How to Setting up a Goldfish Bowl

comments (0) December 14th, 2016     

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BLman BLman, member
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Your first fish pet or still young? Then let us tell you how to set up a Goldfish bowl easy, but the correct way. Many even experienced fish keepers make a very common mistake when filling the bowl with water. We discuss that a little later on. First, when working with Goldfish, we will use water temperatures from 10°C (50°F) - 22°C (72°F). We will call this cold water fish and tanks.

Not everyone is so fortunate to be able to start off with a good aquarium, either because not having the money, or their parents first want to see if they are able to look after it properly. Either way, the decision then usually falls onto buying a fish bowl.

We find that the main two uses for a bowl is to use it as a holding container for your fish when cleaning an aquarium, or to use it as a recovery place for sick fish. It is also suitable for one or two goldfish at the MOST.

Okay, if you do need to use a bowl for whatever reason, opt for one of the modern wide-necked designs instead of the traditional narrow–necked designs as illustrated below.

The surface area of water is unacceptably small in the narrow-neck design as it passes the half way mark, where the wide-necked design provides a larger area of water exposed to the atmosphere for oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange.

Although air pumps and filters are also available for bowls today the Goldfish bowl would need regular and frequent cleaning, in fact about every week.

Let's start with a simple and very straight forward setup of the Goldfish bowl without an air pump or filter (it gets to crouded for the fish) by choosing your bowl of preference.(Remember keeping in mind our tip on design above when selecting).

Rinse out the bowl in clean water and then put in a layer of washed gravel or sand. At the most, add a small bunch of aquatic weed such as Egeria or a small plastic plant. Perhaps a small ornament only would be great. The bowl is then ready for filling with treated tap water.

This is where most go wrong by filling it as full as possible with water. The less surface area there is on top, the lesser oxygen is available. Depending on the shape of your bowl use the following recommendations. A narrow necked bowl only 50% full and a wide necked bowl, not more than 75% full.

Treat the tap water by running it into a separate container and using a water conditioner to reduce the level of chlorine etc. You can also lower the chlorine levels by letting the water stand for a day or two. Certain levels of chlorine and dissolved metals can be harmful to your fishes.

Test with an Aquarium water test kit (available from the aquarium shop) the Acidity or Alkalinity (pH) of the water. The ideal pH value range for Goldfish is within 6.5 - 8.5.

After the water treatment you can introduce your fishes by floating them, still in the plastic bag from the aquarium shop, in the bowl for about 20 minutes before releasing them into the bowl water itself. Avoid throwing the fishes in with the water from the fish shop, rather use your hand net to take them out of the bag. This is mainly to avoid any possible diseases carried into your tank.

Doing this equalizes the water temperatures for the fish to avoid thermal(temperature)shock. The best temperature for Goldfish is between 20°C (68°F) and 22°C (72°F). In areas where the room temperature gets below 15°C (59°F) we strongly advice you to get an aquarium with a water heater unit instead. For setting up this aquarium, please see our freshwater aquarium setup page.

Shopping List and Needs for a Goldfish Bowl setup:

  1. Fish bowl
  2. Gravel or course sand
  3. Rocks or decoration - optional
  4. Plastic plant - Optional
  5. Thermometer
  6. Hand net
  7. Tap water conditioner
  8. Fish food
  9. Water test kit
  10. Fish in plastic bag from aquarium dealer - (2 at the most please)

After setting it up as above, your set to enjoy your new friends. Setting up a Goldfish bowl is fun and very satisfying especially for the young kids. This learn them responsibility and care as well. Please also see more section on aquarium care at for more usefull information regarding maintenance, feeding and other topics.


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