Easiest Fish to Care for in a Bowl

Easiest Fish to Care for in a Bowl

If you’re looking for the easiest fish to care for in a bowl, then you are in luck there are plenty of fish available that fit those requirements.

If you pick a low maintenance fish, it will make keeping them in a bowl a much more rewarding and easy experience.

Also, selecting a fish that needs minimal care is a smart idea if you want to get a low maintenance pet for kids.


Easiest Fish to Care for in a Bowl

ImageNameCare LevelRatingShop
 Rose Petal Betta (Betta splendens)BettaVery  Easy 
 veiltail-GoldFishGoldfish Easy
 Best Tropical Fish for a 20 Gallon Tank | GuppyGuppy Easy
 Best Tropical Fish for a 20 Gallon Tank | Golden White Cloud MinnowWhite Cloud MinnowEasy
 Albino Cory CatfishAlbino Cory CatishModerate



Male Paradise Betta - Easiest Fish to Care for in a Bowl
Paradise Betta

Bettas (Buy Online) are a very beautiful and colorful fish that can live in a small bowl. Anyone who has ever been to a local pet store has probably seen Betta fish lined up in very small fish bowls.

While these bowls are not really large enough for a Betta fish, they do demonstrate a Bettas ability to adapt to cramped conditions.

The reason why Betta fish can handle living in a small bowl has a lot to do with their native environment. In nature,

Betta fish live in rice paddies, these paddies due to seasonal rains experience large changes in water levels. These swings in water levels are the primary reason why Betta fish have the ability to breath air from the surface of the water.

Betta fish are able to breathe air using their labyrinth organ, which acts like a primitive lung. Having the ability to breath air makes them less dependent on dissolved oxygen in the water. This makes it possible for Betta fish to survive in very shallow puddles or even very small fish bowls.

Blue Male Crowntail Betta
Crowntail Betta

What really sets Betta fish apart from other fish that can live in a bowl, is the large selection of varieties available.

Betta fish come in many different colors from blue, red, purple, gold, green and almost unlimited variations of those colors. And their tails and fins can be as simple as the common Blue Crowntail Betta or as majestic and flowing as the Paradise Betta. In most cases, no other low maintenance fish even comes close to the beauty of a male Betta.

Tetra 1.8 Gallon Waterfall Globe Aquarium Kit
Tetra 1.8 Gallon Waterfall Globe (Buy Online)

Even though Betta fish are well adapted to living in limited amounts of water. They live healthier happier lives if they are kept in a larger bowl or aquarium. It is recommended that you keep a Betta fish in a minimum of a 1.5-2.5 gallon bowl or aquarium.

If you plan on keeping a Betta in a bowl the water will need to be changed at least every 2-3 days depending on the water conditions. Care should be taken to properly condition the water, and then equalize the temperature before placing the Betta into the freshly changed water.





When most people think of a fish in a fishbowl, the first fish that usually comes to mind is a Goldfish. And it’s usually quite common for a Goldfish to be the first tropical fish for beginners.

Some people may have even lucked into owning a Goldfish simply by winning one while playing a game at a carnival. For these reasons Goldfish usually end up in a fishbowl since most new fish keepers don’t have a full-sized aquarium.

If you plan on keeping a Goldfish in a fishbowl there are some important points to consider. One major thing is that Goldfish come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from small common Goldfish, all the way up to large fancy fantail varieties.

A fishbowl is only large enough to house a small common goldfish. Even then common Goldfish can and will eventually grow out of their bowl as they mature and reach their full adult size.

And once you have your Goldfish in their bowl you will have to feed and care for them on a regular basis. When feeding a Goldfish in a bowl you have to be careful not to overfeed them, as this will lead to poor water conditions.

Even if you feed them properly, there will most likely be food left over in the bowl because Goldfish are notoriously messy eaters.

baby biOrb 4 Gallon Aquarium Kit with Light, Black
biOrb 4 Gallon (Buy Online)

In order to keep a Goldfish bowl clean, the water will need to be changed at least every 1-2 days. Care should be taken when changing the water in order to not harm the Goldfish.

As always treat the water with a water conditioner, and equalize the temperature before placing the fish into the fresh water.

If you are new to fish keeping having a Goldfish in a fishbowl can be a good introduction to the hobby. Even though a fishbowl might not be the ideal environment, there have been Goldfish that have lived for years in a fishbowl.

