You know the stereotype that surrounds people who have pet goldfish: the fishbowl. In movies, cartoons, shows, and all of the above, we often see people keeping their fish in bowls.
But lots of people believe that this is actually bad for your fish’s health and you should always keep them in a tank. But is that true? Can you keep goldfish in a bowl safely?
The answer is yes! Although bowls might require a little more maintenance, it is entirely possible to keep your goldfish in a bowl. If you make sure that the conditions are right and you look after your fish, your goldfish will live a long, happy life, whether it’s in a bowl or a tank.
It’s possible that you will have to do a bit more maintenance work with your fishbowl, but that doesn’t at all mean that you can’t keep a goldfish in a fishbowl.
In this article, we will give you some advice on how to safely maintain a fishbowl, as well as some general advice for keeping your fish happy and healthy.
What to Know About Keeping Your Goldfish in a Bowl
You might have heard that fishbowls aren’t a good environment for your fish, which could be the case if you don’t maintain and take care of it properly.
Fishbowls need to be cleaned more often than regular tanks do, and you need to consistently check that the water levels are where they need to be for your fish. This is because most fishbowls cannot function with a filter, so you need to do a lot of that work on your own.
Here are some important tips that you should know if you want to keep your goldfish in a bowl.
1. Avoid keeping too many fish in the same bowl
This is especially important if you want your fish to live as long as possible in the tank. You should avoid keeping more than one or two fish in the same bowl to make sure that they will have enough room to swim and hide if necessary.
It will also reduce the amount of waste that’s in the bowl that your fish are breathing in. Overall, it’s never a good idea to overcrowd the space, whether you have a tank or a bowl, because it could cause your fish to stress out too much, which would decrease its quality of life.
In this regard, we recommend reading the following articles. If you see any of these behaviors, you may keep your Goldfish incorrectly:
- 6 Reasons why your Goldfish are just sitting at the bottom
- 8 Reasons why your Goldfish are hiding all of a sudden
2. Try to add an air pump to maintain the proper oxygen levels
You need to make sure that the level of oxygen in the bowl is where it needs to be. One of the best ways to do so is by getting an air pump. There are ways for you to do this on your own, so you might not even have to get a special one from the store.
As we will discuss in more detail in the next section, another way to make sure that your goldfish will get as much oxygen as possible is by making sure you get a wide, large bowl.
3. Can you use tap water?
Not unless you have purchased a solution that would add the proper nutrients and minerals. This is because tap water can be too alkaline or acidic, which would, therefore, cause your fish to die. You need to make sure that the conditions are perfect.
4. You have to clean the bowl on an almost daily basis
This is one of the downsides of having a bowl. It requires a lot more maintenance than a regular tank as you don’t have the filter and other necessary mechanisms. Your goldfish produce a lot of ammonia and waste, and leaving them to sit in that will only cause them to die quickly.
Avoid changing all the water at once, but try to change around 50 to 75 percent of it. The clean water needs to have absolutely no chlorine in it, which you can ensure with a dechlorinator.
5. Doing a full water change
It is possible for your goldfish to die if you do an entire water change at once. Doing so could completely change the composition of the water, which would be too difficult for your fish to get used to.
Try doing only partial changes every week or so so that your fish can get used to the change.
6. Leaving the fish in the bowl
You can generally leave your fish in the bowl, especially if you’re doing a simple task. Just be careful not to disturb your fish. If you feel the need to remove the fish, make sure you do so slowly and gently.
7. Don’t overfeed your fish
The best way to determine how often your fish need to be fed will be by watching and observing their behavior, but you really want to avoid feeding them too often.
This will help to keep the bowl as clean as possible and it will help to prevent too much waste from getting in the water. Keep in mind that fish do not need to be fed as often as warm-blooded animals do, so you don’t need to feed them every hour or two in order to keep them healthy.
8. Get live plants for your bowl
This is another great way for you to keep oxygen in the tank. If you cannot add a filter to the bowl or the bowl you purchased doesn’t have its own filter, getting live plants is the best way for you to be able to filter the bowl. Live plants, in fact, act as a natural filter.
And, they’re a nice way for your fish to have something to swim and hide around, which will help to keep them occupied. Remember, the more oxygen in the bowl, the better. It’s often due to a lack of oxygen that people are not able to keep their goldfish alive for too long.
Tips for Choosing the Best Bowl
If you have decided to keep your goldfish in a bowl, here is some of the best advice to consider to make sure that your fish will have the best quality life possible.
9. Make sure it has a wide opening at the top…
…such as this one from Koller Products. The bigger the opening, the better. This is because it will allow for more oxygen exchange. It’s especially important because plants are typically used as the only kind of filter in a bowl.
If you plan on getting a fishbowl that has its own filter, then this step might not be so necessary. Also, try to avoid filling your fishbowl all the way to the top so that there can be more surface area.
10. Get as big of a bowl as you possibly can
This will help to ensure that your fish have as much room as possible for swimming, which means that they will live much longer. And this also means that waste will be diluted.
You can also have a lot more space in the bowl to have aquatic plants, which will help to create a better-filtered environment for your fish. In all, the best thing that you can do for your fish is making sure that they have a large fishbowl.
11. Do not keep adult goldfish in a bowl
The recommended tank size for most goldfish is 10 gallons per fish or more. We have done our best but we were not able to find a 10-gallon fishbowl anywhere. The only bigger bowl we could find is this one – but it costs more than you’d expect.
That’s why we recommend not keeping fully grown goldfish in a bowl.
A 1-gallon bowl is way too small for an adult goldfish and keeping your fish in such a tiny bowl would be cruel.
12. Try to make sure that the glass is very thick
Of course, thick glass is a lot more durable in comparison to thin glass. If the glass is thin, there’s a possibility that it could burst, and no one wants that. So, the bowl has lower chances of breaking if the glass is on the thick side. And on that note…
13. Avoid getting plastic and use glass instead
Some people may want to use plastic because it is, indeed, a lot cheaper than glass. But you really want to avoid using it because it could cause chemicals to leak into the water, which would be very harmful to your fish’s health.
While you might feel a little worried about using glass, if you get a high-quality material, there’s nothing to be concerned about.
14. See if you can get a bowl with a filter
It’s hard to install a separate filter in a fishbowl, but there are options on the market, like this one from Tetra, that will allow you to have a built-in filter and lights.
They also aren’t too expensive at all, so you won’t have to worry about spending too much money. This is the best way to make sure that your fish will stay healthy because filters help to get rid of all the waste and other substances in the water.
15. Our Recommendation? Get this tank instead!
As we already said in the beginning, we are not fans of keeping goldfish in a bowl. If you really want to keep your goldfish in a small, amazing looking tank, we recommend going for a 20-gallon tank with rounded edges like this one.
It is still a small tank but it is way better for goldfish and the rounded edges give this tank a very clean look.
In all, it is indeed possible for you to be able to keep your goldfish in a fishbowl. While it will require a lot more maintenance because many bowls do not have all the abilities that tanks have, you can most certainly do it.
Making sure that your goldfish have as much access to oxygen as possible through live plants and a large bowl will help to keep them happy and healthy.
And cleaning the bowl regularly will also help to keep your fish happy. Keeping your fish in a fishbowl is definitely an option – but it is hard and not the best solution.