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They may be compact and stylish, but there’s nothing cute about fish bowls. Small space and toxic water conditions are just a few of things wrong with this popular fish habitat.
If you have ever gone to the fair or a carnival, you’ve probably seen goldfish or betta fish being given away as prizes. In many cases, the fish are just given away in bags, but some places give them away in small fish bowls. What many people do not realize is that keeping a fish in a fish bowl is tantamount to animal cruelty.


Why Fish Bowls are Bad

Keeping a betta fish or goldfish in a small fish bowl is equivalent to soaking in a bathtub contaminated by your own waste – there simply isn’t enough water to dilute the waste. The key to keeping aquarium fish healthy is to maintain high water quality in the tank, and that simply isn’t possible with a fish bowl unless you change the water every day. As your fish eats, it naturally produces waste and in a fish bowl there isn’t anywhere for that waste to go. As a result, it accumulates in the bottom of the fish bowl where it will have a negative impact on water quality. If you don’t change the water in the bowl, the accumulation of wastes can quickly lead to toxic conditions which could kill your fish. This is why many goldfish only last a few days after being brought home from the fair.

Related: Tank Stocking: The Truth About The 1 Inch Per Gallon Rule

In addition to promoting toxic conditions, here are just a few more reasons why fish bowls are bad:

They don’t offer enough swimming space. Betta fish grow up to 3 inches long and goldfish can grow much larger. A small fish bowl simply doesn’t offer enough swimming space to keep a fish healthy.
They have rounded edges. If you have ever tried to look through a fish bowl you probably noticed that it distorted your vision. Keeping a fish in a rounded bowl can be disorienting.

There isn’t enough beneficial bacteria. In order to keep the water quality in a fish tank high, you need beneficial bacteria to convert the chemicals produced by the breakdown of waste into less harmful substances. In a fish bowl there simply isn’t enough water or space to cultivate an adequate colony of beneficial bacteria.
They aren’t big enough for heaters or filters. A fish bowl isn’t designed to accommodate a tank heater or filter. Without a heater, the water temperature in your fish bowl is subject to fluctuations which could stress or kill your fish. Without a filter, the water quality will quickly decline and even small changes in water chemistry could be deadly.

They generally don’t come with lids. Betta fish can jump up to 6 inches in the air – it is a natural adaptation they have from living in shallow pools and puddles in their native habitat. If you don’t keep a lid on your fish bowl (and most of them aren’t designed with lids), you run the risk of coming to feed your fish one day and discovering him dried out on the floor.

Related: How to Properly Acclimate New Fish in the Aquarium

Bigger is Better

If you are new to the aquarium hobby, you might think that a small fish bowl is easier to maintain than a large tank. Unfortunately, you would be mistaken. Sure, it might take more money to set up a large aquarium than to fill a fish bowl, but the maintenance will be easier in the long run. With a larger aquarium you have a larger water volume – this means that wastes and toxins are diluted so you don’t have to perform water changes as often as you would to maintain water quality in a fish bowl. A larger tank also means that you will be able to accommodate a filter and a heater which will keep the conditions stable for your fish. Finally, if you do happen to make a mistake in regard to water chemistry, having a higher water volume means that the mistake could be relatively minor and you should be able to remedy it before it affects your fish. A minor mistake in a small fish bowl could be deadly for your fish in a matter of minutes.

If you really want to do what is best for your fish, you won’t even consider a fish bowl as an option. It might take a little more time and money to cultivate a larger fish tank, but it is definitely worth it for the health and wellness of your fish.
 

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I 100% percent agree with you. My tank my not be the biggest but it is a 5gallon filtered and heated tank. I was new to this but did my research and made my fish happy :)
 

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This is why im saving up money to get a tank. I have mine in a fish bowl. Didnt know about this site when i got him 2 years ago. Now i know but dont have the cash for a tank right now. Hopefully soon i can transfer my betta to a tank
 

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My Betta has a 29 gallon planted tank all to himself. I hate the myth that bettas get "lost" or "confused" in a big tank. Everyone said I was crazy to put a tiny fish in such a big tank. This tank is a piece of cake! I'm so under stocked its basically no maintenance and my little King couldn't be happier. Give your betta 5 gallons plus and they will thrive!
 

