Can The Neon Tetra Survive In a Fishbowl?


Many people have a hobby of keeping an aquarium fish in their house. But this hobby must not be one-sided enjoyment. While you keep your fish in an aquarium or fishbowl, you must consider their health, comfort, and well being.

For many of the fish, a fishbowl is not a great place for them to live in. But still, for many of them, it’s the beginning of their journey as a pet fish.

This article provides you details regarding whether or not a Neon Tetra is good to keep in a fishbowl. Along with that, you will come across several factors that you need to consider for Neon Tetra to place in a fishbowl.

Neon Tetra And Fishbowl

If you are a fish lover, then you definitely love the vibrant presence of a Neon tetra fish. Neon Tetra is a tropical fish from the Characidae family. This small freshwater fish is a non-aggressive, community fish that enjoy being kept in the schools.

Learn about how many neon tetras you can keep in a school here.

Neon Tetra is a tiny fish with an average size of 1.5 inches. As being such a small fish, can they be kept in a fishbowl?

Fishbowl generally comes in classic Drum style, Round style, and New Bio-orb styles. The latter one consists of filtration systems and is larger in size than the traditional fishbowl.

Related article: Do Neon tetras need filters to survive?

The traditional fishbowl comes in size that ranges from ½ gallon being the smallest size to 3 gallons, the largest size. And, regarding the material, they are made from either a glass or acrylic substance. Though a Neon Tetra is small, keeping them in a Fishbowl is not so easy.

Can Neon Tetra Live In a Fishbowl?

Well, practically, keeping a fish in a fishbowl will not give them a good environment. It does not provide much space or water volume they need to live in. Similarly, for a Neon Tetra, keeping them in a fishbowl is a harsh option unless the size is appropriate for them.

Since Neon tetras are a schooling fish, so you must not keep them alone. There is a general rule of thumb, “one inch per gallon”, which suggest that a one-gallon fishbowl is required for one-inch size fish.

Find out more about How Many Tetra Fish Per Gallon of Water?

Neon Tetra size 1.5 inch on an average. And even if you plan to keep three Neon Tetras in a fishbowl, you require a 5-gallon bowl. Else, in such a small area for movement, there might be difficult to raise them there.

Likewise, you require clean water for your Neon Tetra to grow healthy. But since the fishbowl is too small, you shall lack the filtration system within it. All in all, the Neon Tetra can not survive in a fishbowl unless they are of an appropriate size.

Things To Consider In a Fishbowl To Keep Neon Tetra

Keeping a Neon Tetra in a bowl is not easy. There are certain factors you must consider while placing a Neon Tetra in a fish-bowl.

The size of a fishbowl, good lighting, use of aquarium plants, etc impacts the habitat of a Neon Tetra. Here are some factors I would recommend making their environment jolly and comfortable.

Related Article: What Do Neon Tetras Need In Their Tank?

Size Of a Fishbowl

Before placing your Neon Tetra in a fishbowl, it is necessary to consider its size. Your fish needs to have enough space to be comfortable.

Placing them in a limited room space makes it difficult for them to survive. It’s like keeping you in a congested room. Imagine how difficult and unhygienic it would be when you have to sleep, eat in the 5-foot room along with a toilet in a corner. Will you be able to live there happily?

Well, it’s the same with Neon Tetra, though they can live in a small size fishbowl, it’s difficult for them to survive. Similarly, the size of the fishbowl depends upon the number of Neon Tetra present on it. The higher the number of a Neon tetra, the larger the size is required.

One-Inch Per Gallon Rule

Another important factor to consider is the size of a fish. Generally, for one inch of a fish, you require one gallon of water. The rule One-Inch-Per-Gallon is not perfect, but you can take this as a good guideline.

I have mentioned above that Neon tetra’s length is 1.5 inches. So, if you are keeping 3 Neon Tetra at the beginning, then you need to select a 5-gallon fishbowl or water tank. However, this a rough estimate.

If your fishbowl consists of lighting equipment, aquarium plants, then the bowl will not hold 5 gallons of water. Thus, you need to have a big size fishbowl to keep Neon Tetra in it.

Proper Lighting

An aquarium will have a proper lighting fit on it. But, what about the fishbowl? Lighting is a great challenge that you might face when using a fishbowl.

For a Neon Tetra, 12-14 hours of lighting is necessary to maintain the right circadian rhythm. Improper lighting can cause a high water temperature as well. Thus, do select a fishbowl that comes with a lid that has a  LED light attached to it.

Also, avoid keeping your fishbowl directly in contact with the sun. Rather, place it in a place where there is less amount of outdoor light. Excess outdoor light causes fluctuating temperature which is harmful to Neon Tetra. Besides this, excessive lighting causes algae issues as well that harm your Neon Tetra.

