Do Angelfish Need A Bubbler? (And Which One To Get)

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A few years ago, a fellow fish enthusiast mentioned to me that Angelfish can grow quite big and, as a result, need plenty of oxygen.

But is an airstone really necessary for their tank? Isn’t a basic filter sufficient? And what alternatives can you turn to if you’re without a bubbler right now?

In this article, I’ll discuss all these questions and more, ensuring you leave with all the information you need.

I’ll also include my personal recommendation for an air stone for Angelfish. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Do Angelfish Require an Air Bubbler?

No, Angelfish do not require an air bubbler. However, they do appreciate well-oxygenated water.

  • Oxygen exchange: Angelfish extract oxygen from water. While bubblers enhance this by agitating the surface, there are alternative methods.
  • Natural environments: Originating from South America’s slow-moving waters, Angelfish aren’t accustomed to constant bubble streams.
  • Filter outflows: The movement created by most aquarium filters usually suffices in ensuring good oxygen exchange for Angelfish.
  • Stress reduction: Overly turbulent waters or an excess of bubbles can be a source of stress for some Angelfish species.

Also Read: Angelfish Tank Setup

Choosing the Ideal Air Stone for Your Angelfish

Before you begin your online research for a bubbler, here are some key considerations to bear in mind:

1. Consider the Size of Your Aquarium

When selecting an air stone for Angelfish, the size of your aquarium is paramount.

A larger tank might necessitate a bigger or more powerful air stone to achieve the desired oxygenation effect.

  • Tank volume: Tanks of 20 gallons may need a 2-inch airstone, whereas 55-gallon tanks might require a 4-inch or dual airstones.
  • Adequate oxygenation: Ensure the air bubbler can release 0.5 to 1.5 liters of air per minute for a consistent oxygen level.
  • Even distribution: Position the airstone centrally in larger tanks (40+ gallons) to avoid oxygen-deprived areas harmful to Angelfish.

2. Opt for Air Bubblers with Adjustable Airflow

Adjustable airflow allows you to control the intensity of the bubbles, ensuring comfort and the ideal environment for your Angelfish.

Too strong a flow can be stressful, while too weak may not provide adequate oxygenation.

  • Angelfish sensitivity: Aim for a gentle bubble flow; an airflow rate of about 0.5 liters/min is typically gentle enough for Angelfish.
  • Tailoring to needs: Use a flow meter or adjuster, often sold separately, to modulate airflow to the specific needs of your setup.
  • Energy efficiency: Set the air pump on a timer, allowing it to run during peak Angelfish activity hours, optimizing energy use.

3. Evaluate Noise Levels

Noise can be a nuisance both for aquarists and Angelfish. Choosing a quieter air stone setup will ensure both you and your Angelfish remain stress-free.

  • Research brands: Some brands, like Tetra or Hygger, are known for quieter operations; read reviews before purchasing.
  • Isolation techniques: Place the air pump on a sponge or foam mat to dampen vibrations, reducing noise levels considerably.
  • Tube length: Longer air tubes can muffle noise; consider a length of 3-5 feet to strike a balance between function and noise control.

4. Prioritize Quality and Longevity

When choosing an air stone, it’s essential to invest in a quality product that will last. 

Frequent replacements not only cost more in the long run but can also disrupt the Angelfish environment.

  • Brand reputation: Brands like Fluval and Hygger are known for their durability; investing in such brands can save replacement costs.
  • Material matters: Opt for air stones made of quality materials like carborundum or sintered glass, which tend to last longer than cheaper alternatives.
  • Maintenance tips: Cleaning your airstone every 3 months with a soft brush can extend its lifespan, ensuring a consistent oxygen supply for Angelfish.

5. Take into Account the Preferences of Angelfish

Angelfish have distinct preferences, and understanding them is pivotal for their well-being. The right air stone setup should match their natural environment and behavior patterns.

  • Natural environment: In the wild, Angelfish are accustomed to slow-moving waters; mimic this with a moderate bubble flow from the air stone.
  • Observation is key: Watch your Angelfish’s behavior. If they avoid certain areas with strong bubbles, adjust the air stone’s placement or flow.
  • Consult experienced aquarists: Engage with online forums or local fish-keeping communities; their insights can offer tailored advice for Angelfish comfort.

Considering all of these factors, I’d like to personally recommend the Hygger Aquarium Air Stone (link to Amazon), the same one I currently use in my own tank.

Alternative Methods for Oxygenating Your Angelfish Tank

While air bubblers effectively oxygenate aquarium water, there are other methods available to aerate your tank:

1. Manual Aeration

Occasionally, you might find yourself needing to aerate your Angelfish tank manually, especially during emergencies or power outages.

This method is straightforward but requires consistent effort for a short period.

