How To Take Care of Betta Fish in a Bowl

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Flashy, quirky, and beautiful, betta fish are a popular pet for both first-time fish owners and experienced aquarium enthusiasts alike. Although they are small, bettas pack a powerful punch when it comes to personality. And, with the right care, they can be a fun and rewarding pet that will bring you years of enjoyment.

In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to know about how to take care of betta fish in a bowl. Though they are often kept in small spaces, bettas still require high-quality care to stay healthy and thrive. We’ll cover everything from feeding and water care to tank mates and common health concerns. Read on to learn everything you need to know about keeping betta fish in a bowl.

Bettas and Their Natural Habitats

Betta fish are native to the warm waters of Southeast Asia. In the wild, they can be found in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Bettas typically inhabit shallow, stagnant pools of water, such as rice paddies, ditches, and ponds. These waters are often murky and low in oxygen, which is why bettas have evolved to be able to breathe from both their gills and a special organ called the labyrinth.

The labyrinth allows bettas to breathe air directly from the surface, which is an adaptation that comes in handy in low-oxygen environments. It also allows them to live in waters that would be too warm for other types of fish. In the wild, bettas typically live in water that is between 76 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can Betta Fish Be Kept In Bowls?

Although bettas live in shallow, stagnant pools of water in the wild, bowls aren’t the best choice for a pet betta. The shallow puddles that bettas inhabit are well-drained, so they don’t accumulate the waste and toxins that can build up quickly in a bowl. Bowls also don’t offer the same amount of oxygen as a larger aquarium, which can be stressful for bettas and lead to health problems.

red betta fish in a bowl

Be that as it may, there are some steps you can take to make sure your betta is happy and healthy if you decide to keep them in a bowl. So yes, bettas can be kept in bowls, but you’ll need to take extra care to keep them happy and healthy in their habitat.

How Do You Keep Bettas Happy In A Bowl?

When it comes to keeping bettas happy in a bowl, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. Here are a few tips to keep your betta fish happy and healthy:

Use A Dechlorinator

Using dechlorinated water is important regardless of where your bettas are housed, but in a bowl, there is no room for error. Be sure to use a quality dechlorinator to remove all harmful chemicals from your tap water. Chlorine can be lethal to bettas, so it’s important to make sure their water is properly treated.

Dechlorinators can also remove heavy metals and other impurities from your water that can be harmful to bettas. When choosing a dechlorinator, look for one that is designed specifically for bettas or other tropical fish. This will ensure that your betta’s water is as safe and clean as possible.

Change The Water Regularly

In a bowl, it’s especially important to perform partial water changes regularly to keep the water clean. You shouldn’t wait to see your bowl water cloudy before performing a water change. A good rule is to do a two-thirds water change weekly. This will help to keep the water clean and prevent toxins from building up.

adding water

Some of you may wonder if such a large water change is too stressful for bettas. After all, bettas kept in tanks with filters and live plants typically only require a weekly 20-40% water change. However, because bowls are small, the build-up of toxins occurs more quickly and more dramatically, putting your betta at risk if a water change is not performed regularly.

Another thing to remember is that bettas are not used to sudden changes in their water. When performing a water change, be sure to slowly add new water to the bowl, a little at a time. This will help your betta acclimate to the new water and reduce the stress of the water change.

Keep Water Temperatures Stable

Bettas are tropical fish, so they prefer warm water that is between 76 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The challenge with the vast majority of fishbowls is that they do not come with a means of heating the water. This can make it difficult to keep the water at a stable temperature, which can be stressful for your betta.

One way to help keep the water temperature stable is to place the bowl in a warm room in your home. Another option is to invest in a small aquarium heater that can be placed in the bowl. Heaters designed for betta fish bowls are available at most pet stores and can spare your fish the stress of living in colder waters they’re not accustomed to.

In addition to keeping your water warm, you’ll also need to monitor the water temperature closely to make sure it doesn’t fluctuate too much. Invest in a good thermometer and check the water temperature often, especially if you live in a place with extreme temperatures. You’ll also want to make sure your heater isn’t too close to the bowl, as this can cause the water to overheat.

Install A Filter

filter for a fish bowl
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Water filtration isn’t a necessary part of betta care, but they can certainly make your life (and your betta’s life) easier. Virtually every betta fish tank will come with a filter, but they are less common in fish bowls. This is because water filters tend to be larger and more expensive and can take up a lot of space in a small bowl.

That being said, some very good filters are available for betta bowls. These filters are small and unobtrusive, and they can do a great job of keeping your betta’s water clean and free of toxins. If you decide to get a filter for your betta bowl, be sure to get one that is the appropriate size for your bowl.

In addition to keeping the water clean, filters can double as an aerator as they break the water surface. This is important because bettas need access to oxygen, which they get from the air. By aerating the water, you’ll help ensure that your betta has enough oxygen to breathe. When it comes to betta care, filters are a win-win!

Decorate Strategically

The same way good interior decor can make a small room feel larger, the right decor in your betta bowl can make it feel more spacious and inviting. Betta logs, silk plants, and other decorations can help your betta feel more at home while providing them with places to hide and explore. These aren’t just luxuries reserved for larger spaces!

Avoid anything that could harm your fish when choosing decorations for your betta bowl. Sharp edges, small pieces that could be swallowed, and toxic materials should all be avoided. It’s also important to ensure that any decorations you choose can be securely anchored to the bowl, so they don’t float around or fall in.

With a little bit of creativity, you can turn your betta bowl into a beautiful and inviting space that your fish will love. While a larger fishbowl will always be better for your betta in terms of stress and water quality, a small bowl can feel like a decent size space with the right care and attention. This is by far one of the most important things to remember when it comes to betta care.

