Do Guppies Need A Bubbler – Read Before Getting Guppies!

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Do guppies need a bubbler? Guppies, just like any other fish, require there to be oxygen in the water if they are to survive. A Bubbler is one method of ensuring that oxygen is present.

In this article, we will look at this topic in more detail.

What Are Guppies?

First of all, we must know more about Guppies. What is a Guppy and where do they come from. It is important to understand the guppy and how it breathes.

Guppies are the most widely distributed tropical fish in the world. Sometimes it is referred to as the “Millionfish” and also the “rainbow fish”, but guppy is the most common name.

Guppies are a member of the Poeciliidae family and are live-bearing. Their natural range is the northeast part of South America, however, they have been introduced in many parts of the world.

Understanding How Guppies Breathe

The Guppy, like other fishes, breathes by pumping oxygen through their gills. This allows them to process the water and separate the oxygen. The oxygen gets into the water by the agitation of the water or the addition of new water into the aquarium. Over time a self-contained body of water like an aquarium will gradually lose much of its oxygen, as the fish breathe. The oxygen needs to be replenished and one method of doing this is by utilizing a bubbler.

To add oxygen by agitation you must disturb the surface of the water so that the water and air interface is increased. The more agitation, the more oxygen that is added to the water.

Another way to add oxygen to the water is by the addition of live aquatic plants. By adding sufficient live aquatic plants you will create a more natural ecosystem, while at the same time making your aquarium look more attractive. 

To thrive, live aquatic plants will require light, CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), and nutrients. Using photosynthesis they convert the CO2 and nutrients into Oxygen. They get the nutrients from the fish waste and so also help to keep the tank clean. 

The fish also produce Ammonia which when concentrated is not good for them. Aquatic plants will absorb this ammonia (NH3) thus improving the environment. By placing just the right number of aquatic plants in a tank you can create an ongoing natural ecosystem, where the fish eat the plants, the plants absorb the ammonia produced by the fish, and the CO2, which is used to release Oxygen into the water, which the fish breathe. It is just a matter of getting the balance right.

One other reason you may wish to add aquatic plants is to provide a more natural environment which makes the fish feel more secure,

Getting this balanced natural environment can be difficult and this is where a more mechanical approach is preferable for some people, using bubbler and filters devices.

Understanding The Bubbler

Bubblers are a cheap and effective solution for aerating the water. Interestingly, they do not do this the way that you might imagine. People assume that it is air from the bubbles that enter the water and aerates it. While this does help a little it is actually the agitation of the water as the bubbles break the surface that has by far the bigger role.

When the surface of the water is calm, less air enters the water than if it is agitated.

The second role that a bubbler plays is to generate movement in the tank. As the bubbles rise they drag water along with them and create an upwards current in the water. At the other end of the tank, a downwards current is produced to replenish the water that is being moved up. You then have a circular current which is better for the oxygen distribution.

Understanding The Filters

Filters are a very important part of any aquarium setup. The most common form of filter is a mechanical one. A mechanical filter sucks in water which it passes through a filter to remove fish waster, excess fish food, and any vegetable matter from the water. Without the filter, this garbage would start to make the water in the tank cloudy.

The filter is placed so that the inlet is below the surface of the water and the outlet is placed above the surface. Water constantly pouring out of the outlet agitates the water surface and serves to aerate the water. In a small aquarium setup, this may be all that is needed and can replace a separate bubbler.

A filter may be an alternative to a bubbler in a small tank.

Types of Bubbler

There are several types of bubbler you may wish to consider in your aquarium. We will now take a look at the varieties available.


Airstones do not have to be made of stone, although traditionally people use porous stone. They can also be made from porous wood or plastic construction.

Bubble Wands

Typically, these are attached to the side of the tank by rubber suckers and will produce a constant low level of bubbles

LED Bubbler

These are really the same as Airstones but have LED lights in them which illuminates the rising bubbles, turning them into a feature.

Bubbler Ornaments

These are items shaped into any shape or size (a tiny volcano, or diver, for example)and they will usually contain an airstone to produce the bubbles.


So, going back to the original question, “Do guppies need a bubbler?” we can see that most aquarium setups will need a bubbler or some kind of alternative. Your tank should really have a bubbler of one sort or another; whether that be an airstone, bubble wand, LED bubbler, or bubbler ornament. Unless you choose an alternative method of aerating your tanks, such as aquatic plants, or a filter.

Your fish need to breathe and unless you have one of these devices in your tank, you ultimately will have problems with your fish stock. All you need to do is choose one or other of these alternatives.