Fish That Can Live in a Small Bowl-7 Vibrant Additions

Fish is the beauty of the marine system and can not always adjust to a small swimming place like a bowl. But still, some fish can survive in small bowls temporarily. By providing them with an environment that meets their needs for long-term health and well-being, you can maintain them in a bowl.

I always recommend people provide fish with a proper-sized tank or aquarium that allows them to swim and explore without any barriers. However, if you are looking for fish that can thrive in a smaller setup like me, I can include some options of fish that can live in a small bowl as well as aquariums.

Check them below. For your convenience, I am putting down the list of the fish-

  1. Endler’s livebearers
  2. Betta fish
  3. Ember Tetra fish
  4. Blind cave tetra fish
  5. White cloud mountain minnows
  6. Pea pufferfish
  7. Dwarf shrimp

7 Fishes That You Can Keep in a Small Bowl

1. Endler’s Livebearers- Best Overall

Endler's livebearers

At the start of the list, let me include my favorite fish, the endler’s livebearers. This fish, also known as Endler’s guppy is closely related to the common guppy. Endler’s livebearers are highly sought after by aquarium hobbyists due to their vibrant colors and active behavior. 

They are known for their small size, with males typically reaching around 2 centimeters (0.8 inches) in length, while females can grow slightly larger. The males have striking color patterns, often displaying vibrant hues of red, yellow, green, and blue.

These fish are livebearers, meaning they give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. Females can produce several batches of fry (baby fish) after mating with a male and the fry is independent of birth, able to swim and feed themselves immediately.

In terms of care, Endler’s livebearers are relatively easy to keep and are suitable for both beginner and experienced aquarium enthusiasts. They require a well-maintained aquarium with stable water parameters, including a temperature between 24 to 28 degrees Celsius (75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit) and a pH level around neutral (7.0).

They are omnivorous and will accept a variety of foods, including high-quality flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods like brine shrimp or daphnia. It is essential to provide them with a balanced diet to ensure their health and vibrant colors.

Endler’s livebearers are generally peaceful, but males may display territorial behavior and chase each other. To keep a community tank, it is recommended to have a higher ratio of females to males to minimize aggression. They can coexist with other peaceful fish species that are not prone to nipping their fins or out-competing them for food.

Breeding Endler’s livebearers is relatively straightforward and they can reproduce quite rapidly. If you have both males and females in the same tank, they will breed naturally, and the females will give birth to live fry approximately once a month. To prevent overcrowding, it is advisable to either separate the fry or provide plenty of hiding places for them to avoid predation.

Overall, Endler’s livebearer fish are popular among aquarists due to their beauty, ease of care, and interesting breeding behavior. They can add a splash of color and lively activity to any aquarium setup.

2. Betta Fish- Most Colorful Fish

Betta Fish

Secondly, betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are popular freshwater fish known for their vibrant colors and flowing fins. 

But, there is a twist. Male bettas are more colorful and have long, flowing fins that can be vibrant shades of red, blue, green, purple, and more. Compared to males, females are generally less colorful and have shorter fins. However, there are various colors and fin types available due to selective breeding.

If you ask me about their behavior, betta fish are known for their aggressive nature, especially male bettas. They have been selectively bred for their fighting abilities, which is why they are called Siamese fighting fish. Males should not be kept together as they will likely fight, leading to injuries or death. Female bettas can usually coexist peacefully with each other and other community fish.

As I mentioned before, betta fish are usually kept in small aquariums or bowls, but it’s important to provide them with adequate space and proper conditions. A minimum tank size of 5 gallons is recommended, with a heater to maintain a water temperature of around 78-82°F (25-28°C). They also prefer low-flow environments and can benefit from hiding spots like plants and caves.

Then, what about their food? Okay, let me explain. Betta fish are carnivorous and can be fed high-quality betta pellets or flakes specifically designed for their nutritional needs. It’s also good to supplement their diet with occasional treats like freeze-dried or live foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp.

