How To Keep A Fish Bowl Clean Without A Filter

How To Keep A Fish Bowl Clean Without A Filter In 7 Steps

We know how important it is to keep our fish bowls clean, but what if your fish bowl doesn’t have a filter? It can still be done.

We’ll provide you with all the information you need about on how to keep a fish bowl clean without a filter, including why it’s necessary, methods for cleaning, how long fish can live in an unfiltered tank, and which types of fish don’t need a filter.

With just a bit of effort and knowledge, you can maintain the health of your aquatic friends and create an environment that allows them to thrive without the use of a filter.

So let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • There are methods for keeping a fish bowl clean without a filter.
  • Some fish species, such as betta fish and goldfish, can survive in a fish bowl without a filter.
  • Regular maintenance and care are necessary to maintain a healthy and clean fish bowl.
  • Adding algae eater fish, such as Otocinclus catfish, can help keep the fish bowl clean.

What Is A Fish Bowl?

A fish bowl is a fun way to keep pet fish, but it’s important to know how to keep it clean without a filter!

Small fish bowls, or filterless aquariums, require regular maintenance in order to ensure the health of the fish. Cleaning involves regularly removing debris and uneaten food from the tank, as well as performing water changes. Without a filter present, an aquarium owner must use gravel vacuums or other cleaning tools to remove any build-up on the surface of the gravel.

Regular testing of water parameters should be done and necessary steps taken if any readings are off. With vigilant care and attention, no filter aquariums can provide healthy homes for aquatic life.

Also read: Can You Have A Jellyfish As A Pet: Yes/No?

Why Is It Necessary to Keep a Fish Bowl Clean?

1. Reduce Ammonia Levels: Ammonia is highly toxic for fish and can quickly cause them to become ill. Keeping the fish bowl clean will help to reduce the ammonia levels, helping to keep your fish healthy.

2. Prevent Algae Growth: Algae can quickly overgrow a fish bowl and make it difficult to see your fish. Cleaning the bowl regularly will help to keep the algae growth under control.

3. Remove Uneaten Food: Uneaten food that has sunk to the bottom of the bowl can begin to rot and cause bacterial growth, which can be dangerous for your fish. Cleaning the bowl will help to remove any uneaten food.

4. Reduce Bacteria Levels: Bacteria can build up quickly in a dirty fish bowl, which can make it difficult for your fish to breathe. Keeping the bowl clean will help to reduce the levels of bacteria.

5. Maintain Water Quality: Dirty fish bowls can reduce the quality of the water, which can make it difficult for your fish to survive. Keeping the bowl clean will help to maintain the water quality and ensure that your fish has a healthy environment to live in.

It’s important to clean the bowl weekly, using a gravel vacuum and changing the water to prevent debris from accumulating. 

How To Keep A Fish Bowl Clean Without A Filter In 7 Steps?

We understand how important it is to keep a fish bowl clean in order to maintain the health of your fish. In this discussion, we’ll look at five key points for keeping a healthy and clean fish bowl:

Feeding Your Fish Moderately and Properly

You should be careful of not to overfeed your fish, as too much food can lead to water contamination. Feeding your fish moderately and properly is key for a healthy nofilter fish bowl. Monitor the amount of uneaten food in the bowl so you can adjust the food supply accordingly. Keep an eye out for any fish waste, which may indicate that you’re feeding them too much or too often.

Removing Uneaten Food and Leftovers

Removing uneaten food and leftovers quickly is essential for maintaining a healthy aquarium environment. In natural freshwater aquariums, bits of food will decay quickly, leading to deterioration of water quality and can cause harm to the fish. Without a filter, it’s important to skim off any leftover food before it has time to sink and settle on the bottom of the tank.

Vacuuming Gravel to Remove Organic Waste

After removing uneaten food and leftovers, we now need to vacuum the gravel of our small fish bowl with a filter. Some types of fish produce a lot of fish poop, making it important to keep the gravel clean.

A gravel vacuum is essential for cleaning the aquarium and keeping the dirty gravel from accumulating. Vacuum regularly to ensure your tank stays clean and healthy for your fish.

Testing Water Quality Regularly

Testing the water quality of your aquarium on a regular basis is essential for maintaining a healthy environment for your aquatic life. This will ensure the health of your aquatic creatures and plants.

Replacing or Adding Fresh Water Periodically

Periodically replacing or adding fresh water to your aquarium is paramount for sustaining a healthy ecosystem. Oxygen levels contribute heavily to the health of aquatic life, so changing fish bowl water is essential. Artificial oxygen can be added to maintain high levels, and deep cleaning with bacteria can help keep it clean.

