19 August 2012 ~ 71 Comments

How Long Do Betta Fish Live?

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How Long Do Betta Fish Live?

2 – 3 years is a common lifespan of a domesticated betta fish, however up to 6 years is very achievable and 10 can be done! You just need to make sure you can give your Japanese fighting fish the best environment possible. This site wants to make that 10 year achievement possible for you and your Japanese fighting fish.

Secret Betta Tip: Bettas are often adults when sold at pet stores. Ask how old the fish is to ensure you have your fish for the longest time possible or even get a very young betta from a breeder instead.

Keeping Your Betta Fish Healthy and Happy

You will often see these colorful little fish in small containers at the pet store. They are sold this way because they can’t be kept together in one large betta tank as the males will fight each other. These small tanks are not suitable living spaces for betta fish; they ideally need around 5 gallons of personal space in their tank. We have a page all about the best tanks for betta fish here.

If you decide to “save” one of these betta fish from their tiny prison, then you will need to buy your own betta tank, as well as betta fish food, betta fish plants and other accessories for your new pet.

As mentioned before ideally your betta tank will be at least 5 gallons, 1.5 – 2 gallon tanks have done the job for many owners but we feel 5 is the magic minimum number.

Betta specific fish food is great as it has taken into account the natural diet of the fish and has been produced to match (or close enough) the fish’s natural requirements.

An aquarium plant or two can provide a great retreat for your betta. It can also provide shade to help avoid algae growing so fast and can also help naturally filter out some impurities and nitrogen that will build up in the tank.

We have some information on the natural habitat of bettas and how your tank can be set up to replicate this on the homepage.

Lifespan of the Betta Fish

So, how long do Betta fish live?

How long do betta fish liveIf raised under optimal conditions, the betta fish can live to approximately six years, but in most cases a domesticated Betta fish will only live about half that time. This is because of the nutrition and living conditions are not always perfect. One advantage of having a betta as a pet is that it can be kept in a relatively small tank. The flip side to this is that the natural waste from the fish contaminates the water in the betta tank faster. Be sure to clean your tank out regularly – every week to ten days do a full tank clean and every few days remove around a quarter of the water and replace with fresh.

Betta Tip: The female betta fish will usually live a bit longer by a few months than a male betta fish. However, most people prefer the males because they are much more colorful and have longer and fancier fins.

Help Your Betta Live Longer

If you want your betta fish to live as long as possible, then be sure to feed it with betta fish food like brine shrimp, blood worms and specially marked food for bettas. Japanese fighting fish have a tendency to be picky about their food, quite often general tropical fish food just won’t cut it and they will not eat it (look like divas and act like divas). But remember, overfeeding your betta can be just as bad as under feeding, a few pellets once a day (or half the amount and give once in morning once at night) will be just fine – once a week you can leave a day out, this helps to reduce the risk of constipation.

Another factor for how long do betta fish live is the water temperature in the betta tank. Be sure to keep the water at between 75 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. There are special small heaters that you can use for bettas and with your heater you should always buy a reliable tank thermometer to keep track of the temperature. A 25 watt heater will do the trick!

However, if you choose to keep your betta in a small tank it is probably best not to use a heater at all. A tank heater in a small tank can lead to the water temperature rising very rapidly, which is not good for the Japanese fighting fish – it can be almost like cooking them. If you do choose to keep your betta in a small tank, try and locate it in a warm place in your home.

All in all, take care of your betta fish and you will get the enjoyment of its company for several years to come.

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Any betta care tips of your own? We would love for you to share in the comment section below.

71 Responses to “How Long Do Betta Fish Live?”

  1. Momldoit 22 October 2012 at 11:12 pm Permalink

    Does anyone know why my Japanense Male Fighting fish would have what looks like an eye thats bulging. Was’nt like that a day or two ago.

    • @BettaInfo 25 October 2012 at 8:46 pm Permalink

      Ooh that doesnt sound good :( It sounds like a common disease called Popeye – this is usually caused from dirty water!
      Not many other Bloggers do this but here is a page from an external blog which has a great page on diseases, symptoms and cures. Betta Talk Disease Page Hope this helps! :)

  2. duraimurugan 18 February 2013 at 10:34 am Permalink

    thanks for ur instructions…….

