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Why Goldfish Bowls are Bad

Different Types of Goldfish Tankmates

We've all seen it... at friends and neighbors, in restaurants and stores, even on television. Tiny little bowls playing home to our goldfish friends. These moments can be frustrating and sad all at the same time. While the goldfish may seem to be happy, rest assured the long term outcome is not in favor of the goldfish in a bowl.

Because Size Does Matter.
While goldfish can grow up to a massive 2ft (24in) in length, however rare. Not uncommon is a 1ft (12in) goldfish, and how many goldfish bowls do you see that could be home to a 12in goldfish?

A goldfish's growth is directly effected by the size of the tank. It is rare for a goldfish to literally outgrow his tank, as the goldfish growth can be stunted if the aquarium is too small for the growth potential of a goldfish. Not only will a small fish bowl stunt the fish's growth, but multiple health issues can occur as well. Friends don't let Goldfish live in bowls.

Filtration
Most filters won't fit on a curved surface like a bowl. Filters also come with a wire, and it's hard to hide a wire coming out the top of a fishbowl.

The best options for a bowl filter are;

  • specially designed filters
  • sponge filters
  • corner box filters 

So, just do daily water changes to keep the water clean. Guess what, water changes stress out the goldfish which can cause another list of diseases.

Flawed Design
Fish bowls are small, the opening at the top is smaller. This design flaw causes poor oxygenation cause by bad air exchange. Without a filter, there can be no water movement to assist in the oxygenation process, causing 'dead water'.

Fish bowls are curved, giving no accurate viewing angle. The bowl shape causes the objects inside to look bigger than they really are, and reversly can cause us to look smaller than we really are to the goldfish. The distortion alone could cause a person to go insane. Either the goldfish need to get glasses to reverse the distortion from there end, or someone needs to invent a fish box.... oh wait a minute somebody already did.

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide!  Due to the round shape of the fish bowl, the fish inside will almost always be exposed on all sides (unless  placed in a corner somewhere , which really isn't a functional use of a round shape.).  In a regular tank goldfish can  find hiding places around decoration and plants, allowing them to feel safe. The lack of a safe feel causes the fish to be stressed, and we already know what can happend to a stressed fish. 

Free the goldfish
The general population can play the ignorance card, because seeing a goldfish in a tiny bowl is common in our society. Next time you see a fish in a bow try to educate the owner on the fundamental flaws in the fish bowl. If it's your friend or neighbor, maybe you have a spare tank around that could accommodate the fish that is fighting for its life. 

Points to remember
It can be hard to remember all the information that is available regarding why housing a goldfish in a small tank or bowl can be fatal.  Here is a quick list that you can think about the next time you see a fish in crisis.

  • Small tanks do not allow for much movement.
  • Hard to keep a constant temperature with a small amount of water.
  • There is typically no filtration.
  • Water quality will almost always be poor, or even toxic.
  • Cleaning can be difficult, causing more stress to the goldfish.
  • Lack of water movement causes poor oxygenation
  • No lid protecting the fish from other pets, or even jumping out.
  • Fish may become bored with nothing to explore.
  • Small tank are easy to knock over.
  • Bowls are more apt to be neglected.