Do betta fish need air stones?

In this post, we will answer the question “Do betta fish need air stones?”. We will also outline what an air stone is and the benefits to have one in your betta fish tank.

Do betta fish need air stones?

No, betta fish do not require air stones in their tank. However, it might be beneficial for your betta fish if you have air stones in their tank. In addition, if you have any other fish species in the same tank, you may need to get one.

The betta fish is a highly sought-after species, and many people build up an aquarium in their house only to maintain these delightful fish. To survive, the betta fish, like other tank species, requires just the correct circumstances, and oxygenating the water is one aspect of aquarium care that leaves inexperienced aquarists perplexed. 

Betta fish have been bestowed with a particular organ that permits them to ascend to the surface and take in some fresh air. As a result, having an air stone in your tank isn’t necessary. A further advantage is that providing you use a high-quality filter, the water should remain properly aerated, eliminating the need for an air stone.

What is an air stone?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what an air stone is, it’s crucial to note that it’s frequently referred to as a bubbler and that the two terms are not to be confused; they’re both the same thing. These stones are often formed of porous materials such as lime wood, stone, and other porous materials, and they may be used to distribute a stream of oxygen bubbles into the surrounding water. 

The use of an air stone is not limited to only giving oxygen to the water; it also serves a range of additional functions, making it something that many aquarists believe to be a vital piece of equipment. For example, your tank filtration system may produce big bubbles in the water, but an air stone will disperse them and keep them to a reasonable level. Furthermore, they are quite effective at reducing the noise produced by the filtration system, which is one of the primary reasons so many people employ them.

How do air stones work?

To transport oxygen into an air stone, it is necessary to connect it to an air pump, which will be powered by compressed air. Because these pieces of aquarium equipment are constructed of extremely porous materials, oxygen can pass through them and divide into considerably tiny air bubbles as it does so. 

The reason for not using an air pump instead of a stone may now be beyond your comprehension, as you wonder. You can do so, but your tank will not benefit from the oxygen since the bubbles are simply too huge. Consequently, they will float to the top and will not offer adequate aeration in the remaining areas of the water body. Not to add that large bubbles like this would not only appear unappealing, but your fish will most likely not like them as much as you do. 

You can use an air stone to dissolve the bubbles, which will make them far more functional as well as much more attractive. Your fish will appreciate you since they will be able to breathe much more easily as a result of your efforts.

Do betta fish need air stones?

Despite their attractive look, betta fish are robust small animals who have evolved to be able to survive in a variety of challenging environments. Whereas other fish may struggle to breathe and may even perish in low-oxygen water, the betta fish will survive in conditions where other fish would perish. 

The majority of the time, you can get away with not utilising an air stone at all, and instead simply adding a large number of plants to the water, as well as employing an effective filtering system. These items will give adequate oxygenation for the betta fish to be generally content with its surroundings. This should not lead you to believe that they will be content with the fact that they will not have an air stone; if they even understood what one was. 

After all, just because Betta Fish can thrive in less oxygenated water does not imply that they should be forced to do so in all circumstances. If you can offer your betta fish a steady and well-oxygenated and aerated habitat, they will be less likely to need to constantly come up to the surface to breathe.

What is the labyrinth organ?

Betta fish are not the only species that has the labyrinth organ; there are other kinds of fish that possess this trait, and they are generally referred to as…you got it, labyrinth fish! Think of this organ as a little lung that is not all that distinct from the lungs that people possess. A peculiar organ, the betta fish’s gills are engineered to allow it to breathe surface oxygen rather than taking in oxygen from the water itself. 

You may have seen betta fish swimming up to the top of the water with their jaws wide open if you have a betta fish aquarium or have been fortunate enough to watch them in the wild. This is the method through which they take in surface air. 

We must emphasise once more that just because your betta fish has this organ does not imply that they should be forced to utilise it all of the time. They will be much happier if they can get their oxygen from the water, and because air stones are so affordable, it is almost certainly worthwhile to invest in one for your fish.

What are the benefits of having an air stone?

While betta fish are not required to have an air stone, there are a variety of reasons why you might want to consider getting one for your tank. If you maintain betta fish with other species on occasion, the air stone (also known as a bubbler) may be useful to them as well. It is thus important to consider what other fish are present in the community before making a selection.

Water continuously fresh

An air stone is one of the primary reasons that a large number of hobby aquarists choose to utilise one over another because the quality of the water will be much improved. When maintaining an aquarium, the water must be filtered to prevent the build-up of toxins such as ammonia, which may be harmful to your fish if consumed in large quantities. 

