Can Guppy Fish Live in a Glass Bowl?

If you are limited for space you might consider keeping your guppy fish in a small bowl, but is this a good idea? Can a guppy live in a glass bowl.

Will they be ok, what do you need to do for them?

Find out below.

Can Guppy Fish Live in a Glass Bowl?

No, Guppies should be kept in groups of 3 or more and this is usually to much for a glass bowl. Guppies will also require a filter and aerator which you typically can not fit in to a glass bowl.

Small bowls with a few decorative fish like the guppy, along with a sprig of an aquatic plant may seem to be a good idea, it is certainly something that needs more deliberation. Far too many people have started this way, by keeping fish in a small bowl which only ended up dying within a few days!

While aquarium systems are ideal for fish, sometimes there is just not enough space. This is typically so in case of decorative fish you want to display at a bedroom nightstand, or the office desk, or an entry table of your home.

Factors to Consider: How Can Guppy Fish Live In A Glass Bowl 

Fish Bowls Are Not the Right Design and Restrict Oxygen Levels

By their very shape, you will realize that the surface area decreases as the water level rises. How will the exchange of oxygen take place? You might say that you will add pumps but then, space may just not be adequate.

Undersized housing leads to impure water and is bad for the fish. The lack of adequate oxygen will involve a frequent change of water. This may not be a very practical way of maintaining it. Also filling up the jar with anything will reduce the swimming space for fish, which again, is not a good idea for fish health.

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Fish Bowls Need More Filtration Effort

Small-sized fish bowls are not meant to house the fish, the aqua-plants, as well as the Marine environment. All of them need fresh filtered water free of chlorine. One practical way to overcome this is to have a suitable filtration system. But where is the space?

You simply cannot install the typical water filtration equipment into these oddly shaped containers. If you are keen then you can find some bigger bowls and come with a built-in filtration system but then they are costly and defeat the very purpose of an economic and lighter decorative fishbowl.

Maintaining Fish Bowls Is Not Easy

Smaller containers are delicate and require more expertise and care. Unless you know about maintaining it within the physical and environmental parameters conducive to fish health, it would be difficult to maintain. You will need to resolve the issue of regularly changing the water without disturbing the balance in the overall environment.

A Fishbowl Is Not an Ideal Environment

Despite all your efforts, you may still find that your guppies have not survived more than a few weeks. This is because, despite all your efforts like changing the water, providing ideal temperature, etc, the fishbowls are simply unable to provide the right environment for your fish.

The small size with less number of fish and short lesser space to move around creates a sort of stress among the fish. They are quite an unnatural environment for them where they are not comfortable and simply do not survive!

So, can guppies live in a glass bowl? Should you keep guppy fish in a glass bowl?

No, preferably you should avoid keeping guppies in a fishbowl. But if you have to, then there are ways to do this.

Read on.

How Can Guppies Live In A Glass Bowl?

Selection of the Fish Bowl

Picking the Correct Size of the Bowl is important. A 5 liter Bowl with a big mouth should be the minimum size for one fish. Have a larger size if you want to keep more fish. In any case, do not try to populate the Bowl with more than 3 to 4 fish.

Can Guppy Fish Live in a Glass Bowl 5

Preparing the Fishbowl

  1. Since it is important to give your guppy the right environment for growth, it is necessary to add aquatic life in terms of water plants. Therefore lay a thin layer of porous soil at the bottom, topped up with a layer of gravel.
  2. Now, plant the bowl with plants java moss, water weeds, aquatic grass, etc that are of hardy verity and can grow well under the given conditions.
  3. The gravel and plants are an important factor to give you a biological filtration system.
  4. Fill the bowl only up to its widest part. This will ensure more amount of dissolved oxygen is present in the water.

Add Chlorine-Free Water

Freshwater is important for the fish. While adding it straight from the tap is ideal, you need to ensure it is free from chlorine, chloramines and other dissolved chemicals like the traces of heavy metals.

Change the water regularly by replacing 50% of it every alternate day. Incorporate a filtration system that fits well into the bowl without taking too much space.

Maintain a Low Biological Footprint

  1. Refrain from overstocking the Bowl. Remember, it is better to have just one or two healthy guppy fish than to have more which cannot survive long.
  2. Feed the fish in small quantities and remove the uneaten food regularly, before it contaminates the water.
  3. Keep only one type of sex. This will stop them from breeding and overpopulating the available space.


While there is little doubt that fish bowls are very attractive and add to the overall decoration, keeping guppies in them needs deliberation. So give it a deliberate thought. Do you really want this?

If so, then plan to take all the factors into account. Choose a large enough bowl or upgrade it to 10 gallons (40 Liters). This will help you set up an efficient filtration system and you will have lots of maintenance work at hand. Additionally, it will ensure the healthy growth of your fish which will make you as well as your fish happier.


Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.