Ultimate Guide to What Fish Can Live In A Bowl (Without Filters & Heaters)

What Fish Can Live In A Bowl?

A fishbowl is an ideal way to keep miniature species of fish. They are also easy to care for, so as long as you have a place in your home that receives indirect sunlight, you can easily grow aquatic plants like lily roots, aquatic ferns, and java mosses.

Setting up a fishbowl isn’t hard, but you have to be mindful of where you put it. A fishbowl is typically kept on your bedside table or office desk. The benefit is that it can keep you company while you work, but only if it won’t be disturbed or knocked over by pets or children. Fishbowls are a great way to add life to your space without the added cost of bringing in or buying animals.

While fish bowls might seem like the easiest option for a pet, they are hard to maintain and require scientific knowledge for you to keep your fish alive and healthy. You must carefully maintain water quality and temperature for your pet fish to thrive.

Related Fish bowl Posts:

Best Fish For A Bowl

You can technically sustain any fish in a bowl, provided you are careful about their environment. But some species are better suited for life in a small tank than others. This list of aquatics can be successfully kept and raised in a bowl environment.

1. Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta Fish)

Betta fishes are beautiful, elegant fish characterized by their streamlined bodies and flowing fins. Bettas are often bright to vibrant colors such as red or blue, but they can also be black. They live in slow-moving waters with plant cover and ample space to hide from predators. Bettas require only a small habitat; food scraps are often used as decorations in their bowl homes!

If you have decided to keep bettas, you need to take the time to find out what fish bowls are suitable for them. Bettas are tropical fish and need warm water at all times. If you don’t have a fish-filled tank or pond where you can put your betta bowl, then it will not be possible for you to keep them because they will not be healthy enough.

2. Pygmy Gourami

Also known as sparkling gouramis, they are small, colorful fish with unusual patterns. They’re peaceful, schooling fish and will be best kept in groups of three to five individuals. They need more space because they like to explore and swim around but can survive in smaller tanks if you want to get creative with your decor!

A fish that is seemingly able to survive in almost any condition, the sparkling gourami thrives in an aquarium with low oxygen content and lackluster water quality. This fish is especially colorful when paired with a dark substrate, and decorations or plants will offer it hiding spots.

3. Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios thrive in small spaces and are schooling fish, so you should always keep them in groups of at least three or four. You can keep them in a 5-gallon fishbowl with a lid and plenty of space for swimming. 

Fish For Bowl With No Oxygen

When your fish is big enough to need a bigger tank, it’s time to think about what kind of fish can live in a bowl. There are aquatic animals that can live in an environment without oxygen.


The red fluorescent colors and contrasting black spots on their bodies make them a beautiful addition to any fishbowl. Guppy can survive long periods without food and oxygen, making them ideal for beginners.

Guppies are at their best when kept in groups of four to six, but a larger tank can accommodate more. Keep at least two females and one male together, as too many males can be aggressive toward each other and may fight. 

The ideal water temperature for guppies is between 65°F and 75°F; they’re very sensitive to changes in the temperature, so use an aquarium thermometer to ensure that it doesn’t go below 70°F or above 80°F.


Goldfish are colorful and inexpensive fish. They vary immensely in appearance and size, but they all have the same rounded shape. They have been known to live for 15 years or more, making them a good choice if you’re looking for long-term companionship.

There are many varieties of goldfish. They have been selectively bred for centuries so that in recent times there are color variations never seen before. Goldfish require water at around 20-23 ⁇ C. With this temperature and the correct amount of food, a large fish tank is unnecessary; even a small bowl will do fine.

Fish For A Bowl With No Filter

While it is proven that many species of fish need a filter to keep their environment clean, some can live without one. In an aquarium with no current, fish gills can absorb enough oxygen from still water to survive. 

