Can Goldfish Live in a Bowl? (7 Reasons Why Bowls Are Cruel)

Many goldfish owners have heard the old saying that you can’t keep a goldfish in a bowl because it will die. But is this true? Can goldfish live in a bowl? The answer to this question is not as simple.

While it is true that most goldfish will not survive in a small bowl, some types of goldfish can thrive in these conditions.

To determine if your goldfish can survive in a bowl, you first need to determine what type of goldfish you have.

If you have a common or comet goldfish, then it is likely that your aquarium fish will not be able to survive in a small container.

Can goldfish live in bowls

However, if you have an oriental or fantail goldfish, then your fish may be able to live in a smaller container. Keep reading to learn more about Golden fish keeping in bowls!

Fish Bowls Through History

Fish bowls have been used to house fish for thousands of years, and their importance in art, culture, and religion has given them a special place in human history. In ancient Rome, terracotta containers were often used to contain goldfish and other small fish species.

Fishbowls then spread throughout the Mediterranean during the Roman Empire, thanks to trade routes along the sea. This trend continued into classical Greece, where they were often included as part of imperial decorations or served as religious offerings.

One of the most famous depictions is on Ptolemaic coins, which showed a goddess surrounded by two fishbowls with aquatic creatures inside them!

The Chinese also had an important role in developing modern aquariums; during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), they constructed tanks made of porcelain tiles that could hold cold water and tropical varieties of fish.

Finally, with advances in glass-blowing techniques during the 18th century onward, we now enjoy aesthetically pleasing designs for ornamental goldfish keeping!

Can Goldfish Live in a Bowl?

Is it ok to keep goldfish in a bowl? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is more complex than yes or no. While some types of goldfish may be able to survive in small bowls, other varieties will suffer and even die if kept in an undersized container.

Common or comet goldfish require large tanks to live comfortably, whereas oriental and fantail goldfish can survive in much smaller bowls.

Before deciding to keep goldfish in bowls, it is important to research the particular species and its needs.

It is also important to note that even if your freshwater fish can survive in a bowl, the conditions may still need improvement. Goldfish need room to swim and explore their environment and clean water with the proper pH levels and temperature.

What Kind of Goldfish Can Live in a Bowl?

When it comes to goldfish, there are a few types that can survive in a bowl. Common goldfish, comet goldfish, and shubunkins are all varieties of small goldfish that can survive in an aquarium or bowl with adequate care, such as proper filtration and frequent water changes.

Can goldfish live in bowl

However, you should be aware that some types of fish may only survive if the size or shape of the tank is bigger.

In general, even though they may be able to tolerate it for some time, you should try your best to provide them with at least a 10-gallon tank, so they don’t feel cramped.

If you follow these guidelines, any common or fancy goldfish should live well in a bowl.

How Long Can Goldfish live in Bowls?

Goldfish can live in bowls, but they should not. Bowls are generally too small to provide an appropriate habitat for goldfish as it restricts the necessary movement, nutrition, and water quality they need.

That said, under very specific and ideal conditions, a goldfish can survive up to one year in a bowl or aquarium. However, goldfish tend to live only a few months due to the harsh environment caused by even the best-maintained goldfish bowl or aquarium. 

To give them their best chance of survival, it is recommended that you keep your goldfish in an adequately sized tank with plenty of room for them to move around and grow.

7 Reasons Why Bowls Are Cruel

Goldfish Bowls Are Too Small to Filter Properly

For goldfish to live healthy and long lives, they need clean, filtered water. Unfortunately, bowls are too small to contain a functional filter. As a result, the water in the bowl quickly becomes dirty and toxic, which can cause health problems or lead to death.

Goldfish Require a Lot of Oxygen

Goldfish need large amounts of oxygen to survive and thrive. However, small bowls cannot provide enough oxygen as the water is too stagnant. As a result, goldfish in bowls are often found gasping for air at the surface.

It Is Harmful to Stunt a Goldfish Growth Rate

Goldfish can grow extremely large if given the proper environment and care. However, when kept in a bowl, they cannot reach their full growth potential as there is not enough room for them to grow. As a result, their growth rate is severely stunted, which can lead to health complications and even death.

