Goldfish Bowls for Beginners

The standard goldfish bowl with its bubble shape has been for years the go-to home for a new pet goldfish. It’s an iconic image that most people associate with the first time fish owner. It’s small in size, it looks easy to maintain and the common goldfish is inexpensive; perfect for a beginner with no experience. Sure, for the most part this is true but many pet goldfish don’t live as long as they should. The main cause for an untimely death is due to improper care. Two common mistakes include overfeeding and infrequent water changes.

Goldfish Bowl Small

Goldfish Bowls and Why you Should Consider an Upgrade to an Aquarium

A small goldfish bowl requires more cleaning and maintenance than an aquarium tank. Goldfish can grow large and will outgrow a bowl sooner than later. If a pet fish owner has the space, a 10 or 20 gallon tank is recommended. By providing enough space and water for a goldfish to grow and cutting down on the frequency of care and maintenance for the owner, both owner and fish will be much happier.

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27 comments on “Goldfish Bowls for Beginners
  1. Amber says:

    My 2 daughters won a goldfish from a block party. I have been reading like crazy on how to take care of them. My first mistake was getting a one gal. tank for the both. One is about 2 inchs long, the other 1 1/2 inch. I use bottled spring water for the tank because we live out in the country with hard water. The started kit I bought came with a water that still nessesary to use with the spring water? Right now I put just 4 drops in with the water. There tank also has gravel and one plant for oxygen. They are rarely at the top of the tank..mostly just at the bottom or middle. Also how long can I keep them in a 1 gal tank together? I would like to upgrade but whats the smallest gal. I can get for both because I don’t really have a ton of space right now. would it also be ok to scoop out 5o% of the water to replace with new water every 2-3 days since I’m using bottled water?? Need as much advice as possible. Thanks

    • admin says:

      Goldfish are hardy and could probably survive in the hard water you have. If you switch to that water, mix it in lowly with the bottled water over the course of a few days. You will need to change the water frequently so that’s why I suggest using the tap water. Also, use the drops if you use the tap water, to remove any chlorine. A ten gallon tank is what you should get but in the mean time, you can get a 2-5 gallon tank for relatively cheap. The bigger the tank the better chances they will survive. Lastly, you can purchase a cheap water test kit to test for ammonia. If the ammonia levels are high, do a water change. best of luck. :)

  2. Natalie says:

    Do we need to use water conditioner?

  3. Matt says:

    My goldfish just stays in one place (the top of the tank)doing nothing. He also never closes his this normal? Oh yeah and he won’t eat.

    • admin says:

      It could be that your goldfish isn’t getting enough oxygen or it could be that it’s not yet comfortable with it’s new surroundings. The open mouth probably isn’t an issue. To add more oxygen into the water, you can add a filter or make sure the water temp is cool around 70*f.

  4. Jessica says:

    My goldfish is always at the top blowing bubbles is it normal? … I have it and a female betta in a 5gallon tank with a filter and a few decorations … Also they both look like they are loosing their scales what should I do?

    • admin says:

      If the two fish get along and don’t fight with each other, the scale loss can be due to an illness or poor water quality. That said though, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were nipping at each other. The water might not have enough oxygen in the water and so your goldfish hangs out at the top. Usually, Betta fish blow bubbles constantly so some of those bubbles can be from him. To add more oxygen into the water, try adding a small filter or bubbler. Also, change the water often to keep the ammonia levels down.

  5. JAI says:

    My understanding is that some fish make bubbles in a collection in their tank to form a “bubble nest” to put eggs in. I assume this is in preparation for mating even if there is not another fish around.

  6. Jeweliw says:

    Today, I rescued a fish from the toilet in my dorm. I’m not sure what kind of fish it is. It looks like a goldfish, but i’m not completely sure. Should I worry about any germs that the gold fish may have picked up or anything like that? (how can I even be sure its a goldfish?)

    • admin says:

      Lol, I’m not sure if this was a joke or a legit question. If it’s brown, I don’t think it’s a goldfish. Umm but take a look at the section on identifying goldfish breeds. I don’t think you need to worry about the germs if you used clean water in the tank you put it into and not used any toilet water. why would anyone put a live fish into the toilet? Good on you for saving it though!

  7. hudaifa says:

    my goldfish only stays on the bottom. why is this.

    • admin says:

      It’s hard to say why and it’s likely not a problem at all. it could be that it doesn’t feel secure and so it’s sticking to the bottom. Do you have decorations for it to hide amongst? Having a few decorations will make if feel safer and this might be enough to get it swimming around

  8. Minara says:

    Sometimes my goldfish don`t feel well so I put him in a glass of water and make the water bowl fresh then I put him back in the bowl.

  9. Richard says:

    Sometimes my goldfish “blows bubbles” at the surface. The bubbles stay at the surface at the edge of the bowl. What are these and why does my goldfish do this?

    • admin says:

      If your goldfish is always at the surface blowing bubbles, it could be a sign that your water needs more oxygen but if it only does it occasionally, It’s probably nothing to worry about. You can increase oxygen by keep the water temp cool around 70*f, adding an air pump to agitate the water surface or add a few aquatic plants.

  10. maggie says:

    I want to buy one goldfish, but I gonna get a small plastic tank with the coloured cover, is plastic ok tho? Does a fish need pebbles?

    • admin says:

      Usually if you buy it from a pet store, the plastics should be aquarium safe. In the tank you want to get, I would only get on goldfish. Yes the like pebbles and plants or things to hide in or around. If you can, get a small (micro) filter for the tank too. best of luck :)

  11. RITA says:


    • admin says:

      That’s good that you change the water every other day. If you just have a bowl, if you add another goldfish, you will probably need to change the water everyday. What I would do is buy an ammonia test kit and test your water, if with one goldfish, the ammonia levels don’t get to dangerous levels a day after you change the water, then you might be able to get another one. Honestly though, I would stick to one goldfish for your small bowl. Eventually your goldfish will grow and there won’t be enough room for two.

      It’s also good that you are not over feeding your goldfish; you are cutting down on waste and in turn, your water will stay cleaner longer.

  12. Steve says:

    My goldfish is in a bowl and is developing black spots. I just had one die which had the same problem. I change about 50% of the water every day. I feed it every other day, part goldfish food and part veggie, e.g. pea or broccoli. Why the spots and what is the treatment?

    • admin says:

      That could be ammonia burns or your goldfish trying to fight off an infection. Test the water for ammonia and continue your water changes. Also you can try to use a broad spectrum medication to treat a number of bacterial or fungus infections. see the all my goldfish illness posts in the Goldfish Aquarium section.

  13. lola says:

    i love goldfish i have 50 they a so gold

  14. aaron frame says:


  15. Goldfish care in a bowl says:

    If you want your goldfish to be happy DON’T put it in a bowl, buy a small aquarium for him !

    bowls are just too small for a pet, even for a fish.

    • admin says:

      I agree with that statement – bowls are usually too small for goldfish and a tank is much better. However, some goldfish owners do use bowls so I want to help them out by providing the best goldfish care advice I can give them. Like constant water changes and limiting how many goldfish you put into any given size of bowl/tank.

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