How Long Do Betta Fish Live?

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If you own Betta and would love to know about the life span of your fish, look no further. In this piece, we will be sharing with you all you need to know about the lifespan of a betta fish and how you can help it live healthier. It’s important to know more about the betta fish before investing your money and time. When you buy a betta fish and invest your time trying to nurture it, it might end up dying earlier than expected. Speaking of death, how long do betta fish live? what factors affect the lifespan of the betta fish? How can you help your betta fish live a healthy life? let us answer these questions and many more.

How Long Do Betta Fish Live:

If you want your betta to live a full, and healthy life, you need to help create a conducive environment. A full, healthy life is only possible in a cycled and heated tank. The short answer to the main question asked in this piece is 2 – 3 years. This is the average lifespan. However, you are assured of a year and six months because the betta will be gotten from a pet store where they’d be six months or more at the time of purchase.

The lifespan of Betta Fish: Wild Vs Pet

Interestingly, the lifespan of betta in the wild is quite low in comparison to those living in aquariums. Even though Bettas are expected to live longer in the wild, the reverse is the case. Why is this the case? Frequent pollution is a major issue here. When the water is polluted, it not only reduces the quality of their food source, it also reduces their lifespan.

Also, bettas in the wild unlike their aquarium counterpart, are usually exposed to other fish species and or their male counterparts, and as we’ve learned so far, are very territorial, which ultimately leads to a face-off. The consequence of this aggressive act is fatal. This and pollution are the main reasons why you have a betta in the wild with a reduced lifespan.

Unfortunately, they are categorized as one of the vulnerable fish species by the IUCN. They are ranked high on the IUCN Red List as one of the threatened fish species.

Meanwhile, bettas in aquariums live a relatively long life. With the provision of a conducive environment including proper care and having a larger tank. But living for four to five years is nothing new as we’ve read about bettas living up to five years, but to achieve that, you have to keep your betta in great shape and of course, in great condition.

Factors Behind The average Lifespan of a Betta Fish:

Next, let’s highlight some of the factors that affect the lifespan of a betta fish. Some of these factors include:

·        The breed:

Number one factor on our list has to do with taking a deep look at the fish itself. Genetically, some breeds of betta are known to be tumor-prone.  A perfect example of this is the Oranda betta and Dragonscale bettas. But shockingly, they remain one of the popular betta breeds amongst betta lovers. The reason for this lies in their appearance. For instance, the dragon scale betta fish is loved for its beautiful thick scaling. Many fish lovers and keepers do this simply because of the flashiness rather than their main purpose.

·        Their Popularity – More of a curse than a blessing:

See it simply as quantity rather than quality. A lot of bettas are bred due to their popularity. That’s why you have people breeding them in abnormal quantities. You’ll find thousands of bettas in large commercial breeding farms. The fact that many of these bettas are not top-notch quality-wise, but these bettas still strangely find their way into different pet stores. That’s not all, you don’t usually get quality betta breeds right from the farm down to the pet stores. Pet stores still end up selling highly deformed bettas. For some fish farms, it’s not about the quality of the fish health-wise, but what’s more important to them is the profit margin.

·        Built resistance against medications:

How is this possible? Well, we still have to turn our spotlight on the commercial fish farms. Many known breeders tend to practice more of preventative medications. What these preventative measures do is to negatively build resistance in these bettas. The resistance is built against the medicines been administered on them. Long term, what this simply means is that when the fish fall sick later on, it is impossible to treat them and make them healthy again.

That’s not all, using these medications wrongly also causes stress in these poor bettas. As a result of this haphazard medications, countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada have banned the use of this antibacterial medication within its spheres.

·        Poor conditions in pet stores:

Enough of the large commercial farm and how some of them tend to breed more of quantity rather than quality. But what do we say about some pet stores that keep these bettas in poor conditions? Even a quality betta fish in a poorly maintained condition will end up becoming sick and unhealthy. Someone will end up buying such bettas at home. This will ultimately affect the lifespan of the betta fish. Even if you keep this kind of betta in a conducive environment, it won’t still be able to live up to the expected lifespan. But it doesn’t mean that all pet stores are bad. While some are keeping their fish in cups, some are using actual tanks. So, before purchasing a betta fish or any other fish at that, ensure the surroundings and the pet store conditions are great. This will go a long way in keeping the fish healthy and active.

