Do Guppies Make Bubble Nests? {6 Reasons Why Guppies Blow Bubbles}

Are you seeing bubbles at the surface of your guppy and wondering if it’s a bubble nest? Do guppies make bubble nests?

Why do guppies blow bubbles? Is it something to be concerned about?

In this article, we will find out why guppy fish make bubbles and if they create bubble nests.

Do Guppies Make Bubble Nests?

No. Not in the way Betta or Gourami fish do. What you are noticing in your guppy tank is not necessarily bubble nest making. Fish who make bubble nests are aphrophils.

Guppies are not in this category of fish. If you are seeing what looks to be a bubble nest, you should be concerned in a guppy only tank.

This is not a nest and most likely the effect from poor water chemistry or filter issues.

Why Do Fish Make Bubble Nests?

Bubble nests are usually made by male aphrophils who wish to protect fish eggs that they guard. The female lays her eggs here and the male uses his skills to utilize the following three ingredients for the best bubble nest possible:

  • Oxygen
  • Saliva
  • Plant matter

Larger males are able to produce better, thicker bubble nests that are valued by females when they consider the best possible mate.

Why do Guppies Make Bubbles?

Now that we are certain that guppies do not make bubble nests, why are your guppy fish making any bubbles at all? These playful fish are quirky and can feel awkward in your tank.

Blowing bubbles are usually negative signs. Unless they are feeding on the surface or acting up boisterously, the bubbles should be addressed for signs of stress.

Here are 6 Reasons Why Guppies Make Bubbles:

  1. Low Oxygen
  2. Poor water chemistry
  3. Overcrowding
  4. Too many plants
  5. Effects of medication
  6. Feeding at the surface

1. Low Oxygen

Bubbles from guppy fish could be a sign that they are not getting enough air. Look for other symptoms including:

  • Lethargy
  • Gasping for air at the surface
  • Glass surfing (swimming up and down)
  • Frantic gill movements

Gills moving fast, frantic swimming or becoming sluggish and possibly dying due to suffocation are why you might be seeing bubbles. It’s time to test water parameters, clean out the substrate and perform a water change.

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2. Poor Water Chemistry

Water quality deteriorates. What seemed pristine yesterday could be ruined today with decaying debris. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels rise from decay connected to:

  • fish waste
  • food residue
  • dead matter

You may also notice signs of sickness on your guppies such as:

  • Red gills
  • Infection
  • More white film or mucus
  • Darker or duller colors

Overfeeding or a poorly operating filter could be the culprit. Test your water parameters weekly and perform water changes up to 25%.

3. Overcrowding

Too many guppies may cause them to blow bubbles to breathe or display their stress. Too much fish in a small sized tank may cause:

  • Stress
  • Aggression (bullying, chasing, fin nipping)
  • Ammonia levels rising

Make sure one guppy has at least 2 gallons of water. If you are adding larger fish, like bettas, they need 3 gallons while the largest tank mates like Oscar fish need 50 gallons per fish.

4. Too Many Plants

Plants that consume oxygen or create too much carbon dioxide can also deplete the air needed for guppies. This is the case especially at night when the lights are turned off and photosynthesis is not possible.

If your guppies are producing bubbles at night, they are struggling for air during this time. A healthy balance of plants is crucial without going overboard.

5. Effects of Medication

Medicating the tank could release molecules to the surface that look like bubble nests. However they could be reducing oxygen in the tank as well. When a guppy is gasping for air, they may produce bubbles at the same time.

6. Feeding At The Water Surface

Many fish blow bubbles when they swim up to the surface to feast on food before it drops and sinks to the middle or bottom of the tank.

During this time, the competition for food is high and swarming fish may cause bubbles in the process.

Guppies Playing in Air Bubbles

What may look like guppies playing in bubbles, could actually be their struggle for air. Water temperature being too cold or hot or spike in ammonia could cause this.

Air pumps may increase aeration and water changes will also prevent the lack of oxygen. Many fish like guppies look like they are playing higher up in the water column and blowing bubbles, but they are actually gasping for air.

Do Guppies Like Bubbles?

Yes. Guppies are playful fish that will enjoy a bubbler in their tank. They do not like currents and struggle to swing against them.

This fish enjoys slow moving water, but adding bubbles can produce aeration to boost oxygen levels and spread it around the tanks more evenly. Your guppies will swim up to the surface less for gulps of air.

Do Guppies Need a Bubbler?

No. Adding a bubbler is a good idea however to aid in filtration and oxygenation. It reduced water stagnation and the need for guppies to blow bubbles and gasp for air at the surface of the tank.

The bubbler can attach to your air pump with a tube to produce bubbles in the tank.

Bubblers help to:

  • Aerate water
  • Draw dissolved oxygen out of water
  • Pump oxygen
  • Increase water movement
  • Prevent stagnation
  • Add aesthetic beauty

The bubbler will make your tank more appealing to your guppies and to you. You can decide on the size, design and strength of bubbles created in the tank.

Final Thoughts

Your guppy fish do not need to produce bubbles if they are getting sufficient air in clean tanks. They also do not make bubbles for the purpose of producing bubble nests. They do not belong to the category of bubble nest producing fish known as aphrophils.


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Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.