The Fish Guru

Betta Fish and Filter Machines: Understanding their Obsession

Betta fish, or Siamese fighting fish, are some of the most popular aquarium fish in the world. These small, colorful fish are known for their beauty, personality, and unique behaviors.

One of the most interesting things about betta fish is their obsession with filter machines. Many betta fish owners have noticed that their bettas seem to be attracted to the filters in their tanks, often swimming near them or even hiding in them.

This behavior can be confusing and concerning for new betta fish owners, but it is actually quite common and has a number of explanations. Why Are Betta Fish Obsessed With Filter Machines?

Strong Water Current: One of the main reasons that betta fish are attracted to filter machines is the strong water current that they create. Betta fish are native to slow-moving streams and ponds in Southeast Asia, and they are adapted to living in fairly calm water.

However, many aquarium filters create a strong current that simulates the movement of water in a river or stream. This movement can be appealing to betta fish, who may enjoy swimming against the current or simply feeling the water moving around them.

Rich Food Source: Another reason that betta fish may be attracted to filter machines is the rich food source that they provide. Filters often collect microorganisms, algae, and other small pieces of organic matter from the water, which can become a tasty snack for hungry bettas.

However, it is important to note that betta fish can easily overeat, and too much food can lead to health problems like bloating and constipation. Entertainment: Betta fish are intelligent and curious animals, and they often enjoy playing and exploring their surroundings.

Some bettas may be attracted to filter machines simply because they find them visually interesting or because they enjoy playing in the bubbles and currents that they create. Watching a betta fish swim through the bubbles and waterfalls created by a filter can be quite entertaining for both the fish and its owner.

Oxygenated Water: Betta fish require a specific set of water parameters to thrive, including temperature, pH, and oxygen levels. Many filters help to oxygenate the water in an aquarium by creating bubbles and adding oxygen to the water.

Betta fish may be attracted to filter machines because they sense that the water around them is well-oxygenated and healthy. No Hiding Spots: Betta fish are territorial animals and require plenty of hiding spots in their aquariums to feel safe and secure.

If an aquarium does not have enough hiding spots, a betta fish may seek shelter in or around the filter machine. This behavior can be a sign that the betta is feeling stressed or uncomfortable in its environment.

Wrong Tank Mates: Finally, it is important to note that betta fish are not always compatible with other fish species. Some fish, like aggressive cichlids or fin-nipping tetras, may stress and harass bettas, causing them to seek refuge near the filter.

If a betta fish seems overly obsessed with its filter machine, it may be a sign that it is not getting along with its tank mates and needs to be rehomed or separated. Can You Stop Bettas From Swimming Near the Filter?

If you are concerned about your betta fish’s obsession with its filter machine, there are several steps that you can take to address the issue. Here are some suggestions:

Covering the Filter: One simple solution is to cover the filter intake with a small piece of mesh or pantyhose.

This can help to reduce the strength of the water current and make the filter less appealing to betta fish. Creating Hiding Spots: Another solution is to provide your betta fish with more hiding spots in its aquarium.

This can be done by adding live plants, logs, and terra cotta pots to the tank. These hiding spots can help your betta feel more secure and less inclined to hide near the filter.

Adding Desirable Tank Mates: If your betta fish is stressed out by its tank mates, you may need to consider rehoming some of the other fish in the aquarium or introducing more compatible species. Good tank mates for betta fish include Kuhli Loaches, Harlequin Rasboras, and Cory Catfish.

Performing Regular Tank Maintenance: It is also important to perform regular tank maintenance to keep your aquarium clean and healthy. This includes cleaning the filter regularly, removing debris and uneaten food from the tank, and checking water parameters like temperature and pH.

Keeping Your Fish Entertained: Finally, it is important to keep your betta fish entertained and stimulated. This can be done by providing enrichment activities like feeding live brine shrimp or bloodworms, playing with your betta using a mirror or toy, and changing up the decorations in the tank every now and then.


In summary, betta fish are fascinating animals with a unique set of behaviors and preferences. While their obsession with filter machines can be confusing to some betta fish owners, it is actually quite common and has a number of explanations.

By understanding why betta fish are attracted to filters and taking steps to address any issues, you can help to provide a happy, healthy home for your betta fish. Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are beautiful creatures with unique personalities.

