical filtration is represented by activated carbon, which removes toxins, odors, and discoloration. Biological filtration is found in the patented BioGrid which enables bacterial colonization to remove ammonia and nitrates. 

Aqueon have designed this filter to be very easy to install in your tank. The filters are self-priming for completely no-hassle setup. And with a directional return pipe, you can mount it either horizontal or vertical. Each filter unit is pre-loaded with specially designed replaceable cartridges. These Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Filter Cartridges can be purchased online very easily, and make maintenance and replacing the media very simple. 

This filter also offers adjustable return flow rates, direction, and height. This versatility makes the Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter perfect for most betta fish aquarium setups. The only downside is that as it sits within the tank it can take up some room. However this does allow the tank to lay flush against a wall, unlike hang on back betta fish filters.

6) Penn-Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter with Quad Filtration System

Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter
  • QUIET & EFFICIENT: The Cascade 150 Power Hang-On Filter quietly delivers crystal clear water throughout the aquarium....
  • ACCOMMODATING: The adjustable flow knob allows for increased or decreased water flow at will, which is extremely helpful...
  • EXTREMELY BENEFICIAL: This Cascade filter utilizes disposable, double-sided media cartridges that contain Activated...
  • REVOLUTIONARY: The Cascade 150 Power Hang-On Filter features a Bio-Sponge cartridge that optimizes colonization of...

The Penn-Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter has 6 power and capacity models for you to choose from. This allows you to choose the model with the perfect capacity and power for your betta tank setup. The model above is the Penn-Plax Cascade 150, which has a capacity of 35 gallons and a flow rate of 150 GPH.

The smallest model, the Penn-Plax Cascade 20, has a flow rate of 20 GPH with a capacity of 7 gallons. Whilst the largest model, the  Penn-Plax Cascade 300 has a capacity of 55-100 gallons with a flow rate of 300 GPH.

What makes this HOB power filter brilliant for betta fish tanks is the adjustable flow rate knob. Using this knob you can adjust the flow rate to be perfect for your betta fish and your aquarium setup. 

The Penn-Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter uses a quad filtration system which includes all three of mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. This powerful filtration will provide your betta with the water quality it needs in order to thrive. 

Double sided, disposable media cartridges contain both activated carbon and poly fiber floss. Not only does this provide brilliant filtration but is extremely easy to clean and replace. A Bio-Sponge cartridge optimizes the colonization of denitrifying anaerobic bacteria, which remove nitrates from the water column. The Bio-Falls system increases water oxygenation, and aids with removing ammonia and nitrate.

7) Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter

Finnex PX-360 All-in-one Compact Canister Filter
  • Video:
  • Filtration media includes activated carbon floss pad, sponge, and ceramic rings.
  • Perfect for both Aquatic and Turtle Aquariums up to 25 gallons!
  • Completed accessories include durable water intake strainer, spray bar and filter hanger. ? Completed accessories include durable water intake strainer, spray bar and filter hanger.
  • Specs: 7.2x4.8x8.1" .53 Gallons

The Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter may be the perfect betta fish filter for your tank setup. 

With a capacity up to 25 gallons it is a brilliant small and compact canister filter. A pump is housed on the top of the betta filter which provides a flow rate of 95 GPH. The 

It has triple stage filtration through a sponge pad, an activated carbon floss pad, and ceramic rings. The sponge pad is the mechanical media and catches debris floating in the water column. The activated carbon floss pad is the chemical media and removes odors and discolorations while also removing finer debris. Finally the ceramic rings are the biological filter, providing a site for bacterial colonization. Nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria will remove ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate from the water. 

All these filtration media are housed on trays which are very easy to remove. This makes cleaning and maintenance simple and quick. 

A spray bar is included which you can attach to the outflow tubing. This makes the Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter perfect for betta fish tanks, as the spray bar spreads the water flow and reduces water movement, which betta fish prefer.

Our Recommendation for the Best Filter for Betta Fish

The answer to what is the best filter for betta fish depends on your individual tank setup. 

However there are some recommendations that we can give. 

The Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter is a brilliant filter for betta fish. There are four size and power options to choose from so you can choose the most appropriate for your betta tank setup. And with triple stage filtration your betta will be provided with a clean and clear aquarium.

That is a HOB power filter option, but if you prefer a canister filter approach to filtration then the Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter is a brilliant option for small 10 gallon tanks. It runs very quietly and still has triple stage filtration to provide exceptional water quality.


Hopefully this article has given you the information you need to buy the best filter for betta fish. 

There are many different betta fish filters on the market, and all of the ones listed and reviewed in this article will be able to provide your betta fish with a clean environment to live and thrive. 

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