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Best Betta Filters: Our Top Picks 2024

The best filter for a betta fish is one that engages in all three major types of water filtration for a clean and clear tank. Keep reading to find the best filters for betta fish. Learn about their features, the pros and cons, and which one to choose.

Best Filters for Betta Fish

Top 5 Best Filters for Betta Fish: Reviews

Let’s get right to it and take a closer look at the top five best filters for betta fish that your money can buy.

1. Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filter

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Tetra Whisper 4 Gallon Internal Power Filter, Filtration for 4 Gallon Aquariums
  • FOR 4 GALLON aquariums: This Whisper Internal Power Filter uses small filter cartridges and adjusts...
  • 27 GPH PUMP: The internal 27 GPH pump cycles a 4 gallon aquarium more than 6 times per hour.

If you need a super simple filter for a small betta fish tank, this Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filter should be more than ideal. While this is an internal filter, which means that it sits inside of the fish tank, it also features a very small size, so it shouldn’t take up too much real estate in your betta fish’s tank. It easily sits in a corner or on the side of the tent, and also comes with a special clip for easy mounting.

This unit features a pump that can put out over 27 gallons per hour. This means that if you have a small 4-gallon betta fish tank, it should be able to cycle the water over six times per hour. That should be more than enough to keep the water crystal clean and clear.

In terms of overall filtration capabilities, this is a 2-in-1 filter. It features a floss cartridge that is able to remove debris and fish waste from the water, along with an ultra-activated carbon filter that removes discoloration and odor.

The carbon filter can also grow beneficial bacteria for limited amounts of biological filtration. Even better is that the filter cartridge comes included with your purchase. Moreover, this kind of filter media is very easy to change, because you just have to replace cartridges.

One of the biggest benefits that you get with this filter is that it won’t even cost you $10, but comes with everything you need to keep your betta fish tank clean. Although we wouldn’t recommend dropping it on the ground or being too rough with it, the materials it is made out of are durable enough to last for some time to come.

Pros

  • Easy to mount
  • Cost-effective
  • Doesn’t take up much tank space
  • Good flow rate
  • Good filtration capabilities for a small betta tank

Cons

  • Could use dedicated biological filtration media

Keep in mind that there are also other sizes available here, including models for up to 10-gallon, 30-gallon, and 40-gallon tanks.


2. VILLNO Ultra Quiet Aquarium Filter

VILLNO 200GPH Ultra Quiet Aquarium Filter: 9W Adjustable Filter for 10-45Gal...
  • 🐋 VILLNO 200GPH ultra quiet aquarium filter, 9W powerful filter for 10-45gallon fish tanks....
  • 🐋 Ultra quiet aquarium filter: We designed a wavy gentle slope for this outlet, allowing water to...

The VILLNO ultra quiet aquarium filter, as you can probably tell by the name of it, is designed to be very quiet. This is a feature I can always appreciate, because there’s nothing more annoying than a super loud aquarium filter.

The noisiest part about the whole thing is the small waterfall feature that drops the filtered water back into the tank. This waterfall feature is, however, beneficial because it allows the water to push some additional oxygen down into the tank, therefore helping to oxygenate and aerate the water.

In terms of overall filtration capabilities, this unit comes with a plastic filter pad with a sponge that is designed to filter out solid debris such as fish waste. Although this unit does not have a dedicated biological filtration system, the sponge pad is ideal for growing nitrifying bacteria, which should effectively take care of the biological filtration aspect.

This filter then comes with an activated carbon cartridge which helps to remove a number of impurities and odors from the water. Just like with the filter reviewed above, this one also uses a simple cartridge, or two simple cartridges to be exact, which are very easy to maintain and replace.

As for tank size, this filter should be able to handle aquariums up to 15 gallons in size, which should be more than enough for any betta fish tank. It can process around 100 gallons of water per hour, so it should be able to process the water in a small betta fish tank many times over per hour. That’s more than enough to keep the water clean. The flow rate is adjustable as well.

A neat addition to this filter is that the inlet pipe features an oil slick film removal device. It’s just something else that can help make the water even cleaner. Overall, I think this is a great filter to choose, and always like hang on back filters like this.

Hang on back filters are easy to mount as long as the aquarium glass is of the appropriate thickness, and in this case as long as your tank walls are not over 0.6 inches thick, it should fit just fine.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Great flow rate + adjustable flow
  • Can handle tanks up to 15 gallons
  • Allows for all three major types of water filtration
  • Easy to mount + doesn’t require much space
  • Very quiet motor

Cons

  • Waterfall can be slightly noisy
  • Does not have dedicated biological filtration

This kind of hang-on-back filter can be very beneficial because it doesn’t take up much internal tank space, although you may need a bit of exterior clearance.


