Do betta fish need bubblers?

Most of the fish require proper oxygenation in their tanks and that is provided by an air bubbler.In this blog post we will discuss about bubblers needed in bettas tank.This blog will give an idea to aquarist about bubblers requirement in bettas tank.


In this blog

  • Do betta fish need bubblers?
  • What are air bubblers?
  • What are labyrinth organs?
  • What are the signs of low oxygen levels in bettas aquarium?
  • How to increase the oxygen level in bettas aquarium?
  • Why do bettas come out on the surface of the water?
  • How long can a bettas go without oxygen in their aquarium?
  • Why do bettas gasp for breath?
  • How to make your own oxygen in your home aquarium?
  • When to use air bubblers in a bettas aquarium?
  • What causes bettas to gasp?
  • Is aeration required in bettas aquarium?
  • Does bettas aquarium require surface agitation?
  • Which plants are best to aerate bettas aquariums? 
  • Summary
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference 

Do betta fish need bubblers?

Betta fish do not require bubbles or air pumps. They have a special labyrinth organ that allows them to inhale air on the surface of the water, and if you have an efficient and effective filtration system, the water must be properly oxygenated.

Some bettas are calm and gentle, while others are very playful.Playful bettas love to play with bubbles as long as the equipment is set at the ideal level.

Shy bettas, on the other hand, may not be such great fans, and bubblers that generate excessive currents can easily make them stressed and disturbed.

What are air bubblers?

Aquarium bubblers add beneficial air bubbles to the water in the tank. When these bubbles come to the surface, they aid in the oxygenation of the water, improving the living conditions of fish, aquatic or live plants and other organisms in the aquarium.

Blubbers or aerators add oxygen to the aquarium. The water visible on the surface is constantly moving, letting more oxygen into the water. A bubbler does the same thing on a smaller scale. As the foam rises, it stirs the surface, letting more oxygen into the water.

A common misconception is that air stones create air bubbles that oxygenate the water, but in reality the air stones are designed to move on the surface of water, which is usually not to the liking of betta fish. Too much water movement on the surface can cause them discomfort and stress.

Air bubblers are made of porous stone, lime wood, glass, or specially designed plastic.They are connected to the air pump which in turn supplies oxygen to the bubbler, and the ultra-porous nature of the bubbler receives the oxygen and separates it into very small bubbles.

What are labyrinth organs?

Betta fish use the organs of the labyrinth to obtain oxygen from the air. This organ is an extension of the gill plates (the bones that stabilize the gills) and consists of several folds of bone.

Betta fish open their mouths to inhale water from the surface for a few seconds, which flushes their gills with clean water and draws more oxygen through them. If you see this often, you should test the water and consider replacing it.

In the natural habitat,labyrinthine organs allow them to survive in oxygen-deficient water or when the water is almost dry.

What are the signs of low oxygen levels in bettas aquarium?

Bettas swim less aggressively, and even eat less.As the levels of oxygen drop further, they will begin to show difficulties in breathing and their gill movements become more rapid as they try hard to get enough oxygen from the water by allowing more water to flow through their gills.

How to increase the oxygen level in bettas aquarium?

The correct way to increase oxygen levels in bettas aquarium is by increasing the surface area of ​​the aquarium,this increases surface agitation or surface water movement and allows more oxygen to dissolve and more carbon dioxide to exit.

More the surface area of the aquarium,more will be the oxygenation in bettas aquarium.

Why do bettas come out on the surface of the water?

Fish try to ease their breathing, so they can stay near the surface of the water.Remember that fish breathe dissolved oxygen, not the oxygen already bound to the H2O molecule.

Naturally, these levels of dissolved oxygen tend to be higher near the surface, where air-water interaction occurs.Betta fish and other labyrinth fish can thrive for some time out of water and breathe in the surrounding air as needed.

How long can a bettas go without oxygen in their aquarium?

The most promising answer to this question is two days. However, most experienced fishkeepers say that it is much longer than two days.The exact time of a betta fish in an oxygen-free aquarium depends on many parameters.

Humid climates, non-absorbent surfaces, and cool temperatures allow your fish to thrive for up to 5-6 hours. In the worst case scenario, it would be a miracle if your betta survived 30 minutes without humidity, surface absorption and heat.