Bowls Do Not Provide Enough Room to Swim

Goldfish are active creatures that need plenty of room to explore and swim in their environment. However, bowls are too small for the fish to move around properly, and as a result, they become lethargic and stressed, leading to disease and death.

Goldfish Bowls Can’t Handle Goldfish Waste

Goldfish produce a lot of waste which can lead to water quality issues. Unfortunately, bowls need to be bigger and deeper to hold enough water for the fish to comfortably produce waste without reaching dangerous levels. This can lead to water becoming toxic and causing many health problems for the aquarium fish.

Nutrient Cycling in a Fish Bowl Is Almost Impossible

Goldfish need a balanced diet, and the water in their environment must be kept clean with regular water changes. However, due to the size of the bowl, it is impossible to keep up with these changes regularly, which can lead to nutrient deficiency or even death.

Poor Water Quality Is Easily Affected by Temperature

Goldfish need water that is kept at a stable temperature to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, due to the small size of the bowl, the water temperature can quickly change due to outside temperatures, which can cause stress and other health issues.

Bowls are Too Stressful for Goldfish

Finally, goldfish living in bowls become stressed quickly due to the confined environment. This stress can lead to many health problems, including a weakened immune system, loss of appetite, and even a shorter life span.

Recommended Tank Size for Goldfish

When it comes to recommended tank size for goldfish, the minimum recommendation is 10 gallons of water for every single fish.

That means if you have two goldfish, your tank should have at least 20 gallons. Furthermore, if you aim to keep more than a few goldfish in an aquarium – say four or more – then you should opt for a larger tank size (40+ gallons). 

Goldfish produce quite a bit of fish waste and therefore need ample room for swimming and fresh flowing tank water; otherwise, their immune system will weaken due to unsanitary living conditions.

Plus, as goldfish can grow to 5-10 inches long, depending on the species, they require enough space, so they don’t feel cramped in the confines of their home. 

In addition to considering water volume when choosing a tank size for your golden friends, you should also consider filtration needs since there are usually many extra items, such as plants or decorations, that come with setting up an aquarium. All habitats like these generate pollutants and need adequate filtration (biological filters) to keep the environment clean and safe. 

Finally, it’s always important to ensure that the temperature remains within what is comfortable/safe range for this type of coldwater fish; some recommend using small heaters during winter when temperatures drop too low outside.

Ideally, the temperature shouldn’t go below 65°F or above 75°F, so monitoring and maintaining this becomes even more crucial when building an aquarium habitat!

How to Take Care of a Goldfish in a Bowl?

How to care for goldfish in a bowl without a filter? Goldfish are a popular pet, but many people don’t know how to take care of them properly, and they often die prematurely. 

Many people think that keeping a goldfish in bowl is no big deal, but this is very harmful to the fish. 

In this video, we will show you how to take care of your goldfish so they can live long and happy life.

Can Goldfish Live in a Bowl Without Oxygen?

Can goldfish live in a bowl without an air pump? Goldfish need oxygen for survival; without it, they can only hold on for two days max. To ensure your fish live in a healthy tank environment with plenty of life-giving air, equip the space with an air pump, tank water filter, and live aquatic plants!

These items will help keep the water oxygenated and provide a natural habitat for your fish with plenty of hiding places and natural sources of nutrition.

How Do You Know Your Goldfish Tank Needs More Oxygen?

One of the biggest challenges in keeping a healthy goldfish tank is providing enough oxygen. Fortunately, several signs can help you determine if your tank needs more oxygen.

If you notice fish gasping for air at the surface, that is a sure sign of insufficient oxygen in the water. Also, if you find your goldfish struggling to stay upright or swimming erratically, that, too, could be a sign of low oxygen levels.

Suppose you are encountering any of these issues. In that case, it’s important to act quickly and ensure your tank is properly equipped with an air pump and water filter – both of which can significantly improve the oxygen levels in your small tank.

By providing enough oxygen and a healthy environment, your goldfish can live happy and long lives!

How Long Can Goldfish Live Without an Air Pump?

