The best fish for a bowl without a filter

When it comes to owning a pet fish, many people wonder which the best fish for a bowl without a filter is. A fishbowl is easier to set up, inexpensive, and occupy minimal space. But, it gets dirty quickly and requires frequent cleaning. People who wish to avoid regular cleaning and maintenance of fishbowls yet enjoy the presence of a beautiful fish often look for the best fish for a bowl without a filter.

Considerations for choosing the best fish for a bowl without a filter

Small in size

Fish of a small size is one of the main considerations when you want to choose the best fish for a bowl without a filter. A small sized fish will not generate much waste in the bowl and this will help in keeping the bowl clean for a longer duration. Manual cleaning of the bowl and changing of water would be sufficient. You won’t have to buy a filter in such a case. Thus, if you’re looking for the best fish for a bowl without a filter, always go for fish breeds that are small in size.

Hardy fish

Hardy fish are easy to keep in domestic aquaria as they do not require much maintenance. These fish adapt to and survive in a variety of water conditions and ideal for the fishbowl cycle. You don’t need to invest a lot of time in taking care of a hardy fish. Some of the examples of hardy fish are guppy, zebra danios, betta, etc. Hardy fish are the best kind of fish for a bowl without a filter.

Attractive and thriving fish

Usually, when people use a bowl without a filter, they keep one or two fish in it. Unlike an aquarium where you keep several fish together when it comes to bowls, you keep a limited number of fish. So you should pick up colorful and good-looking fish. Also, keeping active fish enhances the beauty of the bowl and soothes the eye of the beholder.

Options of best fish for a bowl without a filter

Many breeds of pet fish require a filter and pump to survive. However, there are a variety of fish breeds suitable for fishbowls without a filter. They do not require additional equipment, unlike other breeds that fit for an aquarium. You can get them at your nearest pet store. Here are certain options for the best fish for a bowl without a filter:

Betta fish

Betta fish are available in a variety of color shades and shapes. They are preferred by many fishbowl owners as they are colorful and attractive to look at. Children love to have betta fish in their bowls. They do not require a lot of care and maintenance. However, these tiny beauties are aggressive in behavior and do not gel well with other breeds of fish. So you shouldn’t keep them with other species of fish. Betta fish are tropical and may require heater especially during winters. They are easy to maintain using water conditioners.


Guppies are common freshwater fish that survive well in bowls without a filter. They are available in vibrant colors and exhibit an amicable behavior. They can be easily kept with other fish because of their friendly nature. Guppies are hardy and energetic. They adapt to varied water conditions in no time. They are not so demanding and a good option if you want to keep them in a bowl without a filter.

White cloud mountain minnow

These are hardy fish that tolerate a wide range of temperatures and water quality. They tiny in size, slim, and have streamline bodies. They have shining grey or green scales with different colored stripes making them good-looking. The white cloud minnow is peaceful and docile species except during the mating season. They are an ideal companion for other breeds of fish. They do not require a heater and you can keep them for long days without using a filter.

Zebra danios

Zebra danios are one of the most popular freshwater fish amongst aquarists. They are hyperactive and hardy fish. They thrive in both cold and warm temperatures. However, they prefer living in pairs or groups and might stress out or show aggressive behavior if kept with other breeds. They are easy to keep and do not need a filter. Using a water conditioner instead of a filter will keep the bowl clean; therefore, zebra danios are one of the best choices for a bowl without a filter.

Ember tetras

They are extremely pretty, calm, and docile fish that get along well with other species. Ember tetra is beautifully bright and orangish-red in the color that enhances the beauty of your fishbowl. However, they are soft targets for violent fish so they must not be kept with them. Ease of care and low-maintenance make ember tetras one of the few good fish to be kept in a bowl without a filter. They are not very commonly found in local pet stores; however, you can get them from selected stores or online. They are active fish that love to play and swim about in the water. They are adjustable and require minimum care.


Goldfish are the most common pet kept in bowls. They are known for their beautiful color, shape, and fins. They are messy to some extent and require care. In a bowl without a filter, you will need to change the water once or twice a week depending upon the size and number of fish you’ve kept. Goldfish are ideal fish for a fishbowl if you can give them time for a day every week. They are friendly and live longer as compared to other fish. Goldfish can live in a bowl without a filter, but they can be challenging for beginners to handle.

All these varieties of fish are good choices for beginners who can easily take care of them. These species of fish are inexpensive, not demanding, and thrive in bowls without a filter. Of all the varieties, betta fish and guppies are the top best fish to be kept in a bowl without a filter. Other options are also good and you can choose them as well depending upon your need and preferences. 

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