In the long run, it would still be best to get your feet wet with a fishbowl, and then upgrade to an aquarium when your situation permits it.



White Cloud Minnow

Golden White Cloud Minnow - Easiest Fish to Care for in a Bowl

The White Cloud Minnow (Buy Online) is a very hardy small fish that is very easy to care for. Keeping a white cloud mountain fish in a bowl will also be somewhat unique since they are not as well known as Goldfish or Bettas. Yet they are still very affordable even when compared to very inexpensive fish like the common “feeder” Goldfish.

What really makes the white cloud minnow a low maintenance fish is that they are very tolerant of poor water conditions. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to do water changes, but it does mean they won’t have to be done as often.

Another nice thing about white cloud mountain fish is that they can handle relatively cold water. Their ability to tolerate cold water stems from the fact that they originate in cold lakes high in the mountains of China.

White Cloud Minnows will be perfectly happy living in water that ranges from 45 F-70 F (7 C – 21 C). Which is perfect if you plan on keeping them in an unheated bowl or aquarium.

In order to keep the white cloud mountain fish healthy while living in a bowl, they will need to have regular water changes. Since they are very hardy fish, they will only need to have their water changed every 3-4 days depending on water conditions. And just like any other fish, they will need to have properly conditioned water, before they are added back into their bowl.




Guppy - Easiest Fish to Care for in a Bowl

Guppies (Buy Online) are one of the most popular tropical fish for beginners. Since guppies are small low maintenance fish they are relatively easy to care for. Even though guppies are usually kept in larger aquariums they can still do well in a smaller amount of water.

One of the best things about guppies is that they are a very colorful freshwater fish, and there are nearly limitless varieties available. The choice of colors and tail shapes range from the flowing tail of the fancy fantail guppy to the less ornate yet still beautiful orange Sunrise Guppy. No matter what you’re looking for, you should be able to find a guppy in almost any color in the rainbow.

Since guppies are warm water fish they will need to live in a bowl that stays above 70 F (21 C). As long as your house stays above this temperature then supplemental heating shouldn’t be necessary. If on the other hand, you live in a cooler climate a small heater (Buy Online) might be needed to safely keep a guppy.

When it comes to water quality, guppies are a relatively hardy fish. But they are not as tolerant of poor water conditions as Bettas or Minnows. What this means is that you will have to change their water about as often as you would have to for a Goldfish.

Guppies are also not very messy eaters, so the amount of waste in their tank will be minimal. And since they are a small fish you will need to buy less food, which can make them a little cheaper to keep and care for.

If you have a bowl that is at least 2 gallons you should be able to comfortably keep a guppy. A guppy bowl should be cleaned every 2-3 days. And when you transfer the guppy into the clean water, it is very important that the water temperature matches the water they came from. And make sure to dechlorinate and condition the water as always.



Albino Cory Catfish

Albino Cory Catfish

Albino Cory Catfish (Buy Online) are another easy to care for fish that can live in a bowl. While it’s common to see a Cory Catfish in a larger aquarium, they can still be kept in a bowl if properly cared for.

Cory Catfish are a unique fish to keep in a bowl since they are natural bottom dwellers. This means that they will spend most of their time on the bottom of the bowl.

What they do down there on the gravel all day is search or food. A big benefit of this behavior is that they rarely leave any uneaten food that can cloud up their water. This means Cory Catfish are basically helping you out with bowl maintenance by cleaning up after themselves.

Albino Cory Catfish also work out well in a bowl since they stop growing once they reach a size of 2 inches. This is in contrast to Goldfish that really never stop growing.

They are also very peaceful fish that are not prone to jumping out of the water. Having a fish that doesn’t try to jump is especially important in a bowl since they usually have uncovered openings.

In order to keep a Cory Catfish in a bowl, the water will need to be kept above 70 F (21 C). If your house rarely falls below this temperature you shouldn’t have a problem.

If you want to you can get a small mini heater to make sure the water stays at a safe temperature. You will need to change the water for a Cory Catfish every 2-3 days. And as with most tropical fish make sure you acclimate them to the new waters temperature before adding them to it. And as always dechlorinate and condition any municipal water.

Mark Young
Mark has worked with a wide range animals for over 10 years, and he regularly volunteers at his local animal shelter. Mark has decided to share his years of knowledge by writing helpful guides for both new and experienced pet owners