Sooooooo, Can Goldfish Live In A Bowl?

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Of course they can! After all I had a goldfish bowl when I was a kid and I bet you did too? In most cases including mine, it was your first pet. You came home from the pet store, filled up the bowl, dropped the little guy in there and in about a month your goldfish DIED!! Your parents explained that goldfish don’t live that long and most die before a year anyways.

So out you went to select your next victim….Buy, Flush, Repeat!

A LOT of people still believe that a goldfish can live in a bowl, you might be one of them. This is simply because of advertisements like this….

Can Goldfish Live In A Bowl

And pet stores like this…..

Can Goldfish Live In A Bowl AD

The most common goldfish the “comet” is the type of goldfish most people envision in a bowl.

The common goldfish is typically sold for less than $0.25 as a “feeder” goldfish and sold when it is very small. However, though it may start out less than 1 inch long a typical comet can grow up to 1 foot in length and live as long as 20 years if healthy.

And that fact alone should make it clear to you that a bowl is not a suitable home for your goldfish. But if you still need convincing please read on.

Two Big Problems with Keeping Goldfish in a Bowl.

Goldfish produce A LOT of waste and most goldfish bowls are not big enough to be equipped with filtration. This allows harmful toxins like nitrate, ammonia to build and slowly poison your goldfish.

As mentioned above a bowl is simply not large enough for an adult goldfish that can grow up to 1 foot in length. A bowl is not large enough for a goldfish to grow to its intended adult size of 6 to 8 inches.

“But I do water changes every week” you say, well that might help for a little while, but as that fish grows older it will produce more and more waste, requiring you to change the water almost daily.

“But I heard fish only grow to the size of the tank they are in”…This is another misconception, most fish will continue to grow until they outgrow the bowl. The rate at which they grow might slow, but they will continue to grow. Also the organs inside your goldfish will continue to grow and cause a slow painful death for your goldfish.

What If I Ignore The Warnings And Keep A Goldfish In A Bowl Anyways?

If you manage to stay on top of multiple water changes every week, limit the feeding and it doesn’t outgrow the bowl, your goldfish may live for a few years. The most likely case is that, your goldfish will be unhealthy, weak and slowly die from ammonia & nitrate poisoning, or it will develop a bacterial or parasitic infection and slowly die a painful death….

Can Goldfish Live In A Bowl - NO

Okay, So What Is The Best Habitat For A Goldfish?

The best place to keep a goldfish would be in 20 gallon tank with a filter or two that can process approx. 10x that gallons in the tank. What I mean is….If your tank is 20 gallons you should have a filter or filters that can clean up to 120 gallons per hour. Seriously goldfish produce A LOT of waste.

Here are two videos show the size a goldfish can grow if given the proper care.

Goldfish Bowls Should Be Banned…..

Sounds drastic….But hear me out.

As I mentioned above goldfish can grow up to 1 foot in lengthy and can live for as long as 20 years. Needless to say they need A LOT of space. They are also very social fish and love to have a companion to interact with, so if you’re going to get one, plan for two…Kink of like kids…get the big house with at least three bedrooms and a big yard, trust me they will grow into it.

Here Are A Few Guidelines for Keeping Goldfish

Goldfish are best kept in a tank that is at least 20 gallons, with 10 gallons for each additional goldfish. However, you could even say 20 gallons for each goldfish would be best.

Goldfish Produce A LOT of Waste 

As you might guess by now, goldfish produce A LOT of WASTE. The smaller the tank the faster the harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrate will build up. A small tank kept unchecked could slowly kill the goldfish by slowly burning their gills, fins and scales. Your set up should provide sufficient filtration, meaning at least “double” the gallons in your tank or as we recommended earlier 10x to keep it really

Goldfish A LOT of Oxygen! 

To give your goldfish enough oxygen you want a tank that has a lot of surface area. So a rectangle would be better than an octagon and definitely better than a bowl. Odd shaped tanks don’t have the surface area needed and can easily become de-oxygenated. Ideally get a pump that creates a lot of bubbles and surface movement.

Can Goldfish Live In A Bowl Here’s My Recommendation

Don’t keep goldfish in bowls or other small odd shaped items, not created to keep fish. It will ultimately kill your goldfish slowly through deformities, stress, burns, choking.

Just because a goldfish can’t be squeezed and hugged like a new cuddly puppy doesn’t mean it should be treated less. Just like all pets, take care of them, love them and keep them healthy.

To Recap Here Are 5 Reasons You Should Not Use A Bowl

  1. Goldfish Bowls Are Too Small
  2. Goldfish Bowls Don’t Have Enough Oxygen
  3. Goldfish Bowls Get Too Dirty Too
  4. Goldfish Bowls Can Only House One Goldfish
  5. Goldfish Bowls Should Be Banned
By | 2017-04-27T09:01:21+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Goldfish Care|Comments Off on Sooooooo, Can Goldfish Live In A Bowl?

About the Author:

Jack Dempsey has over 20 years of experience with freshwater aquariums, his goal is to help beginners avoid the biggest mistakes when getting started. If you find something helpful please share it on your favourite social network. If you need help with anything send Jack a question.