  • Stirring technique: Gently stir the tank water using a clean rod or large spoon, bringing the water from the bottom to the top to allow for oxygen exchange.
  • Pouring method: Take a pitcher of tank water and pour it back from a height, creating agitation and promoting oxygenation for your Angelfish.
  • Frequency: For effective manual aeration during an outage, repeat these methods every 30 minutes to ensure sufficient oxygen for Angelfish.

2. Hang-On-Back (HOB) Filters

Hang-On-Back filters not only help in cleaning the water but also aid in oxygenating the tank, making them a dual-purpose tool perfect for Angelfish environments.

  • Waterfall effect: HOB filters create a waterfall-like return, which increases surface agitation, enhancing oxygen exchange.
  • Placement matters: Ensure the filter’s outflow is close to the water surface, maximizing the disturbance and oxygen intake for the benefit of Angelfish.
  • Maintenance: Clean the HOB filter monthly to keep it functioning efficiently; a well-maintained filter provides better oxygenation.

Also Read: Do Angelfish Need A Filter?

3. Air Pumps

My recommendation: Tetra Whisper Easy to Use Air Pump (link to Amazon).

Air pumps are popular tools for adding oxygen to aquariums and can be particularly effective for Angelfish tanks, provided they’re used correctly.

  • Size and capacity: Choose an air pump rated for your tank size; for a 40-gallon Angelfish tank, a pump rated for 40-50 gallons is ideal.
  • Positioning: Place the pump above the water level to prevent back-siphoning; use check valves as an added precaution to keep your fish safe.
  • Diffuser choices: Pair the pump with a suitable diffuser or air stone to break up the air into fine bubbles, ensuring effective oxygenation.

Also Read: Do Angelfish Need An Air Pump?

4. Introducing Live Plants

Live plants serve as natural oxygenators in an Angelfish tank.

Through the process of photosynthesis, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, enhancing the overall tank environment.

  • Photosynthesis benefits: During daylight hours, plants consume CO2 and release O2, providing a natural oxygen source for your fish.
  • Plant selection: Opt for plants like Anubias or Amazon Swords, which are compatible with Angelfish and effective in oxygenating water.
  • Balancing act: Ensure adequate lighting for the plants; a cycle of 6-8 hours of light daily promotes healthy growth and optimum oxygen release.

5. Regular Water Changes

Changing a portion of the tank water regularly is a fundamental practice in aquarium maintenance, and it also helps replenish the oxygen levels beneficial for Angelfish.

  • Oxygen-rich water: Fresh water naturally contains more dissolved oxygen; changing 20-25% of the tank water weekly introduces this fresh oxygen supply.
  • Removing waste: Regular water changes also help remove waste products, preventing them from depleting oxygen and ensuring healthier Angelfish.
  • Consistency is key: Stick to a schedule, either weekly or bi-weekly, to maintain stable oxygen levels, creating a thriving environment for your fish.

Can Air Stones Cause Stress to Angelfish?

Yes, air stones can cause stress to Angelfish if not used appropriately. While they aid in oxygenation, an intense flow or inappropriate placement can be unsettling for these fish.

  • Natural habitat: Angelfish are native to slow-moving waters, so a vigorous stream of bubbles can be unnatural and stressful.
  • Avoidance behavior: If Angelfish are consistently avoiding areas near the air stone, it’s an indicator that the flow might be too strong for their liking.
  • Placement concerns: Positioning an air stone near Angelfish’s preferred hiding or resting spots can disrupt their comfort zones.

Is Flow Necessary for Angelfish?

Yes, a moderate flow is necessary for Angelfish to mimic their natural habitat and maintain water quality.

However, the flow shouldn’t be so strong that it causes undue stress or disrupts their natural behaviors.

  • Mimicking nature: In the wild, Angelfish experience some flow, albeit gentle. Replicating this can make them feel more at home.
  • Water circulation: Proper flow ensures even distribution of oxygen and prevents the buildup of harmful waste products, benefiting Angelfish health.
  • Disease prevention: A consistent flow can prevent stagnant areas, reducing the risk of disease outbreaks in the Angelfish community.
  • Filter selection: Using adjustable flow filters, like canister filters, allows aquarists to set the ideal flow rate tailored to their Angelfish’s needs.


For those of you who are just skimming through, here’s a short summary:

  • Angelfish do not require air bubblers but benefit from well-oxygenated water; excessive bubbles can stress them.
  • When choosing an air stone, consider tank size, adjustable airflow, noise levels, quality, and Angelfish preferences.
  • Alternative oxygenation methods include manual aeration, Hang-On-Back filters, air pumps, live plants, and regular water changes.
  • Air stones can stress Angelfish if too intense or poorly placed; observation and adjustment are crucial.
  • Angelfish need a moderate flow that mimics their natural environment, helping with water quality and preventing disease.