Are Goldfish Bowls Cruel to Goldfish?

If you’ve ever owned a pet goldfish, you probably remember its distinctive shape as it grew from a small fry into a full-grown adult or so you thought. It may be hard to see now, but over time, your once vibrant little friend transformed into something vaguely resembling an oversized crustacean. A goldfish has no real facial features, except for two large eyes on either side of its head.


The rest of its body is basically just bone and cartilage, which means it can’t grow larger without increasing its skull size. So when a new owner buys one, he or she typically expects the fish to look more or less the same throughout its life. But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that most goldfish have their noses poking up through the top of the water at strange angles.


This makes them appear silly (or comical), but they aren’t actually being harmed by it. In fact, many keepers believe that having a goldfish’s nose poking out of the water helps maintain good health. In addition, the angle that your goldfish’s head sits at seems to matter quite a bit. If you buy a goldfish online, you might receive a package showing a picture of what appears to be a normal-sized goldfish.


However, when you open the box, you’ll find that the fish doesn’t have its head upright and looking forward. Instead, its face points upward, making it appear to have a tiny snout. Goldfish kept in this position tend to swim sideways instead of straight ahead, and some owners even claim that it affects how brightly they glow under bright lights. Some argue that these “snouted” goldfish should only be kept in containers shaped like regular goldfish bowls because the sideways swimming could make them …