  3. loren 4 March 2013 at 2:58 am Permalink

    ok well my brother suprised me with a japanese fighting fish and i really dont know how to take care of it its name is angelo haha but im only 13 any tips on what type of tank and how the water needs to be im scared to buy a tank with a heater i was thinking of buying a plastic one… please reply :D

    • @BettaInfo 4 March 2013 at 8:58 pm Permalink

      Hi Loren. You should use treated tap water in your tank and the water ideally should be in the high 70s degrees Fahrenheit. You should not use distilled water as this has been purified to a level that there are no minerals left.

      The happiest and healthiest Bettas live in a tank with a filter and a heater and have 5 gallons of space. They can live in less space though. A filter is not necessary but without one you will need to clean your tank more often.

      Hope this helps! :)

      • Rob 4 March 2013 at 10:24 pm Permalink

        Also if you add aquarium salt it will help prevent your betta from getting sick

      • Sam 27 April 2013 at 2:33 am Permalink

        I just got my betta fish, renegade blueberry a week ago and the lady(who has 2 at home) told me to use this treatment every time i put fresh water from the tap into my tank. Does this really work or will it take out minerals needed for my fish to live a long and happy life? The bottle did say it was for bettas but i have my doubts

        • @BettaInfo 27 April 2013 at 8:38 am Permalink

          Water treatment should be a great addition! Especially if you follow the instructions and its even better that yours is made just for Bettas.

          It is when people boil tap water when it becomes a problem with loss of minerals. Boiling the water removes all the minerals this should never be used it your betta fish tank, treatment is recommended.

  4. Kyle 5 March 2013 at 5:59 pm Permalink

    My Japanese fighting fish is approximately 4.5 to 5 years old. Just recently is has stopped moving around as much and lays on the bottom of the fish bowl for long periods. Is this normal? Is there anything I can do?

    • @BettaInfo 9 March 2013 at 7:41 pm Permalink

      4.5 – 5 years! That’s a brilliant age! Well done for that. You must take great care of him. Bettas can quite often have slow periods where they just chill. It can sometimes be a sign of over feeding or constipation?

      • Kyle 10 March 2013 at 12:17 am Permalink

        Thanks so much. I hope that’s what it is.

        • Aida 2 May 2013 at 1:29 am Permalink

          My Betta was 13 when it started doing that. He had the gray scales, I assumed sign of him beig old, he died a week later.

    • Kailyn 26 June 2013 at 8:26 am Permalink

      My betta fish is blue and he is about 6 years old and he looks great he is actually more active and has a brighter color than when I bought him so he definitely isn’t getting old! I got him when he was very young, but I forgot what type of betta he is.

  5. Diego Alfonso 20 March 2013 at 3:03 pm Permalink

    Hey, I bought a Betta fish three years ago at Petco and the little guy seems to be very depressed. I know it’s possible for these fish to get sad, but I’m not sure how to fix that. I tried many things to get his confidence up, but nothing seemed to work… Please help, thank you.

    • @BettaInfo 24 March 2013 at 8:05 pm Permalink

      There are many reasons why your betta may seem depressed. Betta fish quite often have a chill out day or two, so make sure it isn’t just one of those and you are worrying over nothing. Clean water and plenty of space to swim are some of the main reasons he may become depressed. Have you changed anything in his tank? Sometimes it takes the a few days to get used to changes. And what about reflections or other betta fish in sight? It may become stressed if it sees its reflection or other bettas on a constant basis, as it will see it as a threat! Hope this helps, and sorry about any spelling errors, I sent it from my iPhone. :)

  6. BonAppetite 28 March 2013 at 7:25 am Permalink

    Wow, great post. I have 2 betta fish both males (don’t worry, not in the same tank). It’s my first time having a fish in the family. I don’t know how long they are gonna last, but they look pretty healthy to me.
    I use mineral water for both of my fish, and sometimes when I am not able to buy (because the store is a bit far away, and it’s very heavy to carry a jug.. I’m a girl =_=) I use boiled water for it. I put in salt occasionally (I have been researching) because I heard that salt is a good prevention for parasites… not that there are any.. I don’t think there will ever be any. I don’t use a heater, my tank is only a 2 gallon tank. I don’t think I should use a heater since I live in a tropical country xD Does that count? Well, since you said that heaters aren’t good for small tank, I guess it’s fine.

    • @BettaInfo 30 March 2013 at 11:40 am Permalink

      Hi, no you wont need a heater if you are living in a tropical country, the temperature should be fine :) .

