Do betta fish like small bowls?

In this blog we will discuss, if bettas can be housed in small bowls or not.This blog will help betta keepers reading the tank selection for their betta.


In this blog

  • Do betta fish like small bowls?
  • What does a betta fish like in its bowl? 
  • Can we house bettas with live plants in small bowls?
  • Can we keep a betta fish in a bowl without an aquarium filter?
  • Can we keep a betta fish in a bowl without an aquarium heater? 
  • Can we keep bettas in small cups?
  • Can we keep bettas with tank mates in bowls?
  • How often do you change the water in a bettas bowl?
  • Is it easy to maintain water parameters in a bettas bowl? 
  • Summary
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference  

Do betta fish like small bowls?

Bettas will not thrive in small watering holes in the wild, although some wild bettas do jump around in watering holes during the dry season when streams dry up ,so prefer a tank of at least 2.5 gallons.

A 2.5 gallons is the minimum recommended tank size for a betta, although a 5 gallon aquarium is preferred and if you can stretch into it, 10 gallons or more will give your fish a much greater chance of enjoying a long life.

And as a bonus, the larger the aquarium, the less effort you will have to put in to maintain it.Bettas have also been adapted to live in very small spaces, which, when combined with their ability to breathe air, makes them able to survive effectively in small containers.

What does a betta fish like in its bowl? 

A betta’s bowl is too small to live in properly. Betta fish like to swim around enough space, hide under tree trunks and behind plants, and play with fish toys.

Theoretically, betta fish can live in bowls. However, you will need to make sure it is configured correctly. This means that it must be the correct size. You also need to make sure it has the proper filtration system and even the right decorations.

  • Find a bowl for betta and the perfect size is 3-5 gallon fish bowl.
  • Fill the mesh filter bag with the board.
  • Add the plant substrate to the bowl.
  • Place driftwood and Seiryu stone.
  • Add aquatic plants, make sure you are not adding sharp and edgy plants,as it can damage their long flowing fins.
  • Add water and tank mates if they can accommodate and are a good fit for bettas tanks.

Can we house bettas with live plants in small bowls?

In addition to beautifying a betta bowl,aquarium plants also help

  • Many people will recommend using peace lilies,Java fern, or Chinese evergreen plants in a bettas bowl.
  • It fights algal growth.
  • It improves bettas water quality by filtering out chemicals and releasing oxygen during photosynthesis. 
  • Aquarium plants that do not require substrate to grow or plants that require a shallow substrate are the best choice for a betta bowl.

The live plants used in this betta bowl are:

  • Brazilian Pennywort
  • Alternanthera Reineckii
  • Anubias Barteri
  • Java Fern
  • Java Moss

Can we keep a betta fish in a bowl without an aquarium filter? 

  • Betta fish are often placed in bowls, that means there are no filters or heaters.
  • Even those who keep betta fish in small aquariums rarely provide filtration or hot water and most of the time survive.
  • Betta may survive in a stagnant bowl of water, but that doesn’t mean they are thriving.
  • If you clean their bowl regularly,which means cleaning it properly, a betta may survive without a filter. However, cleaning should be done every few days.
  • A fish lives a maximum of seven days and a minimum of three days without a filter.A filter helps keep the water clean so the toxins it contains don’t settle.

Can we keep a betta fish in a bowl without an aquarium heater?

Betta fish are often kept in bowls without a filter and heater. Even people who keep betta fish in small tanks rarely provide filtration or heated water, and they survive for the most part.

A bowl without a heater will be too cold for your betta at room temperature.Change the water regularly and it is recommended to change 40% of the water every 3 days. 

Can we keep bettas in small cups?

Betta is a species that can live in shallow water and get the oxygen it needs from the air at the surface.Due to their aggressiveness, male bettas are placed in separate cups and this is done in pet stores to save space, but only for a few days.

Fish can survive in small cups, but still need a suitable fish container. Do not leave new betta fish in the cup.These cups are for shipping purposes only.Betta fish should be placed in a container that can support at least 2.5 gallons of water, but more is always better.

Can we keep bettas with tank mates in bowls?

In my opinion it would be better to wisely think before adding tank mates in bettas bowls, as the size of the bowls will be too small and overstocking can lead to various infections and conflicts between bettas or with other species.

Bettas are already known for their aggressive behavior and if your house them in small bowls with tank companions, it will for sure trigger aggression in them and will stress them too.Stressi snot good for bettas health as it shortens their lifespan and also reduce their natural growth and development in such small spaces.

Male bettas prefer to stay alone because of their overly aggressive nature and they have this image of fighting with other male bettas to death and even chase females for meetings.They are best kept alone.

On the other hand female bettas are much more cooperative and can be kept with other female bettas and other species too.But in bowls i would suggest not overcrowding the bowls as it is too small for bettas and other fish to keep together.

How often do you change the water in a bettas bowl?

For bettas good health, a small 10-20% water change is best once every 7-10 days. This also assumes that you are running the filter. You can also have a 20-30% water change once every 2-3 weeks.

To maintain good water quality, it is recommended to clean the bettas bowl at least once a week or if it gets dirty then try to clean it every alternate day. If you have no living plants,and have a normal size or large container, you only need to clean the bowl every two weeks.

Is it easy to maintain water parameters in a bettas bowl?

A small bowl will get dirtier quickly,because of overfeeding and other waste.This overfeeding will lead to ammonia spikes and you will have to do maintenance more, as the tank will have poor water chemistry due to overaccumulation of waste product.

The main thing which is difficult to maintain is ammonia pollution, because in smaller bowls due to lack of space and overstocking bettas will suffer and their water chemistry will also deteriorate.


  • Betta is a vibrant and colorful fish that is easy to care for and ideal for beginner aquarists.
  • Most fish keepers think that bettas like to live in small, enclosed spaces like bowls. But you will find them thriving better in larger and spacious tanks with more open water swimming space.
  • As per some betta keepers betta can live and thrive in a bowl, but only if you change the water frequently.
  • However, keep in mind that a tank for all tropical fish, including bettas, certainly needs a filtered and heated 2.5 gallon aquarium to improve fish safety and health.
  • Aquarium plants that do not require a substrate to grow, or plants that require a shallow substrate, are best suited for bettas bowls.
  • Bettas do not belong to the bowls.Instead,they should ideally be housed in a five-gallon glass or plastic container or larger.
  • Having an environment of this size allows bettas to be normally active and less likely to accumulate toxins in the environment.
  • To be honest,less than three gallon betta bowls are not recommended because smaller bowls will quickly degrade water quality, equipment such as a heater and sponge filter cluttering up the space; and space for aquarium plants and decor is strictly limited.
  • It will be cruel to keep beautiful bettas in small and compact bowls.I would suggest going for spacious tanks for their overall health and longevity.

Frequently asked questions

Can bettas live in small jars?

Never put bettas in a jar as they are slow swimmers and need some space to swim. And it gets better in the water with a filtered turnover. Betta is a tropical fish,so it is best to keep it at tropical water temperatures.

How long can betta fish live in a bowl? 

Betta fish kept in a bowl can usually live less than one year.