Tank And Equipment

Can Tetra Fish Live Without Heater And Filter?

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Tetra fish like any other fish or living being prefer to stay in a clean environment. In its natural habitat or environment, they get cleaned simultaneously as a result of constant flow and many other endogenous factors like beneficial bacteria, plants, etc. Though these fish are small in size, and they don’t produce that much of biological waste. These tetra fish should not be cramped into a small aquarium having very little space without adequate filtration or no filtration. Would you prefer a small room with no windows or ventilation, or would you prefer a room with adequate space and good airflow? No one would choose the small room, right? Would you like to wake up every morning in a dirty room? Similarly, the fish don’t prefer it too.

Any fish, regardless of their size, including the Tetra fish, requires the same level of comfort and a good environment as we do for them to thrive in the aquarium. You might be able to make your tetra fish live in a tank without filters and heaters for a short period, but in the long term, a good quality filter and the heater is mandatory for the good health of your fish. A good water filter will not only keep the condition of water good, but it will also add gentle currents to the water within the tank through which the fish moves. The gentle current provided by the water filter helps create movement in the water of your aquarium.

Aquarium Filtration System

The aquarium filtration system is one of the essential equipment that you should include in your aquarium. It is responsible for the removal of biological waste produced by the fish. It removes the toxic materials from the water and filters the water to keep the water clean. The Aquarium filtration system not only cleans the water but also creates circulation in the tank. It creates a surface movement that allows the exchange of gas.

Keeping your fish in dirty water would be the last thing that you’d want to do. Your tetra fish are majestic, and they deserve no less. You should ensure that the water in your tank is clean. Adding a normal filter to any tank can clean the tank. But if you like to keep the water in pristine conditions, you should make some considerations before adding a water filter. You should do proper research before you get an ideal aquarium filter for your aquarium tank.

The size of the tank and water volume plays a huge role. You should never keep an overpowered filter in a small aquarium as it will cause difficulty for the fish swimming in the tank. And at the same time, you should not use an underpowered filter for a large tank. A small filter will not be able to provide good filtration in a large tank.

Why do you Require a Water Filtration System in an Aquarium Containing Tetra fish?

External Filter

The water in your aquarium is bounded on all sides by the glass. It is not freely flowing. This makes the water within the aquarium stagnant. For filtration to occur in a water body, new water should enter the body, and the old water should leave the body simultaneously, but in an aquarium, that is almost impossible, so you will be better off using an aquarium filter. An aquarium filter uses three distinct phases to clean the water of your tank. The different types of filtration are mechanical filtration achieved by filtration floss, chemical filtration achieved by activated carbons, and biological filtration achieved by beneficial bacteria present in your tank. And the combined effect of these processes makes the water inside the aquarium clean and suitable for the fish.

The filter not only cleans the water of your aquarium it also maintains a good environment for your fish to thrive in. It removes all the waste produced by the fish and the uneaten foods. Your filter will also remove all the accumulation of toxic buildups. A good aquarium filter will ensure a healthier fish in your tank with a longer lifespan. Adding a filter to a tank that had no filters previously should work just fine, but for even better results and cleaner water conditions for your fish, you can do regular partial water changes, i.e., change 15% of total water every week or even twice a week.

How to Keep Your Water Cleaner?

You should also vacuum the gravel or any other substrate that you have in your tank. The substrates are some of the dirtiest objects in your tank. All of the uneaten food by the fish, fish poop, etc. are dislodged in the substrate of your tank. Accumulation of these waste materials for an extended period may lead to the formation of anaerobic air pockets, which can be fatal over time. To avoid all these complications to arise in your tank, you should always add an aquarium filter in your tank.

Check the article “How To Clean a Tetra Fish Tank?”

What Happens When You Don’t Use a Filtration System?

If you decide not to use an aquarium filter, things can go out of hand pretty quickly. You will have to do plenty of water changes frequently. That might even not keep your fish alive. The accumulation of biological waste will cause nitrate spike, ammonia spike, etc. which will kill your fish in no time.

Unless you want all of your fish to die, you must use an aquarium filtration system. And that of a good quality capable of properly cleaning your aquarium.