Freedom from contaminants is key, so regular cleaning of the water is recommended but be careful, changing 100% water can be stressful for your fish.

Keep The Sides Of The Aquarium Clean

It’s important to regularly clean the sides of your aquarium for a healthy ecosystem – so give them a wipe down every now and then.

To keep an aquarium without filter or any fish tank with no fish, you should do regular cleanings that remove algae from the walls. A gravel cleaner is helpful here, as it’ll effectively suck up all the debris.

For clear water without a filter, use a special cleaning solution or vinegar/water mix to further reduce bacteria. Make sure to rinse afterward.

Regularly cleaning your tank’s walls will help keep it looking great and ensure healthy conditions for your aquatic friends.

Adding Algae Eater Fish

Adding algae eater fish to your aquarium is an effective way to keep it clean and healthy – they’ll help take care of any pesky algae that might crop up.

Algae eaters are great for keeping excess algae in check, preventing its generation and controlling its growth.

How Long Can Fish Live In The Fish Tank Without A Filter?

In general, fish can survive in an aquarium without a filter for up to a week. However, this will depend on the size and number of fish in the tank, the water quality, and other factors.

Without a filter, ammonia and nitrite levels can quickly build up, which can be toxic to fish. To keep fish healthy, a filter should be used in the tank to help keep water clean but for a fish bowl case, regular water replacement with proper care is required.

What Fish Do Not Need A Filter?

We are here to discuss which fishes can survive well in no-filter fish bowl.

Betta Fish

You can keep your betta happy and healthy by providing them with the right environment for Betta fish. This includes regular water changes and avoiding overfeeding. Make sure you remove gravel with debris to eliminate harmful bacteria. It is also necessary to have biological and chemical filtration of water. Regular cleaning through a combination of these two categories of bacteria will help maintain good bacterial features and reduce any further harmful bacteria buildup.


Goldfish are beautiful fish that don’t require a filter to survive in their tank; however, regular water changes and maintenance are still key. They produce a lot of waste which can cause an increase in ammonia, a byproduct of biological filtration elements that turns dioxide into oxygen but is deadly in high doses. Keep your fish happy and healthy by keeping the tank clean without a filter.

Otocinclus Catfish

If you’re looking for a peaceful addition to your tank, consider the Otocinclus catfish. Oto cats are small, peaceful fish that don’t require a filter and help keep the tank clean by eating algae and organic matter. To provide them a suitable environment though, ensure proper lighting and substrate.

White Clouds

White clouds bring a sense of serenity to any aquarium with their peaceful swimming and silver or brown color. They only require 1-2 gallons of water and don’t need filters to stay healthy. 


We’ve learned that it’s important to keep a fish bowl clean, even without a filter. By changing the water regularly and using additives like aquarium salt or dechlorinator, you can maintain a healthy environment for your fish.

You should also remember that not all fish need a filter; some species are perfectly happy in unfiltered tanks. With regular maintenance and appropriate species selection, you can keep your fish bowl clean and healthy for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is there a benefit to not having a filter in a fish bowl?

    We don’t believe there is a benefit to not having a filter in a fish bowl. Without filtration, the tank’s water quality will suffer and the fish won’t be able to thrive. Regular maintenance is essential for healthy tanks, even without filters.

  2. What type of water should be used in a fish bowl?

    We recommend using dechlorinated water in fish bowls. This helps keep the water clean and free from harmful chemicals. It’s also essential to do regular partial water changes, which will help keep the tank healthy for your fish.

  3. What is the best type of filter to use in a fish bowl?

    We recommend using an internal filter, such as a sponge or hang-on filter. These provide oxygenation and filtration to keep the water clean without taking up too much space in the fish bowl.

  4. What should be done if the water in a fish bowl gets cloudy?

    If the water in a fish bowl gets cloudy, we suggest performing a partial water change. Replace 25-50% of the water with dechlorinated tap or bottled water to improve clarity.

  5. How often should the water in a fish bowl be changed?

    We recommend changing the water in a fish bowl every two weeks. This helps keep the environment healthy and happy for your fish, while also preventing any potential build-up of contaminants.



Meet me, your dedicated author and fish aficionado. With a deep-rooted passion for all things aquatic, I bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to this fish and aquarium website. As an avid fishkeeper myself, I understand the joys and challenges that come with creating a thriving underwater world. Through my articles, guides, and recommendations, I strive to provide you with accurate, reliable, and engaging content that will enhance your fishkeeping journey. Join me as we dive into the fascinating realm of fish and aquariums, and together, let's make your aquatic dreams a reality.

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