Can Betta Fish Live In A Bowl? (All You Need To Know)

Betta fish live in a small place in the wild, which makes us think that they will prefer a small living place in captivity too. This belief makes us think that we can keep bettas in a small size bowl, and they will live comfortably in it.

Keeping betta fish in a bowl requires many things to ensure your betta’s well-being. In this article, we will discuss whether we can keep our betta fish in a bowl or not. So, Can betta fish live in a bowl? Let us find out.

Betta fish cannot live in a small bowl and require a minimum size of a 5-gallon bowl, which is hard to find in the market. We recommend keeping your betta in a nano tank instead. However, if you want to keep them in a bowl, ensure keeping them in a large bowl with a filter, heater, and air pump.

Also, we will discuss how we can ensure the well-being of our betta fish that is living in a bowl. So, let us get into it.

Can I keep my betta fish in a bowl?

We should not keep our betta fish in a bowl, instead should prefer to keep them in a nano tank.

Just knowing that bettas live in small bodies of shallow water in their natural habitat doesn’t mean that they can live in a bowl in captivity.

However, if you have decided to keep your betta fish in a bowl, you have to arrange a 5-gallon bowl, which is difficult to find in the market.

We will recommend you keep your betta fish in a well-established tank.

Bettas are not meant to be kept in a small vase or bowl.

Betta fish are active swimmers and require ample space to swim comfortably.

Also, they require well-heated water and a good filtration system, which will be difficult for you to provide them in a small bowl.

Let us discuss in detail all the reasons preventing us from keeping our betta fish in a bowl.

What are the reasons for not keeping betta fish in a bowl?

All these are the reasons for not keeping betta fish in a bowl:

  1. Your betta fish will not get enough space to live comfortably.
  2. There will be an oxygen deficiency in the bowl.
  3. The water temperature will not be stable in a bowl.
  4. It will be challenging to install a filter in a bowl.
  5. Your betta fish will come under stress because of the cleaning process.
  6. Fish bowls don’t have a lid.
  7. Your fish bowl will get polluted faster.

Limited space

Keeping your betta fish in a bowl will not provide enough space for them for comfortable living.

Living in a small bowl, your betta fish can come under stress and will become weak.

You have to consider a 5-gallon bowl, at least for your betta fish, which is very difficult to find in the market.

Even if you find a large bowl of 5-gallon, moving it will be challenging, making it harder to clean the water.

Oxygen deficiency

There will be less oxygen for your betta fish in a bowl.

Small bowls have a small surface area, which limits the exchange of gases, resulting in oxygen deficiency.

Your betta fish will suffer breathing and can pass away in critical cases.

In many cases, betta fish passes away, living in a bowl because of oxygen deficiency.

Unstable water temperature

Bowl will not be able to maintain a stable water temperature.

A bowl contains less water, and it becomes difficult to stabilize the water temperature in low water volume.

And you must know that bettas are sensitive to water temperatures.

Unstable water temperature will stress them, and they can even suffer from issues like ich and fin rot.

Also read: What Is A Good Water Temperature For Betta Fish?

Installation of a filter

Because of the round body, it will be challenging for you to install a filter.

There are filters present in the market for a bowl, but they don’t work efficiently.

The water will get polluted sooner when the filter does not work efficiently.

Cleaning process

When performing a water change and cleaning the bowl, you must take your betta out from it and place them in a small container.

After that, you have to take out all the plants, decor, and other things from the bowl to clean the bowl.

After cleaning, you will put the betta back into its bowl, and you will do this around 4-5 times a week.

Moving betta out of the tank and placing them again and again, will make them come under stress.

Absence of lid

Betta fish are good jumpers and will surely take a jump from the bowl if there is not a lid.

Bowls don’t come with a lid, so there will be any time risk of your betta fish jumping out of the bowl.

Poor water quality

The water in your fish bowl will get dirty faster from your fish waste, uneaten foods, and other waste.

Lack of filtration will make you perform a more frequent water change.

Also, your betta can come under high-level stress by living in a poorly maintained tank.

All these points explain that we should always consider keeping any fish in a tank instead of a bowl.

How long will a betta fish survive in a bowl?

Your bettas can live in a bowl when kept with ideal living conditions.

If you are keeping them in a small bowl with no filter and heater, they can even pass away in a week.

However, if you provide them with adequate living conditions, which means a big bowl (At least 4-5 gallons), a good filtration system, and a heater, they will live long and can be with you for years.

But, when you go for a bowl that is of size around 4-5 gallons and consider providing your betta fish with a good filtration system and well-heated environment, you should go for a nano tank instead.

The reason behind choosing a tank is that it will be easier to install filters and a heater than in a bowl.

