It’s not uncommon for a new fish owner to assume that any container that can hold water is fine for keeping fish. Think about it, whenever you think of a new pet fish, you think of those fish in little plastic baggies from the carnival.
Pet stores that sell animals tend to keep certain fish, like betta fish, in small cups, so they must not need a lot of space to thrive, right?
Well, because of this, we used to have dozens upon dozens of customers come into our pet store to ask if Bettas can be kept in Fish Bowls.
So let’s get cracking and give you all of the information you need to decide whether or not a fishbowl is a good choice for your new betta fish friend.
BETTAS HATE DIRTY WATER
While it’s easy to assume that the smaller the tank, the easier it is to take care of and clean, however, this is not true. Smaller bowls actually need much more care than larger tanks, and will never be as good a tank that is at least 5-Gallons, especially for betta fish.
Let’s put it like this. Have you ever been in a small room filled with clutter? You absolutely hated it didn’t you? There was probably very little space for you to move around, the place probably smelled a little bit and you probably felt like you were choking. Am I close?
Well, whether I was right or wrong in assuming how you felt in a small, messy room this can actually be said about Bettas small, unclean tanks.
Bettas, while hardy, are still quite sensitive creatures, making them susceptible to illnesses caused by dirty tanks. The larger the tank, the less risk you run and the less often you will have to change the water.
Let’s change the situation. When you’re in a larger room, is it not easier to ignore the amount of mess because you can push it all into one corner? Even with that extra mess, your room still feels fairly tidy and livable. Well, the same is true for tanks.
HOW OFTEN WILL I HAVE TO CLEAN A FISHBOWL OR TANK?
This will highly depend on what type of tank you have and how big it is.
For all small containers and unfiltered tanks (anything 1-Gallon or under), you will want to make sure you clean 50-100% of the water daily.
This is because it is very easy for ammonia levels to rise rapidly in small tanks, causing it to become overly toxic for Bettas. Ammonia forms naturally from the waste your betta produces as well as food that has become rotten.
For tanks that are 2-5 Gallons, it is recommended you change your tank water 50% every couple of days or 100% weekly. This will also depend on whether or not you have a filter in your tank. We owned a MiniBow 2.5 which we had to change 100% weekly.
Even though we tried to change the water 50% every couple of days, it was inevitable that we would have to completely change out the water and scrub the tank down weekly.
5-10 Gallon Tanks are recommended to be changed 50% weekly. Usually, at this size of a tank, you will want to have a filter, heater and/or some easy to maintain moss balls to help keep the water cleaner.
10+ Gallon Tanks are recommended to be changed 10-15% weekly making them some of the easiest tanks to clean.
In general, the bigger the tank, the more help you’re going to be able to get. Bettas, while dominant, can live with a number of other creatures that can actually make your job a lot easier. Some of these creatures can filter water or can eat dirt/debris to make sure your tank is always clean.
That being said, even if you do not choose to have other creatures with your little fella, the bigger tank will usually come with a much better filter that will keep your tank cleaner for a whole lot longer.
HOW BIG IS THE IDEAL TANK?
Every fish owner, vet or pet store worker will say something different. My personal opinion is 2.5 Gallons or above for a healthy life, however, 5 Gallons is more ideal and will ensure your fish will thrive.
That being said, even 5-Gallons is not manageable for every household.
If I could house a 5 to 10-Gallon tank easily, I would have, but we only had room for a 2.5-Gallon when we adopted our first fish, Blub.
Size of the tank plays into more factors than just cleanliness. The larger the tank, the more space your betta will have to swim.
Since the majority of the exercise your betta will get comes from free-swimming, it’s best to make sure that they have enough space to reach top speeds.
Active bettas are also less likely to get sick or have problems with their fins/gills.
FISHBOWLS GET COLD
If you’re a new fish owner you may not realize that water temperature is very important to bettas. If the water gets too cold, your betta may start sleeping more, may act lethargic, or may even get sick/develop health problems.
Fish bowls and unheated fish tanks are unreliable, especially in rooms that have drafts or windows. Even with a heater, you’re going to want to make sure that your tank is nowhere near a window.
That being said, fish bowls would be too hard to keep warm/heat and putting in a heater would run the risk of frying your fish.
For a more in-depth guide to how to set up a fish tank click here.
At the end of the day, a fishbowl will never be a suitable house for a betta fish. They are too small in size, they get dirty too quickly and it’s way too hard to maintain their temperature.
Fish tanks can actually be fairly inexpensive and will help ensure that your betta fish has a longer-lasting life. I would recommend checking out this article for my top favourite betta fish tanks.
So I’m curious, are you still going to give your betta a fishbowl home or have I convinced you to grab a fish tank! Let me know in the comments below.