What Fish Can Live in a Bowl?

Are you considering getting a fish? Do you want a fish that can live in a bowl? Are you unsure if it’s a good idea?

Well, you’ve found yourself in the right place. There are some fish that can survive in a fishbowl.

Did you notice how we said “survive” and not “thrive“?

That’s because there isn’t any kind of fish species for which a fishbowl could be considered ideal.

However, if provided with suitable conditions, a fishbowl can be made comfortable for some. Also, you can consider keeping a fish in a bowl for some time before introducing it to your main aquarium (if you happen to have one).

What Fish Can Live in a Bowl?

Let’s cut to the chase and take a look at the best fish that can live in a bowl.


Guppies are favorites amongst fish enthusiasts. They offer a wide range of colors that would make any tank or bowl vibrant.

The male guppies are relatively brighter and prettier than their female counterparts.

Guppies are generally quick breeders. So, we’ll recommend only getting male guppies for your bowl, if you want to keep more than one.

One of the biggest benefits of this species is that they are very low-maintenance. Therefore, it’s easier to keep them in a fishbowl.

The extent of their low-maintenance nature can be comprehended by the fact that they can survive without food for up to a week. However, that doesn’t warrant you to neglect them.

You need to ensure that the conditions are right for them to thrive. Ideally, they thrive at room temperature of around 18°C.

Wild-type feeder guppies are the most appropriate for a fishbowl environment. They are highly adaptive and can survive in fluctuating temperatures and small containers.

What is an ideal environment for guppies?

  • Fishbowl or tank with the size of at least 5-gallon
  • Aquarium heater to regulate the temperature
  • Well-lit aquarium with a lid to prevent them from jumping out of the container
  • An appropriate-sized filtration system

Why guppies are a good idea for a bowl?

  • Adaptive and docile
  • Wide range of colors
  • Low-maintenance
  • Low-cost

Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios are a great choice for a fishbowl because they can survive even without a filter. Zebra Danios are also very low-maintenance and low-cost. Their bright zebra stripes make them a delight to look at.

Just like the guppies, the Danios are small fish. They are also highly resilient and adaptive.

However, the characteristic that sets them apart from guppies is that they are quite social. They feel most comfortable in the presence of their own kind.

So, keeping a group of 5 zebra Danios is ideal.

Another benefit of keeping a Zebra Danio is that they are not picky eaters. They feel content with the general fish food flakes.

What is an appropriate environment for Zebra Danios?

  • The ideal tank size depends on the type of Zebra Danio. The smallest Danio would need a container of at least 2.5 gallons
  • Although they can survive without a filter, it would be ideal if you could still install an appropriate system
  • A heating system is recommended to prevent fluctuation in water temperature. But it’s not a mandatory requirement
  • Well-lit container

Why Zebra Danios are a good idea?

  • Low maintenance and easy to take care of
  • Very low-cost
  • Very active and full of energy
  • If the fishbowl is large enough, they don’t require a heater

Betta fish

Betta fish are one of the most common occurrences in a fishbowl. The vibrant colors of male bettas make them an attractive choice for most beginner-level fish keepers.

Bettas are also quite active. You can even train them to follow the trail of your hand movements from outside their container.

Although they survive in limited conditions, it doesn’t last long. A healthy betta fish usually has a life expectancy of 4 to 5 years. However, they only survive a few months in a fishbowl.

Doesn’t sound appealing anymore, right?

For bettas to survive a long time, it’s essential to provide them with an adequate environment. The rapidly changing temperature of small containers isn’t ideal for bettas. They require stable conditions to thrive and flourish. Ideally, the temperature should be maintained at around 25°C.

Bettas are also aggressive fish. So, it’s recommended to keep one in a small container. They are territorial, and they won’t hesitate to fight other fish sharing their space.

Betta is easy to take care of, but you need to provide them with adequate conditions.

What is an ideal environment for Betta fish?

