Bare Bottom Goldfish Tank – 3 reasons to go for a minimalist tank

One of the exciting parts of setting a goldfish tank is how you want to decorate it. It is also an important task as the tank layout along with your goldfish are what will be staring back at you every day. So…

Do you want to simulate the natural environment of the fish that you are keeping? or
Do you want to go with a lot of plants and aquascaping? or
Do you have a specific theme in mind, such as “Sponge Bob”? or …

Well, there are really myriad of layouts that you can opt for, but do you really need it to be so complicated to enjoy your goldfish tank?

Let’s take a look at the simplest of them all, the Bare Bottom Goldfish Tank layout. This approach may be all that you need for your goldfish.

Bare bottom goldfish tank
Bare Bottom Goldfish Tank with minimal decorations

What is a Bare Bottom Tank?

As you may have already seen or already owned, most fish tanks are set up with substrates such as gravel, sand, aqua soil, etc as their base layer. Well, those are not bare bottom tanks.

A bare bottom tank is basically… bare, at the bottom. 🙂 Yeah… there are no substrates whatsoever for this type of tank, which makes it a minimalist type of tank. In fact, it can be so minimal to the level that aside from your goldfish and your tank’s equipment such as filter, heater, and tubings; there is nothing else.

Telescope Goldfish

Well then again, some fishkeepers prefer to have some decorations or plants in it, so there is really no hard and fast rule for this one, except that it should be bare bottom. It is called a “bare bottom tank” after all.

Why should we go for a Bare Bottom Goldfish Tank?

Reason #1: Easier to Maintain

FIsh Tank Maintenance Headache

One of the more tedious tasks in goldfish keeping is the maintenance part, and it is also one of the most important. Although there are many tools to help you with that and I will definitely recommend this one, you will find out that you are happier when your goldfish tank is easier to maintain.

You see, goldfish do produce A LOT of wastes, and these get trapped in your substrates very often. It is even worse if you have the bigger size of substrates such as gravel. These do not just make your goldfish tank unsightly, they cause more ammonia being released into the water as well.

Goldfish poop

So if you have substrates in your goldfish tank, you need to be more hardworking in vacuuming them with your siphon to remove these trapped wastes and debris.

This, of course, is less of a hassle if you do not have any substrates in your tank. It is definitely easier and faster to vacuum the bottom, and depending on how your filter is set up, the wastes could automatically be picked up by your filtration system. See… EASY.

Reason #2: Less Distraction

Goldfish are really a work of art. They are beautiful and graceful to look at, and they should be the center of attention.

Beautiful Goldfish
Photo by Benson Kua, CC BY

In ancient times, whenever there were guests coming, goldfish enthusiasts would pick their best-looking goldfish from their ponds or from bigger fish tanks, and put them into a display bowl for their guests to admire. No distraction, just the goldfish.

Note: This display bowl is also called the goldfish bowl. It was meant to be a temporary display tank and not where the goldfish should stay in. Goldfish bowl is definitely NOT a good place to keep your goldfish.

So if you are keeping your goldfish in a bowl, for goodness sake, please go and get a proper fish tank!

So having a bare bottom tank along with minimal decorations is ideal to create less distraction from the main attraction of your tank, which are your goldfish! They are really beautiful and interesting enough!

Reason #3: Less Cost

Goldfish keeping is not a cheap hobby if you want to provide proper care for them. Aside from the goldfish, the essential things that you need to spend on are:

So to me, substrates and decorations are not of a high priority if you are tight with your budget. As per the 2 other reasons I mentioned above, you can really still enjoy your goldfish with a bare bottom goldfish tank and no/minimal decorations.


A bare bottom goldfish tank is definitely the simplest layout that you can have. Aside from easier maintenance, you get to admire your goldfish with less/no distraction. Goldfish itself is beautiful and graceful enough to get your full attention! Besides that, going this minimalist approach is easier on your pocket too!

So what do you think about this approach for your goldfish tank? Will a bare bottom goldfish tank work for you? Leave your comments in the section below!

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4 Replies to “Bare Bottom Goldfish Tank – 3 reasons to go for a minimalist tank

  1. That’s a great post. I am not really into fish keeping but my brother is. I will definitely share this piece of information with him. You written so well about the bare bottom tank, quiet interesting, But I got to agree with you, maintenance for this hobby is not cheap. How often do you think we will need to change the water, let’s say I have about 3 fish in the tank?

    1. Hi Bala,
      Thanks for your comment. In response to your question, it also depends on how big is your fish tank. If a fish tank is overstocked, it will definitely require more often water changes. On a average for a well stocked tank, I think it should be at least once a week.

  2. Just curious what your tanks are… Mine are bare bottom with no substrate but with rocks and plants.
    Enjoy your reads!!!

    1. Hi Curtis,
      I have multiple tanks. Some are for only goldfish, some are for tropical fishes. I have kept goldfish in bare bottom tanks as well as tanks with substrates. Bare bottom tanks are definitely easier to clean & maintain. 🙂

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