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Betta Fish Lifespan – How Long do Bettas Live For?

Betta fish are one of the most popular fish out there. That is mainly thanks to its appearance, but a big part is also the behavior of the fish and also the healthiness of the betta fish.

While they might not be the best community fish, they are definitely to be considered as a single fish in your freshwater tanks. If you want to keep your betta fish as healthy as possible and enable them to live longer, then you are in the right place.

Generally, betta fish will live for 3 to 5 years. That is only the general estimation, and it can vary widely. The most significant factor in the life span of the betta fish is the general care and the conditions that you provide it with.

If it is cared for properly and given the best possible terms, then bettas can live up to 5 years and even more.

How long do bettas live for and how to increase their longevity? Let’s find out here.

Improve Betta Fish Longevity

The best way to enable the betta fish to live longer is to give them the proper conditions to live in. There are some simple things that you can do to increase their life span.

It starts with picking your betta fish already. When you are buying your bettas, you want to buy the healthiest bettas available. Make sure you are buying from a reputable vendor so that you can be sure about the health. Also, you need to make some checks to ensure that it is healthy – look if it is pale in color, if there are any ripped fins, inspect its eyes, and for any other possible injuries.

After you have chosen your healthy betta fish, you want to make sure that they are placed in an aquarium that is big enough for their size. One betta fish requires at least 5 gallons of water, so a 5-gallon tank is a minimum requirement (if you keep the bettas alone). A good thing is also to separate males and females, as keeping them together can deteriorate the health of females.

Other things to do are to provide maintenance, keep the water parameters at the desired levels and feed them high-quality foods. Stress is also an essential factor – make sure to reduce stress as much as possible.

Genetics of Betta Fish

Let’s start with the basics – the genetics of the betta fish. This is the first thing you should know before you opt to own a betta fish. After all, knowing this will allow you to understand the fish better, but also it will enable you to take care of it properly.

It is the fact that the betta fish are genetically conditioned to live 3 to 5 years (the life spans of various subspecies can vary). There is no magic cure that will allow your bettas to live eternally sadly, but there are many things you can do to improve its life span.

For example, there have been reports of betta fish living for more than five years. But that is rare, and even if you do get such a fish, you would have to do everything to perfection – from the care to the diet. You also need to realize that bettas come from a tropical setting (Cambodia and Thailand), so providing them water parameters as close as possible to that would work best.

Feed Quality and Variety of Food

One of the first things that you can do to impact the longevity of a betta fish is to provide them with high-quality foods. The diet affects their growth, keeps them healthy, improves their colors, and enables them to live longer.

Generally, the bettas are omnivores, but they are more inclined towards a carnivore diet. It is essential to provide plenty of proteins and high-quality, nutritious elements. This can be done by buying pellets and frozen foods that are made explicitly with betta fish in mind. There are many such supplements on the market, and you should consider checking them out.

To keep the food varied, you need to provide them with live foods from time to time. The live feeds can be a good source of proteins and fats that are essential for the longevity of the bettas. Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and other similar foods can be considered here.

Also, avoid overfeeding the bettas. It is better not to feed them that often rather than stuffing, as it can do them more harm than good. Feed them once or twice a day with a sufficient portion.

Stable and Right Water Parameters

When it comes to water parameters, they cannot be underestimated here. You should always strive to provide the bettas with the water quality and the settings that suit their natural habitat. As we already said, the bettas are native to Southeastern Asia, so you should keep that in mind. The rice fields often provide the tropical conditions that you should try to recreate in your tank.

The best water temperature for the bettas is around 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (24.5 to 26.5 degrees Celsius). Try to keep the water at that level – you might need to get a heater to achieve that. Of course, the filtration is essential for keeping the water as clean as possible. A neutral ph of 7.0 works best for bettas.

Another thing is to maintain the water and keep it clean. This includes filtering the water, but also changing the water from time to time. This factor is certainly one of the biggest there are when it comes to betta fish health. Keeping the water parameters at the right levels is very important.

Reduce and Eliminate Stress

Just like with humans or any living being, too much stress can impact a betta’s health significantly. It can shorten the life span of a fish significantly, and the worst thing about it is that humans are often responsible for this. It can be changed easily by making some simple adjustments.

For example, it could be that the bettas are exposed to way too much noise, or that your bettas are not given enough peace to live. Another thing that can amp up the stress levels is if they don’t have enough space to live in – if you cramp them into a small fishbowl, then you can expect nothing good to come out of that.

Reducing the stress levels is vital for keeping your bettas healthy, and it can improve and increase their life span significantly.

Do Male or Female Bettas Live Longer?

There is no significant difference between the two, but male bettas do tend to live longer sometimes, especially in the wild. That is due to the stress levels that a female betta can endure if it is chased for too long by a male betta fish.

That being said, it might be for the best that you keep your male and female bettas in separate tanks. This will enable females to have enough space and live stress-free in their tank. If you want to breed them, you can always put them together and do that. In general, both genders live to about 3 to 5 years, sometimes more.

How Long do Bettas Live in the Wild?

Surprisingly or not, the bettas do not live long in the wild. They live for significantly shorter amounts of time in the wild, which occurs due to water pollution and other smaller factors. Especially females can suffer in the wild, as they get chased by males often.

Bettas are vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Another issue is that males often come into conflict with other males from other species, which can result in injuries and even death. The water quality is also sometimes (or often) worse due to pollution and other factors.

Do Betta Fish Live Longer With a Filter?

Of course, excellent filtration is one of the first things that you should consider when you are getting a betta fish (or any fish). Proper filtration can improve the water quality significantly, resulting in longer lifespans of betta fish. Don’t save on the filtration of your water.

For How Long Can a Betta Fish Live in a Fishbowl?

Now that can be a deteriorating factor for bettas. It, of course, depends on the size of a fishbowl, but these tend to be quite small. If the bettas don’t have enough space, they can struggle, and their lifespans shorten significantly. It can mess with their happiness and health so that they can live for a shorter amount of time in a fishbowl.

Conclusion

Betta fish are one of the most beautiful fish. That being said, they can sometimes be quite fragile. Luckily, there are many things you can do to improve their health and lengthen their life span.

You can start with choosing the right fish, and then providing them with the right conditions to live. This can ensure that your bettas can live for longer and stay healthy.

Updated: January 13, 2020

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