Are sponge filters good for betta fish?

In this article, we will answer the question “Are sponge filters good for betta fish?”. We will also discuss sponge filters’ benefits and disadvantages, how sponge filters work and also how to properly clean a sponge filter.

Are sponge filters good for betta fish?

Yes, sponge filters are very good for betta fish. They are the most recommended type of filter to have in a betta fish tank. The sponge filter has a terrible reputation for being an unsightly filter that provides insufficient filtration for most aquariums. Although that may be true in some circumstances, the sponge filter is probably one of the best filters you can use for betta fish. 

The sponge filter is the simplest to use and comprehend of all the filters. Small delicate fish, such as the Betta, are the most common users. Its mild performance is especially ideal for newly hatched fry following breeding. It’ll come in useful if your fish is ill and you need to put up a hospital tank. An air pump is used with a sponge filter to draw water through the sponge, collecting particles.

What is a sponge filter?

An air tube and a porous spongy substance that serves as the filtering mechanism make up a sponge filter. Aquarium sponge filters may filter waste, by-products, and solid particles in the water biologically and mechanically. 

It’s worth noting that sponge filters don’t offer any kind of chemical filtering. When you require chemical filtration, such as after a treatment time, you may always attach a carbon bag to the sponge. 

How do sponge filters work?

It is necessary to employ a sponge filter (which is placed within the tank), an air pump (which is situated outside the tank), and airline tubing to connect them all to get the most basic filtering results. The sponge filter’s hollow interior is forced by the air pump, which is connected to it by tubing. Water is pulled through the sponge walls by bubbles that rise from the sponge’s interior and travel through the sponge walls. This water suction system automatically collects garbage from the aquarium while also providing a growth habitat for beneficial bacteria to flourish.

Sponge filters have long been a favourite of both new and experienced fish keepers due to their low cost, ease of cleaning, and lack of mechanical parts.

It offers strong water circulation and surface agitation due to the continual bubbling while remaining moderate enough to prevent sucking up a fish fry, shrimp, and other slow-moving organisms. In addition, during power outages, the sponge’s beneficial bacteria remain in the oxygenated tank water (giving it a better chance of survival), and you may buy a battery pack backup that works with our USB air pump in case of emergency.

Benefits of sponge filters

  • The most straightforward of all the filters to use. 
  • This type of biological filtration may be driven by simple air pumps or powerheads, and it provides excellent biological filtration.
  • The ideal filter for a Betta with long fins is because the filter will not grab the fins. 
  • Low-cost and cost-effective. 
  • It is the best filter for mating, medical, and quarantine tanks since it will not suck up fry or sick fish that are weak or unwell.
  • It’s really simple to clean. Squeeze or rinse the sponge in old aquarium water after removing it. 
  • Most HOB filters may be used as a pre-filter in conjunction with them.
  • They are probably the best choice of filtering for delicate Discus or Angel tanks since they do not draw harmful germs when used in an open tank.
  • Great for plants since they keep the CO2 levels in the tank at a greater level.

What are the drawbacks of having a sponge filter in your tank?

·       One evident disadvantage of the sponge filter is its appearance! They’re big, hefty, and unsightly, so attempt to hide them behind some rocks or décor if at all feasible. 

·       Another disadvantage is the lack of chemical filtration, which is usually accomplished using media such as activated carbon. 

Why choose a sponge filter for betta fish tanks?

·       When it comes to planted tanks, sponge filters are an excellent choice since they remove substantially less CO2 from the water than HOB or Canister filters. Increasing the amount of CO2 accessible to your plants will benefit them. 

·       When utilizing an air stone, sponge filters give a much gentler current. Betta fish, fish fry, and freshwater shrimp are examples of small, fragile organisms that thrive in this environment.

·       Sponge filters, in many circumstances, may provide significantly better biological filtration. Sponge filters may also be used as a pre-filter with HOB filters. This prevents big material from entering the HOB canister, as well as extending the life of the HOB’s filter cartridges.

How to clean a sponge filter?

