Not unless the bowl is a good deal larger than those you can buy in the stall if you’win’ a goldfish in a funfair.
Children often end up with a goldfish as a first pet – they’re cheap to buy and feed, you do not need to take out expensive insurance, and they do not have to be taken for walks. However, the fate of many is to find yourself is a totally unsuitable bowl where they spend a miserable and short lived life.
Goldfish came to Europe 400 years ago, and are members of the carp family. They are extremely popular as pets as they can live in cold water, and don’t require water to be heated, even in winter. If you go away on vacation you don’t have to be concerned about someone looking after them, since it is possible to use food blocks which last for around a couple of weeks.
Consider this for a moment.
But, you say, the ones I see are much much smaller than that – surely these must be another breed? No, I’m afraid not, goldfish have their growth inhibited by the volume of the water where they live. If they live in a large outside pond they’ll grow to full size, if not, their growth is stunted.
In some countries the simple bowl is banned as it’s considered too cruel.
What exactly does my goldfish need?
In a plain bowl without any decorations or plants he will have a very boring life.
Your pet wants good quality oxygenated water so that he can breathe. 1 thing that you won’t think of using a plain noodle bowl is a pump and filter that will help clean and oxygenate the water. The tank has to be cleaned out – the fish has to swim around in precisely the same water he’s defecated in, so this needs to be changed regularly particularly as they are quite messy fish. Changing the water doesn’t only mean tipping half of the water out and filling the bowl up again from the tap – it means placing clean water into a bucket and placing water conditioner in it. Tap water is full of chlorine and fluoride and other additives that are good for us, but act as a slow acting poison for a goldfish if conditioner isn’t employed. You can get the exact same effect as using a conditioner if you leave water standing in a bucket for a couple hours, but the conditioner is more convenient, and isn’t expensive as you use very little whenever you change the water. A little of the water should be changed weekly if possible. Don’t wait until the water is dirty and muddy and then change the entire lot at once! This may cause too great a shock to the goldfish who might become ill because of this.
Goldfish food is fairly cheap and can be bought in any pet shop or supermarket. If your fish is a bit hungry after food time he’ll peck at the food that has dropped down on the plants and décor – an activity which prevents him getting bored, and keeps the tank cleaner as well.
Average size aquariums aren’t too costly, and he’ll be a lot happier than swimming round in circles in a small bowl. Especially if you have room to get him a companion to swim around with. You can place some attractive gravel at the base of the tank. Ideally they are more suited living in ponds than indoors in tanks.
Living plants help to oxygenate the water, and algae grows on them that is a natural food for your pet. Swimming through the plants will probably be more interesting for him than a tank only with free swimming space. Plastic plants can also attract algae, are a good alternative.
Filters and tanks aren’t expensive, so in case you’ve come back from the fair carrying your prize fish in a plastic bag, invest in some decent gear to provide him a happy and healthy life. You will get more pleasure also than watching him just float around and round in a glass bowl. If you place him in a bowl he’ll survive, but he won’t be happy, and will not live to his whole lifespan.