Betta Bubble Nest – the Rest of the Story

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You may well have discovered the basics of betta fish bubble nest building that started to get you up to speed on the hows and the whys. The idea then is for any lingering bubble nest questions may be answered here:

Q: I’m not sure if my betta is making a bubble nest, how do I tell?

Okay so how can you tell if those are random bubbles of the makings of a bubble nest? You can’t. Your garden variety bubble nest is going to be a cluster of bubbles. The size may vary. And usually the size of the nest increases with the addition of a potential mate.

Q: Why is my betta spending so much time making one bubble nest after another?

If your younger male betta is busy building bubble nests even though there isn’t a female within miles you may be wondering why.

Three possible explanations.

  • One it might be pure instinct.
  • Or he could be on a building spree because he has nothing better to do.
  • Or three he’s experimenting and honing his craft.

A better answer is he’s just being a good boy scout. You know they are always admonished to be prepared. And your fish is no different. He’s getting things ready on the off chance a female should chance by. Much like he would in the wild because you never know when the current of your local muddy stream may bring a ready and willing female your way. And what better way to impress than with a spiffy bubble nest? Lovingly crafted to hold the eggs and keep the fry safe during those perilous first days.

Okay, so this may or may not explain the reason why your fish is building a nest. But it is a good sign. It shows your boy is happy, content and stress free. Knowing as we do that males will usually not blow a nest unless they are healthy, happy and stress free. So these nests are an indicator a fish in good-condition. It suggests his water quality is good. He’s not focused on survival so much as reproduction. A sure sign you’re doing something right to insure you will maximize the lifespan of a betta fish under your care.

Q: How long does it typically take a male betta to build a bubble nest?

For those thinking of braving the world of betta breeding you may be wondering how long it takes a male thinking the same thing as you are to get started on his bubble nest. Especially if he’s been in the breeding tank for long enough, you’ve got your chosen female complete with vertical lines in the hurricane globe for him to check out and the stage is otherwise properly set.

The short answer is there is one pat answer. It’s a guy thing. Which is to say each male is different. The more ambitious can get the job done in a hour or two. Others might get around to finishing it in a few days. Others still may take a week to complete the task of bubble nest building.

Problem is one gulp of air generally produces one bubble. And one bubble does not a bubble nest make. So the gulp/bubble routine needs to be repeated over and over as the nest takes shape. This is a pretty good, if unexciting, video of the process for those who haven’t witnessed it firsthand.

Which leads in nicely to the next bubble nest question.

Q: How big does the bubble nest of the male betta need to be?

Short answer is big enough to do the job. That is hold the eggs keeping them safe from harm. And then giving the fry a chance to develop properly. Besides, once their intended makes the scene, the groom may take their work more seriously and add on to their efforts to date.

Generally you can count of the nest being big enough no matter the final dimensions. There is no one size fits all answer here. The male will continue to work on it even after he is done with the female. He will keep maintaining it to insure the eggs are all present and accounted for.

Q: How often does a betta fish make bubble nest?

When it comes to how often again the answer is it varies by fish. And the fact that younger bettas are more apt to be active bubble nest builders than older males.

Q: My male betta fish will not make a bubble nest. What can be done to encourage nest building?

While there is little you can do to force a fish to nest up, here are some little known tricks that can stimulate nest building.

  • Put a mirror nearby so the male thinks he’s got a rival. Works best if you’ve got a willing female in the tank safely housed in a glass lamp chimney.
  • Increase the water temperature a bit (to 80 degrees F) or add some fresh water.
  • Lower the water level.

You might also put a few Indian Almond tree leaves or oak leaves on the water’s surface. Others find a bit of bubble wrap taped to the side of the tank gives a decent platform for bubble nest construction. Along the same lines putting some floating plants or plants with broad leaves in his aquarium might be just the platform your male needs.

Hopefully you feel a bit more comfortable about this betta bubble nest thing now.

About Lucas
Putting a name with a face I'm Lucas Smatana. Like you I'm passionate about betta fish and hope to share my enthusiasm. The idea here is to make sure you get helpful info and useful ideas on betta fish care that really work. To insure your betta keeping experience is a good one both for you and your fish. So that you and your pet enjoy a long, happy and healthy relationship.

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2 Responses to “Betta Bubble Nest – the Rest of the Story”

  1. WhitR says:

    I have been breeding betta’s for around a year now, usually have no problems although this time not alot seems to be happening, i have been conditioning both fish for around 3 weeks, setup my spawning tank, water temp 80f, water conditions checked, male has made his bubble nest, female has her verticle lines, both showing interset when female was in glass chute, after 2 days. Released her, annd nothing, they are both displaying to each other, female swimming head down ect..but ts just been a game of chase for nearly 24 hours, i dont want to leave her in there much longer incase she gets too stressed..any ideas to whats going on?

    • Lucas says:

      Given your experience level not sure what more I can add. But if I had to describe the perfect set up, yours would be it. Submissive and ready female. Apparently eager male. Nothing seems to be wrong. BTW, some describe all that chasing as betta foreplay? Still sometimes things just don’t happen. No chemistry? Often it’s because of the inexperience of the pair. More to the point the male. That’s just a guess obviously. Then what works varies somewhat since each betta is different. You’re wise to be concerned for the female but as long as there are no signs of bodily injury and fins don’t count, you’re okay. Some pairs just take longer to get the hang of it. You might separate, re condition and try again. If you can leave them so the male can see the female? Oh and if they don’t hook up the second time, you may need to give them more time.

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