Do Betta Fish Need Filters? 0 47

If you do some research on the question ‘do betta fish need filters?’, you may find yourself getting more than one answer. The truth is that betta fish can survive in a tank without filtration… but this doesn’t mean that they should have to!

One of the main reasons why people assume it’s not necessary to have a filter in a tank containing a betta fish is that bettas are “labyrinth” fish. This means they have a lung like organ which enables them to take in oxygen straight from the air. They can go to the top of the tank and breathe in oxygen that can then be circulated through their bloodstream.

This means that betta fish don’t need the same oxygenation of their tank water as other fish. However, having a filter in the tank helps with far more than just oxygenation…

How can a filter be beneficial for bettas?

One important factor that you should take into account when choosing whether to have a filter in your betta tank is that filters can help to create an ecosystem that supports the growth and survival of micro-organisms. And these micro-organisms are really useful in helping to break down any waste that builds up in the tank!

If you have a filter in your tank then you should only need to do a 30% water change once a week. This should include cleaning the gravel and making sure you get rid of any algae.

You shouldn’t remove all of the water from the tank as this would also remove the micro-organisms that are helping to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

Betta fish and filters – points to remember

There are certain things to do with the physical make-up of a betta fish that mean you have to think carefully about filtration. One of these things is the long delicate fins they have, which can be damaged by strong filtration.

Here are some points to remember about using a filter in a betta tank:

  • Always use slow flow filtration that doesn’t stress or damage your fish.
  • It’s very difficult to use a filter effectively in a tank that is less than 2.5 gallons in size.
  • Opting for a larger tank usually makes management of the tank easier in the long run.

You can see that using a filter in the tank with your betta is a good idea. However, if you choose not to have a filter in the tank then you still have to ensure a high level of water quality is sustained. This means that you have to commit to doing a full water change twice every week.

Frequent water changes are time consuming, especially as you have to wait for the water to reach the right temperature before you re-introduce your betta. You should also remember that if there are any other fish in the tank with your betta then you have to provide a filter for their benefit.

In conclusion: the best way of maintaining the water quality for your betta is to have a slow flowing filter in the tank.

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3 lizards that are great for first-time owners 0 125


Unusual pets have become more popular and accessible in recent years, with many more people considering exotic pets than before. Reptiles have become particularly popular, with the range of lizards available in the UK wider than ever. Here, we’ll list a few of the best lizards for beginners in terms of pet care.

Bearded Dragons

The single most popular reptile on the market today, bearded dragons are docile and friendly, and have no problem being handled by humans. Aside from this quality, bearded dragons are also a manageable size when fully grown, with the largest species reaching around 60cm tip to tip. This means they’ll be large enough to handle with ease and safety, but not so large that caring for them becomes a burden.

Leopard Geckos

Geckos are another type of lizard that has become exceedingly popular with first-time reptile owners. There are many owners and dealers who strive to own as many different species of gecko as possible. Most geckos are fast, and the sticky pads on their toes mean they can scale walls and escape from handlers fairly easily. However, leopard geckos are slow, docile, and lack the sticky toe pads. This makes them an easy and beautiful addition to your first vivarium. Furthermore, leopard geckos are quite hardy, and not as susceptible to diseases. They’re also smaller than bearded dragons and other common domestic lizards, with adults typically reaching a maximum of 25cm. This makes it easy to set them up with a comfortable and compact vivarium while you get used to reptile care.


Like bearded dragons, uromastyx enjoy human contact, which makes them perfect for owners who have only ever cared for mammals before. Furthermore, unlike many other reptiles, they feed almost exclusively on plants. This makes them easy to shop for, and a no-brainer for anyone who’s squeamish about insects. Having said that, uromastyx can be a strain on your energy bill, requiring a basking spot kept at 35 degrees Celsius to stay happy and healthy. Still, if you can afford this and love the look of these distinctive lizards, a uromastyx can make a great introductory pet lizard.

Essential considerations when buying a tortoise 0 126

Keeping a tortoise as a pet

If you love reptiles, you may have toyed with the idea of owning a pet tortoise. These are truly fascinating creatures, having lived alongside the dinosaurs. Over millions of years of evolution, tortoises have grown to require fairly specific needs. However, they can be loving and fairly low-maintenance pets if you approach tortoise care in the right way. Here are a few things to think about before getting your tortoise.

Choosing a breed

Tortoises are very diverse animals, and different breeds will work better for different lifestyles. Russian, Bell, and Forest Hingeback tortoises are fairly small, growing up to 8.5”. Red Foots are a mid-range breed, growing up to 14”, while African Spur Thighs are a notably large breed, with some adults weighing well over 150 pounds. While vivariums and similar enclosures are fine for young tortoises and particularly small breeds, most will require some outdoor space to keep them in.

General supplies

As with any unusual pets, you need to ensure you have all the right supplies to keep your tortoise happy and healthy in its new home. When kept indoors, your tortoise will need a basking light to draw energy from, as well as a florescent UVB light to help it process vitamins and minerals healthily. To ensure the UVB rays are enough for your tortoise, set reminders to yourself to change them once every 6-8 months. A large water bowl is needed for drinking and soaking. Finally, your tortoise will need a heating pad. This will warm its belly, and help with its digestion.


Like many other animals, infant and adolescent tortoises will need extra nutritional care to help them grow healthily. To this end, make sure you’re keeping them on a balanced diet of crispy, easily-digestible food, like grasses and leafy green vegetables. It’s also a good idea to get them some calcium and vitamin supplements. As their jaws mature, you can move them onto more solid foods like fruits. Fully-grown tortoises will be able to manage darker leafy greens, along with a wider range of go-to reptile food, such as fruits, earthworms, and crickets. If you’re ever unsure of what you should be giving your tortoise based on their age and breed, consult your vet.

Find out more about caring for your pet tortoise