To rear themselves in an undisturbed condition, regular water changes are essential to keep the water quality in check. Ammonia and nitrite levels should be monitored and a filtration system or regular water changes can help maintain a healthy environment. 

Keep in mind that bettas are susceptible to diseases like fin rot and ich. Hence, observing their behavior and appearance for any signs of illness is important, and treating them immediately in such a case.

3. Ember Tetra Fish- Best Choice for Beginners

Ember tetra fish

The third one is ember tetras that I love to see in my aquarium always due to their peaceful nature. They are small freshwater fish, reaching an average size of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length. Their small size makes them suitable for smaller aquarium setups and community tanks.

Like the betta fish, ember tetras are also known for their vibrant red-orange coloration, which gives them their name. They have a slender body shape with a forked tail fin. The males tend to have brighter colors and are slightly smaller than females, but the differences are subtle.

Ember tetras are peaceful and social fish that should be kept in groups of at least six or more individuals. They feel more secure and display their best colors when kept in a shoal. They are generally compatible with other small, peaceful fish, such as other tetras, rasboras, and some small catfish species.

Ember tetras prefer slightly acidic to neutral water conditions. The ideal pH range for them is around 6.0 to 7.0. They are also comfortable in relatively soft to moderately hard water, with a dH range of 2 to 12. Maintaining good water quality is important, so regular water changes are recommended.

If you want to bring up ember tetras in your aquarium, a well-planted aquarium with some open swimming space is suitable for ember tetras. They appreciate having plenty of hiding spots among plants, driftwood, and rocks. Good filtration and regular maintenance are necessary to keep the water clean and healthy.

Like the betta fish, ember tetras are omnivorous and will readily accept a variety of foods. Their diet should include high-quality flake or pellet food as a staple. Additionally, they can be offered small live or frozen foods like daphnia, bloodworms, and brine shrimp to provide variety and enhance their colors.

However, breeding ember tetras can be challenging but rewarding. To encourage breeding, a separate breeding tank with soft, slightly acidic water and clumps of fine-leaved plants like java moss can be set up.

The females will scatter their eggs among the plants and the adults should be removed once spawning is complete to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs usually hatch within 24 to 48 hours and the fry can be fed infusoria or commercially available liquid fry food.

Ember tetras are generally hardy and not demanding to care for making them suitable for beginner and experienced aquarists alike. They add a vibrant splash of color to any community aquarium and are a joy to observe.

4. Blind Cave Tetra- Most Peculiar Fish

Blind cave tetra fish

Next, I will talk about the blind cave tetra fish. These caves are dark and devoid of light, which has led to the evolution of unique characteristics in the blind cave tetra that will differ completely from the above two.

One of the most distinctive features of the blind cave tetra is its complete lack of eyes. Since these fish live in pitch-black environments, they do not need functional eyes and have instead developed a set of sensory adaptations to survive in their lightless surroundings. These adaptations include enhanced non-visual senses such as an acute sense of smell and an ability to detect water vibrations.

Blind cave tetras typically have pale or translucent bodies, which may aid in camouflage within the cave environment. They also possess a specialized structure called a lateral line system, which runs along their sides and helps them detect changes in water pressure and movement, assisting in navigation and locating prey.

In terms of behavior, blind cave tetras are known to be social fish that form schools. They feed on a variety of food sources, including small invertebrates and organic matter that washes into the caves from the surface.

Due to their unique adaptation to the cave environment, blind cave tetras have become an interesting subject for scientific research, particularly in the fields of evolution, sensory adaptations, and the study of regressive evolution.

It’s worth noting that blind cave tetras are not suitable for the average home aquarium. They have specialized needs and require specific conditions to thrive, such as low light levels and soft, slightly acidic water.

Furthermore, their lack of eyes makes them more prone to injuries in a typical aquarium setting. As a result, they are more commonly found in specialized aquaria maintained by experienced fish keepers.

