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What Is a Betta Bubble Nest and What Does It Do?

Have you ever seen bubbles at the top of your betta fish tank? Bubbles are a good sign and not a reason to be worried. It means your fish is healthy, and is a typical trait of male betta fish.

In a nutshell, seeing a betta bubble nest in the fish tank indicates that your male fish is ready to mate with a female to bear more fish. The bubble nest should not be tampered with, and the betta fish should be allowed to build it without interruption—otherwise, severe psychological damage can occur. 

This article will give you all the information you need to know about betta bubble nests, why they’re made, and what to do with them.

Betta bubble nest at the surface of the water

What Is a Bubble Nest?

When the male betta fish is ready to reproduce, it builds bubble nests. Male betta fish can make bubble nests when females are or aren’t around. Even the movement and passing of a female betta fish can trigger the male to start building nests. The bubble nest is a sign of parental care, created using mucus and air to ensure the bubbles don’t get destroyed easily. The nest serves as a resting place for eggs. After the female lays them, the male fish transfers them to the nest as carefully as it can. There, the eggs should hatch and mature into fries (young fish). 

Depending on the personality and territory of the male betta making it, the nest can be of a different size and thickness. While some males keep at it and continue building the nest until it’s quite large, others build casually and are not as persistent with it. Others may not even build a nest until the eggs have started hatching. Although a bubble nest is the best place for fertilized betta eggs, they can hatch outside of it. It just becomes a lot less likely that they’ll survive. The male betta can also keep the eggs in his mouth if there are no bubble nests available.

Did you know? bubble nests aren’t just created by betta fish.  The bubble nest, also referred to as foam nest, is made by frogs and some fish (like bettas) by secreting saliva bubbles from their mouth. 

Requirements for Bubble Nest Making

Before building a bubble nest, the male betta looks for a suitable location at the surface of the water. Some requirements must be met before the fish decides a spot is ideal, as the bubble nests can be very delicate. The nest’s location will also need to be safe enough to protect the eggs and eventual young fish. The water needs to be calm and free of multiple currents, so the nest doesn’t get torn apart, and must also be free of dirt and floating debris. The fish usually attaches the bubble nest to the surface of the water so it can have some form of support and help protect the eggs.

How is a Bubble Nest Built?

A betta fish’s labyrinth organ is used to build a bubble nest. The fish uses its saliva to keep the bubbles together and protect them from harm by covering every part of the nest. If you find your fish is making its nest, feel free to observe it from a distance, as some fish can get prickly if bothered while building their nest.

Why Do Betta Fish Make Bubble Nests?

Male betta fish build a nest as a part of their breeding process. They develop and guard the nest while waiting or looking for a female betta to mate with. After the mating process, the female betta fish drops its eggs, and the male is expected to catch them all with its mouth and put them safely in the bubble nest. The bubble nest is how male betta fish, especially the younger ones, let females know they’re ready to mate and father young fish. This, in response, attracts a fertile female betta who is also keen to lay its eggs as it serves as a home for her eggs.

How to Encourage Betta Bubble Nest Building

Encourage betta bubble nest building

You can assist your betta fish in building its bubble nest in multiple ways.

  • Make sure to remove dirt and floating debris and regularly clean the tank—especially the water’s surface.
  • The water for the betta fish should be changed regularly but not so often that it discourages them from making bubble nests.
  • Introduce a female betta fish so that the male betta fish will be more incentivized to build a nest, other than natural instinct. 
  • Introducing decorations and things related to its natural habitat can help the male betta fish feel more relaxed and carry on its bubble nest building.
  • The filter used can cause too much movement and ruin the conditions for the betta fish. Make sure your filter is on the gentle flow so it doesn’t cause a lot of ripples on the water surface.
  • Ensure the tank’s water temperature is between 78-82 Fahrenheit. Any more or less than this temperature can change the fish’s mood and cause it to neglect building a nest.

Why Do Betta Fish Keep Their Eggs in a Bubble Nest?

The natural betta fish habitat (ponds, streams, marshes, etc.) is a shallow and dirty environment with little oxygen. Betta fishes keep the eggs inside bubbles so they can remain moist and have access to sufficient, pure, untainted oxygen to thrive. 

