Can Guppies Live in a Bowl?

Keeping fish in bowls has become somewhat fashionable in recent years, with colorful freshwater fish such as guppies, bettas, and goldfish being the most popular for it.

So, can guppies live in a bowl? No, guppies should not live in a glass bowl and neither should almost any fish for that matter. Keep reading to find out why.

Can guppies live in bowls

Keeping a guppy fish in a glass fish bowl might look cool and seem like a fun thing to do but it is not, and will likely result in an ill or dead fish, especially those residing in a bowl without a filter or air stone.

Why Shouldn't Guppies Live in a Bowl?

There are several reasons why guppies shouldn't be kept in a bowl, and here are the most important ones.

Lack of Aquarium Space

Guppies require a lot of space considering how small in size they are, this is because they are active fish that enjoy spending time in larger groups.

The energy guppies have is truly remarkable, but it does mean that they need more space than their small size might suggest.

Additionally, they need a heavily planted tank, which is impossible to achieve with a tiny glass bowl.

Waste Production

Guppies have good appetites, which is great when you are feeding them a healthy balanced diet, but it does result in them producing a lot of waste.

Despite not producing as much waste as goldfish or bettas, guppies will still quickly pollute the tank water if the tank is too small.

Can guppies live in a bowl

This polluted water will be dangerous for your fish as it produces many toxins and deadly bacteria that will likely result in your fish picking up diseases.

Unhealthy Aquarium Water

Due to the small size of the bowl, the water will become unstable much easier with regards to temperature, water parameters, oxygen, and pH level.

Additionally, there are many new fishkeepers who do not add a filter to air stone to their water, which is a huge mistake.

Filtration and water flow are absolutely essential in running a healthy fish tank.

Guppies in a Bowl

Guppies in a bowl are achievable, but only if the correct steps have been made and the bowl is big enough, first and foremost.

If you can get a rather large bowl and make sure that you provide an air stone or filter, with a lot of live plants then it is possible, but still not recommended.

The agitation of the water surface created by air bubbles will help in keeping the water well-oxygenated.

By adding an abundance of live plants you will be filtering out unwanted toxins and waste from the water. Unfortunately, your guppies would still be compromising their health by living in even a very well-set-up bowl!

What Other Fish Can You Keep in a Bowl?

We do not recommend that you keep any type of fish in a bowl because you will be keeping them from living their healthiest and happiest life.

You certainly can keep a glass fish bowl for live plants and even critters and invertebrates, but keeping fish in them is not a good idea.

Guppies, betta fish, and goldfish are commonly used in bowls, which is what encourages novice hobbyists to use them - it is not cool nor is it humane.

Guppy Fish Bowl Alternative

A reason why many people use fish bowls is due to space issues, some people simply do not have enough space in their home to fit a large fish tank. However, there are plenty of good nano fish tanks that are great alternatives.

Nano tanks tend to be larger than glass bowls, a small nano tank would be 5 gallons (23 liters), which is perfect for guppies as this should be their minimum tank size.

These nano tanks will typically come with a filter or at least are compatible with mounted filters and heaters, unlike bowls - guppies need heaters to live a happy and healthy life, so, ensure you have one for yours.

With nano tanks, you can keep between 3 to 5 guppies easily, and also add some live plants without using up too much swimming space.


It is no secret at this point that, despite being great to look at, fish bowls are not suitable aquariums for any kind of fish, especially guppies! Keeping guppies in a fish bowl will not only shorten their lives, but you will not be getting the most out of them and will have to keep constantly maintaining it for it to even work.