  • A tank of at least 2.5 gallons in size
  • Bettas prefer warmer temperatures. Therefore, an adequate heater is necessary to maintain the temperature
  • Decorations like aquatic plants, rock, or places for them to hide
  • Well-lit container
  • Access to fresh air, because bettas prefer receiving oxygen from the upper surface of the water
  • An adequate filtration system is essential to prolong the life span of betta fish

Why Betta fish is a good idea?

  • They are vibrant and beautiful
  • They can be trained
  • They are easy to take care of
  • They are fun and active
  • They don’t make a lot of mess

Paradise Fish

Paradise fish is an excellent choice for a fishbowl, because, unlike other fish, they actually prefer small containers. Paradise fish require cooler temperatures. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about a heater.

They may not be a popular choice, but they most definitely are a feasible option, especially for beginners. Paradise fish is ideal for people who want to start with something non-generic.

They are very adaptive, as well as resilient. They survive in a variety of conditions. Paradise fish also have a lot of colors, which makes them attractive.

What is an ideal environment for Paradise fish?

  • Fish container with cool water temperature
  • They don’t like company, so it’s better to keep one in a fishbowl
  • Although they aren’t picky eaters, high-protein food is ideal for their optimum health

Why Paradise fish are a good idea?

  • They are easy to take care of
  • They are highly adaptable
  • They prefer smaller containers like fishbowls over large spaces
  • They don’t require a heater, as they prefer cooler temperatures


Goldfish are the most commonly associated species with fishbowls. We’ve all seen a goldfish in a bowl, a cup, or even a plastic bag at fish shops and in the movies. Goldfish are one of the primary options offered to beginners.

However, a bowl doesn’t provide ideal conditions for the growth of Goldfish. Their life expectancy decreases dramatically in a limited environment. Naturally, they can grow as much as 12 inches, but the size of their container can hinder this process.

They are popularly considered very low-maintenance and easy to care for. However, they can be very messy and produce a lot of waste. You may have to change their water repeatedly, as much as twice a week.

Although they survive in a fishbowl, it’s crucial to provide them with favorable conditions.

What is an ideal environment for Goldfish?

  • A very efficient filtration system is required for Goldfish. They are far too messy and generate a lot of waste, which can’t be handled in a small space without a filter system.
  • You’ll have to change their water frequently, i.e. at least twice a week

Why Goldfish is a good idea?

  • Easy to take care of, if there’s a filtration system in place
  • They are beautiful
  • They are easy to train

Why you shouldn’t keep your fish in a fishbowl?

Although some fishes do survive in limited environments, such as a fishbowl, it’s not recommended. Many choose to keep fish in a fishbowl because it’s considered low-cost and easy to manage.

However, veteran fishkeepers argue that it’s cruel to keep fishes in such small environments.

Take a look at the following reasons why fishbowls aren’t really a good idea for the long-term maintenance and health of your fish:

  • Not enough room for growth: Fishbowls are usually small, and barely enough for a single fish. It’s necessary for fish to be able to move around. The small space hinders the maximum natural growth of many fish, like Goldfish.
  • Fishbowls aren’t low-maintenance: Contrary to popular belief, fishbowls aren’t easy to maintain. Small spaces require more frequent water change as well as an efficient filter system.Most fish keepers end up upgrading to conventional aquariums to care for their fish in a more manageable way.
  • Fishbowls don’t provide stable environments: Fish bowls experience rapid changes in the environment because of their small size and susceptibility. The smaller volume of water allows the temperature to change quickly, which can prove fatal for many fish. Fishbowls also tend to restrict oxygen levels due to the water’s inability to diffuse oxygen quickly.
  • Lack of adequate filtration: It’s difficult to fit conventional filtration systems in fishbowls due to their shape. If you do manage to insert it, the space it occupies further restricts the movement of fish.

The bottom line

Fish are very sensitive and fragile. They require appropriate conditions to grow and live the full extent of their life expectancy.

It’s necessary to understand that owning a healthy fish and taking care of it is a long-term task. It will require your attention and time.

Stay tuned for more information and tips on how to take care of your fish!

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