Bubblers & Air Pumps: Do Betta Need Them?

Air pumps and bubblers will improve your Betta’s quality of life. You will improve their happiness, decrease stress, and make them happier fish overall. Anyone who chooses to purchase a bubbler and air pump is choosing to provide their beloved fish with a good environment. In a poor environment, bettas can grow stressed and eventually fatally ill.

Betta fish need air pumps because they add oxygen to the water. Bubblers can make a significant difference in your Betta’s water quality and life. However, they are not necessary like pumps are. As a Betta fish owner, you should invest in a fish tank air pump to give your fish a better life. 

Read more to continue learning about bubblers and air pumps and whether betta fish need air pumps in their tanks. You will also learn whether betta fish need bubblers in their tank.

Do betta need air pumps?

The truth is, your betta fish tank doesn’t need an air pump. They are labyrinth fish which means they don’t rely on their gills to breathe oxygen from the water.

The labyrinth organ allows them to breathe in oxygen from the surface of the water through their mouth, which allows them to survive in oxygen-depleted waters.

This is why they are so much hardier than normal fish and can live in tiny cups of water while they’re being shipped from the farms to the fish stores.

However, even though they don’t need an air pump for survival, I still highly recommend getting one for your betta fish tank. Here’s why:

Air pumps can make a positive difference in how comfortable your betta is in your aquarium, however, especially if you have it hooked up to a sponge filter and a bubbler/air stone.

Air pumps cycle fresh oxygen into the water while removing carbon dioxide, making it breathable for your betta. This can help a lot, since betta don’t like high flow hang-on-back filters that would otherwise oxygenate the water.

Because of this, your Betta’s quality of life improves when you include an air pump in their tank. They will immediately receive more oxygen and will need to depend on their labyrinth organ less to breathe.

How do air pumps help betta fish?

Air pumps help your Betta in many ways, like eliminating stress and improving their quality of life.

Air pumps help Betta breathe underwater comfortably and live in clean environments. By installing an air pump, you help increase the amount of oxygen that’s present in the water.

This helps decrease the likelihood you’ll see your betta at the surface of the aquarium gasping for air.

Air pumps decrease your Betta’s stress since they improve the water quality. When water quality is poor, it increases the likelihood that your fish will get sick.

The aerating pumps also can help drive sponge filters, which filter the water to remove debris and toxins so your fish stays healthy. These are a great alternative to regular filters for betta.

A great pump also minimizes the frequency of your cleaning. Since the air pump can filter considerable amounts of debris, it removes the hassle of skimming the water’s surface as frequently. Although you should still maintain a regular surface cleaning schedule. 

Are air pumps and bubblers the same thing?

Air pumps and bubblers are not the same, but they work together to fulfill a uniform purpose. The main difference is that air pumps pump oxygen into the aquarium, while the bubbler breaks the oxygen into smaller bubbles.

A bubbler is an aquatic air pump attachment that creates bubbles underwater or at the water’s surface. Bubblers are attached to air pumps, which aerate the water and promote movement.

The bubbler breaks the air provided by the pump down into a lot of smaller bubbles, thus increasing the surface area of the air and increasing oxygenation.

Air pumps are aquatic pumps that circulate oxygen and make the water breathable for your fish. In addition to making water more breathable, they also be hooked up to sponge filters to remove waste that can be toxic to your fish. This is good, because it is lower flow than hob filters, which makes it better for betta.

Do betta need bubblers?

A bubbler is basically a cool ceramic piece of art that helps break up the bubbles from the air pump. That’s it.

Betta fish don’t absolutely require an aquarium bubbler, but it’s recommended.

Bubblers increase the efficiency of your air pump when it comes to oxygenating an aquarium, which is beneficial to the health of the aquarium.

The difference is that without the bubbler, you’ll get large, irregular air bubbles that come out of your air pump. With the bubbler, those will be broken down into a lot of tiny bubbles that will not only oxygenate the water better, but they’ll also look a lot better.

They can even make your tank more interesting to fish. Many fish are naturally attracted to bubbles, and bettas are no different. They’ll often swim through or around them.

They’ll also improve circulation in the tank, reducing the amount of dead spots that have water which isn’t being filtered.

How do bubblers help betta fish?

Even though betta don’t absolutely require an aquarium bubbler, it can still help them. As previously stated, the aeration created by a bubbler will increase the efficiency of your air pump, but there are other benefits as well. I’ve listed a few below:

For aquariums or bowls with a narrow opening – If you have a portrait style aquarium (tall and skinny) or you keep your betta in a vase or fish bowl with a narrow opening, the water in your aquarium may end up being oxygen-depleted, as the only oxygenation taking place is at the surface of the water, and the surface of the aquarium where water meets air is a lot smaller than it should be.

A bubbler will help fix this (when combined with an air pump) by allowing oxygenation to take place throughout the whole tank instead of just at the surface.

More efficient oxygenation – Air bubbles are small and light, and once released into the water they float to the surface where they burst and release oxygen. This both increases oxygenation from the bubbles themselves, but it causes more surface agitation, which results in better transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide at the surface of the aquarium.

To prevent surface scum – Surface scum (biofilm on top of the water) isn’t necessarily harmful to your betta, but it can be unsightly. Biofilm often builds up on the surface of betta aquariums because the low flow filters that betta like don’t agitate the surface enough to get rid of it. By adding a bubbler, you can help prevent biofilm from being able to build up at the top of your aquarium.


While betta don’t need either bubblers or air pumps, their both things that can help create a healthier environment to keep your betta happy.

They can also increase interest in the aquarium to help keep your betta entertained.

Because of all of these things, I have to say that I would definitely recommend getting them for your aquarium.