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Bubble Nests: A sign for health


Narny105

Bubble nests are one of the few traits that makes Anabantoidei fish so interesting and unique. The usual formation of bubble nests in tanks show signs of breeding behaviour, good health, as well as happiness. However, although bubble nests are seen as a good sign, they can also act as warning signs for a fish or ill-health.

A healthy betta: Bubble nests should be well knitted together, made of small to medium sized bubbles (bubbles generally no bigger than the mouth), and should be quite strong and not easily pop when reaching the surface. Bubbles should not seperate by themselves easily, and should be well compacted.

A sick betta: A sick betta blowing bubbles often blows medium to large mucousy bubbles around the surface, but not in a group. They will be randomly blown and all around the surfce of the tank. These bubbles are caused from surface dwelling and exhaling oxygen that is taken in from the labyrinth.

Although this may seem odd, bettas and other anabanotiodei species can easily blow few bubbles and form a displaced bubble nest, or even just randomly blow large bubbles. Bettas who are ill and blowing bubbles will generally act sick, showing clamped fins, rapid breathing, stress lines, lack of eating, colour change, and bottom sitting.

There is no need to freak out seeing these sorts of bubbles, however they are a great indication of when your betta may be a little under the weather. A betta that is swimming and acting normally excluding a few displaced, large bubbles is nothing to worry about.

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thanks for the betta info Narny,

after reading this, I can honestly say GEM was probably ill from the get go............he never really swam around much, liked to hang out at the top of the water in the back corner..................

Draco on the other hand, since I redid his 5 gal, has been swimming and exploring non stop................ :)

Edited by Sharkbait3

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GREAT info! Thanks #2!

Out of curiosity...you mentioned color changes are a sign of unhealthy fish....are sudden color changes something to seriously worry about if they still look normal otherwise? Caesar went super pale this morning. I did an immediate water change just in case, but otherwise he seemed fine. He's been blowing large "healthy" bubble nests every day.

Edited by StarSapphire22

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GREAT info! Thanks #2!

Out of curiosity...you mentioned color changes are a sign of unhealthy fish....are sudden color changes something to seriously worry about if they still look normal otherwise? Caesar went super pale this morning. I did an immediate water change just in case, but otherwise he seemed fine. He's been blowing large "healthy" bubble nests every day.

Bettas and other fish will go pale over night. It is what naturally happens since the pigments that cause colour respond to light. You will notice he will look pale at night and during the early morning, but the colour should return shortly :) If you notice a loss of colour, it can also be caused by stress, and not necessarily an ailment :)

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I'm not sure if my guy has ever made a nest. In his previous home, he didn't really have enough surface area. He was in a Fluval Edge, and they are filled to the top with just a small air hole. In his current tank, I often find a mass of bubbles near the filter output. I would assume the bubbles are from the filter, but sometimes they are there and sometimes not. And if he was making a nest, right by the filter output seems like an odd choice for a type of fish that likes calm water. I just don't know.

This is a great post, Alex. I will keep watching and now I know what things to look for. :)

Edited by ShawneeRiver

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I'm not sure if my guy has ever made a nest. In his previous home, he didn't really have enough surface area. He was in a Fluval Edge, and they are filled to the top with just a small air hole. In his current tank, I often find a mass of bubbles near the filter output. I would assume the bubbles are from the filter, but sometimes they are there and sometimes not. And if he was making a nest, right by the filter output seems like an odd choice for a type of fish that likes calm water. I just don't know.

This is a great post, Alex. I will keep watching and now I know what things to look for. :)

Sometimes bettas just won't make nests apparently, and even so, not building nests in no way says that a betta is unhappy, nor does making nests say a betta is happy. Artemis who is my tail biter has only made a few and I have had him for over a year now. Even when I upgraded, he wouldn't make any. Until a few weeks ago he has actually started making them.

If you do want him to make them, plants that have a strong smell will actually induce breeding behaviour (I don't know why, but it is something I learnt from my local betta importer).

I recently just added a plant called Giant Cardamine, which has a strong scent (I can smell it when I open the tank hood) and he has been making a lot of nests under the leaves that touch the surface. I meant to take some photos of it, so I will once he makes another one :)

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Great info, Alex. I didn't realize that other labyrinth fish made bubble nests. I had also wondered about the bubble nests and less than healthy bettas. I've seen them in a few stores, and was a bit perplexed. :goodjob

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I'm pretty sure that right after I posted, Ghost made a small bubble nest. Yay!

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