Do Glofish Need a Filter?

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Yes, Glofish, as well as all tank fish species, require a filtering system. The filter is a necessary addition to any closed aquatic environment, although many novice fish keepers prefer to avoid the investment.

Unfortunately, doing so comes with several costs, one of them being the need for more frequent tank maintenance and cleaning.

Adding plants to your aquarium may reduce the impact of ammonia and nitrites and keep the water cleaner, but not by much.

The filter is far more effective and cleaning the water, and it makes for a vital addition to any fish tank. Especially a community-based aquarium with several fish species.

And especially when it comes to accommodating various species of Glofish, which can be sensitive to changes in the water’s chemistry.

But let’s see what makes the filtering system such an important addition to your tank.

Why is Filtration Important for Glofish?

The Glofish group contains 5 different fish species:

  1. Zebra Danios
  2. Betta fish
  3. Rainbow sharks
  4. Neon Tetras
  5. Tiger Barbs

All these fish species are different in water requirements, behavior, overall personality, space needs, etc.

However, where they resemble each other is their need for a clean, stable, and healthy environment. So, how does the filter help in that sense, and what are its main benefits?

  • Keeping the water clean and clear – The filter will remove water particles, debris, dirt, food residues, and fish waste floating around the tank. You can say that this isn’t a vital benefit since fish won’t die in murky waters. But they won’t thrive either. Not to mention, some species like rainbow sharks will actually suffer in dirty waters. Hence, getting a filter will boost their quality of life tremendously.
  • Ensuring optimal biological filtering – The filter will house billions of beneficial bacteria that form the tank’s biofilm. These microorganisms are divided into 2 categories. One category consumes ammonia and excretes nitrites, the other consumes nitrites and excretes nitrates. The latter components are far less harmful to your fish than the former 2. Without a filter, the cultures of beneficial bacteria will have a hard time surviving in the tank. Especially with all the cleaning and tank maintenance disturbing them regularly.
  • Boosting oxygenation – The filter will create surface bubbles, improving the water’s oxygenation. Not all Glofish species need the additional oxygenation, but some do, like the bettas. Just be sure to adjust the bubbling effect based on which fish species live in the tank. Not all like the heavy bubble storm that some filters can deliver.

All these pluses are designed to keep the aquatic environment cleaner, fresher, and healthier in the long run.

And this is one point that you simply can’t ignore. If you’re going to invest in Glofish, invest in a reliable filtering system as well.

What Filter to Use for Glofish?

First, you need to consider the filter’s size when compared to your tank’s size. A filter that’s too small for your tank won’t deliver the expected power and results.

One that’s too large can cause your fish discomfort by disturbing the substrate, creating powerful water currents, and even sucking the fish in.

After you’ve established the ideal size, the next factor to weigh in is the type to consider.

In this sense, there are 3 categories of tank filters to keep in mind, based on your needs and preferences:

Sponge Filter

A sponge filter is a great option for smaller fish species that risk getting sucked into the filtering system.

A great option comes in the form of the Hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter.

This piece comes with one bag of bio-ceramic balls, designed to house the tank’s biofilm and provides a pristine bio and physical filtration alongside optimal water oxygenation.

It is the ideal option for fish species like tetras and zebra danios, as well as breeding tanks if you plan on multiplying your Glofish.

For personal use only, of course, since you can’t sell Glofish fry due to the patented technology.

The Hygger filter is easy to mount and dismount and even easier to clean, making it perfect for small-to-medium tanks of up to 55 gallons in capacity.

Set it up in your tank, adjust it to the desired power, and clean one of the sponges once per month. There’s little you should do other than that.

Hang-on-Back Filter

The hang-on-back filter is the perfect option for larger tanks, most people use it for community aquariums in excess of 60 gallons. In this context, AquaClear is probably the best piece you can get for aquariums between 20 and 110 gallons.

AquaClear uses the BioMax and Cycle Guard technologies to ensure optimal chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration for cleaner and clearer water.

This product comes with a lifetime warranty and requires cleaning once every 2 weeks for optimal output.

If you’re set to create a sustainable and stable community aquarium, AquaClear is a must-have.

Submersible Filter

Submersible filters are generally optimal for very small aquariums with only a handful of fish.

This is the story of the Fluval Nano Aquarium Filter, which, as the name suggests, can accommodate environments of up to 15 gallons.

It’s a good filtering option if you’re planning on setting up a tetra nano tank or have a small group of bettas or zebra danios.

The Fluval filter ensures optimal water oxygenation and provides thorough mechanical and biological filtering in a small and compact setting.

It is easy to assemble and disassemble, cleanse, and maintain in the long run and delivers gentle water flow.

The latter aspect, in particular, makes this piece ideal for fish and shrimp sensitive to water currents.

Do Glofish Like Strong Currents?

Typically, no, but that would depend on how you define ‘strong currents,’ I guess. Just to remain on the safe side, keep the filter at a reasonable flow and adjust its power according to your fish’s reaction.

If they tend to avoid the filter’s currents and seek more peaceful areas of the tank, trim the filter down a bit.

As a general rule, zebra danios typically enjoy stronger water currents when compared to the rest of the Glofish species.

Do Glofish Need Air Bubbles?

Air bubbles may be a beneficial addition to the tank, so long as they don’t disturb the fish or the environment.

Bettas, in particular, could use the extra bubbles since these fish are notorious for breathing at the water’s surface occasionally. That’s possible due to bettas possessing a labyrinth organ that helps them process atmospheric air.

So, it’s not uncommon to see your bettas swimming to the water’s surface and gulping some air occasionally. This behavior is no reason for concern.

Other than that, most Glofish don’t really rely on air bubbles to breathe. Just make sure the tank water is well oxygenated and provide modest water currents and bubbles, and your fish should be fine.


The filter is a necessary addition to any aquatic environment. By necessary, I don’t mean vital, just necessary.

It will improve your fish’s comfort by keeping the water cleaner and healthier and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria.

That being said, you can make it work without a filtering system, it’s just that it will demand more from you.

You will need to perform even more strict water changes and tank maintenance to make sure the aquarium remains clean and safe for your fish.

It’s not worth the trouble when you can simply buy a filter and spare yourself a lot of work while keeping your fish safe and happy with minimal effort. Buy a filter!

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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