Male betta fish, are moody, evocative creatures. They will just as easily shimmy to your favorite music or lay around on their couch begging for food.
Once you recognize their behaviors are well thought out, you may be puzzled about the answer to the question “why are there bubbles in my betta fish tank?”
Regardless of whether they are bachelors or not, male betta fish will begin building bubble nests once they reach reproductive maturity.
At this point, you may need to pay a bit of extra attention to the filter output and upper water surface conditions.
Why Male Bettas Make Bubble Nests
Many people ask “Why do bettas make bubbles?”It is all to do with the breeding process. In the wild, male bettas cluster small bubbles on the water surface, or underneath floating debris and leaves to build their nests.
The male betta will guard its nest and will wait for (or find) a female to spawn with. Soon after spawning the female betta fish releases eggs. It is the male betta fish’s job to swiftly capture the eggs in its mouth and place the eggs securely into the bubble nest.
In the wild, male bettas cluster small bubbles on the water surface, or underneath floating debris and leaves to build their nests.
Initially, betta fish bubble activity signals that a young male betta is fertile and ready to take on the role of parenting.
This will draw a fertile female betta fish that is also ready to spawn.
During the spawning process, a male betta will wrap himself around the female and squeeze until the eggs are released.
Usually, this causes lethal internal damage to the female betta fish.
At that point, it is up to the male to take care of the fertilized eggs and ensure they hatch.
To achieve this goal, the male will pick up the fertilized eggs and place each one into its own betta fish bubble.
Over the next few days, the male will continue to maintain the betta fish bubble nest until the fry emerges from the eggs.
At that point, the male will have completed his parental obligations to the fry. Depending on the species variation and other conditions, the male may eat some or all of the fry.
Why Are The Eggs Kept In A Bubble Nest?
Out there in the open, betta fish habitats are often quite dirty, shallow, puddles without much oxygen. Securing eggs inside bubbles means that they are kept moist and are surrounded by oxygen-rich air – and this is why betta fish build bubble nests.
Aside from releasing the eggs, the female betta fish do not play any role in raising or protecting the young. It is the male’s job to fight off any potential threats and to guard the nest (and especially the eggs). If any eggs fall from the nest they pick them up and secure them back into place. The eggs will hatch after a few days, but the fry continues to stay under the bubble nest’s protection until they can survive on their own.
Water Changes And Bubble Nest Building
Regardless of whether or not a female is in the tank, male bettas take bubble nest building very seriously.
Any disruption to the bubbles in the betta tank or the water surface can cause male bettas to get very upset.
Depending on the fish’s overall temperament, this can manifest as depression or aggression.
Never underestimate what these fish know about you and what you do to their water.
Some may sit on their couch and refuse to eat food you put in the fish tank. Yet, they will take food from someone that didn’t disrupt their water.
Others will become aggressive and flare their gills at you.
Over the years, I have been, more than once, amazed at the acuity of what they can see and hear from outside the boundaries of their tanks!
Once he’s assembled enough bubbles for the day, he will be more than happy to swim about and take up other occupations.
Overall bettas are fairly easy to train when it comes to swimming through hoops, dancing to music, or batting small objects around.
When bettas are less frantic about maintaining their nest, they also tend to be healthier, happier, and more colorful.
How Often Do Betta Fish Build Nests?
Well, you have learned the reason why betta fish build bubble nests is that it forms part of the breeding process. However, bubble nest building comes instinctively to the male betta fish even without the presence of a female.
Almost all males will blow bubble nests from time to time, with no other reason than it having a natural urge to do so. If you do see a nest in the tank it is a very good sign that your betta fish is happy and healthy. However, there isn’t a ‘normal’ time frame or a ‘normal’ size for a betta bubble nest. Each individual betta fish has a different pattern.
Sometimes a betta fish will build bubble nests weekly or monthly (or daily) and sometimes these nests will be nothing but a few bubbles whereas other times they may be up to an inch thick and span a full corner. Don’t worry too much if your fish doesn’t build bubble nests, it doesn’t have to mean yourbetta fish is lonely or unhealthy. There are many factors at hand, health, water parameters, age and the individual fish at hand.
Betta Tip:A reason your betta fish may not blow a bubble nest is that the filter of your tank is causing too strong a current at the top of the tank
A Comparison Of Filter Types For Mature Male Bettas
As long as you don’t put an airstone in the filter that generates smaller bubbles, this type of filter can work in a betta tank.
When combined with adequate plant cover at the surface of the fish tank, these filters offer good filtration without excess disruption to betta bubble nests.
Hobs And Canister Filters
Even though these filters don’t produce bubbles, they can still produce water currents that break up bubble nests.
If you can diffuse the output without generating bubbles, these filters may work well enough in a male betta’s tank.
If you want to keep your male betta from going flat-out insane, never put a sponge filter in the fish tank.
Understanding why betta fish make bubbles can help you see why this filter type may be a problem.
These filters tend to make bubbles that are about the same size as what a male makes to form a nest. Male bettas will interpret the filter as another male betta.
They can easily become aggressive and attack the filter, or extremely depressed. Some may try to compete by trying to build bigger nests.
Once the male realizes he can’t keep up with the filter, it will be an emotional downward spiral.