Do Betta Fish Need a Bubbler?

People think that betta fish need a bubbler, but hese beautiful little fish don’t actually need the extra oxygenation. A quality filter (and a careful eye on water quality) will be more than enough to keep your new fish happy and healthy.

Do Betta Fish Need a Bubbler?

It turns out that betta fish don’t need a bubbler quite as much as new fish owners think they do.

Yes, you’re betta fish is going to need high-quality water that is well oxygenated to live – and to thrive – in, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to have a bubbler going 24/7 in the background.

Your filter is likely more than enough to provide adequate oxygenation of your betta’s aquarium.

You see, betta fish have naturally adapted to survive in very shallow water. They don’t need anywhere near as much oxygen in their living environment as other kinds of tropical fish.

This isn’t to suggest that a bubbler will make the lives of your betta fish more challenging. That’s not the case at all.

We just want you to know that your betta fish doesn’t need a bubbler rocking and rolling around-the-clock.

Purple and Blue Betta

What Does a Bubbler Do?

Quality bubblers (those made from high quality materials) are capable of pumping a lot of extra oxygen into the water that your fish live in.

Most bubblers are made out of a porous material (usually some sort of natural stone or an engineered material) that has been connected to an air pump. The air pump forces oxygen into the bubbler itself, and the porous material of the bubbler mechanism makes sure that that oxygen gets diffused and distributed throughout the tank.

At first glance, you might (understandably) think that this is a huge piece of the puzzle for keeping your fish happy and healthy.

When you look a little closer, though, you’ll recognize that many of the bubbles produced by a bubbler skyrocket straight to the surface and then burst as soon as they breach.

This means that a lot of that oxygen that the bubbler was producing simply floated to the surface and escaped after it got out of the water. It wasn’t diffused into the actual living environment at all.

Even worse, some fish – like betta fish – find all those crazy bubblers to be a real annoyance.

It’s not even unusual for particularly aggressive betta fish (usually male betta fish) to want to fight these bubbles on their race to the surface.

You might want to skip the bubbler after all.

Why You Should Consider Using a Bubbler

Some fish owners, though, swear by all of the benefits that bubblers bring to the table.

One reason a lot of people like to have a bubbler cruising around in the background is because these big bubbles are capable of agitating water, keeping everything nice and clean while subtly – and gently – moving water all over the tank.

There’s nothing worse for your betta fish than a tank of stagnant water.

Stagnant water loses its oxygenation levels pretty quickly. It starts to build up nasty bacteria and toxins. And before you know it your tank becomes a cloudy mess and your betta fish suffers because of it.

With a quality bubbler, though, those problems are pretty much canceled out in a totally hands-free sort of way.

Aeration happens (even if it is less than what you might expect with those big bubbles bubbling away), keeping toxins from building up in the water and helping to make sure that there’s plenty of oxygen for your fish to breathe.

Bubblers will also help to make sure that oxygen reaches every square inch of water in your tank. If you have fish that are particularly active in one part of the water but don’t really venture into another they may suck all the oxygen out of that space.

A bubbler helps to eliminate those problems (or at least mitigate them without you having to swish water around manually).

Is a Bubbler Necessary, Though?

When you get right down to it, a bubbler is more of a “nice to have” addition to your betta fish tank than a “must-have” upgrade.

A decent filter is more than enough to give the same benefits (and a whole lot more) as a bubbler.

What Should I Do Instead of Getting a Bubbler?

There are definitely other things you can do to improve the quality of the life of your betta fish without springing for a bubbler system.

One big upgrade, for example, is a quality bedding material and some structure.

Every fish on the planet is going to appreciate a bit of betting material on the bowl of their tank. This material can help to scrape their scales, itch any scratch that they have, and generally just keep them happy and healthy.

On top of that, a bit of structure is definitely going to be appreciated by your fish that don’t want to feel like their whole lives are lived under a magnifying glass.

Sure, it might be nice to have the ability to watch your fish do its thing at any point in time – even at a glance – but they are going to appreciate a little privacy and a little private space every now and again.

You don’t have to go crazy with betting material or a lot of extra structure. It might not even be all that advantageous to crowd a space and end up pushing betta fish (fish that can be naturally pretty jealous and territorial) into tight confines.

Still, a little bit can go a long way – especially if you don’t have to jostle for space with a big bubbler that gets stuck somewhere in the tank.

At the end of the day, you can really outfit a betta living space with as much or as little stuff as you want.

These fish are pretty hardy (at least as far as tropical fish go), pretty happy – as long as you keep the males separated – and are beautiful fish that will do well with a bubbler or without.