Betta fish are usually housed in bowls. That means no filter and no heater. Even people who keep betta fish in tiny tanks rarely provide filtration or heated water, and they survive for the most part.
This is what makes the Betta Fish so accessible. For newbie fish keepers, college students, kids and others who do not feel like handle with the maintenance requirements of a live aquarium, the Betta Fish is a way to have a pet fish without all the troubles of having a pet fish (betta fish).
Regrettably, these same Betta Fish owners later end up wondering why their fish appears permanently stressed, or suffers from some sickness such as fin rot. Betta Fish may endure in bowls of stagnant water, but that does not mean they are thriving.
Cold temperatures and dirty water can make stress and make it more like your Betta Fish will die before his time. But this does not mean you cannot keep your Betta Fish in an unfiltered, unheated tank. It merely means you need to fully know the requirements of your betta fish before deciding if that is the right choice.
It also means you require to be ready to do the more work required to keep a not heated, not filtered set up in a top requirement for your fish.
In this section, we will take a look at whether or not you should consider housing your Betta Fish in a tank with a heater and filter.
How Is the Betta Fish Different From Other Fish?
What makes us think it is okay to keep a Betta Fish in a bowl, anyway? We did never think putting any other tropical fish in a tiny bowl without a filter.
Betta fish do have physiologies that support them to survive in low-oxygen environments in the wild. They are anabantids or labyrinth fish, and they can come to the surface to gulp air when they want it.
BTW, this is just one more reason having a Betta Fish in a plant vase is a foolish idea because Your betta fish needs access to the water surface!
In the wilds of Southeast, Asia Betta Fish can live for short times in small puddles where other fish would perish. This is because of evolutionary adaptations that allow the species to endure in times of drought or bad water conditions.
In other words, they have evolved to take in air, not just rely on the oxygen in the water so that they can survive harsh conditions.
This makes them the perfect fish to a house in a small bowl, or so it seems. They can do without the aeration outcome of a filter, and survive even if the water gets bad quality.
But think of it like this: You could reasonably go a month without food if you had to, living on the stored fat in your body. As humans, we have evolved to survive times of famine by storing fat.
But how much fun would you be having during that month without food? You did probably be pretty miserable, and you might even suffer from some physical problems as a result of your fast. Just because you are surviving does not mean you are thriving.
This is why bowls and small, one-gallon tanks are not the right choices for betta fish.
Does a Betta Fish Need a Filter?
Betta fish do best in tanks that include a filter. You can keep a Betta Fish in a bowl, though I subjectively really hate seeing it. You need to stay on top of weekly water changes, be sure not to overfeed, and keep the water crystal clear. You also need to make sure your room temperature remains suitable for tropical fish, which means in the mid-70s.
When things go wrong in a small bowl, they go wicked fast. Poor water conditions can lead to infections, fin deterioration, and, ultimately, early death for your Betta Fish. This is why, if you are on the fence between a tank or a bowl, I fully encourage you to choose the tank.
To thrive, Betta Fish needs clean water just like any other fish. Fish tanks with filtration can establish themselves as tiny ecosystems, although they are ecosystems that require a small help from you.
Colonies of microorganisms develop in the tank and the filter, and they help in breaking down the waste caused by the fish and his uneaten food.
You do not need to, and should not, do a complete water change in a tank with a filter as you will destroy those important microorganisms. About 35% weekly water change is enough, plus vacuuming the gravel and cleaning up any algae.
This equates to about ten minutes of work per week for a 10-gallon tank. Compare that to the annoyance and time involved with removing your Betta Fish from his bowl or tank, completely cleaning it and the decorations, then adding clean water and waiting for it to return to room temperature before you can put Betta Fish back in his home (aquarium).
Tanks with filtration are simply easier to care for. And the more significant the tank, the easier it is to maintain the system. A 55-gallon tank is much, much easier to maintain than a 1-gallon tank.
That is not to say your Betta Fish needs a 55-gallon tank of course, but a 5-10 gallon tank is a bad idea.
The actions of a filter also help to oxygenate the water. Betta Fish do best with low-flow filtration, as they tend to get knocked around a lot by high-output filters. Even a low-flow filter will help with oxygenation.
Below are a couple of filters to recognize for your Betta Fish. No matter what you choose, keep an eye on your fish at first and make sure he is coping with the water movement without any problems.
Azoo Mignon Filter 60
This is a cheap nano filter for small tanks up to 10 gallons. There are a few things I like about it. The first is the adjustable flow rate. As stated before, Betta Fish does do well with fast-moving currents. They tend to get pushed around the tank, and that, of course, causes stress.
With this filter, you can position it and adjust the flow, so your Betta Fish is struggling.
I like that it is a hang-on-back filter. Many nano filters are fully submersible, and they take up a lot of space in the tank. If you are already starting with a small tank, you do want to cut down your Betta is swimming area even more with a large filter. With the Azoo Mignon, only the intake submerges.
Finally, I like that you can add your own filter media. Some filters are cartridge-based, and when the cartridge gets dirty, you have to replace it with the exact same type of cartridge. With this filter, you can use whatever fits. You might just want to use a sponge to catch debris, or you may want to include something like activated carbon.
Rio Mini 50 Internal Power Filter
Here is another right choice for tiny tanks. It an internal filter, so it will take up a tiny space and attaches to the inside of the tank by suction cups. But it is a relatively tiny design that can be placed vertically or horizontally, so you can tuck it out of the way.
The output can be adjusted by the several included adapters, as well as the direction of the water output, to help keep Betta Fish stress-free.
Like the Azoo above, you have the choice of different filter media.
This little filter would be an excellent upgrade for one of those aquarium kits that comes with the 1, 2, or 3- gallon tank plus the hood and the air-pump filter. People love those tanks for Betta fish, but they have their drawbacks.
Those air-pump filters are designed to be a type of under-gravel filter, and frankly, they do work very well. Even if debris gets sucked down into the gravel, there it stays to foul the water. It is far better to have a filter with a removable sponge so you can clean out any debris.
Does a Betta Fish Need a Heater?
It is a good concept to include a heater in your Betta is a tank, to maintain constant ideal water temperature. When people keep betta fish in bowls or small tanks, they usually do consider a heater. This means the water temperature will be governed by the surrounding air temperature, which will fluctuate throughout the day.
This can be bad news. Though people do often think of them this way, Betta Fish is tropical fish. That means they live in warmer water in the wild. They require temperatures from the mid-70s, up to around 80 degrees.
If your room temperature is consistently in the mid-70s at the lowest, you can get by without a heater. This is true of any tropical fish tank. But if you have periods, at night, for instance, when room temperature drops into the 60s or even 50s, you need to consider a heater for your tank.
Just like pollution, water temperature is more comfortable to control in larger volumes of water. The water temperature in a 1-3 gallon tank or bowl will drop fast as the air temperature goes down.
A 10-gallon tank will take a little longer to adjust, and big tanks even longer still.
Low water temperatures will cause stress for your Betta Fish, and make him more at risk of disease and premature death. Remember, just because he is surviving does mean he is thriving. You need to keep your Betta is water temperature between 75-80 degrees if you want him to be as healthy as possible.
One of the problems with tiny tanks is that even small heaters may heat them up too much, and you could end up killing your Betta Fish.
This is all the more reason you should consider a tank 5 gallons or more significant for your betta fish.
You need to monitor the water temperature and make modifications to the heater size and/or settings as you go. Ideally, you should set up the tank, heater included, before you ever add your Betta Fish to make sure the temperature is staying within charming ranges.