If you’ve been given a goldfish bowl, please don’t put a goldfish in it! Goldfish, like all members of the carp family, grow to a large size quite rapidly. They also eliminate waste more often than most other fish, meaning even in a large, filtered tank their environment will get filthy rapidly. So, what can you do with that goldfish bowl? This post is a light-hearted look at alternative uses for the outdated goldfish torture device that we call a goldfish bowl.
Keep a Betta Fish
Even Betta fish do best in at least a 10-gallon tank with heat and filtration, but in a pinch a Betta can live a fairly happy life in a large goldfish bowl. This is thanks to the labyrinth organ, which allows Bettas and other members of the Gourami family to thrive in oxygen-poor environments where other fish would quickly die.
If you keep a Betta in a bowl, make sure you give it plenty of enrichment. Use decorations and change the decorations every couple of times you clean the bowl. Save the old decorations and put them back in at a later date after another cleaning. A live plant is fun for both you and your fish. Occasionally feeding treats like bloodworms is another great way to keep your Betta happy.
Keep Insects (Briefly)
Many insects can live briefly in a goldfish bowl to be watched by kids or a curious adult before being released back to their native habitat. Just don’t leave the bowl in the sun!
Praying mantises, grasshoppers, cicadas, caterpillars, inchworms, ladybugs, and beetles are just a few of the interesting species that can be observed for a couple of hours and then released with no harm done. A small caterpillar can even be kept until it becomes a butterfly, provided that you feed it (whatever it was eating when you caught it is probably a good choice!) and provide water–use both a water dish and a misting bottle.
Don’t forget to use windowscreen and a large rubber band to create a top for your fishbowl before bringing insects inside! The last think you want is an empty bowl and a house full of bugs!
Use it for Storage
There are plenty of fishbowl uses that don’t involve confining an animal in the bowl. For example, a fishbowl full of plain popcorn on a tall coffee table can either be a nice snack for houseguests or a ready source of treats to reward a dog for offering a desired behavior outside of a scheduled training session. For small dogs, toys and balls can be stored in goldfish bowls. Or, if you have a large fishtank, use the bowl to store supplies for your fish!