The female betta fish only have one job in this process: releasing the eggs. The males are generally in charge of taking care of the nest and keeping the eggs safe. If any egg gets out of the bubble, the males put them back in. The fries stays within the nest and male’s protection even after hatching until they’re strong enough to survive by themselves.

What Happens if a Betta Fish’s Bubble Nesting is Interrupted?

It’s crucial to note that betta fish don’t like being interrupted while bubble nesting. They take it very seriously! If they’re interrupted or their bubble nest is tampered with, they have numerous ways of showing their dissatisfaction. Depending on the fish, it can lead to anger or depression. They can decide not to take food offered by whoever tampered with their nest or flare their gills to show their anger.

How Does Breeding Work with Bubble Nests?

During the breeding process, the male fish attaches itself around the female and squeezes till the eggs are dropped. The male then catches them with its mouth and places the eggs in the nest. Because this process can sometimes harm the female fish, such as causing issues to internal organs, the males are required to watch over and take care of the eggs till they’re hatched. Once the fry is out of the egg, the male is believed to have fulfilled his duties as a parent.

The Rate at Which Betta Fish Make Bubble Nests

Making a bubble nest is something of an instinct for male betta fish. They do so even when there’s no female around to mate with. The fish occasionally make nests because it just feels normal and natural for them to do so. 

There isn’t an expected time or size for the bubble nest, and each fish operates differently. The nest size also varies, so you don’t need to worry if you see your betta fish making a smaller or bigger nest than you may have seen elsewhere. If your betta fish is not making any nest, there’s also no need to worry about it. It doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy or lonely, as there are different factors that can affect it, such as age, health, water condition, and peculiarities about the specific fish.

Steps to Take if Your Male Betta Is Not Making Bubble Nests

What to do if your betta isn't building a bubble nest

Here are some of the steps to take if your betta fish stops making bubble nests.

Check the water quality

Make sure the water in the betta tank is: 

  • Free of dirt and debris
  • Between 75-76 degrees in temperature
  • Between 6.5-7.5 in pH
  • Soft to medium hardness 
  • Chemically balanced with ammonia and nitrates

The male betta fishes should return to making a bubble nest within the next 1-2 days.

Check for injury or illness.

Check the betta fish for an infection or injury. If it has any clamped fins, bruises, or white tufts, antibiotics might help it feel better. If the disease is something you cant diagnose on your own, use Erythromycin or Furan-2 antibiotics to treat it temporarily and take it to a vet.

Check the water flow at the surface.

Make sure there are no currents that can be strong enough to break bubbles on the water’s surface. Add things like leaves that can help break currents/ waves and prevent them from breaking the bubbles. The betta fish will build its nest once it sees favorable conditions and the current isn’t too strong.

Find out the age of the betta.

The age of the betta fish can play a significant role. Sometimes, when a betta fish has grown old, it might stop making nests. Keep in mind that two years is the average lifespan of a betta fish, and once the fish gets too old and stops making bubble nests, you can only enjoy the remaining time you have with your pet.

Should I remove a betta bubble nest?

If there is no female betta for your male betta fish to mate with, or it’s starting to ruin the environment, you can remove the bubble nest. Otherwise, you shouldn’t remove it as it’s part of their mating process.

How long do betta bubble nests last?

Bubble nests usually get broken by external factors such as people, filters or the fish, but they can last for up to a week. 

Is my betta happy if he makes a bubble nest?

Your betta fish making a bubble nest isn’t a direct indication that it is happy as it could just be doing it due to its natural instinct. While being happy isn’t a direct reason for creating a bubble nest,  not being happy can be a factor of why they don’t make a bubble nest.

Must-have aquarium accessories to keep your betta happy and healthy

Help Your Betta Find a Mate

Bubble nests are an essential aspect of your betta fish’s life cycle as they’re vital to their reproduction. It shouldn’t be looked down on or interrupted; instead, you should help your betta fish achieve its goals by creating favorable conditions for nest building.

We hope you have learned some valuable information regarding what you need to know about betta bubble nest, what it’s all about, and how to assist your betta fish with it. Let us know if you have any more questions and if you liked this article in the comment section.

If you’re new to the world of betta fish keeping, be sure to check out the only betta fish care guide you’ll ever need.

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