5. White Cloud Mountain Minnows- Best for Community Aquariums

White cloud mountain minnows

You may have already learned about this fish. The White Cloud Mountain minnow, also known by the White Cloud, White Cloud Mountain fish, and Poor Man’s Neon Tetra, is comparatively similar to the ember tetra fish.

White Cloud Mountain minnows have a streamlined body shape and grow to an average length of about 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters). Their bodies are translucent and have a silver coloration with a dark, horizontal stripe running from the snout to the base of the tail.

Males typically have brighter colors, with a reddish-orange tinge on the fins and a more intense stripe compared to females and at this point, they resemble ember tetras.

White Cloud Mountain minnows like a cool and clear environment. They are adaptable and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, including temperatures between 64-75°F (18-24°C), pH levels around neutral (6.5-7.5), and moderately hard water.

White Cloud Mountain minnows are peaceful and social fish, making them suitable for community aquariums. They are active swimmers and prefer to live in groups, so it’s recommended to keep them in schools of at least six individuals. These fish generally occupy the upper and middle levels of the aquarium and they appreciate the presence of plants, driftwood, and other hiding spots.

Like other fish, white Cloud Mountain minnows are omnivorous and have a varied diet. In an aquarium setting, they readily accept high-quality flake food, as well as frozen or live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.

Breeding White Cloud Mountain minnows is relatively easy. They are egg-scattering fish, meaning they release eggs among plants or other fine substrates. To encourage breeding, provide them with ample plant cover, a slightly cooler temperature (around 68°F or 20°C), and a separate breeding tank or a breeding net within the main tank.

After spawning, remove the adult fish to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs usually hatch within a few days, and the fry can be fed infusoria or finely crushed flakes until they grow larger. They can be also an excellent choice for beginners and experienced fishkeepers alike.

6. Pea Puffer Fish- The Curious Fish

Pea puffer fish

Following that, let me give you information about the pea pufferfish. The pea pufferfish, also known as the dwarf pufferfish or pygmy pufferfish, a small species of freshwater fish are tiny, typically reaching a maximum size of around 1 inch (2.5 centimeters).

They have a round body shape with a distinct beak-like mouth and large eyes. Their coloration can vary, but they often display a combination of green, brown, yellow, or olive hues like betta fish. Some individuals may have spots or patterns on their body.

I like these pufferfish for their lively and curious nature, often exploring their environment and investigating objects in the tank. They are also highly territorial and may become aggressive towards their species or other tank mates if they feel their space is being invaded. Due to their small size, they are best kept in species-only tanks or with very peaceful, non-threatening tank mates.

Pea puffer fish are carnivorous and primarily feed on small invertebrates in the wild. Their food habit almost resembles the betta fish. It’s important to provide a varied diet to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

Given their small size, a suitable tank for pea puffer fish should be at least 10 gallons (38 liters) in capacity. The tank should be heavily planted with live or artificial vegetation, providing numerous hiding spots and territories. 

Good water quality is crucial and they prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a temperature range of 72-82°F (22-28°C). It’s important to ensure proper filtration and regular water changes to maintain optimal conditions.

Pea puffer fish are known for their ability to inflate themselves with water or air when they feel threatened. However, this behavior should not be encouraged as it can be stressful and potentially harmful to the fish. Additionally, they have beaks and can deliver a painful bite, so handling should be avoided.

Overall, the pea pufferfish is a fascinating and unique species that requires specific care and attention. If you’re considering keeping them as pets, it’s important to research their requirements thoroughly and ensure you can provide a suitable environment for their well-being.

7. Dwarf Shrimp

Finally, I would like to end up with dwarf shrimp, also known as freshwater shrimp which are small-sized crustaceans. They are fascinating and colorful creatures that can be kept in aquariums as pets. 

Dwarf shrimp are generally peaceful and relatively easy to care for, making them a great choice for all types of aquarists alike. Let me list down some common types of swarf shrimp.

Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp

Cherry shrimp are one of the most popular dwarf shrimp species. They come in various colors, with red being the most common. They are hardy, adaptable, and breed readily in aquariums.

