The goldfish might be the most popular aquarium fish that don’t need filters, but it’s certainly not the only one. Plenty of other types of fish are great pets that don’t need filters in their aquariums, making them great choices if you have limited space or an unwillingness to clean out your filter regularly. Many of these species of fish are beautiful and interesting.
Regardless of how much care and time you put into setting up your tank, if you don’t have the right fish inside of it, you can end up with a dirty and unhealthy tank. However, certain types of fish are known to be easier to keep alive than others because they require minimal amounts of care and maintenance in their aquariums, making them great beginner fish.
In an aquarium, the two most important factors are oxygen and water quality; however, not every fish needs specialized filtration to keep its water clean and healthy.
From lively community fish that can handle more active tanks to more solitary species that prefer lower levels of oxygen, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit for your home by reading through this list of 19 popular types of fish that don’t need filters in their aquariums.
If you’re an aquarist but want to save some money and space, choose fish that don’t need filters in their aquariums! These 19 types of fish are easy to take c+are of and won’t require any maintenance above and beyond a regular water change and the occasional feeding.
What fish don’t need a filter?
If you’re searching for what fish don’t need filters in their aquarium, there are plenty of them and we have listed 19 popular ones here, they are all easy to take care of and good for beginner aquarists. Although, using a filter can keep the water clean by preventing the toxins in it from settling down. However, that doesn’t mean the filter is necessary to ensure fish survival.
Popular types of fish that don’t need filters
Betta Fish (Betta splendens)
The Betta fish is one of the most popular types of fish that doesn’t need a filter in its aquarium. It is a small freshwater fish that can be found in many pet stores around the world.
These friendly little guys are very easy to care for and are not picky eaters. As long as they have their daily diet of live or frozen food, they will be happy. Although these fish don’t require filters, it is recommended that you use an aquarium heater to keep the water at a constant temperature. Bettas also prefer shallow tanks with plants or other decorations because they like to play hide-and-seek.
Guppy Fish (Poecilia reticulata)
The guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata) is a freshwater fish that hails from the Amazon River basin. These small, colorful fish are very popular in the aquarium trade because they are inexpensive and relatively easy to care for.
Guppies require no additional filtration besides regular water changes. If you have an established tank with live plants, these little guys will love it! They will happily eat any algae that start to grow. They can also be trained to eat food flakes right out of your hand.
As long as they have plenty of places to hide and explore, guppies should thrive without any extra work on your part!
White Cloud Mountain Minnow (Tanichthys albonubes)
The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a freshwater fish that is native to China. They are typically found in mountain streams and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, which makes them an excellent choice for those without a filter.
They also eat most types of food, so you don’t need to worry about having to purchase special food for them! As long as you have a high-quality water conditioner, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow should be fine. If there’s any sort of issue with your water conditions though, they will likely become sick or die quickly.
Blind Cave Tetras (Astyanax mexicanus)
Blind cave tetras, also known as the Mexican tetra, are one of the most popular fish for aquariums because they are very peaceful, calm, and easy to take care of. They can be kept in a freshwater tank with other peaceful fish. The blind cave tetra prefers to live in caves that mimic their natural environment, so it’s important not to put gravel or rocks on the bottom of their tanks.
The caves should also be tall enough so that they can easily get out when necessary and small enough that there isn’t an opening at the top where large fish could get inside. The blind cave tetra is an omnivore which means it eats both meaty foods like worms and algae wafers as well as vegetables like lettuce and peas.
Salt and Pepper Corydoras (Corydoras habrosus)
Salt and pepper Corydoras are freshwater fish that originate from the Orinoco River Basin in South America. They get their name from the fine flecks of black and white on their sides, which give them a salt-and-pepper appearance. These fish are typically sold as juveniles, but they can grow up to 3 inches long.
Salt and pepper Corydoras are schooling fish that prefer to be kept with at least six of their own kind in a community aquarium. They enjoy swimming around plants and like to rest near rocks or other objects within their tank. They do not require any special water conditions or filtration systems.
Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
Zebrafish are one of the more popular types of fish that don’t need filters in their aquariums. They have a very short life span, typically lasting only six months to a year. Zebrafish are also some of the easiest types of fish to care for, needing only minimal attention and basic feeding every few days.
It’s also important to note that zebrafish can survive without any water whatsoever as long as they’re kept moist by being sprayed with a water bottle or soaked with wet paper towels. These little guys require less than a gallon of water and feed on flakes, pellets, vegetables, eggs, and freeze-dried bloodworms.
Males reach sexual maturity at around four months old while females become sexually mature at five to six weeks old. Breeding is easy if the male has access to a clean swimming space because he will chase after the female until she submits.
Ember Tetra Fish (Hyphessobrycon amandae)
The Ember Tetra, also known as the Hyphessobrycon amandae, is a popular choice for many fish enthusiasts. It’s not uncommon to see this fish in pet stores and it is one of the most commonly offered tetras in the aquarium trade.
The Ember Tetra has an olive-colored body with a red stripe that runs from the gills all the way through to the tail. They can grow up to 3 inches long and they have an average lifespan of 2 years. The Ember Tetra requires at least 15 gallons of water per fish and needs regular weekly water changes.
They will thrive in temperatures between 72°F – 80°F and their tank should be planted on both the bottom and the top so they are able to swim around freely.
Pea Pufferfish (Carinotetraodon travancoricus)
The Pea Pufferfish (Carinotetraodon travancoricus), also known as dwarf pufferfish, is a species of freshwater pufferfish that lives in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It needs no filter in its aquarium because it gets all the oxygen it needs from the water’s surface and can get rid of CO2 by taking deep breaths at the surface.
The Eye-Spot Pufferfish or Dermogenys pusillus has large scales on its skin that act as gills for breathing and require no additional filtration system.
The Dwarf Pufferfish is a small species of pufferfish that naturally inhabit tidal pools and mangrove estuaries in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia.
They are one of the few fish that can survive both in salt water and fresh water.
Due to their adaptation to tidal pools and mangrove estuaries, they have developed a tolerance for brackish water which makes them easier to maintain in an aquarium setting. The lack of need for a filter makes them perfect for smaller tanks without many other fish inside them.
Six-Ray Corydoras (Aspidoras pauciradiatus)
The Six-Ray Corydoras (Aspidoras pauciradiatus) is a freshwater tropical fish from South America. They are relatively easy to care for and can live in almost any type of water. They eat algae, crustaceans, insects, worms, and small invertebrates.
The Six-Ray Corydoras has a lifespan of about 12 years. Males have six rays on their fins while females have eight.
Females also have more red coloring than males. The first dorsal fin ray on the male’s top fin is usually longer than the other rays which helps identify them as males when they are young, however, this difference fades with age so it’s best not to rely on this feature alone when identifying sex because males may become feminized as they age.
Scarlet Badis (Dario dario)
The Scarlet Badis is a freshwater fish native to India and Sri Lanka that needs lots of space to thrive. They can grow up to 12 inches in length, which makes them a poor choice for smaller aquariums.
The Scarlet Badis prefers warmer water, so they should be kept at temperatures between 76-80 degrees Fahrenheit. This species is omnivorous and should be fed both meaty foods and algae wafers or pellets. The Scarlet Badis is also territorial and aggressive, so other fish may not coexist well with them.
A large tank with plenty of hiding places will provide these beautiful creatures with everything they need!
Japanese Rice Fish (Oryzias latipes)
The Japanese Rice Fish is a relatively small fish that only grows to be about three inches long. They are an omnivore and will eat both plants and meat. One of the most popular types of fish in Japan, they are often used as feeder fish for larger, more expensive species.
They are not picky eaters and can even survive with very little food. These qualities make them a perfect candidate for keeping around as live aquarium decorations or pet fish because they do not need filters.
Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
Goldfish are one of the most popular types of fish you can keep in an aquarium. They’re easy to take care of, and they’re not picky eaters. They also come in a range of colors, so it’s easy to find the perfect fish for your tank! While some people believe that goldfish need a filter, this isn’t actually true; goldfish do just fine without a filter.
