Keeping Goldfish in a Fishbowl

Even though Sierra Fish & Pets DOES NOT recommend goldfish in a bowl her are some tips on how you may have success.  We recommend goldfish in a larger tank with lots of filtration as they are VERY DIRTY.  We suggest 1-2 per 10gallon for best chance of success.  If you already have a bowl we would suggest a Betta fish instead.


Tips on Keeping Goldfish in a Bowl
 A very important fact to remember when caring for goldfish, is that it is not a good idea to keep them with tropical fish. For one, they don’t eat the same foods. Secondly, goldfish like colder waters than tropical fish. In addition, goldfish can be threatened by tropical fish. The long flowing fins and the slow motion of the goldfish make them irresistible targets to many fast fin nipping tropical fish. The stress can be very traumatic.

Starting Right
 For best results, you should start by filling your goldfish bowl with “aged” or “conditioned water” found in existing aquariums. Typically, goldfish come from waters that are alkaline and slightly hard.  Tap water is suitable for them, but it should be “conditioned” to rid it of chlorine or chloramine prior to pouring it into the bowl. This will prevent damage to the gills of the goldfish. You will then need the right, healthy goldfish.  As a general rule, you should not keep more than two (2) inches of fish per gallon of water. For example, a 2-gallon fish bowl should not house more than two, 2-inch long goldfish.

 It is very important to understand that goldfish do not tolerate tropical fish food well. Goldfish do not have a stomach. Food is absorbed as it travels through their intestines , so it must have a high alkaline content. Tropical fish food is too acidic for their digestive system. It is true that goldfish will eat tropical fish food, but they will reap very little nutritional benefit from it. Over time, feeding tropical fish food to goldfish will seriously affect their health and longevity. You must feed a designated Goldfish Food for best results.

Be very careful with your feedings. Overfeeding, especially in a small goldfish bowl, will cause the water to become cloudy and smelly from the accumulation of decayed food. This water will, in time, become harmful to the fish. When feeding, remember that less is best. A safe recommendation is to feed 2 to 4 pieces of flake or pellet food every other day. 

Cleaning Your Goldfish Bowl

 Since a goldfish bowl generally does not have a filtration system, you must be very careful when cleaning the bowl. Every 5 to 7 days, the fish keeper will need to pour the top 2/3 of the bowl water into a clean (uncontaminated) plastic or glass container. Then, carefully transfer the goldfish, using a net, into this holding container while the rest of the bowl is cleaned.

The remaining fish bowl water should be discarded. Once the bowl is empty, it can be rinsed out with fresh tap water. Never use glass cleaner, or any other chemical to clean the bowl, as these, even in trace amounts are toxic to the goldfish.

Once the fish bowl has been rinsed, 1/3 of the bowl can be filled with fresh tap water. Remember, the water must be conditioned to remove chlorine and chloramine. The water should be at room temperature or cooler. Goldfish are cold water fish, and prefer water temperature in the low 60’s. Carefully, pour both the goldfish and the old water back into the fish bowl. It is best to only fill the bowl 3/4 full. This allows for a larger water surface area, providing your fish with more oxygen. Your fish will breathe easier.