Common Problems With Betta Bowls

Now that we’ve gone over how to set up and take care of a betta fish in a bowl, it’s time to talk about some of the most common problems associated with these smaller spaces. While bowls can certainly be a suitable home for bettas, some challenges come with them.

Shallow Depth

Shallow water can be a big problem for bettas, as it doesn’t give them enough room to swim and get the mental stimulation they need. In addition, shallow water heats up more quickly than deep water, which can be a big problem in hotter climates. If you live in a hot climate or your home tends to be on the warm side, you’ll need to be extra careful about monitoring the water temperature in your bowl.

Bowls also don’t offer bettas much in the way of hiding places, which can be stressful for them. If your bowl is shallow and doesn’t have any decorations, your betta may feel constantly exposed and vulnerable. This can lead to a host of health problems because stress lowers the immune system of your pet bettas.

One way of dealing with the lack of depth in a betta bowl is to monitor water levels for evaporation and top off the bowl as needed. This will help ensure that your betta always has enough water to swim in, even if it isn’t very deep, to begin with. A little bit of extra water is better than not enough!

Water Gets Polluted Easily

Spirogyra water surface and water inside
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No matter how many gallons of water your betta bowl holds, it’s going to get dirty quickly. This is because bettas are messy eaters and produce a lot of waste. A large tank will provide more water to dilute the waste, but in a small bowl, it can quickly build up and lead to poor water quality.

To help combat this problem, it’s important to do frequent water changes and keep an eye on the levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates in the water. You can do so by investing in a good quality water test kit, which will help you keep track of the levels of these potentially harmful chemicals.

In addition to regular water changes, it’s also important to clean the bowl itself regularly. This will help remove any build-up of waste and algae that can quickly lead to poor water quality. Be sure to use a non-toxic cleaner made specifically for fish tanks when cleaning your betta bowl.

Temperatures Fluctuates

Frigid water can quickly lead to death for bettas, while water that’s too warm can cause stress and make them more susceptible to disease. Because of this, it’s important to ensure that your bowl’s water temperature stays within a safe range.

aquarium temperature

One way to help keep the water temperature stable is to use a small aquarium heater. This will help maintain a consistent temperature, even if the room temperature fluctuates. Just be sure to get a heater that’s specifically designed for small tanks and bowls, as regular aquarium heaters can be too big and cause problems.

Another way to help keep the water temperature stable is to place your bowl in an area that doesn’t fluctuate too much in temperature. This could be a spot on your desk away from direct sunlight or next to a lamp that doesn’t give off too much heat. Keeping the bowl in a consistent spot can help minimize temperature fluctuations.

Limited Space for Growth

This may sound a little obvious, but bettas need plenty of space to fulfill their maximum growth potential. The average fishbowl can only accommodate a betta for a few months before they outgrow it and need to be moved to a larger tank.

While you may not want your betta to get too big, it’s important to remember that they need the space to swim and exercise. Without enough room, bettas can become stressed and develop health problems. So, if you’re planning on keeping your betta for the long haul, it’s important to get a tank that’s large enough to accommodate them as they grow.

Choosing the Right Bowl for Your Betta

Now that you know some of the challenges of keeping bettas in bowls, you may wonder what size bowl is best for them. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question. The amount of space your betta needs will depend on a number of factors, including age, activity level, and overall health.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to get the largest bowl you can afford that will fit in your available space. This will give your betta the room they need to swim and exercise, and it will make water changes and maintenance a lot easier.

If you’re not sure what size bowl to get, it’s always best to avoid caution and go with a larger option. Your betta will thank you for it in the long run!


Does a Betta Fish Bowl Need to Be Covered?

Covering a betta fish bowl is unnecessary but can help minimize stress and keep the water warmer. If you choose to cover your bowl, use a mesh material that will allow for proper ventilation.

In addition, if your betta is a bit of a jumper or an escape artist, covering the bowl may be necessary to prevent them from making a break for it! Safety covers are available that allow for easy access during feeding and maintenance. Plus, they can help keep curious children and pets from getting too close to your betta’s home.

How Long Can A Betta Fish Live In A Fishbowl?

It depends on the size of the fishbowl and the care that the betta receives. A properly cared for betta can live for 2-5 years in a bowl, but most will only live for 1-2 years. In addition, wild-caught bettas are not equipped to handle the stress of living in a bowl and typically have a shorter lifespan.

siamese fighting fish in a bowl

Generally speaking, bowls should be used as a short-term housing solution for bettas. If you’re looking for a long-term home for your betta, it’s best to get a larger tank. Even if your betta is able to live a long and healthy life in a bowl, they will enjoy a much better quality of life in a larger tank.

What Is The Best Kind Of Betta Fish Bowl?

While there isn’t necessarily a “best” kind of betta fish bowl, there are certain features that you should look for to ensure that your betta is comfortable and has enough space to swim. A bowl that is at least 2.5 gallons in size is a good place to start, but larger is always better.

In addition, a glass bowl with smooth sides is ideal, as it will be easier to clean and won’t scratch your betta’s delicate fins. You should also look for a bowl with a wide opening, as this will make it easier to feed your betta and perform maintenance.

The Takeaway

Betta fish bowls can be a fun and stylish way to add some life to your home, but they come with a few challenges. Most notably, bettas need a lot of space to swim and exercise, and bowls simply don’t provide enough room. However, with enough care and dedication, you can provide your betta with a full and happy life in a bowl.

We hope that this article has helped you better understand the ins and outs of keeping bettas in bowls. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our blog for more great content like this! Thanks for reading!

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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