Pygmy Corydoras (Corydoras pygmaeus)
The pygmy Corydoras, also known as the pygmy catfish, is a small freshwater fish with a lifespan of up to 5 years. The Corydoras pygmaeus is native to South America and grows to be 2 inches in length. The fish should be kept in an aquarium of at least 10 gallons and prefer water that is on the cooler side with a pH range of 6.5-7.2.
They are great for new aquarists because they don’t need much space and are easy to care for. They are excellent algae eaters and will keep your tank clean by eating any algae growths or uneaten food. Pygmy corydoras can go without food for weeks before they get hungry again so it is important not to overfeed them.
Sparkling Gourami Fish (Trichopsis pumila)
The Sparkling Gourami fish (Trichopsis pumila) is a small freshwater fish that can grow to be about 4 inches long. These fish are peaceful and do not need to be kept in schools of 6 or more, but they do need plenty of space to swim around in. This fish is best suited for a large aquarium as it needs plenty of room to swim around.
It does not require any special water conditions and prefers temperatures between 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit. It does well with other non-aggressive fish and would be happy in an environment with plants, rocks, and driftwood.
The Sparkling Gourami should have a diet consisting of pellet foods along with vegetable flakes, live food like bloodworms, tubifex worms, brine shrimp, daphnia, freeze-dried shrimp eggs, and beef heart-sinking tablets.
Platy fish (Xiphophorus maculatus)
The platy fish is a freshwater fish that belongs to the family of Xiphophoric, which is also known as swordtails. This type of fish belongs to the group of livebearers and there are many different subtypes of this type of fish. They can be found in North America, Central America, South America, and some parts of Europe.
The platy fish has been domesticated over time and it is not considered an endangered species. Platy fish usually grow up to six inches in length and they have an average lifespan of five years.
Males can be distinguished from females because males have more pointed fins than females. They are very hardy creatures but their long lifespan means they require large amounts of food at times, so those who decide to get these types of fish should have enough room for them or prepare for regular trips to the pet store for fresh supplies.
Swordtail fish (Xiphophorous hellerii)
Swordtail fish are freshwater fish that don’t need a filter in their aquarium. They are very hardy and will do well with just a water change every week or two. It is important to keep their tank clean and the water temperature between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
This type of fish can be found in many pet stores. Swordtails are popular among those who like keeping their tanks clutter-free because they can be kept alone and won’t fight with other types of species for territory.
Molly fish (Poecilia sphenops)
Molly fish are small, but that doesn’t make them any less of a great pet. One of the best things about these fish is that they don’t need a filter in their tank! They get oxygen by swimming to the top and gulping air. Plus, they’re much easier to take care of than other types of fish.
You can feed them flakes or pellets, and you don’t have to worry about changing the water very often because they’re pretty self-sufficient. Plus, they live for an average of 3 years—you’ll be able to enjoy your molly for a long time. If you’ve always wanted a fish as your companion but were afraid it would be too hard to care for, now might be the perfect time to reconsider.
Paradise Fish (Macropodus opercularis)
The Paradise fish, also known as the Macropodus opercularis, is a species of predatory freshwater fish. These are native to Asia and are sold throughout the world in pet stores and aquariums.
They have been popularized in recent years because they do not need to be filtered with aquarium filters in order to survive. This makes them a good choice for beginners who are looking for an easy-to-care-for pet.
However, it should be noted that even though these fish don’t need a filter, they still produce ammonia like other types of fish. Finally, there are some reports that this type of fish can sometimes cause problems when kept with other tropical fish because it tends to eat their food supply.
Endler’s Livebearers (Poecilia wingei)
Endler’s livebearers are small and colorful fish that is easy to care for. They need an aquarium of at least five gallons with plenty of hiding spaces and plants. They can be kept in groups or as single specimens, but they require regular water changes to maintain their healthy skin and fin tissue.
As long as they have a place to hide, they will spend most of their time there. If you leave them out in the open too much, they will quickly become stressed and succumb to illness more easily.