Do Bettas Need Air Pump? (A Helpful Guide!)

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Once your betta tank is setup, one of the next things you start to wonder is whether or not your betta needs an air pump.

Typically, bettas don’t need an air pump since they have a labyrinth that allows them to breathe air from the water surface. However, having a gentle air pump to maintain the proper oxygen concentration in the tank is recommended.

An air pump bubbles air through your tank and helps to maintain adequate oxygen concentration.

So a gentle air pump is not going to do any kind of harm to your betta.

In one of our home betta tank, we have an air pump setup that is connected with the sponge filter. And our betta is fine in that setup.

Generally, betta fish don’t prefer very fast flowing water. They thrive well in a tank that has gentle and calm water current – and a sponge filter just helps in providing such environment.

You can read more about the best sponge filters for betta fish in this guide.

It is important to note that a sponge filter needs an air pump to run. So for having a sponge filter setup in the tank, you’ll also require an air pump.

Check out this chart to know the difference between air pump and other related equipment.

Air PumpA device that sits outside of the aquarium and pumps air into the other devices like air stone or sponge filter.
Air StoneA device that is placed inside of the aquarium and produces bubbles that create surface agitation and helps in oxygenating the tank. It is also sometimes referred as bubblers.
FilterA device that sits inside or outside of the aquarium depending on the type. It helps in filtering the tank water and cleaning the dirt particles. A filter can be of different types like Canister Filter, or Sponge Filter.

Here’s the video where I talk about do bettas need air pump. You can watch it if interested, or keep reading ahead.

When Your Betta Would Need Air Pump?

#1. Medication

If you are giving any medication to your betta then you have to be careful. There are many medications that can remove oxygen from the fish tank as a side effect.

So to avoid any issue of suffocation, you can add an air pump.

#2. Betta Can’t Move To The Top

If your betta fish is not able to move to the top of the surface. Then, you consider adding the air pump to create some bubbles and maintain the required oxygen concentration.

When your betta is hiding out at the bottom of the tank more often, it can be a sign of sickness.

So in that case, to help your betta, you can have an air pump that maintains the required oxygen concentration in the tank.

Read Also: How Much Does A Betta Fish Weigh?

#3. Electricity Cut Off

If you have a battery-powered air pump, then it can become handy when electricity is cut off in your house.

Power outrage is one of the nightmares for fishkeepers. Your filters, heaters all shut down when the electricity is cut off.

So in such a situation, having a battery powered air pump can be quite helpful in maintaining the required oxygen concentration in the tank water.

Learn More: How Long Fish Can Live Without Air Pump?

#4. For Fun

Air pumps are connected to air stones that produce beautiful bubbles. Now your betta might have fun playing with bubbles and moving around them.

Also, you might enjoy watching the bubbles in your betta tank.

Do Bettas Like Air Pumps?

Bettas don’t like fast-flowing waters. So if an air stone that is connected to the air pump creates a lot of bubbles and disturbance in the tank then the betta might not like it. However, some bettas may also enjoy playing with bubbles, so choosing the right setup is important.

In the wild, bettas generally live in standing water, in places like rice paddies, floodplains, or canals.

Although some of the bettas may like to play with bubbles and can be a great entertainment tool for your betta.

But fast-flowing bubbles that generate a lot of disturbance in the water might not be helpful and may even lead your betta to stress.

So just choose an air pump setup that generates gentle flow and circulation in the tank.

Sponge filter is beneficial for fish species such as betta which do not thrive in strong currents.

Final Thoughts

In short, having an air pump for a betta isn’t a must. However, a gentle air pump can be a good addition to the tank.

More Helpful Resources For You:

Do Bettas Need Air Stones?

No, bettas don’t need air stones since they have a labyrinth that allows them to breathe air from the water surface. Also, having a filter like a sponge filter can be enough. However, to maintain the proper oxygen concentration in the tank it is good to have a gentle air stone.

Can Betta Fish Live Without Air Pump?

Yes, a betta fish can live without an air pump as they have a labyrinth by which they can breathe air from the water surface. However, you might need an air pump if medication is given, if the betta is not able to move to the top, if the air pump is battery powered and helpful in case of power cuts, or just for fun.

How Long Can Betta Fish Live Without Air Pump?

Forever, as long as the water is clean and maintained properly such that the betta can live in it. Bettas have a special organ called, labyrinth by which they can breathe air from the surface of the water and so good filtration is also enough.

Do Bettas Need Oxygenated Water?

Yes, bettas need oxygen in the water. Although they have a labyrinth because of which they can survive in water with lower oxygen levels than other types of fish, they also have gills. So they would appreciate it if the water has an adequate oxygen level.