Keeping Betta Fish in a Bowl: Yes or No?

Betta fish can live in a bowl, but as an intelligent fish, that environment will not make it happy. Only water and a bowl are not enough for bettas. Their space needs to be enriched, so it is much better to keep a betta fish in a larger space like an aquarium. We don’t recommend you to keep betta fish in a bowl and here are some thoughts about that.

Why are bowls bad for bettas?

Bowls are small spaces that people usually decorate with a plant. This plant spreads in water and usually covers a good part of the surface. It is very important for bettas that the surface is always available. The first is breathing and the second is food. Betta reaches the surface to breathe and if the surface is blocked it will not have enough air to breathe. Another reason is taking food because betta is a carnivore that most often feeds on insects from the surface. If plants cover their food, bettas will starve.

The second reason why we won’t recommend a bowl is space. The minimum recommended tank size for a happy and healthy betta is a 5-gallon tank. Of course, we want more for our beloved pet so we often try to provide more space. The main goal is to make our betta happy and thriving, not just surviving.

beautiful betta fish in a bowl

How long can a betta fish live in a bowl?

A betta fish that you keep in a bowl does not live long. The smaller and less refined its space, the shorter its life is. Let’s say that you can keep a battle fish even in a cup but it will survive for just a few days.

Betta fish in a bowl: These are the disadvantages

There are several reasons why we don’t recommend keeping a betta in a bowl.

It will get bored easily

Since they are territorial and you should avoid keeping them with other bettas, they rarely get lonely. However, because fish bowls are often small and we can’t add plants and stones to create hiding places, your betta will easily get bored or stressed if the bowl is too small.

Forget about adding betta mates to the bowl

There are several kinds of fish that can cope with bettas. They are Cory fish, neon and ember tetras, ghost shrimp, African dwarf frog, guppies and Kuhli loaches. You can forget about adding a tank mate for your betta if you keep it in a bowl.

It’s difficult to maintain optimal temperature and water quality

A betta like for most tropical fish must have a heater. The optimal temperature for bettas is 78-82℉. 75℉ is a bare minimum while everything over 85℉ can become stressful. Taking care of the water temperature without a heater will be almost impossible.

An air pump is not a necessary piece of equipment but it can be very useful. It can provide additional air but it can also be a nice toy. Most bettas get bored easily so they can play with bubbles that come out from the air pump.

In essence, bettas can live in water without a filter, which means primarily a bowl. This is possible since they have a developed organ that makes it possible for them to breathe air from the water surface.  However, without a filter you will have problems maintaining proper water quality for your betta.

It would be difficult to make your betta happy

You can easily see if your fish is happy. Several signs detect it. Your betta has strong colors, its fins are open, it feeds readily and it is very active. However, it would be difficult to create the ideal environment for a healthy and happy betta in a bowl.

Final words on keeping betta fish in a bowl

Bettas are carnivores that feed on the surface. You can keep betta fish in a bowl but keeping them in a tank is much more comfortable. In general, they are not complicated pets. You provide them with warm water, filtration, some content inside the tank – like plants, caves and similar. Keep regular feeding and cleaning and you will have a satisfied pet.

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