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Do Betta Fish Like Bubbles? (And Do They Need a Bubbler?)

Do Betta Fish Like Bubbles? (And Do They Need a Bubbler?)
The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Having limited space and time for a four-legged companion, I recently made myself the proud owner of a Betta fish. I provided it with an enticing oasis filled with plants and hideaways, but now I’m wondering if I should add bubbles. Do Betta fish even like bubbles?

Whether or not Betta fish like bubbles depend greatly on their personalities. These Siamese fighting fish will benefit from having bubbles in their tanks even though their labyrinth organs allow them to take in oxygen at the surface. Astonishingly, Bettas can also make bubbles.

Bettas are known to be curious and intelligent, so will adding bubbles to your Betta’s aquarium bring out its unique personality, or will it become anxious and depressed? Let’s find out:

Do All Betta Fish Like Bubbles?

Not all Bettas like bubbles as they all have different personalities. Some are calm and gentle, while others are much more playful.

A playful Betta will love playing with bubbles as long as the device is set at the ideal level. On the other hand, shy Bettas might not be such great fans, and bubblers that produce too strong a current can easily cause them to become stressed and upset.

Only time will tell if your Betta likes the bubbles. Nevertheless, it will significantly benefit from having some form of aeration in its tank.

Do Betta Fish Need Bubbles?

Siamese Fighting Fish Betta Fish, in an Aquarium with Bubbles

Strictly speaking, Bettas don’t need bubbles in their aquariums as they have labyrinth organs. Although they also do breathe with their gills like most fishes, the labyrinth organ of a Betta makes it possible for the fish to access oxygen from the surface of the tank’s water.

The labyrinth organ consists of various lamellae (thin boney plates), which are covered with thin membranes. While gulping air from the surface, the air enters the labyrinth organ, and the blood in the membranes absorbs enough oxygen to carry it throughout the Betta’s body.

Although the Betta can naturally access oxygen from the surface, it prefers to get oxygen out of the water. Providing that your tank has some type of filter, adding a bubbler not only makes your Betta’s life more comfortable, but it also contains other benefits for plant life and other creatures:

  • A bubbler will evenly spread out oxygen throughout the entire aquarium. So, instead of gulping air from the surface, your Betta will be perfectly fine breathing air through its gills.
  • Your Betta will have more energy because it doesn’t need to swim to the surface quite as often. The chances are good that it will, in turn, even become more playful.
  • A bubbler will aid in breaking down toxins like ammonia.
  • If the tank needs to be cleaned or the temperature needs to be adjusted, it will be less stressful for your Betta to have extra oxygen in its tank.
  • The bubbler can act as a toy; if you have a playful Betta, the tiny bubbles will provide hours of playtime.
  • Aeration keeps natural plants alive.
  • Because bubblers aerate the water, it can prevent the speed at which algae forms in the aquarium.
  • Similarly, the aeration of the water ensures that adequate oxygen levels reach all other inhabitants, like shrimps, inside the aquarium.

Although Bettas might not necessarily need bubbles to survive, you will increase your Betta’s life quality by adding some to its environment. Let’s look at the type of bubbler that will best suit your little Siamese Fighter.

What Type of Bubbler Do Bettas Like Best?

Because Bettas originated from the shallow, slow-moving, and warm waters of countries like Thailand and Vietnam, they are pretty pedantic when it comes to currents.

Ideally, the best type of bubbler to add to your Betta’s tank is one that does not produce a strong current as this fish species does not like to be blown around and can often become distressed.

A bubbler is a device that creates bubbles and gets attached to the air pump with a flexible tube. There are various types of bubblers on the market. These include bubble walls, bubble wands, and air stones.

Because you can never be sure whether your Betta will love or loath bubbles in its tank, it’s best to start with a bubbler that produces the smallest bubbles combined with the gentlest current: the air stone.

An air stone generally produces smaller bubbles than most other bubblers and aerators, so the chances are good that your Betta won’t feel intimated by it.

The best air stone for a Betta is one that diffuses the air across a wide area, which will result in the bubbles being less forceful and smaller than other types of air stones. A great example of such an air stone is a limewood air stone.

Limewood air stones are made from lime wood and have natural micro-pores. These micro-pores are why this type of air stone creates extremely even and fine bubbles, making it perfect for the Betta.

How To Install an Air Stone for Your Betta

It’s super easy to install an air stone for your Betta. All you need is the bubbler of your choice, some airline tubing, and a minute or two of your time.

Ensure that you have enough airline tubing to run from the bubbler’s desired position to the pump. Then, all you need to do is the following:

  • Ensure that the pump is switched off.
  • Attach one end of the airline tubing to the bubbler.
  • Place the bubbler in its desired place inside the tank.
  • Use suction cups to keep the airline tubing in place if needed.
  • Attach the opposite end of the airline tubing to the pump.
  • Switch on the pump and watch the magic happen.

