Do bettas need an air pump since they gulp air?

New to fish. I just got a 5 gallon tank that I’m letting cycle right now.

Do I need an air pump? The filter stirs up the surface so I’m hoping it will do.

This will be my first fish and I’m not used to a pet that needs a different form of respiration than I do.

What other fish/creature can I have to help clean up a little? Like a shrimp or maybe a crab or some kind of catfish.

I’ll probably get my fish and the rest of the supplies on friday.

Any pointers will also be appreciated.

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8 Responses to Do bettas need an air pump since they gulp air?

  1. Ghapy says:

    Betta’s can take air from the surface and use it if the water is oxygen deprived.

    Anyone who forces their fish to live like this is cruel. Betta’s developed this attribute because there are certain times in the year when the water becomes shallow and stagnant, but this is only certain times. Betta’s have gills and are meant to use them, and must have oxygenated water for long term health.

    That said, your filter is providing all the oxygenation you need. You do not need an air pump.

    Please don’t get any livestock to ‘clean’. All livestock eats, all livestock contributes waste to the tank. You don’t control uneaten food by getting ghost shrimp, you control it by feeding the betta lightly and gradually so there is no uneaten food to clean up. If you dump in food and then wait to see what gets eaten, you are feeding incorrectly.

    However, if you LIKE ghost shrimp and want them in your tank for that reason, you can certainly have some. It is very important to provide a number of plants in the tank though. It’s important for bettas anyway, but it’s vital when they are kept with other livestock.

    Small types of Corydora catfish can also be kept in your tank with the betta. They need fine gravel or sand substrate and caves. I would recommend starting with the ghost shrimp since you haven’t kept fish before, and see how that goes. By no means should you ever buy any type of ‘sucker fish’ for a tank this small.

    Just so we are clear, you do understand that a tank sitting empty is not cycling. It’s not doing anything. For a tank to cycle it needs ammonia, and that won’t happen until you add the fish. Don’t worry though, adding a betta to a 5 gallon uncycled tank is perfectly safe because they are such low waste fish. But pay attention to what I said about feeding!

    Ghost shrimp, or perhaps a trio of a small variety of cory cat is all you can fit in this size of tank with your betta. If you want to build a community around him, you should invest in at least a 10 gallon tank.

    A heater is a great idea since they are tropical fish and thrive at about 78 deg. Each week change about 25% of the water and vacuum the gravel, even if it doesn’t look like it needs it. Diligent care leads to a clean tank long term and healthy fish.

    My last betta lived to almost 6 years old, and anyone who takes good care of theirs can expect similar.

  2. Fishfreak2009 says:

    try to set up the tank at least the day before you buy the betta, however they do not need air pumps. Just make sure the water isn’t stagnant. for cleaners I would try a couple otocinclus catfish, however they do need the air pump ( it’s good for the betta to, just not essential).

  3. otlorenz3 says:

    the pump actually helps get oxygen to those bacteria that you’re cycling now.

    It’s a misconception that you need ‘clean up crews’, they produce their own waste too. There are some shrimp that can survive with bettas though, and they are kinda cool.

  4. Chris says:

    Betta do not need an air pump if you have a filter and do your frequent water changes (25-50% every week or two). Ghost shrimp are cheap and are very hardy. Just be sure to have plenty of vegetation, plastic or live. Remember that male Betta are aggressive toward other male Betta so don’t keep them together. Also, they have a delicate tail so make sure there is nothing too sharp that will fray his tail.
    When choosing your fish make sure his tail isn’t frayed and that he is very active.

  5. VivaNozzers says:

    You can use a pump if you want (as long as it’s not too strong, that can make betta cranky) but the filter should be enough.

    What tankmates you can have depends on the betta’s personality, really. Some make great community fish, others are aggressive. Assuming that the betta you get will be a relatively friendly one, I’d suggest ghost shrimp.

    Catfish you should probably avoid. Pygmy cory cats need to be in groups of three at least, and that would cramp the tank enough that the betta might stress. Oto cats are very sensitive to water quality, and in a tank that small they’ll be hard to keep. And no matter what anyone tells you, stay away from plecos! The common species will get over a foot long, and even the smaller ones get much too big for your tank.

    Crabs will grab at the betta’s tail…

    Ghost shrimp are harmless, and surprisingly amusing. Some bettas will attack them, but some won’t- a single shrimp only costs around $.30 where I am, so it’s not a huge loss if it gets eaten. I’d get a group of three large ones, and put them in a day or two before you add the betta. If you add them later, the betta will already consider the tank his territory and is more likely to be aggressive.

    Good luck with your tank, and thank you for doing research! 🙂

  6. heather says:

    You would need an air pump if the tank is really big for that only fish but if its a small tank than you don’t need a filter

  7. noselessman says:

    make sure you have a heater set up and thermomiter, bettas are tropical fish and need water tem between 78 and 80, and get some freeze dried blood worms to supplement his diet, the have much more nutrition then pellet food and your fish will lovw you for it.

  8. Jason says:

    It’s a misconception that bettas just need a bowl of water and they’ll be just fine. However, they do flourish just fine in a liter of water or more, so long as you keep the water clean and replace 25% or 1/3 of the water once a week. Air pumps aren’t necessary, and having something that stirs up the water can actually be a stressor on the fish.

    Bettas can be kept with cleaner shrimp, corydas catfish, and danios. Species of fish with long fancy fins are a big "no", because the betta will mistake the fish for another betta. Goldfish aren’t recommended, because they will nip at your betta’s fins. Angelfish are another "no" fish, because they will eat the poor thing.

    Lastly, make sure your fish is colorful, reactive, and lively. A good way to test this is to watch it eat. Eagerness is a wonderful sign. You can also put a small mirror next to the tank. A healthy male will react by flaring his fins and maybe even charging his reflection.

    Hope this helps!

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