How Long Can Betta Fish Live in Cold Water?

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Do you have a betta fish as your pet? Yeah, it is really cool to have one. In this article, you will learn about how long can Betta fish live in cold water and how to keep Betta fish warm without a heater. So let’s get started!

I remember spending lots of time of mine just looking at these vivid fishes from the outside of the aquarium.

We often find the betta fishes swimming in the water of large aquariums kept in a commercial place or a small glass container in the corner of our home.

Can you imagine your betta dead and floating on the water? Surely it will break your heart into million pieces like everybody.

To avoid such situations, you need to observe Betta’s life cycle very meticulously.

 Do you know these Betta fishes prefer to live in warm water, unlike other fishes? If they are in cold water for a long time, it will weaken their immune system.


How long can Betta fish live in cold water?

As betta fishes are tropical fishes, so you need to keep them in warmth. They are not like the general fishes that are commonly seen in bowl-shaped aquariums. Betta needs a lot of care, unlike random fishes.

If you are an owner of a betta fish, do not make a mistake by putting it in cold water as it would be risky for betta’s health. Betta fish can’t live in cold water for a long time. Betta fish can live only 3 to 6 months in cold water. If bettas are kept in cold water for a long time, they will become lethargic and sick more often than before. They will lay at the bottom of the tank and slowly slip into a coma. 

Generally, you should keep the betta fish in the water at 75-80 degrees temperature. They are used to living in warm rice paddies with a low watercourse, high oxygen, and steady, mild temperatures. So you should ensure the environment to keep your betta lively and happy.


What will happen if you put Betta Fish in cold water?

You must have heard the term called ‘Ecosystem’ that every life needs to be maintained. You can’t mess with the natural ecosystem of betta’s life.

If you keep your betta in cold water, its immune system will become weak. And with a nervous immune system, betta would be attacked easily by bacteria and fungus. And the result? Dead betta!

If the water is not appropriate for bettas, it will encounter a serious disease named Popeye. This malady will cause the fish’s eyes to lump out its head.

You might notice that your fish is not even eating adequately in cold water. They have lost the energy to eat, even to move. Like others, they can’t survive so long without having needed food.

Except for the following, there have some other considerable issues. If the water is extremely cold, then the fish will face insufficient oxygen issues. Could you imagine life surviving without oxygen?

When the fish is kept in cold water, it will become sluggish soon and will mostly drift near the tank bottom to get some warmth.

Do you know if you keep a betta in cold water for a more extended period, what will happen?

It will become motionless. Forget about betta and think of yourself in such a situation.

Suppose you are in a landmass in Antarctica, and you have just worn a thin layer of cloth. How would you feel? How long would you survive?

That is exactly how betta would feel. It is challenging for a betta to survive even at room temperature.

Furthermore, a betta fish will get serious diseases like fin rot or ich. As a result, it would not feel energetic to move and show their artistry as well.

As the fish will not eat in cold water or even move, it would not be able to survive for too long.

The most dangerous effect is that the betta has a chance to slip into a coma due to the extremely cold environment. Insufficient oxygen issue is also responsible for the coma.

It is tough to save a betta fish from a coma if you do not take initiative immediately.


Does your betta need a heater?

It’s a widespread query of all betta owners. Does betta need a heater? What do you think?

There are few things that require keeping your betta fish healthy and pleasant. A heater is one of them.

Have you ever seen a heater around the betta fish in the aquarium?

You might not. But trust me; the heater is right there. It is just entirely hidden with the decorations and embellishments.

Are you still confused that your betta fish would need a heater or not? Dear, the answer is Yes, it does.

Your betta fish will require a heater to survive for an extended period of an exciting life. If still, you do not install a heater in the aquarium; your fish will die earlier comparatively other bettas that have a heater installed in the aquarium.

Mostly bettas live around 3-5 years, but if you keep the fish in water without a heater, be sure it would not even reach its 4th birthday. Heartbreaking!

If you want your betta fish to live for a long time, install a heater soon. Even room temperature is not appropriate for them. They might survive for some time, but at the end of the day, your betta will lose another period from his life. They really need some special treatment.

Moreover, the room temperature fluctuates throughout the day, and continuous changing of your betta’s temperature is dangerous for its health. The betta fishes should be kept at a constant temperature for longer life.

My suggestion is to get a heater for your betta fish as soon as possible because it doesn’t cost much. Currently, I’m using FREESEA Aquarium Heater for my male betta fish. You can check out our other article on the best betta heaters.

colorful betta fish

How to keep the betta fish warm without a heater

If you do not want to opt for a heater, no problem; we have some other practical ways to keep the water warm. Let’s have a look at them-

Use A Cover

You can put a cover on the top for a bowl or tank. It might be sounding worthless, but it helps to keep the water warm. Many experienced betta owners have been practicing this for years and years.

Put an air stone in the container before covering the top of the tank to help your betta fish in avoiding insufficient oxygen issues. Or it can be dangerous for them.

Use Strong Light

The second method to keep your betta warm is instead of using a heater; you can use stronger lights.

If you install an intense light for your aquarium, indeed, it will provide the right amount of warmth. It might not be fruitful as using a heater, but you will get adequate support.

Be careful about turning off the lights if your room temperature increases during summer days.

Use A Filtration System

Using a filtration system is another way of producing somewhat warmness in your tank.

The filtration unit is enough for producing vitality that will tend to get hotter at the time of operation. You can use this warmness to keep your betta fish warm.

Use Small Tank

You can select a small container instead of a large one to keep your betta fish. A large container requires more time to get warm, comparatively too small ones. So if you opt for a smaller bowl, it will get warm quicker. Though do not go for a container that cannot take a minimum of 3 gallons of water.

As you are acknowledged with all options to keep your betta fish warm without a heater, therefore, you can select according to your convenience and preference.

But still, I would suggest getting a heater as soon as possible to give your betta fish a happier and healthier life.


What will happen if the betta fish is kept at excess warm temperature?

Do not think that just because the betta fish has problems living in the cold water, you can put it in hot water to give them a healthier life if you think like this you might end up losing your precious pet betta.

If the water is hot, your betta fish will start breathing rapidly, which is, of course, not a good symptom. So it usually stays at the surface of the tank most of the time when the water is excess warm.

Do not make the mistake of keeping the betta fisher at a temperature of less than 70-degree Fahrenheit. They have the chance to develop a tumor because of bloating, and this happens if you keep the fish in very mild temperatures.



To be frank, betta can live in cold water if you sacrifice a considerable time of his life span.

As it is your pet or you are its owner, so you owe some responsibilities toward the betta fish. So, you should not keep the betta fish in the cold water as it will be equal to torture for the fish. To ensure a healthy life, you should keep the betta at least at 26-degree Celsius.

Betta fish is honestly a lovely creature as a pet, but you should know how to keep it appropriately; otherwise, it might end up losing its life on an early stage. Now you know how long can betta fish live in cold water and how to keep betta fish warm without a heater. But I’ll recommend installing a heater as soon as possible.

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Read more!

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3 thoughts on “How Long Can Betta Fish Live in Cold Water?”

    • Yes, you can. But most of the heating pads don’t distribute the heat equally. So you should opt-in for a heater as soon as possible.

  1. I think is too late for my 2 bettas my husband decide to put cold water in their tank …is very late and i notice they dont move i came to search water temperature i guess they die already i put them in warm water now but i think is too late ..Sorry it was my first time doing this


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