3. Penn-Plax Cascade 20 Power Filter – Mini Hang-On Filter

Penn-Plax Cascade 20 Power Filter – Mini Hang-On Filter with Quad Filtration...
  • QUIET & EFFICIENT: The Cascade 20 Mini Power Hang-On Filter quietly delivers crystal clear water...
  • ACCOMMODATING: The adjustable flow knob allows for increased or decreased water flow at will, which...

The Penn-Plax Cascade 20 Can process up to 20 gallons of water per hour, which should be more than enough to handle an aquarium up to 7 gallons in size. Even better is that this filter features an adjustable flow rate, so you can turn it up or down as needed.

I would not recommend using it for aquariums over six or seven gallons at the most, although most basic betta fish tanks aren’t that big anyway.

This unit can be used for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

I always like hang on back filters like this, because although they might need a bit of clearance on the outside of the tank, they barely take up any space on the inside of the tank, therefore reserving valuable real estate for your betta fish. 

I also like the hang on back models because they have a little water flow that releases the water down into the tank, therefore allowing for a bit of aeration and oxygenation.

Using very simple-to-replace filter cartridges, this aquarium filter allows for all three major types of water filtration, including mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. Thanks to these easy cartridges, maintenance is also very simple. 

Just pop the unit open, remove the old cartridge, and put a new one in. All in all, this might just be one of the very best filters out there, particularly for very small tanks.

Pros

  •  Ideal for very small tanks
  • Adjustable flow rate
  • Easy to maintain
  • All three major types of water filtration
  • Low price
  • Durable design

Cons

  • A bit noisy
  • 7 gallon tank size at most

If you are looking for a small, simple, and affordable hang on back aquarium filter, then this is a great model to check out. 


4. Tetra Whisper Power Filter

Tetra Whisper Power Filter 10 Gallons, Quiet 3-Stage aquarium Filtration...
  • QUIET & RELIABLE The Tetra Whisper Power Filter uses 3-stage filtration to create clear clean water...
  • ABSORBS ODORS Ultra-Activated carbon removes both odor and water discoloration

What we have here is a powerful hang on back aquarium filter that features three stages of water filtration. First, it features dense dual-sided mesh filters that can catch fish waste and debris, providing effective mechanical filtration.

Second, you also get activated carbon filtration, which effectively removes water discoloration, odors, and other contaminants, providing effective chemical filtration. 

Even better is that you also get so-called bio bags, which are designed to provide you with adequate biological filtration, therefore removing ammonia and other such contaminants from the water.

Thanks to the simple design of this filter, it’s also very easy to clean and maintain.

To change the filter cartridges, simply pop off the lid, remove the old ones, and add the appropriate replacement media.

This particular filter is designed to handle aquariums up to 10 gallons in size. Furthermore, it can process up to 90 gallons of water per hour, and features an adjustable flow rate. This means that if you have a 10 gallon tank, it should be able to process the water 9 times per hour.

The fact that this is a hang on back filter is once again something that I also like. The reason for this is because this type of filter just doesn’t take up very much space inside of a tank. 

It’s also a very affordable unit, although my only complaint might be that it’s not as durable as some of the others I’ve reviewed today.

Pros

  •  All three required types of water filtration
  • Very high flow rate
  • Ideal for tanks up to 10 gallons
  • Easy to maintain
  • Fairly quiet
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Somewhat limited durability

5. Penn-Plax Cascade 500 Aquarium Canister Filter

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Penn-Plax Cascade All-in-One Aquarium Canister Filter – Up to 30 Gallons (115...
  • CASCADE 500 CANISTER FILTER: The Cascade 500 Canister Filter is recommended for aquariums up to 30...
  • STATE OF THE ART FEATURES: In addition to the push button primer that allows for a simple and quick...

All of the filters I’ve reviewed so far today have been either internal filters or hang on back filters. Even though hang on back filters don’t take up much interior tank space, they can still get in the way. For this reason, I’ve included this model, the Penn-Plax Cascade 500, which is an external aquarium canister filter.

Although they’re definitely substantially more expensive than the other filter types I’ve looked at today, external canister filters like this don’t take up any space inside of the tank, not to mention that they usually have superior flow rate and filtration capabilities.