However, if you have decided to keep your betta fish in a bowl, then let us discuss how we can make it happen.

How can we keep our betta fish in a bowl?

Ensure all these things to make your betta fish live comfortably in a bowl:

  1. Go for a big size bowl.
  2. Install a good filtration system with bio-filter media.
  3. Add a heater to your betta bowl.
  4. Add gravel as a substrate in your betta fish bowl.
  5. Add an air pump to your betta bowl.
  6. Add some hiding spots and live aquatic plants to your betta bowl.
  7. Avoid overfeeding your betta fish.
  8. Keep the bowl super clean by performing a weekly water change.
  9. Service your betta bowl monthly.

Big size bowl

The first thing that stops us from keeping our betta fish in a bowl is its size.

Bettas are active swimmers and require ample space to swim and live comfortably.

Keeping your bettas in a small bowl of 2-3 gallons will not do justice to them.

You should provide your betta fish with at least 4-5 gallon space to live.

Filtration system

A good filtration system with biofilter media will help you prevent the bowl from excessive waste.

Also, it will prevent harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite in the water.

A water filter will help you keep the tank clean as much as you can. However, you cannot rely only on the filter but also clean the tank by yourself every week.

You can consider adding an HYGGER SMALL AQUARIUM BIO SPONGE FILTER, as it will help you keep your betta bowl clean by providing mechanical and biological filtration.

You can buy this product at amazon: Hygger Small Aquarium Bio Sponge Filter.


Bettas are very sensitive when it comes to water temperature.

They require a well-heated tank with a water temperature between 78-82 °F.

Adding a heater will help you provide your betta fish with warmer water and ensure stable water temperature.

You can consider adding a DaToo Mini Aquarium Heater, as it will help you keep the water temperature warm and stable and is also good for a bowl.

You can buy this product at amazon: DaToo Mini Aquarium Heater.

Add gravel

Using gravel as a substrate for your betta fish bowl is a good choice.

Gravel will help you filter the water by eliminating some bacteria. 

Also, you don’t have to worry about your betta fish ingesting the gravel while eating their food from the bottom, as they will not be able to eat gravel.

Gravel doesn’t float, which also makes it a perfect substrate for your betta fish.

Add an air pump

In most cases, betta fish die in a bowl because of the lack of oxygen.

So, we should consider adding an air pump with an air bubbler to ensure enough oxygen in the tank.

However, betta fish is a labyrinth fish and comes to the surface to breathe air. 

 But adding an air pump will be safe for your bettas. 

You can consider adding a Pulaco Ultra Quiet Air Pump for your betta fish bowl.

You can buy this product at amazon: Pulaco Ultra Quiet Air Pump.

Decors and live aquatic plants

Adding decors and live aquatic plants to your betta fish bowl will keep them busy, and they will enjoy swimming through that.

You can consider adding caves and any hidey-hole with some live aquatic plants.

Adding live aquatic plants will keep the bowl oxygenated and will also help you mimic your betta fish’s natural habitat.

Also, decors and aquatic plants will make your bowl look amazing.

Avoid overfeeding

Many betta owners end up overfeeding their bettas. 

Betta fish have a stomach size of their eye. 

Also, overfeeding means more fish waste in the bowl.

Your betta fish bowl will get polluted faster when you overfeed them.

So, provide your betta fish 2-3 pellets a time for two times a day to avoid overfeeding.

Water change

Not only adding a filter will keep the bowl water clean, but there will also be a need for water change every week.

Perform a weekly water change of at least 40% of your betta fish bowl to keep the water clean.

Make sure to treat the water using a water conditioner to dechlorinate it.

We recommend using the API water conditioner to treat the water, as it will help you eliminate chlorine, chloramine, ammonia, nitrite, and heavy metals from the water.

You can buy this product on amazon: API TAP WATER CONDITIONER.

Weekly service of a bowl

When keeping our fish in the bowl, we have to make sure that the bowl is super clean and provides your fish with ideal living conditions.

In case to keep the tank clean, you have to clean it every week to get rid of excessive waste. 

Use a gravel siphon to siphon out any solid debris and other waste from the substrate.


We don’t recommend keeping betta fish in a bowl as betta fish require more space to live and swim comfortably.

Fish bowls can come with issues like unstable water temperature, poor water conditions, lack of space, and lack of oxygen.

You should consider keeping your betta fish in a nano tank instead of a bowl.

If you want to keep your betta fish in a bowl, then consider keeping a betta in a minimum size 5-gallon bowl with a heater, filter, and air pump added.

Perform a weekly water change and clean the tank weekly.

Reference: College of Veterinary Medicine

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