When being responsible aquarium keepers, one of the main concerns during the adoption process is related to the expected lifespan of such aquatic pets. And choosing them accordingly to your lifestyle is vitally important, to avoid problems both for yourself and for the fish you wish to keep.
Indeed, some people decide to setup a cool aquarium for keeping their kids entertained and plan on having them for several years. On the other side, others want to have a temporary low-maintenance pet for themselves until they get a new job promotion.
Some fish, such as guppies and similar-sized species, can survive 2 to 3 years in captivity. Other fish which are significantly larger can stick around for even 20 years or more, such as arowanas.
Factors that Affect Fish Lifespan
There are several factors that can influence the lifespan of your pets. Some of them, like natural predispositions and diseases are out of your control, but others can be fully improved by the quality of your keeping activities as well as the efforts you put into those.
Some fish species are naturally predisposed to live longer than others, and that is a fact. But which genetic factors are actually having the most influence on their lifespan?
There are several, but it generally all starts with their body size. Indeed, the larger the fish is, the slower metabolism will it have. As a consequence, the smaller-sized fish will perform much more heart beats during a certain period of time than a larger one will have to, and this will ˝consume˝ their bodies more.
Next, it is discovered that the reproductive indicators can also affect the lifespan of a fish. Egg-layers tend to live longer when compared to livebearers, as they simply are left with more energy after giving life to fry and require fewer efforts from their immune systems to do that.
Other genetic predispositions can be caused by humans. With modern captive-bred trends and the necessity of enthusiasts owning unique fish species, some artificially designed fish can certainly develop some either deformities or simple disadvantages which lead to their lifespan being shortened.
– Water Parameters
When keeping fish in captivity, setting up a suitable environment is vitally important, and so is keeping it stable. Some fish require warmer water than others, some need more light than dark, and some can even depend on the water quality.
Keeping your values stable at all times is vitally important and can not only keep your pets from dying but also to extend their expected lifespan.
Also, performing regular partial water changes is vital.
– Food Quality
You are what you eat is not valid for humans only, but it can be applied to any living being, including aquarium fish. Ensuring that your beloved pets are getting all the necessary nutrients from their meals is just as important as feeding them in the first place.
Therefore, please pick your fish food with caution. Certain species require apposite nutritional values and it is important not to mix commercial food between your fish species.
Adding to that, you should choose an appropriate feeding schedule and stick to it regularly. Fish are vulnerable to any habit modifications and can get stressed if their schedule is compromised.
And finally, offering your aquatic pets fresh or live treats such as worms or other fish can certainly extend their lifespan, too.
– Tank Mates
How you choose to setup your fish community can have an extremely high influence on the life longevity of your pets. And, even though some species are generally a great match as tank mates, simply placing them into the tank and thinking they will get along is wrong.
Whenever you add new fish to a tank, your responsibility is to ensure that such team will function. Some fish, for instance, may decide to bully on individual fish and this can lead to becoming highly stressed and prone to various diseases and infections.
– Tank Size
Obviously, the size of the environment which a fish has at disposal is really important. Some species simply require more space than others, and it is up to their human keepers to ensure they can get enough.
If one decides to house an amazing 20 inch long fish inside a small tank as 50 gallons, the wellbeing of such fish will obviously be greatly compromised and nobody can expect it to survive as long as it should.
Therefore, to ensure your pets are getting the maximum out of their life in captivity, please always plan and check if you have the possibility of accommodating the species you wish to adopt.
A fish which is prone to being sick all the time is obviously subject to have its life expectancy shortened by much. Some diseases are simply meant to be and there is nothing you can do about it, such as tumors or similar health complications.
Others, however, can be easily avoided by simply taking care of your fish pet in the best possible way. Simple activities such as cycling your tank before placing fish inside or isolating new specimens before letting them swim with the rest of the fish can often be classified as lifesavers.
But so is a constant observation of your pets and their behavior. Some diseases can be spotted during an early stage and prevent serious contamination before it evens happens.
Many factors can affect the life longevity of your beloved fish pets. Some of them are out of your control such as genetic predispositions, but others depend entirely on your efforts in taking care efficiently of your aquarium.
If you are looking to have long-life companions, aim for larger fish, possibly egg-layers. But if you do not mind your fish surviving for a couple of years yet having a happy life until they do, smaller-sized creatures will be a great solution for your tank.
Whatever your choice may be, a nice part of their lifespan will depend entirely on you.