Fish bowls are a fun, economical and authentic take on the concept of fishkeeping. But if you’re ready to embark on the fun hobby, it doesn’t require any less attention and maintenance than a bigger version of an aquarium. Constant water changes are a must, because waste products tend to build up quicker if the fish dwells in a small space.
Fish bowl sizes
Fish bowls come in different shapes and sizes, but the absolute minimum size should be 1 – 2 gallons. However, the bigger a fish’s space is, the happier it will be, so it’s important not to cram it into a tiny space. Having a more spacious living environment is also necessary for the overall happiness of a fish.
Under those circumstances, it will have more freedom, swimming space and a bigger supply of oxygen. As you surely know, a happy fish is a healthy fish. So don’t be stingy when choosing a fish bowl and keep in mind that you can’t go wrong with a little extra space.
Fish bowl types
Fish bowls can be made of glass, plastic, acrylic and even porcelain.
Glass fish bowls
Glass and porcelain are extremely fragile, so you have to be extra careful as to where you decide to place your fish bowl. On the upside, glass is cheap and commonly used material because it’s durable and cheap.
Acrylic fish bowls
Acrylic is much better when it comes to strength and durability. Despite being lighter, it’s stronger than glass, so where you place your bowl isn’t a problem. Although acrylic has many advantages, in comparison to glass, it’s more expensive and prone to scratches. Over time, it might also turn yellowish.
Plastic fish bowls
Plastic is the least fragile material, but its quality is not as stellar as the other materials we mentioned. It can also look cheap and diminish the overall aesthetic of your fish bowl.
Which fish can I keep in a fish bowl?
There isn’t a vast selection of fish that can thrive in a fish bowl. Every type of fish prefers more space, so if you can choose between a fish bowl and a bigger aquarium, the latter is the best option. But if you specifically want a fish bowl – here are some of the most typical species that will thrive even in such a small environment:
- Guppies. They are extremely easy to keep and an ideal choice for beginner hobbyists. They don’t require much space in order to live well, making them easy to keep. Owing to their beautiful colors, your fish bowl will look very vibrant!
- Betta fish. They are often the most popular choice. They love solitude and can survive in small spaces. Still, they love to swim, so a bigger fish bowl is a must.
- Paradise fish. A relative of the Betta fish, they’re a great alternative if you don’t want a Betta fish. They’re much more tolerant of cold water unlike their cousin fish.
- Although they’re commonly kept in bowls, Goldfish aren’t an ideal choice for a fish bowl – in captivity, a Goldfish can reach up to 7 inches in size! They also produce a lot of waste, which is a big issue with a tank as small as a fish bowl. The truth is that they’re just extremely hardy. While they’re able to survive in a bowl, they’re most definitely not happy or healthy in one.
- Schooling fish are also a poor choice – although many Tetras are tiny, they need to be kept in groups, which a small fish bowl can’t support.
Betta fish bowls
If you’re on the lookout for a fish bowl, you’re most likely planning to get a Betta fish. Unlike most fish, this species is fairly undemanding. It’s probably one of the most appropriate species of fish for a bowl because the space they require in order to thrive doesn’t have to be gigantic.
2 gallons of water is the absolute minimum amount suitable for housing a single Betta fish. As long as they have space to swim and a place to hide (which this species enjoys), their needs will be met. But if you’re able to, invest in a bigger fish bowl because every fish likes more space. Your fish shouldn’t just survive, it should enjoy being your pet. If you opt for a male Betta fish, never keep more than one in a bowl because they’re extremely aggressive and will often fight to the death.
When it comes to equipping for a Betta fish, you’ll need:
- A lid. Because Bettas like to jump, keep a lid over their fish bowl to prevent them from jumping out.
- A filter. As with every species of fish in any artificial body of water, a filter is a must-have. However, Bettas love stagnant water, so make sure that your filter isn’t creating water movements. For this reason, we recommend getting an undergravel filter, as it’s a stealthy option.
- A heater. Since this species is tropical, keep track of the water’s temperature at all times by using a thermometer. Bettas can’t live in cold water because it stresses them. The ideal temperature for them is in between 74 and 78 degrees. If the water’s temperature is below this range, a heater will be necessary.
- Lights. Some fish bowls and aquariums already come with lights, but go easy on the lighting’s settings. Betta fish don’t like strong lights, so choose low-voltage options.
If you want to decorate your Betta fish bowl, stones and plants are a must because they like to have hiding places. Make sure the rocks you put in aren’t sharp because this might lead to fin injuries.
#1 Hanging Acrylic Fish Bowl
The good quality, easy set up, and quirky design of this hanging fish bowl is what makes it a very cool choice for any home or office. Its measurements are: 33.5 x 29.5 x 14cm.
At first glance, the acrylic fish bowl may seem fragile, but it’s actually strong enough to hold 1.5 gallons and still be a sturdy wall decoration. However, acrylic is prone to scratches so we recommend placing this fish bowl on a safer wall section.
