Betta is a small, slow-moving fish with an adorable appearance. Many betta enthusiasts keep their pets in a small, transparent tank so they can enjoy the fins flare.

Of course, these tanks are not equipped with a heater and filter. That’s why a question may pop in your head: Do betta fish need heaters and filters?

In fact, this is what makes betta fish extremely popular across the globe. It is quite easy to maintain, making it an ideal choice for beginners, busy owners, and even kids.

No need to worry about tricky maintenance requirements just like a real aquarium.

However, some owners end up finding their fish stressed or looking unhappy—even some bettas can’t survive in their small tanks.

If you are concerned about whether or not betta fish need a heater and filter, you’ve come to the right page. Get everything you need to know here.

Do Betta Fish Need Heaters?

A heater commonly used for betta fish.
A heater commonly used for betta fish. (Image: senzeal.com)

Bowls and small tanks rarely have a heater, which means water temperature inside the tank fluctuates depending on the surrounding air temperature.

This also means the bettas have to keep adjusting themselves to the water temperature.

Unfortunately, bettas are tropical fish and they require warmer water to thrive. In the wild, their ideal water temperature is somewhere between the 70s and 80 degrees.

So, if you can keep the room temperature consistent in the 70s, you can simply keep a betta in a small tank without a heater.

The problem is that room temperature tends to drop to the 60s or 50s at night, which is too cold for the bettas.

In a small tank, the temperature of the water will drop faster than a larger tank and this significant temperature change causes several issues for betta fish.

Low water temperature may trigger stress and other significant problems like premature death and sorts of diseases.

Some bettas are stronger than others and you might find them survive a little longer. But it is worth noting that it does not mean they are happy with it.

To make your lovely bettas grow healthy and happy, be sure to keep the water temperature between 70 and 80 degrees.

Get a heater with the right size, so it doesn’t heat the water too much which will end up killing the bettas.

The heater for the betta tank helps maintain an ideal temperature of the water in your fish tank.

You need to regularly check and monitor the water temperature and make an adjustment when needed. Ideally, the heater should be set up before you add a betta to the tank.

Do Betta Fish Need Filters?

Filter for small aquarium.
Filter for small aquarium. (Image: clearaquariumcr.com)

Another common question among beginners is if betta fish needs a filter. Small bowls and fish tanks don’t come with any filters and some bettas can live well in it.

But you shouldn’t take this for granted. There are some requirements to keep your betta fish in a bowl without filters.

Bettas are tough fighters but they are quite sensitive to water quality.

Poor quality of the water can cause several issues for them, such as stress, fungal infection, fin deterioration, and even premature death. Thus, it’s essential to keep the water clean and clear.

Change the water at least once a week to keep it crystal clear. It is also important not to overfeed your bettas because food leftover causes an increase in ammonia levels that can poison the fish. Not to mention it makes your bowl water turbid.

Just like pollution, when something goes bad in the small bowl then it will get worse really fast.

Before it is too late, inspect the small tank or bowl regularly and make sure your bettas are fine with the water. That’s the only way to make them more healthy.

Do betta fish need filters? The answer heavily depends on how you care for the pet.

If you have time for a regular water change and waste removal, you can keep the bettas in a tank without a filter. But if you cannot make it for basic maintenance, installing a filter will do you good.

Tank filter not only maintains the water quality, but it also provides sufficient oxygen for the bettas.

Well-oxygenated water allows the fish to stay healthy, not to mention it can prolong their lifespan. Just make sure to choose a filter that fits your tank volume.

How to Care for Betta Fish

A betta fish inside the fish tank.
A betta fish inside the fish tank.

If you are a beginner in maintaining betta fish, chances are you need more insight into it. Caring for bettas can be challenging but a little know-how will make everything easier.

Whether you want to keep the fish in a small vessel or real aquarium, either with or without a filter and heater, here are things to consider:

Avoid Overfeeding

Your bettas need a well-balanced diet consisting of meat-based foods, frozen foods, and daphnia to complete their nutrition.

Brine shrimps and bloodworms are their favorite but you can only feed them in moderation to avoid obesity.

Avoid feeding your bettas more than once a day. Uneaten food will become waste and it is left unremoved, it will increase the level of ammonia which potentially poison the bettas.

Choose Appropriate Size of Aquarium

A betta in a decorative bowl may be intriguing. But if you want to keep them healthy and happy, prepare the right size aquarium for your pet. The volume of your tank must be at least 1 gallon, so the bettas can breathe.

In the case of male bettas, you will have to keep them individually. Find a separate bowl or 1-gallon tank or larger to prevent them from fighting.

Perform Water Check

Regular water check allows you to keep a healthy environment for the bettas.

There are some aspects to observe during water checks, including water quality (pH, ammonia level, nitrate level) and water temperature. Make sure each aspect is ideal for bettas to live in.

Overall, bettas are basically calm fish that doesn’t require high maintenance. Having that said, there are several points to consider when you decide to pet this little creature.

Now that you know the importance of a heater and filter, it should be much easier to make the decision.