It’s not uncommon to see betta fish being kept in very small bottles or jars. This doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Many people assume that because bettas are adapted to living in shallow puddles in paddy fields in the wild, that these are the conditions they should be kept in. This isn’t true; bettas enjoy having space to swim around.
Bettas should never be kept in very small containers or bowls. Being kept in this kind of home can lead to them becoming stressed and ripping their own fins. Although bettas can be kept in bowls that hold more than a gallon, there are issues with doing this…
So, let’s take a more in depth look at the question: can betta fish live in a bowl?
What is the problem with keeping betta fish in a bowl?
Bettas are “labyrinth fish”. This means they have a lung like organ which enables them to breathe oxygen from the air. This helps them in the wild when they are often forced to survive in very low levels of water. This also leads some people to assume that bettas are suited to living in a non filtered environment when domesticated. This is not true. Betta fish benefit from having a filter in their home as it helps to develop a healthy ecosystem.
One of the main problems with using a bowl to house your betta fish is that it’s very difficult to have filtration in a bowl. It’s also difficult to heat a bowl, so you are reliant on using the room temperature to keep your fish healthy. Betta fish need to be kept in a constant temperature of between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit so relying on room temperature can be very risky.
You can see that from a filtration and heating point of view a bowl isn’t ideal housing for your betta. You also need to remember that your fish will enjoy having the maximum amount of space possible to swim around.
Where should a betta fish be kept?
Betta fish should be kept in a tank that holds at least 2.5 gallons. The bigger the betta tank the easier it is to maintain and keep conditions such as temperature and water parameters consistent.
It’s also easier to maintain the right filter flow in a larger tank. Betta fish don’t like a high amount of flow in the water and this can be a problem in smaller tanks.
It’s important to remember that you will need to have a lid on any tank that contains bettas, as they can and will jump from the tank. Your betta also needs to have plenty of artificial plant cover in the tank, as well as a cave if possible. Bettas like to have a place to hide away and keep to themselves.
Your betta will be a lot happier in a tank that contains plenty of space than in a bowl where swimming room is limited.