The majority of the time, beneficial bacteria in the tank will break down ammonia, ensuring that it does not cause significant harm to the fish. Having said that, these bacteria use a significant amount of oxygen from the water. This implies that when the tank is unclean, more bacteria are required to keep up with the breakdown of ammonia, which leads to their use of more oxygen as a result of the increased demand. When you install an air stone, you can mitigate the problem. 

In addition, when an air stone is not placed in the tank, the filtration system has to work significantly harder to remove the waste. When there is a build-up of toxins and mucus in the water, the system may not be able to deal with it, and these substances will accumulate on rocks and other structures inside the tank, creating an environment that is extremely harmful to the fish.

Improve your fish’s physical condition

Fish require exercise in the same way as people do. Those who do not consume a suitable quantity will suffer from poor overall health. A tiny setting such as a home aquarium does not allow for as much movement as these fish would have in the wild, which is detrimental to their well-being. In turn, individuals may not get as much physical activity as they require as a result of this situation. 

In contrast, when you put an air stone, the water will circulate a little more and give a little more resistance as the fish move around in the tank. Essentially, it will provide a beneficial boost to their physical fitness.

Water aeration

A lot of people mistakenly believe that aeration and oxygenation are the same things, but they are two very separate things. The generation of oxygen inside the water is referred to as oxygenation, whilst the distribution of oxygen throughout the tank is referred to as aeration. 

In the absence of an air stone, you may see that the oxygen is only distributed throughout the top portion of the tank, which is not ideal. However, when a bubbler is installed, the oxygen will be able to more readily permeate throughout the whole space, resulting in significantly improved aeration.

Happier betta fish

Betta fish, as we shall see a little later in this tutorial, have a particular organ that allows them to draw air from the surface of the water in which they live. However, this does not necessarily imply that this is the most efficient method of breathing for them. The truth is that bettas are happier when they can get their oxygen from the water. By installing an air stone, you are providing your fish with a great deal of convenience, which is always a good thing. 

The labyrinth organ, which is the name given to this organ by these fish, is meant to be utilised as a last option, and the fish prefer not to use it until necessary. If an air stone is available, they will not be required to return to the surface regularly to take a breath. 

Aesthetic appeal

Aside from the fact that aquariums are aesthetically pleasing, there is no other reason for anyone to desire to set one up. Having a diverse selection of lovely fish, such as the betta, is one method to give your tank a great appearance, but adding decorations and knick-knacks may make a significant difference in how your tank appears. 

An air stone will produce a continual stream of small bubbles that may be quite peaceful to observe while also being visually appealing.


In this post, we answered the question “Do betta fish need air stones?”. We also outlined what an air stone is and the benefits to have one in your betta fish tank.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us in a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Do betta fish need air stones?

Is it possible to keep a betta fish in an airstone? 

Betta fish do not require the use of bubblers or air pumps, on the contrary. It is because they have a particular labyrinth organ that they can breathe air at the surface; also, if you have a decent filter, the water should be sufficiently oxygenated regardless. 

Do airstones appeal to Betta? 

Despite the widespread belief that the bubbles created by air pumps oxygenate the water, air pumps are meant to cause surface movement, which bettas are known to loathe. Too much movement on the water’s surface may make them feel uncomfortable and stressed. 

What causes betta fish to rise to the surface for air? 

A fish may hover at the surface of the water because it is attempting to take in more oxygen. It’s important to remember that fish breathe dissolved oxygen, not oxygen that has already been coupled with the water molecule. Naturally, the concentrations of dissolved oxygen are higher toward the surface of the water, where the interaction between air and water takes place.

Do bettas enjoy blowing bubbles? 

Some are quiet and gentle, while others are far more animated and exuberant. As long as the gadget is set at the proper level, a bubbly betta will have a great time blowing bubbles. However, shy Bettas may not be the best fans, and bubblers that create an excessively powerful current might easily lead them to feel worried and angry as well. 

Do bubblers cause stress in fish? 

Certain fish, such as the betta, have evolved into stagnant water and are capable of drawing water from the surface. In this scenario, the movement of water created by a bubbler might stress the fish out more than usual. 

What should I do if my betta is struggling to take in air? 

When fish gasp, it is typically an early warning sign that something is amiss. Therefore, if the tank is excessively warm and the heater light is on, this might be to fault and the fish will need to be replaced. The temperature will be high if this is the case.


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