Bubble Nests & Bettas

Bubble Nests & Bettas


Q: SS wrote,

I’m afraid my betta is sick. He never blows bubbles and I read that only healthy bettas blow bubble nests. Is there something I can do to get him to blow bubbles?

A: While it’s true that healthy male bettas tend to blow bubble nests more then unhealthy bettas it isn’t a given that your healthy male will makes nests. First, not all males create nests at the same rate. Some may blow bubbles almost daily while others will only create a few nests per year. Another major factor is your tank set up. The slightest current tends to upset most bubble nests making them impossible to hold. If you have your betta in a tank with a power filter his nests may not stand up to the current. I decided long ago to forgo the nests in favor a more stable aquarium environment. I decided to cycle all my tanks and while the current is minor, I virtually never see any nests. This doesn’t mean the bettas aren’t healthy. On the contrary I have created a much healthier and stable environment.

Conditioning your betta may prompt him to create more nests but it isn’t a sure thing. Conditioning is something breeders often to do get a fish ready to spawn. It usually includes a few weeks of keeping your fish in water similar to its natural environment (slightly acidic in this case) and feeding live or frozen foods. Bringing a female into view may also perk up his interest in creating a nest. There’s nothing like the right girl to get a male thinking about a family. ;-)

Just remember that bubble nests are made by healthy males but not all healthy males make nests.

Written by

Christie F is a Betta splendens hobbyist that enjoys spending time caring for her fish and helping new betta keepers learn the ropes. More posts by:

45 Comments for this entry

  1. Anonymous says:

    what happens if the female is fat and the male dont want to make a bubblenest..would any thing happen to the female

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey whats up people. I have a male Betta Fish and his name is Balloons. I had to male Bettas and there was a divider in the tank so they wont kill each other! But just recently Bubbles my other fish died.:( I got over it and got a new fish. This time it a girl Betta and her name is Beauty. She is too small at the moment so i have to keep her in a different tank for her own good. My one question is….. how do i clean the tank if the eggs are in there. I have a tank with no filter or heater. Bad i know but im saveing my money to by a big tank with all the high tech stuff. So can any one answer my question???—-FISH LOVER:)

    • gus says:

      Betta fishes don’t need a hight tech fish tank all they need is a 2 gallons fish tank to breed with some hiding places in it, you just need to introduce the female to the male keeping them apart from each other for a few minutes once they have seen each other for a while ,u don’t need a divider or keep them apart a male would tolerate a female no matter what. That would never happen with a male

  3. Jada Hays says:

    Just to let every one know….The one that was put up at 1:58 the one about the balloon fish was by me

  4. Jada Hays says:

    I NEED HELP FAST SOMEONE HELP ME!!!

    MY FISH IS BLOWING BUBBLES!!!!!!

    HELP ME HELP ME

    • Celeste says:

      Woah man, don’t freak out, Betta’s are supposed to blow bubbles especially if they’re happy, but since you have a female in there, the male will make the bubble nest more frequently considering it uses them to help hatch baby bettas. So don’t worry about it. it’s normal my betta does it all the time. ^_^

  5. Anonymous says:

    My fish won’t blow bubbles!

    HELP!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Jada Hays says:

    My fish was blowing bubbles big deal but the prob is ….they are not clean lookin bubbles what should i do?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I read in something that the male fish is going to bte and hurt the female fish. What happens if he hurts her so bad that she wont have the abilaty to live and she cant give out eggs?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have female betta that is making bubble nests. The male doesn’t and the female does. Is this normal?

  9. Christie says:

    No, that’s not normal. In fact the opposite is normal. Is it possible you have a short-finned male that is blowing the nests?

  10. Anonymous says:

    oh thank you so much for this info.
    my daughter has Shimmer who used to blow bubble nests all the time! i didn’t notice he stopped but we then noticed he was sick. we treated him and we’ve been wondering how to know he’s feeling better, but he seems much stronger again.
    a couple of days ago, after at least 3 weeks… he started blowing nursery bubbles again! i feel so relieved to know he’s now feeling better.
    Novice betta lover

  11. Anonymous says:

    i have two female bettas, but one blew a bubbble nest?? did i get a non-violent short-finned male???

