How Long Do Betta Fish Live? 4 Ways To Help Increase Your Betta’s Lifespan

How long do Betta fish live? While the typical Betta fish can have an average lifespan of 3-5 years, this primarily depends on how you take care of them and their living environment.

Understanding the lifespan of betta fish will help you know what to expect regarding their health, living environment, and expenses. 

When we were tasked with taking care of these beautiful fish as young kids, it opened up a whole new world of curiosity that we ended up falling in love with to this day. While it was sometimes costly and filled with some worrisome nights, every moment was worth it. 

Whether you are planning to buy your first betta or want to take better care of the new fish you just bought, we will show you how to ensure the happiness of your little companion. 

Here is everything you need to know about caring for and nurturing a healthy Betta fish! 

Betta Fish Life span

Betta fish, aka Siamese Fighting Fish, are a popular freshwater pet you can find in many homes. Bettas are sold at pet stores and online discount stores. But they aren’t as easy to care for as most people think.

These beautiful companions with wildly -colored fins are tropical fish originating from Thailand. They are carnivores, so they require a protein-rich diet to stay healthy.  

Despite having an average lifespan of between 3-5 years [2], Betta fish can sometimes reach a long life up to to 7 years depending on their diet and the quality of life you provide. 

However, this doesn’t mean you are a bad fish keeper if your betta died in less than three years.

Not at all. It could also be that you bought the betta fish when it was already more than a year old, or had preexisting conditions that could have shortened it’s lifespan.

But you can make sure to take care of your pet Betta fish by following the tips below: 

4 Ways to Increase a Betta Fish Lifespan

Bettas are known for their bright-colored fins and elegant swimming. Taking care of a betta fish comes down to a few main things. Providing a healthy, safe environment, proper diet, and fresh water for them to thrive. 

If you don’t know where to start to give your betta fish the ideal home, here are some tips to try:

Get a Proper Tank

Buying and setting up a fish tank is expensive and time-consuming for anyone. You don’t have to go out and buy a state-of-the-art 50 gallon tank for your betta fish right away; the tank just has to be the right size with the right components and enough water. 

Tank Size

Bettas go through a lot in the pet trade. Most betta fish come from breeding farms in Thailand and are carelessly transported to the US in baskets and tiny cups.

Bettas grow to around 2.5-3 inches long[2], so a big tank is always better. Placing them in a small fish bowl after buying them might not be a good idea as a permanent home for them. They like to jump, so make sure your tank has a lid. At the very least, a proper small tank of about 5 gallons would be adequate.

Dr. Keller, a veterinarian at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital, says that Betta fish should either be in a 5-gallon tank or something larger[1]. 

Tank Components

You can find various shapes and sizes of decorations for your tank in local and online pet stores. Betta fish are active, and love swimming, so don’t crowd the tank with too many decorations.

Ensure the decorations are safe and don’t harm your betta’s delicate fins. Reefs, live plants, artificial lights, and plastic plants are excellent additions to any fish tank. Plants are fun for bettas because they offer them a place to hide.

Tank Maintenance & lighting

The tank plays a huge role in the health of your betta fish. This means most importantly keeping the tank clean.

The best maintenance for a betta fish tank is cleaning it at least once a week, changing the water, and checking the filter.

Betta fish require adequate light during the day and darkness at night. While natural light is preferred, it’s much harder to regulate. 

With proper artificial light, you can give your Betta all the light they need at any time. The live plants in the tank will also benefit because they require light to synthesize and produce oxygen.

Provide the Right Water Conditions

The tank’s water quality will affect your betta fish. While the water should be clean, it shouldn’t be too clean that it lacks any healthy bacteria.

You should also avoid tap water because it contains harmful chemicals and heavy metals. These chemicals can make your fish sick.

Water Temperature

Because betta fish are tropical fish from Thailand, the water should be between 75 and 80 degrees. Bettas are very sensitive to temperature changes, which can affect their health. 

You can measure that tank’s temperature with a thermometer. A better choice would be to get an in-tank water heater with a built-in thermometer to save money and reduce the hassle. 

Changing water

How frequently do you change the water in your betta’s tank? If two weeks go by without a change, it’s too long. 

Changing the water at least once a week is best if you have a filter in place. 

It’s easy for toxins to build up in the tank, so changing the water and using filters will be good for your fish. Filters clean the debris water and remove the build-up of toxins like ammonia so your fish can breathe better. 

You should only change around 10% -25%of the water at a time to not shock your pet’s system by drastically changing their environment.

Provide Adequate Nutrition

What do you feed your betta? If it’s only plant roots, your Betta isn’t going to leave a good yelp review. They need more than plant roots or fish flakes to survive. 

 Bettas are carnivores, so they need protein-rich foods and supplements.

In their natural environment, betta fish feed on small insects and mosquito larvae. Don’t worry; there’s no need to go hunting for insects.

Bettas are small fish, and overfeeding them can cause serious problems because of their tiny stomachs.

Feeding three to four small pellets to your betta twice daily can give them the required nutrients. For special occasions, Blood shrimps, blood worms and mosquito larvae are great treats to consider. 

We’ve all been tempted to throw a snack or two into the tank when we’re eating. But doing that could affect your betta’s health. 

Excess food and other waste can also overload the tanks and cause ammonia. Ammonia makes the water toxic for betta fish.

Reduce Stress Triggers

Like all living things, betta fish can also get stressed.

A fun fact is that the Siamese fighting fish were bred as fighting fish[3], making them one of the most aggressive freshwater fish. 

It is recommended not to keep two male Betta fish in the same tank because they can easily get into fights[2]. If you happen to get two male betta fish, you’ll definitely want to ensure they have separate tanks!

Female bettas can stay together in large groups. They need plenty of room and at least 10 gallons of water.[3]

Common Diseases that Affect Betta Fish. 

If you are worried that your betta fish isn’t feeling well, there are some common diseases and symptoms [2]you can look out for before calling the vet. The common conditions include:

Common Betta DiseasesSymptoms
Fish TuberculosisInactivity, lack of appetite, skin problems, loss of color, and weight loss.
External ParasiteScratching against objects and irritated skin.
Gold dust DiseaseWeight loss, difficulty breathing, loss of color, and small gold and white spots on their scales.
Pop-eye (Exophthalmia)One or both eyes bulging.
Costia (Slime Disease)Folded fins, white mucus on the body, and abnormal swimming patterns.
Fin rotDiscolored fins in early stages, rotting pieces falling off in later phases.

Ensure you consult your vet first because not all veterinarians treat fish. 

Taking Good Care of Your Betta Fish

An aquarium tank is a betta’s home, so it should be as comfortable as possible. To do this, you should ensure you have at least a 5 gallon tank and that it’s clean with filtered water at the right temperature for your betta. 

Most importantly,  you should watch what to feed your betta fish. They don’t require a lot of food, but feeding them a healthy diet of protein-rich pellets at least once a day is great for keeping your betta fish healthy.

Healthy betta fish have a large appetite, swim quickly, and love interacting with their owners at the surface.

So if your fish companion has been behaving differently lately, try some of these tips and see if they get better. Otherwise, these are the basics on helping your betta fish live longer! 

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