What is the Best Filter for a Fish Bowl?

Please do not get us wrong. Keeping fish in a small glass bowl is definitely one of the things we do not support. Or at least not for the long term. However, this trend just seems to be unstoppable, and you can probably not avoid for someone bringing a fish home in such way sooner or later, especially if you have kids around.

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Indeed, there are so many pet shops and fairs which are continuing to sell fish in glass bowls, so having to deal with it sometimes is probably inevitable. Being a fish bowl is just a temporary home before setting up a proper tank, or may it be a gift with which you are not sure what to do, you should know that no fish can survive in such conditions.

These living creatures require clean water and aeration to survive, so you will have to make some minor adjustments if you want that adorable fish to stick around. So yes, even bowls do require a filter. And what is the best filter for a fish bowl? You may find our carefully selected answers below.   

Do Fish Bowls Need Filtration?

Yes, yes and yes again. No still water can ever be a suitable living environment for any fish, and this certainly does include fish bowls. If there was no filter, the water just could not clean itself to safe levels and this would soon cause for your beloved pets literally suffocating.

But other than that, the fish waste and food leftovers would simply keep on building up, not just worsening the water quality but also causing quite the unpleasant smells. And who could ever enjoy observing a fish like that?

In order to avoid many otherwise inevitable issues, please do set up your fish bowl with a tiny filtration system. As simple as it may be, it will certainly contribute to transforming the life of your new pet into a more pleasant one. And for you, it will ensure fewer cleaning activities as well as fewer reasons to be worried about.

Best Filter for Fish Bowl

Here are some filtration options you can use for a fish bowl:

– Sponge Filter

Sponge filters represent the simplest type of filter ever. And yet, they may become highly effective, so it should come as no surprise learning that they make one of the first choices among many modern aquarium keepers.

They are obviously not suitable or powerful enough for crowded and super-large tanks, but they can do simply fine in a small aquarium. Or in a fishbowl. Thanks to being so gentle, sponge filters make an excellent choice for tanks containing fry or really delicate fish, as they guarantee maximal safety.

When setting up a sponge filter, you will basically require the simplest and most silent air pumps or powerheads, depending on the type. Once installed, the water will simply flow through the sponge, causing all dirt and unwanted particles to get trapped inside it.

Furthermore, the sponge surface is great for letting beneficial bacteria to naturally mature among it, which will further help to dissolve ammonia and other unwanted substances. They are affordable, easy to install, and even easier to maintain.

– Small External Filter

For a more enchanted bowl filtration, installing a small external filter may be a great solution for your home. Filters like these basically use three different kinds of filtration: mechanical, biological and chemical. And one of our top choices here is definitely the Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter.

Such a filter is extremely simple to install and even simpler to use. Also, it is really silent, allowing you to even keep your favorite bowl inside your bedroom without disrupting your sleep.

Once that it is correctly set up, the tank water will be absorbed inside the compartment with a bioceramic type of filter media, allowing for it to return to the bowl clean and clear.

On top of that, it includes a spray bar system which can greatly improve the water aeration for your fish. And you can easily adjust the water flow strength to your own preferences.

– Small Internal Filter

A third alternative may be an internal version of the previously described. Instead of making the water flow outside all the way through the canister containing filter media, this version works on the opposite principle, letting the water flowing inside the tank and through the filter.

One of our favorite options is the Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power Filter because it is so simple and affordable yet so effective. In brief words, you should need nothing more for such a small fish home.

This helpful product includes a sponge that allows for beneficial bacteria to colonize on its surface. Also, the outflow is extremely gentle and silent, making it perfect for a small bowl. When ordering, you will also get a replaceable carbon cartridge.

How Often to Clean the Filter?

A general thumb rule says that a good filter should be cleaned every month or so. However, such thumb rules are usually designed for medium-sized aquariums, not for tiny fishbowls. Therefore, try relying exclusively on your own judgment.

For instance, if the water flow slows down, it may be time to clean your filter. Or, even better, perform regular water tests. Using a testing kit is the only reliable way of knowing your water quality and you should do it every week for such a small fish home.

When cleaning any filter media, please remember to only rinse it in tank water (never tap!), as this will allow for beneficial bacteria not to disappear.

Wrapping Up

If you can allow yourself to house a fish or any other aquatic pet inside a proper tank, even as small as 5 or 10 gallons, please do so.

However, if you or your kid just received a cute bowl with a fish inside, you may also decide to add a suitable filtration system in order to allow for your pet creature to survive, but will not thrive.

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