  12. Christie says:

    Check out this post on the “ovipositor”. It is really the best way to identify if you have a female or a plakat male.

    http://nippyfish.blogspot.com/2006/07/sexing-bettas-ovipositor.html

  13. Anonymous says:

    hmmmm… I have a small dilema… I just got a beautiful male beta… his name is Beast… LOL… and I also got a new female… she is responding well to the male, her color has darkened (day one she was a pale silver with horizontal stripes {ie-not ready} and today she is almost black and is showing the ready signs {vertical stripes}) when exposed to the male, and he is showing the positive counter-part by flipping out his gills to frame his face, showing off his vibrant fin display and wiggling for all his worth (LOL)…. but he has yet to build the nest in the provided nest box or anywhere else within the tank… I have introduced and released the female into his tank in the hopes that the courtship will continue in the positive course and perhaps encourage him to build the nursery…but so far… no luck. Am I doing something wrong or will it just take a bit more time and Im being impatient(LOL)???

  14. Anonymous says:

    AH! Just read the bit about disturbances in the water and turned the filter off for a bit… looks like Beast is becoming interested in the lack of disturbance up top… (satisfied smile) so… I have taken the filter out temporarily to see if he will make a nursery (crossed finges)and am hoping the courtship picks up again…she has finally come out from hiding and is keeping low to the bottom of the tank and showing interest in Beasts movements…. more as we progress.

  15. Deanna says:

    I have had 3 sets of betta couples in different bowls. They all have bubble nests under the leave I put in there, but they have been together for a week now. How long until they lay eggs? And will they for sure eventually? I cannot watch them all the time as I have to small kids that tell me I watch the fish more then them…..any advice, comments, or info would be so appreciated!!!!

    Thanks so much!!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Is my betta sick? I have had it for a while in a top filtered tank. The pet store said "Paris" is a female. Last week she lost her beautful purple color and turned grayish yellow. She was staying at the bottom of the tank and not eating. I didnt think she was going to live, but now her color has come back & shes at the top of the tank blowing bubbles

  17. Anonymous says:

    Okay, here's my deal. My Betta, Xaiver NEVER blows bubble nests. I really want him too, and I've only had him for maybe 2 months, but he just sits in his bowl looking bored. Is this my fault? His tank consists of one bamboo shoot, black pebbles on the bottom, is shaped like a vase and under 1 gallon. Do I need a bigger tank and substrate and the whole nine yards to make him happy? What about feed? I've been feeding him Betta Min pellets from petco, and he seems to like them, but what can I do to make him as happy and beautiful as possible?
    Any advice would be great!
    Thank you!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know about what size the bubbles are?

  19. Anonymous says:

    give xavier some live food, like bloodworms to keep his colour healthy vibrant.

  20. Anonymous says:

    For those of you who have your bettas in these 1 gal bowls and vases you need to wake up! Start doing right by your betta and get them into a bigger tank. Fish are made to swim & not in circles which is about all they can do in a bowl or tank of that size. They need room to explore and enjoy! By doing that you will see a world of difference in your betta. Those bowls and vases are just depressing.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I went from a two gallon tank with a filter that disturbed the water, to a four gallon QUIET tank, and now my Betta "Eddy" is happily blowing bubbles and defending the nest. Cool.

  22. Anonymous says:

    how to clean the nests? are they bad for the fish?

    • No do not clean the nest your fish might get upset that you ruined his hard work just buy him an adult female and show them to eachother. And no the bubble nest means you have a happy heathy male betta whos ready to mate

  23. Anonymous says:

    I've got a male Veil-Tail betta that i've had for about six months now. He's in a 5 gallon tank with an Elite Stingray 5 filter (An under-water power filter), heater and airstone. Despite the surface disturbance from the filter and the airstone, he builds about five bubble nests a week. I've found that if i change his water, he will not blow a nest for a few days. I think it all depends on the fish as to when they'll make bubble nests. Alpha's have gotten double-normal size since I added more plants.

  24. Anonymous says:

    okay..so i've had jacob for about what 2 mnths and so far we have a nice bond. i keep his water nice and warm and change it weekly. i do not have a filter or heater(yeah i know) his bowl is kinda small but he really doesn't mind he's happy. today i bought a female in put her in the tank. he flared at her and i got scared because she's really cut and hopeless. jacob has never built a bubble nest for me but i'm thinking will he now since bella is in the tank(

    lol don't hate cause my fish love the twilight saga. going to go get one name edward next. lol

  25. Anonymous says:

    So excited to read about bubble nests and that I have a big tank so I'm doing right by our little blue! He is such a cutie and blows bubbles like crazy ! And he is so much happier in the big tank swimming around whereas in the smaller thing he mostly Hid.