Check the article “Types of aquarium filter and filtration method.”

Aquarium Heater

An aquarium heater is one of the major essentials in keeping a fish tank. Aquarium heater not only regulates the temperature in the tank, but it also maintains a constant temperature in your aquarium. The water in your tank tends to get pretty cold during the winters. And it is almost impossible for your fish to survive at this temperature. And to keep your fish alive in this chilly winters, an aquarium heater is a must-have.

A constant optimum temperature in the tank ensures a healthy fish and builds up a good immunity in the fish. Just like a clean environment benefits us.

Why Do You Need to Add an Aquarium Heater in Your Aquarium?

Tetra fish are tropical fish. And in their natural habitat, the temperature of the water remains almost constant throughout the year. The tetra fish are habituated to live in water with a temperature of 75°C to 78°C thought the year. If the temperature decreases drastically, they tend to settle on the bottom of the lake or river and don’t move that much.

The main goal of fish keeping for us is to try to replicate the natural habitat as much as possible. And if you want to keep your fish healthy and happy, you should be able to replicate these parameters in your aquarium tank. Anything close to these ranges should be fine for the fish. But if you miss the mark by a huge margin, your fish might get stressed and, in worst cases, might end up dying.

What Happens When You Don’t Use an Aquarium Heater?

Yes, we do need aquarium heaters in our aquarium. Tetra fish can only bear a certain range of temperatures. Anything else than that temperature might be fatal to the fish or can cause some serious illness. And if the water temperature of your tank is too low, the fish will die. During the summertime, the tank water will almost always be suitable for the fish. However, during the winter, depending on where you live, the water can get pretty cold. The atmospheric temperature drops drastically, making the water in your aquarium tank very cold and unbearable for your fish. It is almost impossible for your fish to survive the cold winters without an aquarium heater in the aquarium tank.

An alternative to Aquarium Heaters

However, you can also heat the room containing the aquarium. It is a pretty expensive alternative than using an aquarium heater. But if these methods suit you, then why not? However, you might want an extra aquarium heater just in case your room heating system fails you. The chance of your aquarium heater failing is very low. If you have a separate fish room with multiple aquariums heating the room will also be an option for you. You might save some money, too, while heating the entire room instead of running separate aquarium heaters in all of your aquarium tanks.

What Happens When You Don’t Use an Aquarium Heater

If you decide to run your aquarium without an aquarium heater. Your tank might do well during the summertime. However, it will almost be impossible to save your fish in the cold winters. As the water starts getting colder, the tetra fish will get stressed. The stressed fish will have a poor immune system, so they are prone to various diseases. Ultimately the sick fish die. And to avoid this, you must add an Aquarium heater.

Aquarium Filtration And Heater Best Suited for Your Tank

If you have a good filtration system and a good water heater in your tank, your fish should do well.

Some of the best filters that I have had a good time using for my tetra fish are Fluval C power filter and Marineland Penguin power filter. These filters might be an overkill for the tetra fish tank. But I’d prefer it that way rather than an under filtered aquarium tank. You can also never go wrong with any brand of sponge filter as they are almost the same every time.

And for an aquarium heater, I would suggest you use an automatic heater. I’ve had success with Steel heaters too, as they are way stronger than the normal glass ones. Some of the best aquarium heaters I’ve used over the years are Fluval E electronic heater, Tetra HT submersible aquarium heater, etc.


So, Can Tetra Fish Live Without Heater And Filter? In the simplest of terms, No, Tetra fish cannot survive without an aquarium filter and an aquarium heater. Tetra fish do require an aquarium heater. And it also requires a good filtration system for the proper growth and health of the fish. If you fail to provide any one of these, the health of your fish will get critical overtime. You must sort out both the filtration and heating system of the tank before you get your fish.

A good water condition will ensure a longer, better, and healthier life of your fish in your aquarium tank.

Every fish deserves the best, no matter how big or small they are. You should be able to provide your fish with all the basic requirements like food, filtration, heater, adequate space to swim. If you are not capable of providing any of these, you probably should not keep any fish at the moment. And you should wait till you can provide all the basic requirements for the fish.


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