After you’ve installed the sponge filter in your betta fish tank, you’ll need to clean it thoroughly to ensure that it works correctly. Regular maintenance is required when using a sponge filter, as clogging is one of the most common difficulties with sponge filters. 

Cleaning your sponge every two weeks is a good rule of thumb. You may need to clean your tank more regularly depending on the sponge you are using and the amount of bioload in your aquarium, though. The water around the sponge medium slows down when it’s time to clean the sponge. This indicates that your sponge filter needs to be cleaned.

When you’re ready to remove the sponge from your aquarium, place a small container or bowl underneath it to catch any drips. As you remove the out filter, this will assist prevent all of the unclean water and debris from dropping back into your aquarium. 

After you’ve removed the filter, all you have to do now is fill a small bucket with spent aquarium water. Then, toss the sponge into the bucket and squeeze it a few times until nothing comes off. 

Replace the sponge in your aquarium, discard the unclean water in the bucket, and top up the tank with fresh conditioned water as needed.

What is the best sponge filter for your betta fish tank?

The fact that sponge filters are simple equipment means that there isn’t much difference between brands. Nonetheless, we have selected our most highly recommended sponge filter.

Xinyou XY-2831 Sponge Filter

This Xinyou sponge filter is intended to offer mechanical and biological filtering for a tank with a capacity of 10-20 gallons. While the filter does not have an air stone, it is simple to add one to produce a powerful suction system that will not stress your betta fish. 

The filter may be used as a pre-filter or as a stand-alone filter, depending on your needs. As indicated by shrimp’s affinity to this filtering system, the sponge material serves as an excellent habitat for beneficial bacteria. The only true drawback to this filter is that it isn’t particularly attractive; the black, mechanical-looking design would seem out of place in almost any tank.


In this article, we answered the question “Are sponge filters good for betta fish?”. We also discussed sponge filters’ benefits and disadvantages, how sponge filters work and also how to properly clean a sponge filter.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Are sponge filters good for betta fish?

Are sponge filters good picks for small fish tanks?

When a safe and gentle filtration is required, such as in a fry or tiny fish tank where the fish might be drawn into the input of regular filters, sponge filters are ideal. Sponge filters are also beneficial to fish that do not flourish in strong currents, like bettas.

Is one small sponge filter enough for a 5-gallon betta aquarium?

Mini sponge filters are perfect for Betta fish tanks, nano tanks, fry tanks, and shrimp aquariums. They’re also ideal for tanks with a size of 5 gallons or less, as previously stated. They feature a modest water flow, which makes them suitable for Betta fish, fry, and shrimp tanks, among other applications.

Are better sponge filters better than power filters?

However, while sponge filters aren’t the best option for every aquarium, they do a good job in smaller, well-established aquariums with moderate water flow and delicate creatures. They are air-powered and assist to oxygenate the water while filtering out bigger particles and housing healthy microorganisms.

Do betta fish require an air pump in their tanks?

Certainly not. The labyrinth organ of a betta is the fundamental reason why air pumps aren’t required in betta aquariums. Bettas do not require the use of their gills for breathing because of the presence of the labyrinth organ. Instead, they can go to the surface of the water and breathe the oxygen there. However, there are situations when using an air pump is advantageous.

Are sponge filters capable of keeping the water clear?

Yes, when water passes through the sponge’s porous surface, dirt is trapped, leaving the water clean as it exits the filter at the top. Because the dirt is retained within the sponge, the water is left pure and clean. It’s a very simple and inexpensive approach to keeping your tank water clean.

Can I turn off my betta filter during the night?

The practice of shutting down your tank filter every night is not a good idea. The filter is crucial to the health of your tank, and leaving it turned off for extended periods may result in problems.


Jack Dempsey, 2021. Find the Right Sponge Filter For Your Betta or Other Small Fish.

The Bets Aquarium Filter – 29 You Should Know About – Reviews (Top Picks) & Guide.

Christopher Adams, 2022. The Best Filter for a Betta Fish (2022 Review).

Sponge Filters: The Easiest Fish Tank Filter Ever.