  26. jessica says:

    i have a female that is ready to breed i think, but i just got a male today and he is showing off for her but he is not making a bubble nest and when i let the female in with him he attacks her what should i do?

    • Christie F. says:

      Hi Jessica!
      You don’t want to put a newly acquired fish in a breeding situation right away. They both should be conditioned for at least 2 weeks and monitored closely to make sure they both are ready. Typically, during the end of their two week conditioning period you can begin to introduce them by placing their tanks near each other so they can see one-another. This sometimes encourages the male to build a bubblenest if he hasn’t before then, and may stimulate the female to produce eggs and show her breeding stripes. You can’t drop the female in the tank on day-one and expect them to breed. Bettas (actually most animals and especially fish) require just the right conditions to breed. They’ll tell you when they are ready.

      Allow your male betta to adjust to his new home first. He has a new environment, new water parameters, new food, new everything. He needs to acclimate properly before dealing with the added stress of having another betta in his space. IF he does breed with the female (there is no guarantee) then he will be expending much of his energy caring for the eggs and fish fry. This is very taxing on the fish and he needs to be in the best possible shape to handle it. I suggest reading our recent post on Conditioning Bettas for Breeding to help prepare you for success.

  27. Nathan says:

    I have two Bettas. I think ones a male and the other a female. They both blow bubble nests. Does this mean they’re both male?

  28. aidan says:

    please HELP! my betta wont make bubble nest i showed him a girl betta and i made it where they can see each other

    • Christie F. says:

      You can’t really force a betta to make a bubble nest. Some make them all the time, others may only make one, once or twice a year. To encourage bubble nest building, keep your water clean and your fish healthy. Make sure there is little or no filter current as the water needs to be very still.

  29. Melissa says:

    I just got a betta fish (short-finned male) and he is not blowing a bubble nest. I heard that if they aren’t blowing a bubble nest, they aren’t happy. I don’t want to breed him, just want to make him happy! He was from petsmart as their “display fish” so he was in a decorated 1 gallon tank while the others were in cups! I looked him over for any signs of sickness or deseases and he is beutiful white with teal-blue fins! I do have a current though and I am worried he doesn’t like it! Is it alright to have a filter with a waterfall (which creates a lot of current)

  30. GwendolynClover says:

    I have 3 bettas-
    Red Velvet – male
    Haku – male
    Laguna – female
    Red velvet makes bubble nests often but is too shy when i introduce him to Laguna and she ends up chasing him every time. So i set her up in my breeding tank with Haku, and he’s flirting but isn’t building a bubble nest. What should i do???

  31. Tanya says:

    I just got myself a couple of betta fish a female and a male and I. Have the male in a tank bigger than 10 gal. And the female in a container inside. The female seems to be getting fatter and thos vertical strips. And the male is flaring but not making bubbles. What happens if the male doesn’t make them what happens to the female? What do I do?

  32. Ashleigh says:

    Ok i have a question.
    I just bought my 3 year old 2 bettas. A male and a female and put them together at the same time into a fairly small bowl. (a gallon or 2) the pet store said this would be fine. i didn’t really think much of it. They got a long fine, and they were actually chasing each other which i thought they were just playing.

    well they’ve only been in the bowl 1 day, and there are eggs. no bubble nest was blown, but the male is picking up eggs and trying to spit them at the top.

    is it normal for them to breed so quickly? what happens now since they don’t have a bubble nest? should i be removing the female? they seem fine together. i never thought they’d mate and breed so quickly. crazy ass fish. now this little fish idea i had has tunred into a lot of work lol

  33. Unicorn fish says:

    My female betta is bloated and seems ready to breed. They both are really interested in eachother and my male is flaring and displaying for her. Ha sometimes she even flares back like “Psh what now?!” and he gets all shy. But I have them divided my a screen right now. I’m just worried because my males nest seems really small. I TRYED a mirror and even printed a different male betta and taped it to the tank for a few minutes. I have the filter off, so idk what the deal is? Anyone help!!

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