I have also written an article on Do Tetra Fish Eat Algae? – Should You Add Algae To Their Diet? Check it out!

Use of Aquarium Plants

Why do you need to place a plant in a fishbowl? The presence of the plant is mainly for decoration purposes. It lets your fish a place to hide and feel protected as well.

Likewise, a live plant can be beneficial for your Neon tetra. It controls the amount of ammonia present in the water and also they provide a small amount of oxygen.

Planting in a fishbowl is not an easy task. Make sure that if you plant in your fishbowl, you get good lighting for them. A proper balance of lighting is a must, else, it shall promote algae to bloom and turn the water green.

Is it Good To Keep Neon Tetra In a Fishbowl?

I will recommend you to select a small tank rather than placing your Neon tetra in a fish-bowl. There is a certain advantage as well for keeping your fish in a fishbowl.

Despite those, it is not a good option to raise your Neon Tetra there. People feel that a fishbowl is relatively cheap, easy to find, and are portable as well. You can move and decorate your room as your desire. On top of that, it is attractive as well.

But, for this, you will have to provide all the convenience required for their growth and health. A good size is a topmost requirement. Avoid placing them in a congested space.

If you can provide a comfortable space and consider the water temperature properly then your Neon Tetra can be raised well, else do not use a fishbowl to keep Neon Tetra.

Fishbowl or Small Tank For Neon Tetra?

Both the fishbowl and fish tank are made for the sole purpose i.e. providing shelter for your fish. But which one is a better choice for Neon Tetra? A fishbowl or a Small tank?

As mentioned above, the size of the fishbowl is the utmost priority for a Neon Tetra to place. Being a schooling fish, you need to place them in a group. Likewise, tetras are very sensitive to water conditions.

The ideal water conditions for a Neon tetra are between 70o F to 81o F. Now, maintaining this level of balance is hardly possible in a fishbowl. You should also consider proper lighting as well.

Generally, fish like Betta, White Clouds, and Guppies can be safely kept in a bowl as they do not require a lot of space movement.

Related articles:

  1. Can Neon Tetras and Bettas Live In A 10-Gallon Aquarium?
  2. Neon Tetra and Guppy – Are they compatible?

Thus, when you look at the practicability, you would definitely choose a small tank over a fishbowl.

I suggest you purchase GloFish Aquarium Kit 5 Gallons. It includes hinged cycle light, and hidden filtration if you want a small aquarium.

Fish That Should Not Be Kept In A Fishbowl

Some fish strictly require an aquarium. Based on their size and the environment where they grow, here is the list of some fish that grow too large and too fast to be kept in a fishbowl.

  • Goldfish
  • Koi
  • Oscar
  • Angel Fish
  • Clown Loach
  • Freshwater Sharks
  • Large Gourami
  • Arowana

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Neon Tetra Live Without Oxygen?

Neon tetra needs sufficient oxygen to survive like any other fish. You can use air pumps to aerate your tank if needed. In the case of Neon tetra, they are not necessary to promote aeration.

Placing a live plant is another good option to have sufficient oxygen for your tetra. Not only does it give high oxygen, but it also makes the aquarium more beautiful and hospitable by absorbing toxic elements.

Some of the best plants for Neon tetra are Java Fern, Java Moss, etc.

Is Neon Tetra a Schooling Fish?

Yes, Neon Tetra in fact lives in a school. They feel secure when they are in a group. I would recommend you to keep around 10 to 12 Neon Tetras in your tank. Likewise, you can also keep couples of Guppies in the tank as well.

Can I Keep Just 2 Neon Tetra?

Since Neon Tetra is a schooling fish, I will suggest you keep them in a group. They enjoy being together. This makes them feel secure.

Since they are non-aggressive fish so you can place them in a community tank. Just keeping two Neon Tetra is not sufficient. Similarly, while adding the Neon Tetra to your tank, never add all 10 of them at once. Add it in the ratio of 2 per week.


When you think of placing a fish in a fishbowl, you should be extra careful regarding the size of the bowl, the temperature, the living environment, etc. The Neon Tetra is highly sensitive to the temperature.

They often require proper lighting to survive. Neon Tetra size 1.5 inch on an average. And, since they are schooling fish so they must be placed in a group. You should place a minimum of 3 Neon Tetra together.

Now, this means you will require at least 5 gallons of the fishbowl to keep 3 Neon Tetra safe and comfortable.

To sum up, for Neon tetra, it is not easy to survive in a traditional fishbowl that size up to 3 gallons. But a bigger size would be fine for them. Do remember that a Neon Tetra is a schooling fish.

Related article:

  1. How Long Can Neon Tetras Live Without Food
  2. How Many Neon Tetras Should You Keep In School?
  3. How To Breed Neon Tetras – A Complete Step By Step Guide

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