This YouTube video takes you through the simple process of installing an air stone step by step. You can even make your own air stone. Have a look at this DIY air stone video.

It’s imperative to ensure that you also control the current of the water flowing from your filter or pump. As mentioned before, Bettas don’t like strong currents, so always make sure that your control is set at the lowest output. You can always increase it as your Betta adjusts to his new bubbly environment.

Now that we’ve had a look at how you can make bubbles for your Betta, did you know that Bettas can also make bubbles?

Do Betta Fish Like Making Bubbles?

Male Bettas love making bubbles. You’ve probably seen clusters of bubbles that are floating on top of your fish tank. These are usually a good sign that your Betta is healthy and happy with his environment.

This bubble-blowing phenomenon goes back to the history of the Betta species, where it had to survive in oxygen-depleted, tropical waters.

How Do Betta Fish Make Bubbles?

Male Red Siamese Fighting Fish or Betta Fish with a Bubble Nest

Betta males make bubbles through the fascinating process of mixing air with mucus.

According to Allison Gong, a lecturer and researcher in Zoology, ‘Betta males form bubbles by wrapping mucus around a tiny bit of air. The mucus makes them sticky, so the bubbles pile together and float like a raft at the surface.’

These collections of tiny saliva bubbles at the water’s surface are called bubble nests or foam nests.

Some bubble nests are small, while others are large. The bubbles in some are easily recognizable, while others appear more foamlike.

Why Do Betta Fish Make Bubbles?

Bubble-making is literally part of a Betta’s DNA. In making bubbles, the male announces that he is ready to court a female and start the reproduction process.

The male Betta usually starts producing bubble nests between 8 and 12 weeks old. Bettas are not called fighting fish for no reason; he first combats other males to claim his territory in the wild.

By making a bubble nest, the male creates a safe environment in which the female can lay her eggs. After spawning, the eggs are held in place by the sticky saliva bubbles produced by the male; the eggs usually hatch only a few days after spawning.

Proof of the magic of nature is that the tiny little fish have special cells on their bodies so that they cling to the bubbles until they are old enough to leave the nest. Also, in the wild, the bubbles attract microscopic organisms that the offspring can feed on.

Although your male Betta might not have a female to court, he might very well still produce bubbles. Fear not, as it is a good sign that your fish is healthy and happy.

If your Betta does not produce bubbles, it can be a sign that something is wrong.

Why Would Betta Fish Not Make Bubbles?

If your male Betta does not regularly produce bubbles, there is no reason for concern. However, it might very well be due to one of the following reasons:

  • If your Betta is over a year old, he is past his optimal breeding stage and might not feel like blowing bubbles.
  • He is not healthy and might suffer from fin rot, velvet, or other infections.
  • The water currents in the tank are too strong. As mentioned previously, Bettas prefer gentle currents.
  • The water quality is poor. If the pH levels of the water are too high, your Betta can become ill, so be sure to check the quality of the water regularly.
  • The tank is dirty. It would be best if you clean your aquarium at least once every two weeks.
  • The water temperature is not warm enough; the ideal temperature for Betta fish is anything between 78-82 F (25-28C).
  • There is a lack of décor, surface debris, or live plants in the tank. Bettas love plants as they like to snuggle up to the leaves. Try introducing Anacharis or Java Fern. They also love to build their nests around objects.

Once you’ve ticked all of the above, but your Betta fish is still not producing bubbles, some solutions might encourage him to do so.

How Can You Encourage Your Betta Fish to Start Making Bubbles?

Once you’ve made sure that your Betta is healthy, the water is clean, and that there are enough decorations in his tank, you can try some of these solutions in getting him to start blowing bubbles:

  • Bettas like to make their nests under floating debris. If the plants in your tank are sufficient, cut a Styrofoam cup in half and lay it on the water. You can even try the lid of a Pringles Chip can.
  • Introduce your Betta to a female as seeing the female might encourage him to start building a nest. They should, however, never make contact as they will become too stressed.

Place the female on the other side of a divider. Alternatively, let her float in a see-through cup for a limited amount of time.

  • If you don’t have a female Betta, try placing a small mirror next to the tank: it will have the same effect as intruding a female Betta. Just be sure not to keep the mirror next to the tank for too long.

Final Thoughts

It turns out some Bettas do like bubbles, and some even like making their own. Your playful Betta might like racing through bubbles, or your male Betta might like regularly blowing foam nests.

Either way, always make sure that its home is one with warm and clean water, carefully placed decorations, tiny bubbles, and gentle currents.

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