But as you’ve noticed, these are factors that affect betta fish before getting one. But what affects a betta fish after getting one? If the betta fish can go through a good commercial farm and a good condition at the pet store, putting them in this condition yourself will ultimately shorten their lifespan.

Some factors affect the lifespan of a betta fish after purchasing one. Some of these factors include:

Factors that Reduce the lifespan of a Betta Fish After Purchase:

·        High Temperature.

Due to its nature and being a tropical fish, bettas need warm water to live healthily. So, one of the things you should consider when setting up a ‘betta’ environment is a heater. To be in good health, betta needs an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius to 26.5 degrees Celsius.

·        The tank size.

If you want your betta live longer, you need to put him in a bigger tank. Every betta needs a relatively large amount of tank to thrive. A five-gallon is the least requirement. One tank you should avoid is the 0.5-gallon aquaponics betta vases. They are not the best option for your betta fish. Rather than spending such a ridiculous amount of money on that, you should opt-in for a large plastic tub, if that’s not what you want, you can always go for the glass tanks. These specifications give your betta the space it needs to grow healthy and remain active.

·        Water management.

If you want a healthy betta fish, then you’ve got to up your water management skills. This will go a long way in determining the overall health condition of the fish. This is one of the complex parts of keeping bettas. How do you establish a nitrogen cycle in your betta’s tank? This and many other things are what you need to learn before investing in a betta fish. Simply because bettas are known to inhabit rice paddies doesn’t necessarily mean they can thrive in a dirty environment. One of the basic components of water management is water cleaning. Ensure that the water is kept clean all the time.

·        Feeding and Diet.

Just like any other animal in the world, feeding and general diet go a long way in determining the lifespan of a betta fish. Always study the ingredient on their food. Avoid flaked foods as much as you can. Always go for feeds that are high in crude protein and are also low in fillers.

Speaking of foods to avoid, you should also avoid generic tropical foods as they aren’t healthy for a betta fish. Some foods are made specifically for betta fish. You can also make your betta fish feed. Just make sure they are free from artificial materials and fillers as this could harm your fish or not even produce the result you want.

Your betta fish should be fed twice a day and feed them what they are able to eat within two minutes. To avoid bloating, do not overfeed your betta. Bloating can destroy your betta fish’s swim bladder. When the swim bladder is destroyed, it renders your fish absolutely immobile. This can also be fatal. We highly recommend that you feed your fish with few pellets. Be patient and ensure that they are fed a few pellets every day. If you want, you can decide not to halt their feeding once a week. That won’t hurt them at all.

–         How long can a betta fish live without food?

Before answering that, it is wrong for you to let your betta go days without food. However, your betta fish can survive 14 days without food. 14 days being the maximum number of days your betta can stay without feeding.

·        Medications.

Administering drugs on them should be done professionally. You’ve got to be sure of what you are doing, most especially, what exactly you are dealing with. A simple water change could be the answer to the illness suffered by your betta. Just like we’ve said earlier, you need to know more about what you are getting involved with before investing your money and time.

Quick Fact: did you know that there are documented cases of bettas living up to nine or ten years? This means that your betta can live up to that, but it will take skills and professionalism to be able to achieve such a remarkable foot. You can start by watching your betta closely and if there is a sign of illness, contact the vet as soon as possible. They will professionally examine your pet for you.

How to spot a healthy betta fish?

When getting a betta fish, you need to look out for some of these things. The highlighted points will protect you from purchasing an unhealthy betta fish. Some of the things to look out for are:

Clear skins devoid of injuries:

Avoid purchasing a betta fish that has got injuries. Wound such as ripped fins means that the fish is currently experiencing fin rot. If that’s not the case, chances are, it been attacked by his tank mate. But we recommend buying a betta fish that has no wound.


When a betta fish starts to hide from his tank mates, its usually a bad sign. Simply put, it means the betta is sick. When bettas fall sick, they hide at the sight of any threat. You shouldn’t purchase such a betta fish.

Bright and attractive colors:

Unless the betta you want has white scales, most bettas are known to have bright colored scales. A paled skin means the fish is sick. Avoid it!

Bettas with clear eyes:

If the betta fish has bulgy eyes, then it means it has eye issues. This is not in any way a great sign. Asides having eyes problem, it could also be a sign of a bacterial infection.


A healthy Betta fish can live up to 4 years, but the caveat here is that you take good care of them. From spotting a quality betta fish at the pet stores down to the complex water management skills, the lifespan of a betta fish is externally defined.

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