Fish

Can Betta Fish Live in A Bowl Without A Filter (+Heater)

Yes, a betta can live and thrive in a fishbowl, but only if you do frequent water changes.

However, note that a bowl is certainly on the smaller side for any tropical fish, including betta, so consider a filtered and heated 2.5-gallon aquarium for better fish safety and health.

Most starter kits (2.5-gallon)even come with a light already installed.

Keeping betta fish in a bowl does not mean adding water; your fish will die within days if you do that. The setup needs to be a replica of an underwater ecosystem, meaning you have to delicately balance several elements to be successful.

That said, a filter is quite crucial in a fish tank, but betta fish are hardy and will survive in the bowl even without one, albeit more susceptible to infections such as fin rot.

Betta fish are a tropical species, so they need a heater in their tank as well, though it’ might not be feasible when keeping one in a bowl. In which case, find a way to keep your water warm, making sure it does not get too cold, especially during the colder months.

For more insight on keeping betta fish in a bowl, please read on.

Can Betta Fish Live Without a Filter in The Bowl?

Most bowls cannot accommodate an average-sized aquarium filter, but people still keep betta fish in fishbowls successfully.

So Yes, a betta fish can live in a bowl with no filter.

Besides, the strong current from an aquarium filter in a small bowl will do more harm than good. The current, will very likely, tose your fish around and stress it, especially since bettas are not the best swimmer out there.

However, for your fish to survive in such an environment, the right care is paramount. So much so because many new fish owners assume that bowls mean less work and are less expensive, which then leads to neglected betta fish battling numerous infections and with a less than optimal lifespan.

In context, the only reason betta fish can live in a bowl without a filter is because they have a labyrinth organ that helps them breathe air from the water surface. But these only aids the fish to breathe, but to keep your aquarium safe for the fish, use these tips:

  • Do frequent, large water changes, at least two times every week replacing a third (30 percent) of the bowl with lukewarm water. This will keep toxic wastes and chemicals like ammonia out of the fishbowl, which would otherwise poison your betta.
  • Try not to overfeed your betta, especially because a bowl is quite small and any leftover food will decompose and release ammonia in the water, akin to that produced by fish waste. And with no filter to expel the ammonia, your fish will end up getting ammonia poisoning.
  • Clean your fishbowl frequently, maybe even with every water change, making sure you remove all debris on the glass, substrate, plants, and decor.
  • Apart from adding a lush green in your bowl, live plants can also help clean your water column, so consider adding a plant or two in the betta bowl. Even so, make sure the plant does not take away much of the already limited water space from your betta.

Can Betta Fish Live Without a Heater in A Bowl?

As I mentioned before, bettas are a tropical fish species that require a water temperature anywhere from 72° F to 77° F, and to provide them with this stable environment, you need a heater.

If by any chance you cannot get a heater for your fishbowl, try keeping the bowl in a warm part of the room where the temperature does not drop too low.

Plus, with every water change, refill the bowl with lukewarm water to keep the temperature stable.

Overall, appreciate there are smaller heaters available for bowls and aquariums in rooms that fluctuate in temperature which I recommend getting instead of maintaining your betta without a heater.

How Long Can A Betta Live in A Fishbowl?

Bettas that are kept in an ideal 2.5-gallon fish tank with a filter and heater are quite capable of living for up to five (5) years. But in a fishbowl, they live for less than half their average lifespan, sometimes even for less than a year.

I have one that lived for nearly two (2) years in a bowl with regular cleaning of the tank and water changes twice a week and anytime the water is visibly dirty (cloudy).

So, if you must keep your in a bowl, make sure you maintain the fishbowl to the best of your ability, and consider moving your betta to a larger tank as soon as it attains adult size.

What Should You Put in Your Betta Fish Bowl?

Apart from a filter and heater, betta fish also appreciate some plant cover in the tank especially floating species where they can hide in.

Floating plants are best for betta tanks because these fish like to hang around the water surface at the top.

As for tank mates, betta prefer to live alone in solitary, especially the male fish.But this does not mean bettas don’t get lonely, so to keep them busy, add a few toys in the tank or fishbowl for your betta to explore.

You may also want to leave a few toys outside the tank or on the glass, for your betta to investigate.

Nonetheless, bottom-dweller like cory catfish can be kept with betta fish in a large aquariums (at least 20 gallons). But avoid fish like fancy guppies that have bright colors and flowy fins as they can be considered a threat by the betta.

What Other Fish Can Live in A Fish Bowl (Nano Tanks) Without A Filter?

Apart from betta fish, there are a few more tropical fish species that can survive in a fishbowl without a filter, although this living situation is not always recommended.

A majority of them are quite hardy and are in fact used quite often to cycle new fish tanks.

  1. Guppies: Have tiny bodies and are arguably one of the hardiest species of tropical fish there is.
  2. Zebra danios
  3. White Cloud Mountain Minnow
  4. Pea puffer fish
  5. Ember tetras

Please note most of these fish will do better in a nano tank (2.5 to 5-gallon tank) not conventional fishbowl. Plus DO NOT keep a goldfish in a bowl, it won’t fit!

Eddie Waithaka

Resident Content Creator and Marketer at AquariaWise who talks about aquariums and fish and aquascapes a lot.

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