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My Betta has a 29 gallon planted tank all to himself. I hate the myth that bettas get "lost" or "confused" in a big tank. Everyone said I was crazy to put a tiny fish in such a big tank. This tank is a piece of cake! I'm so under stocked its basically no maintenance and my little King couldn't be happier. Give your betta 5 gallons plus and they will thrive!
Yeah my betta was a rescue from a 1/2 gallon so I panicked and got him a 5 in the 5 I had him with fake plants because I was in a hurry. But when I went into a ten gallon I planted it planted. It took a lot of convincing for my parents (and almost all of my birthday + savings) though but im so glad I did:grin2:
 

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Yeah my betta was a rescue from a 1/2 gallon so I panicked and got him a 5 in the 5 I had him with fake plants because I was in a hurry. But when I went into a ten gallon I planted it planted. It took a lot of convincing for my parents (and almost all of my birthday + savings) though but im so glad I did:grin2:
I'm sure he loves his new home! Once my betta settled into his new home he became extremely active. He is constantly patrolling the tank, checks up on his snail buddies, and rearranges my marimo moss balls untill it's time for his treats. So much personality packed into a little fish. :wink3:
 

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Small bowls or tanks are not for novices, IMO 10 gallon minimum.

However If you know what you are doing it can be done.

With a heater and lid this is fine for a Betta.


However this is not fine for a Betta or goldfish
 

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Small bowls or tanks are not for novices, IMO 10 gallon minimum.

However If you know what you are doing it can be done.

With a heater and lid this is fine for a Betta.


However this is not fine for a Betta or goldfish

Nick, That is a better goldfish bowl than most I have seen o.o
 

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I have my betta in a 1 gallon tank. It has two fake plants and glow in the dark rocks that don't glow. Is that a good sized tank? My LPS told me that that was the ideal size. I thought they were lying but it was the cheapest, so we bought it anyway. I hope my fish is happy. At least I don't have a bowl!
 

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I have my betta in a 1 gallon tank. It has two fake plants and glow in the dark rocks that don't glow. Is that a good sized tank? My LPS told me that that was the ideal size. I thought they were lying but it was the cheapest, so we bought it anyway. I hope my fish is happy. At least I don't have a bowl!
Well your LFS lied about that but you could maybe upgrade the size at one point. Is your tank heated?
 

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IMHO It's a decent size tank, however it's not ideal. I would recommend changing the plants to live at some point, as that would help with the amount of water changes.
I'm no expert but at this time you should change the water every other day, but if you have a lot of live plants and a filter you MIGHT get away with it once a week.
However, if you don't have a heater I strongly recommend yout get one.
 

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A heater is very important to keep the temperature stable. Variable temperature is stressful; so is cold.

Change half the water every other day or so.

Important: add a couple drops of Prime water conditioner (by Seachem) every day. This will detoxify ammonia exuded by the fish.

You won't need a filter until you upgrade to a larger tank -- which I hope you're considering.

http://www.bettafish.com/30-betta-fish-care/232570-betta-basics-introduction-bettafish-care.html

Welcome to the forum.
 

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@MymyMe765 It depends on a few factors such as heating, filtration, and water changes. With proper water changes, a steady heat, and good filtration, a 1 gallon is just fine.
Make sure you also know that a bubbler is not a filter. I know that my 1-gallon tank came with a bubbler but all that does is move the water. You need an actual filter. I made my own filter for my 1-gallon tank as well as my other hospital/temporary tanks.
 

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The importance of a filter in a 1g bowl is a topic for discussion. The main reason for a filter in a low-bioload Betta tank is to support the nitrogen cycle. Water changes with vacuuming is usually enough to cut-down particulates and waste. Many small tank keepers like to grow live plants as the primary way to reduce ammonia.

Small 1-g bowls are not usually cycled, so a filter is less important.

(A 1-g tank can, in fact, be cycled. It's that they usually are not.)
 

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A heater is very important to keep the temperature stable
The importance of a filter in a 1g bowl is a topic for discussion
I agree, In fact in any Betta tank it could a topic for discussion.

I think a heater is more important.

A cycled planted balanced tank has all the filtration it needs, and the plants release some oxygen into the water so live stock ( including bacteria ) can live, The live stock keep the plants alive by giving them Ammonia, Correctly planted cycled and stocked tank needs only 2 things.
Feed the fish.
And regular water changes. With De Chlorinated water.
 

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I agree that a heater is more important than a filter.

One of the nicer things about a (heavily) planted tank (besides they look nice): plants remove ammonia faster than cycling bacteria.

Some circulation is probably a good thing, even in a planted tank. There will be some cycling bacteria operating; they should be exposed to as much ammonia as may be left after the plants have eaten what they can.

"And regular water changes. With De Chlorinated water." Check
 
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