Looking to spoil your fish by giving them a nice, roomy bowl to swim in?
Or maybe your fish is outgrowing its current bowl and is ready for an upgrade?
I’ve put together a list of the top big goldfish bowls – with my review of each one.
There are a lot of bowls on the market, but these picks have some distinct advantages.
I tell you everything I used to set up my own bowl for a healthy, thriving little underwater world!
Enough said – let’s dive in!
1. Koller 3 Gallon Plastic Fish Bowl
If you’re looking for an inexpensive goldfish bowl that is large enough to hold a good bit of water, this is a good choice for you.
The bowl doesn’t come with any bells or whistles – it’s up to you what you want to put in it.
Here it is all set up on my desk (with Wally looking just as cute as ever):
Equipment I used:
- Koller 3 gallon fish bowl
- Undergravel bowl filter
- Adjustable air pump & airline tubing – for the filter
- Thermometer & heater
- Caribsea Crystal River aquarium sand
- Polyfiber aquarium pad
- Seachem Matrix (at the very bottom)
- Matrix Carbon (in the filter cartridge)
Plants I used:
You don’t have to go as complex as I did on the substrate part.
Instead of 3 layers, you could just do Seachem Matrix on top of the undergravel filter plate.
I had it set up like that for a while but switched to this as I found the sand was easier to clean. Also unless you mix some heavier pebbles in with the Matrix, it doesn’t do as great a job of holding down the undergravel filter.
To keep it from getting sucked under the filter plate:
I cut a circular piece of filter pad with two slits for the tube attachments to go through.
The Seachem matrix is underneath everything at the very bottom.
It has a big surface area that allows for a bigger colony of bacteria to grow.
One thing I tried was having pothos on the lip of the bowl attached by a piece of plastic coated frame-hanging wire:
It grew lots of roots in the bowl, which gave it a “jungle” feel.
Pothos takes out nitrates and helps purify the water.
Aesthetically I prefer it without 🙂
But since I only put relatively slow-growing plants at the bottom I felt like it was a good idea to have a heavy nutrient-feeding plant.
If I did it over again I would use something fast-growing like Hornwort in the bowl instead to help purify the water.
It’s not mandatory.
Frankly the charcoal filter seems to do a great job at preventing ammonia spikes in case of overfeeding (I’m not the only one spoiling this little guy)!
My last note on this setup is that I started having some issues with brown algae after about 4 months of it being set up.
Some Ramshorn snails wouldn’t be a bad idea to help nibble on the diatoms – or aesthetically intrusive as a larger snail.
I wouldn’t have to worry about little Wally eating them up like I would my big monster goldfish in my large tanks.
2. BiOrb Large Acrylic Bowl
If you’re looking for a spacious bowl for your goldfish to swim around happily in, the BiOrb is an excellent option.
The smallest size is 4 gallons.
But it gets even larger – even 8 or 16 gallons!
In fact, that just might be the biggest fish bowl available on the market.
This bowl is just awesome for several reasons:
Firstly because… acrylic 🙂
Acrylic is more than 10X stronger than glass and offers even more clarity than glass or plastic.
It also comes with everything you need to get started, such as porous filtration media, aeration tube, LED light and an air pump (even some beneficial bacteria to kickstart the cycle).
The assembly is actually pretty cost-effective compared to buying everything separately and piecing everything together yourself – especially considering the number of gallons you are getting for the price.
BiOrb bowls come with a black or gray base/lid.
There’s also a white version called the BiOrb Halo.
It’s modern look is perfect for a home or office.
Because the filter cartridge area is located at the bottom, using sand on top of polyfiber pad would not be practical.
I would personally opt to use Seachem Matrix at the bottom as it doesn’t need to be replaced regularly – and performs better than any other porous media I’ve come across.
The next thing I would do would be to pack this thing with plants, especially nutrient-hungry plants like Hornwort.
3. Diamond Star Clear Glass Fish Bowl
I really really love this bowl because of its simple, classic elegance.
And it also holds roughly 4 gallons, so nice and large to boot.
The glass is thick and sturdy so it can hold water – thicker than most bowls you will ever come across.
For me this has been a big concern, because some large glass fishbowls might hold water for a time, then burst unexpectedly after a few weeks due to the weakness of the thin glass – which would be a total nightmare for you and your fish.
I wouldn’t be comfortable with anything thinner than this one.
Yes, glass is more breakable than plastic.
But it’s probably the safest material you can use – it also has no risk of weird chemicals that might leach into the water with time or exposure to heat.
It’s really hard to trust exactly what materials people use during the manufacturing process of even so-called “fish-safe” products like large plastic goldfish bowls, which is why acrylic – or better yet, glass – is worth considering.
… No worries about discoloration over time.
Finally, a huge advantage of this particular bowl is (in my opinion) the massive opening at the top.
Larger openings have the advantages of allowing for more oxygen exchange at the surface of the water, as well as being easier to maneuver around in with your hands while cleaning or decorating.
One note about glass bowls:
Don’t allow them to get direct sunlight.
Not only can it cause the bowl to experience drastic swings in temperature which can stress the fish – it’s a fire hazard (the glass can act like a condensing lens).
If you want to put it in an area that gets occasional direct sun, my advice is to put some kind of a screen on the side of the bowl that the light would come in.
Better safe than sorry! 🙂
What kind of bowl you choose for your goldfish depends on your individual preferences for material, as well as how many gallons you want your fish to have.
I always say the bigger the better, as more water volume dilutes the waste and allows for greater stability for your pet.
Don’t forget that it is highly recommended to use a filter for your fish bowl – no matter how big or small.
The good news is they aren’t expensive. 😉
So, what do you think?
Have you been trying to find a large bowl for your fish?
What kind of setup do you have (or want to have)?
Leave your comment below to share your thoughts!