Bee Shrimp

Bumblebee shrimp

Bee Shrimp, also known as Bumblebee Shrimp, exhibits a variety of colors and patterns, including black, white, and yellow. They require stable water conditions and are best suited for more experienced shrimp keepers.

Crystal Red Shrimp

Crystal red shrimp

Crystal Red Shrimp are known for their striking red and white coloration. They require more specific water parameters compared to Cherry Shrimp, making them a bit more challenging to keep.

Amano Shrimp

Amano shrimp

Amano Shrimp are larger than most dwarf shrimp species and have translucent body with brown or greenish markings. They are excellent algae eaters and are often used to help control algae growth in aquariums.

When keeping dwarf shrimp, it’s important to provide them with a suitable environment. They thrive in well-maintained, planted aquariums with plenty of hiding spots and areas to explore. Shrimp-specific food, such as algae wafers, sinking pellets, and blanched vegetables, should be provided to meet their dietary needs.

Water parameters, such as temperature, pH, and hardness, vary depending on the species. It’s essential to research the specific requirements of the dwarf shrimp species you plan to keep to ensure they are provided with the optimal conditions for their well-being.

Lastly, be mindful of tank mates when keeping dwarf shrimp. Some fish species, particularly those with a predatory nature or a tendency to nip at fins, may pose a risk to shrimp. It’s best to choose compatible tank mates that won’t harm or stress the shrimp.


Can Betta Fish Live In A Small Bowl?

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, can survive in a small bowl temporarily, but it is not an ideal long-term habitat. They require regular water changes and appropriate filtration to maintain their health and well-being.

Can Goldfish Live In A Small Bowl?

Goldfish should not be kept in a small bowl. They produce a significant amount of waste, which can quickly lead to poor water quality and health issues. Goldfish require a spacious tank with proper filtration to thrive.

How Often Should I Change The Water In A Small Fish Bowl?

When it comes to small fish bowls, it’s recommended to change the water frequently, ideally every day or every other day. Since small bowls have limited water volume, waste, and toxins can accumulate quickly. By regularly changing the water, you’ll help maintain better water quality for your fish’s well-being.

Can I Use Tap Water In A Small Fish Bowl?

Yes, you can use tap water in a small fish bowl, but it’s important to treat it properly. Tap water often contains chlorine and other chemicals that can be harmful to fish. To make it safe for your fish, you can use a water conditioner or let the water sit for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate before adding it to the bowl.

Do Small Fish Bowls Need A Heater?

Small fish bowls usually don’t have enough water volume to maintain stable temperature levels. If you plan to keep tropical fish that require specific temperature ranges, it’s generally recommended to use a heater in a small fish bowl. The heater helps maintain and regulate the proper temperature.

Can I Use Artificial Plants In A Small Fish Bowl?

Absolutely! You can use artificial plants in a small fish bowl. They not only add decoration but also provide some good cover for your fish. Just ensure that the artificial plants are aquarium-safe, without any sharp edges or parts that could potentially harm your fish.

How Often Should I Feed Fish In A Small Bowl?

The feeding frequency depends on the type of fish and their dietary needs. As a general guideline, it’s advisable to feed small amounts of food to the fish in a small bowl once or twice a day. Be mindful of not overfeeding. Because overfeeding can lead to poor water quality and health issues.

Do Small Fish Bowls Require Filtration?

While small fish bowls may not have enough space for traditional filters, some form of filtration is still necessary to maintain water quality. You can opt for options like sponge filters or small internal filters specifically designed for small aquariums. These provide basic filtration, helping to remove debris and waste and creating a healthier environment for your fish.

Final Words

Hence, here I have to complete my discussion as I have mentioned the most common fish that can live in a small bowl. In this case, the most important thing is that you have to research the maintenance procedure of the fish that you want to keep.

Some common facts like regular water changes, proper filtration, and appropriate feeding are essential for all of their well-being. Additionally, you have to know about the specific needs of the fish you choose and provide them with a suitable environment to thrive as I do for my fish species.

Howard Parker

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