Reasons Why You Should Never Keep Your Fish in a Bowl
People have kept their fish in fishbowls since 1300 AD in China, and arguably, even earlier than that. However, with the vast strides that marine science has made since then, more and more fish hobbyists are turning away from fishbowls. But why?
This article will review the top reasons why you should never keep your pet fish in a bowl.
Low Oxygen Levels
Despite living underwater, fish need oxygen to survive, and the movement of water allows air bubbles to form and oxygen to flow through the tank for your fish to absorb. To improve water circulation in an aquarium, pet owners will add filters or other machinery to make the water move.
However, in a fishbowl, adding this machinery is next to impossible, meaning the only oxygenation occurring comes from the movement of your fish—and that isn’t enough. More than likely, your fish will use up much more oxygen than it can produce, causing it to gasp at the surface for air.
While you can add small machines, this will cause the water to flow too quickly in the small bowl, meaning that your fish will constantly struggle against the current. This leads to lethargy, especially in small fish.
Poor Nitrogen Cycling
Like any other living creature, your fish will produce waste, which naturally contains ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to your fish, but the nitrogen cycle helps convert that ammonia into a less harmful chemical known as nitrate. This is why many water test kits will include nitrate strips; when the nitrate levels get too high, you know it’s time to change out the water.
However, a fishbowl slows the nitrogen cycle down significantly, meaning that ammonia builds up much quicker and often to dangerous levels. This occurs because fishbowls lack filtration systems that aid the nitrogen cycle and have little to no water flow. This will also cause massive swings in the pH balance of the water. And even if you’re constantly changing out the water in the bowl, this sudden shift can “shock” a fish’s system, causing it to become sick.
Difficult Temperature Regulation
Because of the lack of room, it’s difficult to find a heater that will fit, making it nearly impossible to regulate the temperature of the water. Additionally, keeping the bowl in the sun or shade can cause the small amount of water to quickly drop or shoot up in temperature. This can be deadly for tropical or temperate fish that are sensitive to temperature changes and need consistent and specific levels of heat and cold, respectively.
At the end of the day, if you keep your fish in a bowl, you’ll struggle to keep it healthy, and it will struggle due to sickness and pain. Ultimately, you should never keep your pet fish in a bowl because there’s no way to guarantee the well-being of your fish.
Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.