Can You Keep Betta Fish In A Bowl? Complete Guide

Can our little Betta fish live in a bowl? How big should the bowl be? Will our fish friends be comfortable in a small fish bowl or do they require more space than in a fish tank? Confused about what to pick? And how to tend for your bettas if you only have a fish bowl at hand? Well, not to worry. You are at the right place. We will tell you all you need to know about keeping your little betta fighter fish in a fish bowl and how best to look after them. So keep on reading.

Betta fish needs at least 5 gallons of water to live comfortably in a suitable environment. So, it can not live in a bowl. If Betta fish live in a small space stress level increases which are not good for Betta fish health.

When you walk into a pet store you usually see betta fish among others being sold in little cups or even small bags filled with water. This might lead you to think that betta fish can live in even the smallest of places if they have water. This is not true. Many a betta have lost their lives to the assumption that they do not need to be cared for.

Can You Keep Betta Fish In A Bowl

Even though betta fish are low-maintenance fish and are suitable for beginner fish keepers, they do require certain conditions and proper tending to thrive. So to answer your question, Can betta fish live in a fish bowl? Well, the answer to this question is not a simple one. Given the appropriate conditions and receiving the right conditions, you can make a fish bowl a good living space for your betta fish.

What does a Betta Fish Bowl Need?

Some things that you always need to keep in mind when setting up a fish bowl for your fighter fish are:

Size of the fish bowl

Betta fish require a fish bowl with a minimum of 5-gallon size. Even though they are usually put in a 1-gallon fish bowl, this is not healthy and causes stress for your fish. They might die earlier and the water then requires very frequent water changes. A 5-gallon fish bowl proves sufficient in keeping one betta fish. As you decrease the size of the bowl, the conditions need to be monitored more closely and the upkeep will become tougher. Betta fish find it difficult to breathe in smaller tanks and might die of oxygen deprivation.

Cover the fish bowl

As we have previously discussed, betta fighter fish are jumpers. That is they jump out of the water. They also have a labyrinth organ in addition to their gills and come up to the water surface to take in oxygen directly from the atmosphere. Due to these two reasons, it is important to make sure that your betta fish have enough space at the top of the bowl to come up and breathe. But it is also important to remember that a covering or lid in the form of a mesh is important. So that your betta fish do not jump out of your fish bowl.

Cover the fish bowl

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Water Temperature Monitoring

Although betta fish can survive in temperatures ranging from 70 ˚F to 85 ˚F (20 ˚C to 30 ˚C), they prefer a water temperature range of 75 ˚F – 80˚F (24.5 ˚C – 26.5 ˚C) for best growth and activity levels. You will need to monitor these temperatures more sensitively when your betta fish are kept in a fish bowl. If the water temperature can not be maintained at this level naturally, you might consider investing in a heater so that your fighter fish friends do not die early due to preventable reasons. Make sure that if you are installing a heater it is a small one. So that it does not take up too much space in your betta fish bowl and has ample space to move around. Leaving your betta fish at room temperature is generally not recommended since it fluctuates unpredictably.

Air Bubbler

Betta fish prefer to live in gently flowing waters for this purpose an air bubbler is a good addition to your fish bowl. An air bubbler also ensures that the dissolved oxygen level in your bowl is appropriate for the betta fighter fish to live in. As the opening of a fish bowl is narrow from the top you should not solely rely on the atmospheric oxygen to be sufficient for your betta fish. Although air bubblers take up quite a bit of space in your fish bowl they will add the extra oxygen that your betta fish require. But to compensate for this space you must make sure that your fish bowl is big enough and that your betta fish is still comfortable.

Filters and Filtration

Although we have discussed filtration in betta fish tanks separately in detail, it is important to note that installing a filter is way more important in a small fish bowl than it would be in a larger fish tank or aquarium. This is because there is less water available for the dilution of waste matter and waste builds up more quickly. This leads to water conditions becoming less ideal far earlier than would be the case in a larger fish tank. The presence of a filter will also control bacteria, fungi, and other microbes build up which inevitably lead to diseases if not kept under check.

Water Changes

A bigger fish bowl and the presence of an installed filter will lead to better water conditions and there being less need for the water to be changed that often. We still recommend doing about a 30 to 40% water change biweekly (i.e. every 3 to 4 days) or a 50 to 60% water change every week.

Water Changes

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A substrate in a fish bowl

The best substrate recommended for a betta fish bowl is gravel. Gravel does not float, hence not causing any injuries to your betta fish due to abrasion. They are delicate and their fins might be harmed otherwise. Gravel also helps in slight filtration of the water and bacteria do not grow as readily in it. It is also big enough that your betta fighter fish do not swallow it.


Betta fish prefer their tank to contain decorations or live plants since it is a way for them to remain stimulated. You need to make sure that none of these decorations and live plants prove to be toxic to your betta fish. Space should also be factored in since betta fish become stressed and die early in congested environments.

Fishbowl vs Fish Tank. Which is Better?

Betta fish prefer living in a fish tank to living in a fish bowl. A fish tank provides them with ample space to live and therefore a less stressful environment. Betta fish tanks are also easier to maintain and the water conditions are preferable. A fish bowl although very pretty to look at proves to be a tougher environment and its upkeep is much more difficult than a larger fish tank although it might not seem that way due to the size difference.

The Bottom Line On Can You Keep Betta Fish In A Bowl?

So to answer your question, Can betta fish live in a fish bowl? Simply put betta fish can survive in a fish bowl if the optimum conditions are carefully maintained but prefer to live in a more open fish tank and that is where they thrive. So get to work on maintaining your little fish bowl. May your Betta fighter fish be happy and healthy. Take good care of them. This was all we could do to help you for now. Till next time happy fishkeeping folks!

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