Why do bettas gasp for breath?

If betta fish is panting, lying on its side, and unable to move, it may have a fungal or bacterial infection. Owners should check bettas for sores, bulging eyes, white spots, blurred areas, rotten fins, or other signs that your betta may be battling a disease.

How to make your own oxygen in your home aquarium? 

  • Take out a clean cup or other type of container, scoop it up and fill the aquarium with water. 
  • Bring the filled container directly above the aquarium and return the water to the aquarium. 
  • Repeat this process over and over again.

When to use air bubblers in a bettas aquarium?

  • If you are keeping bettas with other fish species then you may need to use an air bubbler or air stone or air pump for the safety of all fish.
  • Air bubblers should be used if the betta is not holding up well and is taking medication.Many drugs remove oxygen from the aquarium as a side effect.So if there are no air bubblers, the bettas will start to choke.
  • Another reason to get an air bubbler is precautionary measures. If a power outage occurs in your area or the filter fails, the water in the aquarium will not be aerated.
  • Purchasing a battery-operated air bubbler will solve this issue. You’ll need to change the water more regularly until the filter is repaired, but at least you don’t have to worry about betta choking.

What causes bettas to gasp?

Bad water quality is the primary reason for this and test water at the first sign of the problem, as both ammonia and nitrite can affect the gills and cause gasping.

In the presence of ammonia, fish produce excess mucus, which reduces the surface area of ​​the gills and reduces the effect of extracting oxygen.

The correct oxygenation of your tropical fish aquarium is necessary for healthy fish. When oxygen is critically low, the fish will suffocate on the surface of the water.

Is aeration required in bettas aquarium?

Aeration is not important in bettas aquarium.In fact,you don’t need it if you have installed an efficient filtration system.Betta has an excellent underwater breathing system called labyrinth organ, which allows oxygen to be taken in from the surface of the water through the gills.

Does bettas aquarium require surface agitation?

Surface agitation facilitates gas exchange by increasing the rate at which oxygen (O2) dissolves in water. You need sufficient oxygen to keep each fish alive.

The more oxygen in the water, the more fish you can hold. You can keep more fish in the same size aquarium by surface agitation.

Unless you have a well stocked aquarium, you rarely need to stir the surface to provide the fish with enough oxygen. The fact that bettas can breathe air doubles the safety factor.

Which plants are best to aerate bettas aquariums?

Floating plants are a great way to strengthen the upper layers of their aquariums, as betta fish like to stay near the surface of the water. Popular types include amazon frogbits, red root floaters, and even floating stem plants such as the watersprite.

Anubias is an essential plant for betta fish aquariums. It can grow in low-light, low-nutrients aquariums, and their thick leaves give bettas the perfect spot to rest or hide. The presence of anubias plants in the bettas aquarium also improves the water quality and their health too.


Air pumps or bubblers can be added to almost any aquarium very easily. They work essentially by bubbling air throughout your tank. There are many different fish that can benefit from the existence of such equipment.

Air blubbers are not required in bettas aquarium.Bettas have a special labyrinth organ that helps bettas to breathe oxygen from the surface of the water and they don’t have to breathe through the gills.

If the water is properly oxygenated, bettas will love it. Yes, they have gills that can draw water and then draw oxygen from the water. Yes, they need water to contain a certain amount of oxygen.

There are many good reasons to purchase an air bubbler. You can use them for emergencies, for quarantine aquariums and for betta fun.

Betta fish can thrive well with much less oxygen than most other fish.A good filter and some plants should be enough to oxygenate the water to a level comfortable for betta fish.The main reason why bettas do not require air bubblers is due to their unique labyrinth  organs.

Frequently asked questions

Why do betta fish breathe so rapidly?

If the water in the aquarium is too warm, it lacks enough oxygen.Like other species,bettas do need oxygen to thrive, so if the gas is not readily available in the aquarium, it will have difficulty breathing.

How to know if betta fish is suffocating?

If you find a betta choking on the bottom or top of the aquarium, pale coloured, with a flaccid tail fin, not responding to glances, and clearly swollen gills, it may be in critical condition.