Goldfish are generally hardy animals and can survive in various conditions with or without an air pump. They can obtain oxygen from the water due to special organs, called gills, that extract oxygen from the water and pass it into their bloodstream.

Without an air pump, goldfish cannot get enough oxygen to survive long-term in its tank as the surface of their tanks often needs to be agitated for fresh oxygenation.

Generally speaking, goldfish will not survive more than 48-60 hours without an air pump in their tank; beyond this period, they would suffer severe hypoxia (lack of available oxygen), which can lead to death.

Is There Any Alternative to Using an Air Pump in Fish Bowl?

Yes, air pumps are not the only way to provide oxygen to your fish bowl. You can also use an artificial airstone which uses a stream of bubbles from an attached tube and diffuses into the water column much like an air stone.

Other alternatives include a water wheel or fountain, sponge filters, submersible powerhead filters, air bubbles, under gravel filtration system, and naturally filtering live plants.

All these methods help introduce oxygen into the water of your fish bowl and can be used in place of an air pump.

Can Goldfish Live in a Bowl Without a Filter?

Can goldfish live without a filter? Keeping golden fish in a bowl without a filter can harm the fish, as it doesn’t provide proper filtration, which is needed to keep the water clean and free of toxins.

Without a filter, the water in the bowl will quickly become polluted with nitrates and ammonia, which can cause health problems for the fish and eventually lead to death.

Therefore, ensuring your goldfish tank is equipped with a filter is important to keep the water clean and safe for your fish.

How Long Can a Goldfish Live in a Bowl Without a Filter?

How long can a fish live in a bowl without a filter? Goldfish can survive in a bowl without a filter for up to 7 days.

However, this is the absolute maximum, and it is not recommended to keep your goldfish in an unfiltered tank or goldfish bowl longer than three days due to the potential water quality issues that can occur. 

Without adequate filtration, nitrate and ammonia levels will rise quickly, making living conditions unsafe for goldfish. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you provide enough filtration for your goldfish if you want them to live long and healthy lives.

Additionally, water changes should be done regularly (weekly or bi-weekly) with treated tap or dechlorinated water as part of properly maintaining their environment—even when a filter is present!

Can Goldfish Live in a Bowl with a Plant?

Can goldfish live in bowl with plants? Yes, goldfish can live in a bowl with a plant. There are several factors to consider when considering whether or not your goldfish should have a plant in its home.

  • Firstly, the type of fish and the size of the bowl matter; larger shapes might be better suited for more robust plants due to their larger surface area.
  • Secondly, make sure that you pick an aquatic plant suitable for colder water temperatures since these can help keep your fish tank clean and provide healthy oxygen levels and hiding places for your fishy friends.
  • Lastly, adding aquatic plants can decrease uneaten fish food accumulation, which helps maintain beneficial bacteria colonies within the tank’s filter system.

With proper care and attention paid to these details, having plants in with your goldfish is an enjoyable pastime that will delight you!

Can You Keep a Goldfish in a Large Bowl?

A large goldfish bowl can be a great home for your fish if it has the necessary filtration and aeration.

A large bowl is preferable to a small one due to the increased tank water volume, which helps with oxygenation and waste accumulation.

When setting up the bowl, make sure that you use fresh, dechlorinated water and add in a filter or air pump (depending on your chosen filtration option).

In addition, adding in some aquatic plants can help keep the water clean and provide hiding places for your fish.

Finally, it is important to regularly change at least a quarter of the tank’s water weekly to maintain healthy nitrogen cycles. With proper care and attention, large goldfish bowls can be a great home for your fish!

Step into the pet store, and you’ll find an array of diverse fishbowls. But, with this ever-growing trend in animal rights awareness, those who still adhere to goldfish bowls may soon receive judgmental stares from passersby!


So, Can goldfish live in a bowl? While you may believe that a goldfish in bowl is an easy and low-maintenance pet fish, the truth is that bowls are cruel and can cause Goldfish undue stress and suffering. If you’re looking for a pet goldfish, consider adopting one of the many other wonderful animals out there that would make far better companions than a goldfish stuck in a bowl.

You might also like

About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

Recent Posts

Stay Updated

Get outdoor trends, data, new products, and tips delivered to your inbox.

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top