If you are thinking about setting up a fishbowl but aren’t sure if you need a filter, here are some suggestions for fish that don’t usually require filtration or aeration.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

White cloud mountain minnows are among the most popular species you can keep in a fishbowl. They’re known for their egg-shaped bodies and beautiful colorations, thus making them excellent for aquariums and even for children to look at.

Minnows are generally hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water quality and temperature. However, if water conditions are not ideal, they may have trouble maintaining optimum health.

Dwarf Puffer Fish

The dwarf pufferfish is a tropical freshwater fish that is brightly colored and quite aggressive. They are often kept in aquariums and provide hours of entertainment for their owners.

A beautiful addition to your aquarium, the Dwarf Puffer Fish, will form a strong preference for hanging out in the heavily planted areas of a fishbowl. However, they are aggressive and will attack other males of the same species and even long-finned fish in a community tank. So be sure to keep them isolated in their tank. 

Fish For A Bowl With No Heater

If you’re thinking of getting some cold water fish for your tank or already have them and want to add more, there are many options. It’s tempting to pick the first thing that catches your eye, but it’s important to do some research before diving in!

Bloodfin Tetra

Bloodfin Tetras are a great fish to keep in smaller tanks because of their size and easygoing demeanor. They can be kept with many other types of fish, which is great since they look so good together. They’re not too hard on water quality, though they require good lighting and clean freshwater. 

Sunset Variatus Platy

Sunset Platys are easy to care for and will add a splash of color to your tank. They’re fun to watch but durable enough to survive in even the poorest conditions. These fish are known for being colorful and active, so you won’t have to worry about them turning into boring fish like some other species tend to do.

Give them some good filtration, stable parameters, and plenty of room to swim around in, and they will repay you with lots of bright colors as they dart around your tank.

Plants for a Fish Bowl

You are lucky if you have ever wanted to turn your fishbowl into a tropical paradise. We have compiled an assortment of plants that are easy to care for and perfect for tanks of all sizes. Add these plants to your tank or bowl today!

Foreground Fish Bowl Plants 

These foreground plants are extremely popular with aquarists because they’re easy to grow and don’t require much light or special care. They spread outward, covering the bottom of the aquarium and helping to hide debris such as fish waste and rocks.

  • Water Wisteria
  • Lilaeopsis
  • Java Moss
  • Pygmy Chain Sword
  • Christmas Moss

Midground Fish Bowl Plants

Round out your bowl with the addition of midground plants. They help create a sense of depth in the tank and provide hiding places for fish.

  • Staurogyne Bihar
  • Aponogeton Ulvaceus Bulb
  • Cryptocoryne Beckettii
  • African Water Fern

Background Fish Bowl Plants

An aquarium background will do the trick if you want to add more depth and hide things like LED wires or filters. They’ll stop anything behind them from being visible, adding lushness to your tank.

  • Pogostemon Stellata
  • Limnophila Heterophylla
  • Cabomba Piauhyensis Red
  • Alternanthera Reineckii

Are Goldfish Good for Bowls?

Goldfish are a pretty resilient type of fish. While you should keep them in a tank small enough to grow, most goldfish will be fine in a small tank, even if it’s their permanent home.

However, it would help remember that a goldfish bowl should not be smaller than 5 gallons. The amount of waste a small fishbowl creates is far more than a larger aquarium or pond. The smaller the tank, the harder it is to maintain the water quality to support your fish. 

If you do want to buy an inexpensive bowl for a small goldfish, then at least make sure two filters are running in the tank to provide good water circulation without much effort.

What Fish Can Live In A Bowl Summary

Fishbowls are ideal for beginners because of their easy maintenance. If you are committed to keeping fish, you may wonder what kinds of fish can live in a fishbowl. As long as you have the space for general care and maintenance, you can keep the fish species mentioned in this article. 

Also, put on fishbowl plants as they offer a home for your fish and help create the natural landscape your pet needs to thrive. When you maintain an aquarium with the right plants and tank decorations, you’ll enjoy watching your fish live healthier and happier lives.