Hey Pet Parents & Pet Lovers,
I’ve done quite a bit of talking about Betta Fish and Bubble Nests, but I thought I’d write a more in-depth post about it since it seems to be one of the most common questions I get from Betta owners.
What is a Bubble Nest, and what does it mean?
Bubble nests are exactly what they sound like! It’s when your Betta blows bubbles on the top of his tank. (note: female Bettas do not do this, only males do.) It is a sign that they are happy, healthy and ready to breed. Male will blow these bubbles so their female counterparts can lay their eggs in them.
Do all Bettas blow Bubbles?
No, not all bettas blow bubbles. So, don’t worry too much if your little guy isn’t blowing bubbles. I will cover some ways to help encourage your Betta to create a nest but again don’t stress too hard if you can’t find a way to get him to blow bubbles. Your Betta may be happy, and healthy he just might not be in the mood to mate! Another thing to keep in mind is, if you have floating toys, your Betta might actually be blowing bubbles under the toys making it extremely difficult to spot the bubbles. Although Blub regularly blows bubbles, we were never able to get Flub to blow any.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Bubble Nests are also called Foam Nests?
How often do Bettas build nests?
It highly depends on your Betta. Some Bettas will build nests daily, others weekly, monthly or even yearly. This is one of the main reasons you shouldn’t be concerned if your Betta isn’t blowing bubble nests. Blub, in particular, is a weekly nest builder so if he’s not blowing bubbles once a week we know we need to check the pH of the water and make sure that the ammonia levels aren’t too high.
Well, in the wild Bettas tend to live in low-oxygenated areas, so they blow bubbles to make sure that their babies have enough air to breathe.
So how do bubble nests work?
Well, male Bettas will blow bubbles under debris in the wild and if a female thinks his nest is a good enough home the male will try to mate with her by coaxing her into his nest until she submits. The male will then collect all the eggs in his mouth and put them into the bubble nest. It is then the male’s duty to guard the eggs, making sure that they do not fall out of the nest. The female Betta won’t actually protect or guard the eggs and her job is virtually complete. Females will commonly try to eat their eggs before they’re ready to hatch, so the male Betta will actually chase the female away until the babies are born.
What are some reasons a Betta WOULDN’T make a nest?
- Poor Health
- Not the right Age
- Poor Water Quality/Cleanliness
- Lack of plants or debris (this varies from Betta to Betta. Blub has never needed any decorations/plants to blow bubble nests)
- Strong currents in tanks
- The water is too cold
Fun Fact: Did you know that Bettas like their water to be between 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit?
How can you try to encourage your Betta to nest?
Clean your Tank regularly!
- Once a week should be more than enough. You don’t have to clean out the tank 100%, but I recommend changing 1/3 of the tank at a time. You want to make sure that your Betta doesn’t get shocked by the water change.
Get a Heater
- I cannot stress how important this is for folks who have tanks that are 3 gallons or more. Even for us, who have a 2.5-gallon tank, we’ve caught our tank get too cold for Blub. We personally invested in a Marina Compact Heater which has been doing the trick. Make sure you read the wattage on the heater to make sure that it is strong enough to heat the size of your tank or doesn’t get too hot for your tank. Nothing is worse than losing a fish by trying to do them good!
- Ever walk into a room and feel like it’s too empty? Your Betta feels the same way. Things like plants or Betta safe decorations (anything without sharp edges), floating hiding spots or even toys like mirrors or hammocks will make a big difference and will make sure that your Betta is happy and healthy.
Make sure your tank is suitable for your Betta
- Do some research into your Betta’s needs. A quick google search will explain that Bettas don’t like concave tanks/moon-shaped tanks. We’ll admit that we made the mistake of buying a moon-shaped tank for one of our Bettas and you could tell immediately that he wasn’t as happy as the other fish. Moon-shaped tanks warp the Betta’s views and tend to make things look like predators and since Bettas get stressed fairly easily it may actually become a detriment to their health. You’re also going to want to avoid all Betta cubes that are under 2-gallons as they do not provide enough space for your little one to swim around and play. I’m still not sure why pet stores push them so hard or why folks keep buying them, other than… they’re really cheap, but an extra $5 can go a long way and remember you buy a tank once. We’ve had the Aqueon Minibow 2.5 for two years now and are still in love with it!
Introduce a female
- This is a note only for breeders. You can introduce a female to encourage bubble nests. Do not put them in the same tank without a divider or you can also float her in a cup in the tank. Make sure you are removing her periodically to ensure that both Bettas don’t get stressed.
Fun Fact: Fish that build and guard bubble nests are known as aphrophils
I don’t have the money to buy my Betta fancy clutter, what do I do?
Will my Betta get mad if I destroy the nest while cleaning?
No, your Betta will be fine. Your Betta will be madder if you don’t clean his tank. If you’re concerned about your Bettas attachment to his nest, feel free to scoop it up with a cup and replace it after you’ve cleaned his tank. The bubble nest should stay intact, but you will have to be gentle.
Do you have any other questions about bubble nests? Let me know and I’ll update this post with the answers! Happy breeding/Betta caring!