For instance, this model is designed to handle aquariums up to 30 gallons. In fact, it can process up to 115 gallons of water per hour, which I would probably consider to be overkill for a small betta fish tank, although definitely more than suitable. Yes, the flow rate is also adjustable, so you can turn it down if needed.

Internal canister filters like this are also ideal because they have plenty of interior space for all of the filtration media you need. This unit allows for effective three stage filtration, which means that you can insert appropriate mechanical, biological, and chemical media of your choosing.

It comes with two stackable large capacity media baskets, which means that you can actually adjust the types and amounts of media being used. There are two fiber floss pads, a biological sponge, and a bag of activated carbon included with your purchase.

Pros

  •   Very high flow rate
  • Exceptional filtration capabilities
  • Customizable media trays
  • Doesn’t take up internal tank space
  • Very durable and high-quality overall
  • Filtration media included

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some would consider this to be overkill for a small betta tank

Overall, I also think this is by far the most durable unit on the list today, as it’s made with extremely high-quality components. The only downside is that this is also by far the most expensive filter on the list today.


Betta Fish Filter Buyers Guide: What to Look Out For

To help you make a choice when looking for the best aquarium filter for your betta fish, here are some of the main considerations that I always keep in mind.

Intended Size of Aquarium

All aquarium filters are labeled as being intended for a specific size of aquarium, and this is important to pay attention to. Don’t think that a filter labeled as being ideal for a 5 gallon aquarium at most could handle a 10 gallon aquarium. 

Those figures are very important to keep in mind. In fact, I recommend going for a filter that is rated for a slightly larger aquarium than the one you have, just to make sure that it is able to keep up.

Water Flow & Filtration Capacity

Related to the size of the aquarium that the filter is intended for, you need to pay attention to the water flow and filtration capacity. You want the filter in question to be able to handle at least three times the amount of water present in the aquarium every single hour. 

This means that if you have a 10 gallon tank, getting a filter that can process at least 30 gallons per hour is recommended, and the more the better. Some aquarium filters can process up to 10 times the amount of water in the tank per hour.

Types of Water Filtration

If you want the cleanest possible tank and the healthiest fish, you need an aquarium filter that engages in all three major types of aquarium water filtration. 

This includes mechanical filtration to remove solid debris, biological filtration to remove ammonia and other toxic substances, and chemical filtration to remove colors, odors, and other unwanted compounds such as heavy metals.

Size & Positioning – Internal vs External

You also want to pay attention to the size of the filter in question compared to the size of your aquarium. If you have an extremely small aquarium, getting an internal filter that takes up tank space may not be ideal. 

This is why many people with small tanks go for hang on back filters. That said, if you have a larger aquarium, or just don’t want to take up any internal real estate, getting an external canister filter is recommended, although external canister filters are quite expensive.

Ease of Maintenance

You should always look for an aquarium filter that features easy maintenance. More than anything else, what I’m talking about here is a filter that uses simple filtration media, preferably filtration cartridges. Simple cartridges can just be removed and inserted as needed.

Durability

Although this is admittedly not the first thing I pay attention to, I always like it if an aquarium filter is made out of durable and high quality materials. Some of these units break within just a couple of months, therefore rendering them completely useless. 

I’d rather invest slightly more money in a more durable filter that will last for years to come. On that note, while I don’t like buying the cheapest units around, I do try my best not to go for the most expensive models either, as they sometimes aren’t worth it. In my own personal opinion, going for something in the middle of the line is usually best.

Why Your Betta Fish Tank Needs a Good Filter

Some people might say that filters aren’t necessary for small betta fish tanks, but this just isn’t true. While it is true that betta fish are relatively resilient, and strictly speaking, may be able to survive in a well kept tank without a filter, it’s certainly not ideal.

Aquarium filter and accessories

Betta fish also eat food and release waste, which means that the water will eventually get dirty. If fish waste and uneaten food is left in the water, it releases ammonia and other toxic compounds into the water, which can eventually end up killing your betta fish.

Not only are these toxic chemicals bad for your fish, but they also don’t smell very nice, plus they make the water look cloudy. If you want your betta fish to have clean and clear water to swim around in, and if you want your fish to be in good health for many years to come, a good aquarium filter is absolutely recommended. 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, there is one truth, which is that your betta fish needs good water filtration in order to be happy and healthy. Now it is up to you to choose the best filter for your betta fish tank. I’ve reviewed 5 awesome models above, but if those don’t suit you, keep the tips I’ve listed in the buyers guide in mind, and go searching for one that suits you better.