These captivating little fish are popular pets among aquarium enthusiasts because of their vibrant colors and entertaining behaviors. However, taking care of a betta requires more than just feeding and housing them in an aquarium.

As a responsible betta owner, you need to make sure that your pet is living in a happy and safe tank environment. One of the aspects of caring for bettas that requires special attention is their tendency to become obsessed with filter machines.

In this article, we will expand on this topic and provide information on how to create a safe and happy tank for your betta that is away from the filter. The side effects of Bettas being obsessed with filter machines can be potentially dangerous.

Bettas can get pulled into the filter and get injured due to their delicate fins getting stuck into the filter’s suction. This can cause the fins to tear and sometimes break off.

The water current created by the filter can also stress out the Betta. Instead of swimming freely and confidently in their aquarium, the fish may constantly swim against currents, which can lead to stress and fatigue.

This behavior can ultimately lead to health issues like bloating and lethargy.

Providing a Safe Tank

To ensure the safety of your betta fish, it is essential to examine your aquarium setup and take some preventive measures. One of the main steps is to ensure your filter is safe for your Betta.

There are filters specifically made for Bettas that create a low flow rate. Bettas prefer a more relaxed water flow while still allowing for good water circulation.

If your filter is not feasible, you could also provide a mesh cover over the inlet, ensuring the Betta is not close to the filter. Properly positioning the filter outflow can also help reduce the risk of injury and decrease the current within the tank.

Adding live plants or decorations can also provide shelter for your Betta and reduce the risk of injury in case of suction. You can add hideout places like logs and pots that your Betta can use in case they feel threatened or stressed.

The hiding spots provide a retreat for Betta to escape the current of the filter.

Providing a Happy Tank

Once you have ensured your Betta’s safety, it is essential to consider the reasons why your fish is obsessed with the filter. Bettas can get attracted to water currents and the bubbles created by the filter.

If your filter has too much current, an alternative is to reduce the water flow and rearrange the filter in a way that creates a slow and controlled flow. This will help decrease the noise and increase the peace inside the Betta’s aquarium, resulting in a happier, more relaxed Betta fish.

You can also provide appropriate tank decorations and lighting to create an ambiance that attracts your Betta. It is well-known that Bettas love their aquarium to be decorated with live plants, hiding spots, and other decorations that provide a natural environment for them.

Besides having a pleasing design for the eyes, this will keep the Betta busy and active and improve their well-being.

Feeding and Care

Bettas also need appropriate food and care to ensure their happiness and well-being. Overfeeding the Betta can cause stress and sickness.

Like any other fish, Bettas have a tendency to search for food, and making feeding time more exciting can keep them active and happy. Providing a varied diet, including live, frozen, and dry foods, can stimulate their appetite and prevent boredom.

Overfeeding can also cause filth build-up in the aquarium, which can build an unhealthy and toxic environment for the Betta. A clean tank and proper maintenance are a must to avoid sickness and provide a stress-free environment.

Observing the behavior of your Betta is important to ensure a happy and relaxed Betta fish. Bettas are territorial fish, and adding aggressive fish can cause stress, leading to territorial behavior.

If you notice your Betta hiding at the filter intake frequently or chasing other fish, examine your tank and its inhabitants to determine if the Betta is stressed. Adding appropriate tank mates and separating the Betta from aggressive fish may help provide a happy, peaceful environment.

In conclusion, having a betta can provide a lot of joys and entertainment, but it comes with some challenges. Constantly obsessing around their filter machines can be dangerous and lead to a stressful environment for them.

Reducing the flow rate or providing mesh to cover the filter’s intake are just some of the ways you can help your Betta be safe. Besides being safe, Betta fish require an ambiance that keeps them happy, including providing proper feeding, tank care, and tank decorations and lighting.

Understanding the behavior of your Betta is essential for providing a happy and safe environment, and observing unusual behavior can help prevent any health issues. In conclusion, ensuring a safe and happy tank environment is crucial for the well-being of betta fish, and one of the aspects that require special attention is their obsession with filter machines.

Providing a safe tank requires measures to ensure the Betta’s safety, and a happy tank includes adequate tank decorations, proper diet, and maintenance. Observing the behavior of your Betta and taking action when needed can prevent any health issues.

With the right knowledge, preventive measures, and care, you can create a happy and safe home for your Betta fish. Remember, providing a relaxed, stress-free environment for your Betta fish to thrive is the ultimate goal.

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