Best fish for a bowl without a filter (3 options)


Typically a fish bowl without a filter is thought to only be suitable for snails, shrimps and other small creatures like that, rather than fish. But did you know that there are actually a number of types of fish that can live in a bowl without a filter perfectly comfortably? It’s true!

We decided to create this guide outlining all of the fish that can live in a bowl without a filter, so if you’re a beginner or you just want to add a bowl to your collection, you know what fish to use. Generally, it’s the more resilient types of fish who are best suited to living in a bowl without a filter – the types of fish who are not as susceptible to infections and can live in a wide range of environments due to their ability to adapt to different water parameters (known commonly as hardy fish).  Because bowls don’t have a filter, you often need to change the water daily to ensure the health and happiness of your fish. But by choosing hardy fish, you’ll reduce the risk of them getting ill or worse, dying in the bowl. Equally, you’ll want to go for smaller fish (that’s very obvious) but also cold water fish, as it’s difficult to attach a heater to a bowl so you’ll want fish that are comfortable in colder water. Let’s look at some types of hardy fish that would be ideal for a bowl without a filter:


Guppies are really easy to care for, and can comfortably live in a bowl without any need for filtration equipment. They’re small, coldwater and will very happily live with other guppies. If you have a small bowl (say 2 gallons), then the general rule of thumb would be 1 guppy per gallon.

Betta Fish

Betta fish are comfortable in smaller fish, but keep in mind that they can’t be kept together otherwise they will definitely start fighting!

Zebra Danios

This is a popular type of fish for beginners as they are very easy to care for and can easily remain healthy and happy in a bowl. They’re a freshwater fish so can live comfortably without heaters.


Hopefully this guide helps you decide what fish would be a good choice for a fish bowl without a filter. We’d always recommend that you choose a tank over a bowl, but if you’re a beginner then getting started with a bowl can be a great decision.


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