Why Fish Bowls Are Bad for Your Fish
Bowls Are Bad!
Fish-keeping has evolved over centuries, from small vases and bowls to the high-tech aquariums of today. Unfortunately, some fish-keepers haven't advanced along too and still keep their pets in the dreaded fish bowl. Ironically, fish bowls are not suitable homes for aquarium fish, whether they're goldfish or bettas or any other animal.
The Essential Goldfish: Total Care, Housing, and Feeding Your Goldfish, Keeping Your Pet Healthy, Breeding by Maddy Hargrove says about the fish bowl, "A muddy puddle in a deep pothole would probably be better." And for many reasons:
- The shape of the bowl minimizes the surface-to-air ratio. This is the proportion of how much water surface is exposed to air as opposed to the rest of the water. The higher the ratio, the more oxygen will dissolve into the water, allowing the fish to breathe more easily. The rectangular form of an aquarium alllows for a larger surface-to-air ratios, keeping O2 levels up.
- The size of the bowl makes it virtually impossible to keep a regulated temperature, as it's too small to fit a heater (unless you want an overheated tank) and the amount of water is too little for the temperature to stay the same. Also, most pet fish kept today are tropical and need a heater to keep the water warmer than room temperature. Betta fish, one of the most popular choices for a fish bowl, are an example of a warm-water fish.
Did You Know?
. . . that the lawmakers in Rome have banned fish bowls? Monica Cirinna, the councillor behind this law, stated, "It's good to do whatever we can for our animals who, in exchange for a little love, fill our existence with their attention."
- The size of a fish bowl also cannot accommodate a filter. This is a huge problem because filters oxygenate water so fish can breathe as well as picking up solid waste from the water. The filter keeps the waste from decomposing and producing chemicals toxic to your fish.
- No swimming room! Your fish need space to explore their surroundings, so there should be enough room for some hiding places for when they're scared and want to chill for a bit.
- The open top is an obvious danger for a suicidal fish—and who wouldn't be depressed if they lived in a bowl? The fish can jump out and suffocate on your living room carpet! Toxins can also fall into the water and poison them, or even a hungry cat could go fishing for his next meal.
- The curved glass makes the fish's view distorted, stressing out the animal. Imagine if huge blurry blobs were walking around your window every day.
Have a Heart: Buy an Aquarium
If you buy a pet, whether it's a fish or a dog, it is your responsibility to make sure s/he gets the best care possible under your ownership. Animals are not toys—they are living creatures and need to be respected and treated right. This includes fish. If you're keeping a fish in a bowl, do the right thing and buy a proper aquarium!