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Do Bettas Need Air Pumps & Bubbler?

Renee Whitmore
Last Updated on
by Renee Whitmore

If you are new to owning bettas, you may be curious to ask, do bettas need a bubbler? Thankfully, this type of pet is a labyrinth breather, and it is not necessary. Fish that possess labyrinth organs, such as betta fish, have an advantage over other species in taking in and using oxygen.

Bettas will use oxygen in the tank as well as travel to the surface to breathe regularly. Some pet owners include small apparatuses with air pumps and bubblers to help increase the oxygen levels providing a more stable environment for their betta.

You can introduce an air stone or bubbler into the tank, but it is unnecessary for betta fish.

Aquarium bubbler

Do Bettas Need a Bubbler?

Bettas, also referred to as Siamese Fighting Fish, are not only majestic, but they are also relatively easy to take care of.

Although all fish require oxygen in the tank water to survive, bettas can live with significantly less when compared to other fish species. This advantage is a result of them breathing differently than other species.

Betta fish are labyrinth breathers, which allows them to take in oxygen from the water and the surface of the tank. Its labyrinth organ is ideal for living in small amounts of water and tanks without an air stone or bubbler.

In the wild, bettas live in shallow bodies of water that house vegetation, like swamps and rice paddies. This natural habitat will typically not have significant amounts of oxygen, but that is not a problem for bettas.

What Does a Bubbler Do?

An aquarium bubbler is also known as an air stone. These are standard devices attached to a tube connecting with an air pump to force air bubbles into the tank. You can find them in all shapes and sizes for many tank setups. The pump pushes air through the tubing and into the water.

As the air bubbles escape to the water’s surface from holes in the stone or tubing, they increase the oxygen levels within the tank, providing a healthy environment for the fish. 

Many species benefit from having an air stone or bubbler present in the tank. For example, many fish cannot survive more than a few days without some type of air pump apparatus that continuously introduces oxygen into the water.

However, you may be surprised to find out that this device is not necessary for bettas.

Do Betta Fish Need a Bubbler?

So, why do you see some betta tanks with bubbler devices if they do not need them? Well, the answer comes down to personal preference.

Betta fish are hardy species that use their labyrinth organ effectively no matter their environment. You may see your pet swimming to the surface often to take in oxygen as it swims around. This behavior is normal and perfectly acceptable.

Some pet owners do not want to worry about their betta and include a bubbler in the tank set up as an added measure. However, when you introduce an air stone or bubbler for your betta, you may notice a change in swimming habits.

This deviation is because they will receive more oxygen through the water and will not have to travel to the surface as often to breathe.

So if you ask, do betta fish need an air pump device, the answer is no, but it can be helpful to your pet.

Do Betta Fish Need an Air Pump?

Some considerations for pet owners are critical if you prefer to include an air pump in your pet’s environment to increase the oxygen quality in the water.

You can use a bubbler in your betta’s tank, but you should ensure it is properly installed and safe.

Do not choose a large air stone or bubbler for your betta tank. If it is the only species in the water, you can safely use a small device to increase oxygen successfully.

In addition, bettas do not like a lot of water movement and can become stressed if there is too much water disturbance.

Aggressive bubbling devices can also disrupt your betta’s bubble nests if you have mating fish. Instead, select a bubbler that provides a gentle stream and will not cause any damage to these nets at the tank’s surface.

Other Ways to Introduce Oxygen

Using a bubbler or air stone is not the only way to provide oxygen to your betta fish’s tank. There are a few simple ways to give your pet a healthy environment without adding air pump devices. If you have a good quality water filter, this is often sufficient enough to supply an ongoing flow of oxygen into the tank for your pet.

You can also use a cup or pitcher when doing the tank water change and pour the clean water into the tank at a higher level. This action will help drive oxygen into the water for your fish to breathe.

Significant water changes are also a simple and easy way to include more oxygen into your pet’s environment. For example, completing a 50% water change can provide enough extra oxygen for your betta without using a bubbler or air stone.

Betta Fish
About Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore is an American college professor and freelance writer from North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in English Education. When she is not driving her teenage son to wrestling practice or learning the ins and outs of Fortnite from her younger son, she is working on her first book to be published soon.
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