Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Age of aquarium: What to know before buying a fish bowl

Age of aquarium: What to know before buying a fish bowl

  • 0

Fish bowls are great for keeping small fish, plants or a terrarium. With several shapes and sizes costing anywhere from $10 to $30, you can find a fish bowl to fit your style and needs. Here's what to consider before buying, plus recommendations on three fish bowls to consider.

Bowl‌ vs. tank

Fish bowls don’t have room for additional appliances that aerate, heat or filter the water, unlike fish tanks. Bowls are more susceptible to waste buildup and pH imbalance because of that and require more maintenance.

Fish bowls range from 1- to 3-gallon capacity, while tanks can hold up to 20.


A fish bowl needs to be cleaned once or twice a week. Gently pour your fish and the old water into a clean container. Scrub the empty bowl with only water — no soap or detergent. Rinse it thoroughly, rinse it again, and fill it with room-temperature water. Gently return your fish to the bowl with as little of the old water as possible.

Glass or plastic?‌

Glass fish bowls are heavier and stay clear longer but are limited in shape and more breakable. Plastic fish bowls are lightweight, shatterproof and available in many shapes but get murky over time.


Small glass bowls should be used to keep only one or two hardy fish at a time.

Goldfish are the classic fishbowl fish. And professionals agree that guppies, minnows and bettas also do well in fish bowls due to their hardy nature and higher tolerance for small spaces and temperature fluctuation.

With a lid on your fish bowl, you can make a terrarium for turtles, crabs and small lizards in a microclimate.

Plants are a low-maintenance option for fish-bowl contents.

No. 1 fish care problem: Overfeeding

Do not feed your fish because you think they look hungry. Feed your fish according to the instructions on their food. Decaying food contaminates the water, and even worse, overfed fish suffer from stress and liver disease.

David Allan Van is a writer for BestReviews, a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

Tips for setting up aquarium in your home

If you want to set up your first aquarium, you might be wondering how to get started and which fish species to adopt.

Here are five colorful suggestions that are great for beginners as well as some tips for getting started.

Get a dose of adorable in your inbox

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.