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Expert Shopper Pets

The best fish bowl

Which fish bowls are best?

Fish bowls bring natural wonder into your space without you having to worry about the huge commitment of having an aquarium. This makes them great for novice or veteran aquarists looking to experiment with different things, such as shrimp, snails, guppies or aquatic plants. Fish bowls also make great recovery, nesting or isolation units for fish when they become pregnant or sick in a community tank.

Our top pick, the Anchor Hocking 1-Gallon Drum Fish Bowl, is a classic fish bowl to exhibit whatever you choose to put in it..

What to know before you buy a fish bowl

What fish you can put into a fish bowl

Most fish bowls actually are too small to comfortably house many types of fish. Even a small guppy needs at least a 3-gallon tank. A common mistake most novice fishkeepers make is purchasing a fish bowl to house their betta fish or goldfish. While these fish can survive in a small bowl, they will not be healthy in such a confined space.

Betta fish, for example, need an aquarium heater in their tank to be healthy. While a goldfish can live in colder waters, a bowl does not offer it enough space to grow and explore.

It also is important to consider whether or not your species of fish can live without company. Guppies in particular are schooling fish and can become unhealthy if left alone in a tank.

Smaller fish bowls may not be the best solution for keeping fish, but they are great for shrimp, snails and aquatic plants. Creating your own aquascaped forest using plants and shrimp in a fish bowl can produce visually astounding results.

What size fish bowl you need

Choosing the size of your fish bowl is a matter of personal taste and available space if you are not using it as a fish habitat. Smaller aquatic animals such as shrimp and snails won’t mind having a smaller bowl, but if you are planning on keeping a goldfish or a betta, opt for a larger bowl.

What you need to buy for your fish bowl

Buying a fish bowl sometimes may feel like an investment depending on what you’re using it for. If you plan on keeping plants, snails and shrimp, all you need to buy are the plants, animals and a good substrate in which to plant. If you plan on keeping a fish, consider buying a few live plants and an aquarium accessory in which the fish can hide.

What to look for in a quality fish bowl

Transparent material

The whole point of having a fish bowl is so you can look into it and observe your underwater ecosphere. If the fish bowl has cloudy walls or a particularly odd shape, it will be difficult to see your fish bowl’s inhabitants.

Sturdy structure

Buying a quality fish bowl with a durable structure will save you a lot of heartbreak and hassle later on. Many fish bowls are made out of a durable plastic, but the most classic variation of the fish bowl is a simple glass bowl.

Glass bowls are more durable than their plastic counterparts and have less issues with clouding over time. If you want to compare different types of fish bowls, check out the full BestReviews fish bowl buying guide.

Additional features

Some fish bowls come with a few extra features built-in, such as a light, lid with a food door or a divider. If these features aren’t important to you, opting for a basic fish bowl may be best.

How much you can expect to spend on fish bowls

Fish bowls usually are approximately $20. They can range in price a bit, but this depends on size, material and brand.

Fish bowl FAQ

Are fish bowls good to use for an aquatic garden?

A. Absolutely. When coupled with the right substrate and a good LED aquarium light or plant grow light, fish bowls make beautiful aquatic gardens.

How often do you have to clean your fish bowl? 

A. This will depend on a lot of different factors. If you have a fish, it’s best to clean its bowl every week to keep your fish healthy. If you just have aquatic plants and a few shrimp or snails, you won’t need to clean it nearly as much.

What’s the best fish bowl to buy?

Top fish bowl

Anchor Hocking 1-Gallon Drum Fish Bowl

What you need to know: This classic glass fish bowl is great for kids due to its durability. 

What you’ll love: This fish bowl is a great option for keeping small fish, snails, shrimp and aquatic plants.

What you should consider: Some users have reported receiving broken tanks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top fish bowl for the money

Aqueon Betta Fish Tank Starter Kit

What you need to know: This acrylic fish tank is lightweight and comes with a lid and divider.

What you’ll love: This little betta tank is great for kids. It comes with everything you’ll need to get it set up.

What you should consider: It is not large enough to comfortably house more than one betta at a time. While it could make a good temporary tank for a betta, you need a small aquarium heater to keep your betta healthy.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Tetra LED Cube-Shaped 3-Gallon Aquarium With Pedestal Base

What you need to know: This larger fish bowl is an excellent choice for anyone looking to keep a betta fish or goldfish.

What you’ll love: This bowl is large enough to house your fish comfortably and comes with some great features. It has a filter and an LED light to help keep your fish healthy and the bowl’s water clean.

What you should consider: This tank is made of plastic and can get scratched.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Addison Hoggard writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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