Betta Fish Lifespan in Aquarium – How Long do Bettas Live For?


Betta Fish Lifespan

Betta Fish are among the freshwater fish you will find in most home aquarium tanks and they are a perfect choice for beginner aquarists. The fish are in various species and the main difference between them is the colors and tail shapes – the commonest are Veiltail Betta and Crowntail Betta.

People mostly go for males because of their beautiful colors and longer flowing fins. The fish have good personalities and you will, therefore, be attached to them easily after keeping them as your pets.

So, how is the lifespan of the Betta Fish in aquarium tanks? The best answer is around 3 years. However, the lifespan highly depends on various factors such as the conditions of the tank, the feeding, and the stress level. My work today is to help you understand the determinants of the lifespan and the best way to improve it.

How Many Years Can Betta Fish Live in Aquarium?

If you care for your Bettas properly and provide them with a large tank for them to swim in – with proper water condition – they will live for 3 years on average. However, that does not mean that you will have your fish for three years after buying them today. Most pet stores supply 1-year-old male Bettas. In other words, they sell them after their fins and colors are properly developed. However, they also sell females slightly earlier – when they are 6 months old. Females are known to live longer than males do, but individuals prefer males because of their vivid colors.

Because your fish will be around 6 months to 1 year old when buying them, you should expect them to live for around 2-2.5 years. However, Bettas can live for 4-5 years in aquarium tanks if the water conditions are right and the owner is caring for them properly.

In the wild, the situation is different. Bettas living in shallow freshwaters like streams, ponds, canals and rice paddies might live for a shorter period than those in captivity. That is because they live in unregulated water and pollution destroy the sources of food and plants. The fish are native to Thailand and Cambodia but they are now spread to many other regions like Brazil, Singapore, and Malaysia. Another name for this fish is “Siamese Fighting Fish”, which they got because of their territorial nature and the aggressiveness to other fish that come to their space. If you place many males together, you will increase the chances of fighting and therefore reduce their lifespan.

How to improve Betta Fish longevity?

After you have learned something about the lifespan of Bettas, the other things that you would want to know relating to increasing their longevity. You can take a few simple measures to improve their lifespan and to ensure that they are living a quality life. Here are some of the things to do.

Provide  Them with Quality Food

For your Bettas to live for many years, you will have to consider their diet. Any type of food you introduce to the aquarium tank will significantly affect their color, growth rate and the lifespan. Betta Fish are carnivores and they eat many insects when living in the wild. Replicating that in your aquarium tank can be hard. If you cannot get enough live food for the fish, you can opt for the alternative foods available in pet stores. Proteins and fats should never miss in their diet. Therefore, you can choose frozen food, pellet or flake food and ensure that the producer has formulated them for Bettas.

Ensure that first ingredient the food producer lists on the package is protein to ensure that the nutritional value of the food is high. You do not need many filler foods for your Bettas because their digestive tracts are very short and they cannot process feed fillers properly. If your goal is to provide the fish with the best diet possible, you can make the food the DIY way and ensure that the protein content is very high. Use ingredients like brine shrimp and bloodworms to make a good mix.

While still in this section of food, I have to mention that you should avoid overfeeding Bettas. Overfeeding can cause bloating. The effects of bloating on the swim bladder will make it hard for the fish to swim and they will die as a result if you leave them untreated. Feed the fish with what they can eat in less than two minutes two times a day. That way, they will live a longer healthier life.

Regular Water Changes and Tank Maintenance

The tank maintenance is important and you, therefore, need to do frequent tank cleanings and change the water regularly – that will depend on the size of the tank. A one-gallon tank will need daily water changes in addition to constant temperature maintenance. This can be hard to do and may cause constant stress in the aquarium tank.

The ammonia level in the tank increases as the Betta Fish excretes more water into the aquarium tank water and as the live plants and uneaten food breaks down. The resulting diseases can harm the Bettas and cause death from the poor water quality. To ensure that the tank is clean, use a tank filter to reduce the nitrites, ammonia and nitrates.

Tropical fish, including Bettas, require steady warm temperatures between 76-81 degrees Fahrenheit. When necessary, buy a 25-watt heater and ensure that it has a built in thermostat, if you have a tank with over 2.5 gallons capacity. That way, you will keep the temperature constant. Avoid abrupt temperature changes and cold temperatures. Temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit will hurt the natural immunity of the fish and lead to inactivity, reduce the appetite and make them more susceptible to diseases and death.

Reduce Stress

Many things can stress your Betta Fish. Therefore, you have to spot them and then address them correctly so that your fish can live a happy and healthy life. To eliminate stress, you have to ensure that the aquarium tank has a capacity above 5 gallons so that you will clean less often. A small tank will make the fish bored and that alone may lead to depression. The general rule is one gallon of water for every inch of fish. Lastly, you have to maintain proper water conditions such as the PH, water hardness, ammonia level and temperature.

Prevent & Treat Diseases

Most of the diseases that kill Betta fish result from poor water conditions and poor diet. To prevent diseases, you just need to care for the fish properly. Maintain the right water conditions and feed them appropriately. Feed them twice a day and ensure that they can consume the food you provide each time within two minutes. Moreover, you have to ensure that the protein content is high. Change the water regularly and remove uneaten food. If left, the food will make the water dirty and contribute to disease. Maintain the right temperature, PH and water hardness.

Buy Betta Fish from good sellers

When buying Betta Fish, you have to get them from the good sellers. Some sellers are known to provide unhealthy fish that are likely to introduce diseases to your aquarium tank. Avoid buying fish that are pale in color, have bulging eyes, torn or ripped fins, scratches or injuries on the body because those are indications of unhealthy fish. Such fish will not last for long. Ensure that the fish have a bright color (especially the males), clear eyes, and they can respond if you place your hard in the aquarium tank. I mentioned earlier that pet stores supply mature fish. So, you have to ask something about their age. Never buy the fish from Petsmart or Petco because they do not take good care of the fish.

Related Questions

Can you keep multiple Betta Fish in the same tank?

Betta Fish are not only beautiful but they are aggressive too. It is therefore hard to keep many males in one tank. You will have to modify the tank or buy several of them. If you keep two males in one tank, one of them will definitely kill the other. Keep the tank separate or use small bowls. A tank divider will help you make several compartments in one tank so that each male can remain in its section.

Do Betta Fish live longer with a filter?

A tank filter does not affect the lifespan of Betta fish. You just need to provide the fish with the right water conditions. However, a filter will help you maintain the best water conditions easily. You should not filter a tank that has a capacity below 2.5 gallons because that is likely to harm the fish. Filters in small tanks cause stronger currents that can toss the Betta Fish around causing stress. Bettas are not strong swimmers and the long fins complicate the mobility further in stronger currents. Ensure that the water is still or slow moving. If your tank is large, you can opt for a filter to maintain higher water quality.

How long can a Betta Fish live in a bowl?

It does not matter. Betta Fish in a bowl can live as long as those living in larger aquarium tanks provided that the water conditions are right. Unfortunately, you will have to do more to maintain proper water conditions if you choose a bowl instead of a tank. A bowl will get dirty fast and it will be impossible to use a water filter.

Betta Fish   Updated: June 3, 2019
avatar Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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