I have 3 fish bowls and I think the fish in them are very happy!
One bowl has a betta in it and I bought him at Wal-Mart, almost dead. His fins were all laying on the bottom of his cup and since it looked like he would die soon the employees had stopped feeding him and cleaning his water. I wasn't looking for a betta but I just couldn't leave him! I nursed him back to health and now he swims around happily and builds huge bubble nests! He even bites at the dropper when I feed him mosquito larvae and swims to the top of his bowl when I tap the rim with his bloodworm container.
The only thing that bothers me about bowls are when they have nothing in them, making the fish stay out in the open constantly. The reason I went off on this whole story was to show that sometimes, the only reason someone has a bowl is because they can't have an aquarium, but love fish so much they can't live without them!
By the way, my gorgeous betta also knows to come to the front of the bowl when I come in the room and wiggle his little tail and flare! If he's cute enough, I kiss the front of his vase and he swims around happily in circles! But when anyone else comes in the room he hides behind the plant and won't come out. I'm such a Betta dork!!!
I'm going to have to go with ban the bowls. The only exception being a betta tank. Even then though, it should be a fairly large bowl with some cover. One of the best betta tanks I've seen was my old college roomates. He had a little 5gal with a grow light hood. He had grasses growing and duckweed covering the surface. That betta loved making massive bubble nests in the duckweed. It also made a delicious snack for the fishy as well.
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