Being that this is a hanging fish bowl, it can easily be placed out of reach from pets or children, which is very handy. The top of the bowl is open, which makes feeding your fish and cleaning very convenient.
The hanging fish bowl’s simple design can enhance the beauty of any room. If you want to decorate a dull wall but don’t want to go overboard with wallpaper or pictures, this is an inexpensive and tasteful option to consider. You can even customize it to your liking by adding flowers instead of keeping fish.
#2 Tetra Waterfall Globe Aquarium Kit
If plain fish bowls bore you and you want something more stylish, check out our #2 pick. Tetra’s Waterfall Globe Kit can hold up to 1.8 gallons of water. Despite its size, it comes with all the necessary features for housing a single fish.
This globe-shaped fish bowl has a built-in filtration system, which transforms into a miniature waterfall on the top! Upon opening the packaging, you’ll also find LED lights. The extra equipment is a big plus, as all-in-one fish bowls are usually hard to come across. Not to mention that packing a regular bowl with all the necessary equipment will likely leave no space for the actual fish.
Regardless of the decor elements you add to it, the waterfall will definitely be the star of the show. The unique feature definitely takes the entire fish bowl to another level and you don’t need to stop there. Add gravel of any color, artificial plants or cool stones – you can’t go wrong with experimenting.
#3 Elive Betta Fish Bowl
The 3rd place on our list goes to this creative little Betta fish bowl. Not only is it a fish bowl, it also doubles as a planter and a desktop organizer! The planter area is suitable for both real and fake plants. Additionally, it comes with a stationery holder where you can put in a few pens and pencils.
The plastic fish bowl holds up to 0.75 gallons of water. It can serve as a cozy little home suitable for a single fish. Water changes, cleaning and maintenance are very simple and convenient because of the open top. You’ll discover that it comes with battery-operated bottom LED lights that are already set up, which is a big plus.
If you need a decoration that is both functional and eye-catching, this is a good choice. No matter where you place it, the clear bowl will provide you with a relaxing and beautiful view. The only downside of this bowl is its size – at 0.75 gallons, your Betta may feel quite cramped. It’s still a great choice if you want to keep some freshwater plants or decorations.
#4 Koller Products BettaTank Fish Bowl
Our #4 pick is perfect for all you Betta fish fans. As you already know, the key to successfully housing a Betta fish is quality over quantity. A little goes a long way with this Betta fish bowl.
We found it to be simple, yet substantial enough to serve as the perfect home for a single Betta fish. Its measurements (in height and diameter) are 9 x 9.5 inches and it holds 2 gallons of water. The bowl’s clarity will trick you into thinking that it’s made of fragile glass when in fact, it’s made of strengthened plastic.
If you’re into minimalistic design elements and aren’t looking for any fancy features, this is what you need. At the same time, if you want to add a personal touch – small stones or artificial plants should easily fit into the 2 gallons of space this bowl provides.
#5 Koller Products Glass Fish Bowl
Our final pick is this simple, small fish bowl.
Beginners will find it to be very fitting, because it’s ideal for a single fish and requires a minimal amount of maintenance. The glass bowl holds 1 gallon of water and we recommend keeping either a Betta or a guppy in it.
The open top provides swift and easy cleaning and feeding. Don’t forget the visual aspect – the glass will give you a clear view of your fish and the interior. Because of this, catering to your pet’s needs will be easy, fun and swift.
How to clean a fish bowl
On one hand, a fish bowl is a good substitute for a standard aquarium. On the other hand, its small size doesn’t mean that cleaning it is any less important.
As you would with any artificial body of water, perform daily or monthly cleaning tasks. The exterior part of the bowl should always be clean, because you need to have a clear view of what is happening in it at all times. Prevent waste buildup from forming by giving your fish no more than the necessary amount of food. Invest in a quality filter to ensure that the water is always purified. When required, remove the bowl’s gravel and give it a good rinse. Gravel is the main culprit for harboring waste which lowers water quality.
No matter how small your fish bowl is, perform weekly water changes. Ironically enough, such a limited space won’t spare you any upkeep effort, because it’s much easier to make mistakes with a small fish bowl. For this reason, your fish are more prone to change and it’s up to you to create the benefits in this small living space.
Fish bowl decorations – what to look for
Fish bowls are already small as it is, so a general rule of thumb is not to overdo it with decorations. Opt for simple details that won’t take up too much space but will still look interesting and be useful for your fish. An important thing to remember is to give them enough space to swim and take shelter.
Less is more if you own a fish bowl, because you can incorporate natural-looking decorations instead of plastic ornaments without making it look tacky. At the same time, you’ll want to draw attention solely to your fish.
Try out colorful gravel of different shapes and sizes to figure out which type looks best. The plants you choose also play an important role in the aesthetics of your interior. Thankfully, both living and fake plants are suitable for a fish bowl. But we recommend getting fake plants because they don’t require any upkeep and your fish won’t snack on them.