      Hmm… I don’t know what the tap water conditions are like in your country but boiling tap water and using it is not good for the fish’s health. By boiling the water you remove all the impurities, but there are some minerals in those impurities that the fish need. You would be best using tap water that you have conditioned with some aquarium water conditioner.

  7. sarah 15 April 2013 at 10:17 am Permalink

    I’m on holidays at the moment but have a fighter fish at home that my cousin hasvbeen looking after for me. I’ve had him just over a year n have just been told from my cousin while I’ve been away :-( I do have another one that I’ve had for a few months, any tips u can give me so I can try n get this one to live longer. They were both in small tanks, bought from the pet shop that came with food and water conditioner. They don’t have lids tho so I’m wondering whether the dust from the room might’ve made the other one sick?? Any insight would be much appreciated!

    • @BettaInfo 15 April 2013 at 8:53 pm Permalink

      :( sad for your loss!

      If you are only using a small tank the best thing you could do to improve a betta’s health and happiness is to keep them in a bigger tank. A tank with a filter to allow for better water conditions longer and also a heater to keep the water at a steady 79degF.

    • Samantha 22 April 2013 at 4:27 am Permalink

      Sorry for you loss! :'( well if you want your betta to live longer i suggest that you keep the water that he is in about 70 to 80 degrees. I also recommend that you get lids for the betta tanks, just to keep all the dust and particles out of the water. Make sure you feed your betta about 2 pellets of food in the morning, and 2 pellets of food at night. clean your beta’s tank about every 2 weeks also, get a bigger tank! you need about 5 gallons for your betta to like a long happy life!


      • Aida 2 May 2013 at 1:51 am Permalink

        I had my beta fish for 13 years and he was just in a small glass vase with the plant on top of the opening. Never conditioned the water. I did feed him everyday in the morning, I talked to him and played with him. Maybe affection is what they really need.

  8. Samantha 22 April 2013 at 4:19 am Permalink

    Hey Guys! well I have a male betta fish..and his name is gilly. I just have 2 question’s for you guys? ok well my betta fish’s water is mostly ALWAYS clean it’s a 5 gallon tank.. I clean it about every 2 weeks I put water conditioner in there and everything. So my first question is, when I clean the tank and the rocks, and the plant, now when i put the water in there is like these little things that fly around in the water, not much just a little..will they hurt him or make him sick? my 2nd question is gilly (my betta) usually isn’t very active unless you are not like in the room or around him..why is that? PLEASE COMMET YOU ANSWERS! THANKS!(:

  9. Gem 20 May 2013 at 12:05 pm Permalink

    Hi All,

    I don’t have a betta fish. However, my friend does. I am quite concerned because it is her second one and they are only lasting about 3-4 months. I have my reasons as to why it might be the case but I am not sure.
    Overfeeding may be a possibility, they also have two cats and it is in a small tank (probably the size of a small gift box. A main concern is that one of the owners smokes and not the legal stuff…..could that be the killing cause?

    Would love some feedback. I just want to show my best friend that there is a reason and it can be prevented.


    • @BettaInfo 20 May 2013 at 6:12 pm Permalink

      Hi Gem,

      Thanks for your concern. Yes well looked after betta fish can live much longer. Overfeeding is definitely a problem, a betta fish’s stomach is tiny, about the size of its eye, two or three pellets per meal is sufficient. Any left over food will pollute the water and create dirty water – which in a small tank like you say can quickly become a problem! Small tanks like that will need very regular water changes, which is a pity as they stress the betta fish.

      (Not too sure about the smoking though, we’ll stay out of that conversation)

  10. Nikesh 24 May 2013 at 7:54 pm Permalink

    I just got my fighter fish or say betta fish he is one day old so hw much shud i feed him ??

    • @BettaInfo 26 May 2013 at 12:55 pm Permalink

      Do you mean one day old to yourself? Or you have got a tiny baby fry that is one day old? I am guessing you mean that he is a day old to yourself as petstore do not sell one day old betta fish.

      A betta fish’s stomach is about the size of its eye, it is important not to over feed your betta. Two or three pellets will be fine per feed :)

  11. Drew 7 June 2013 at 4:16 am Permalink

    Hi, Im the proud owner of a silver reddy crown tail (what i was told any way) Betta. He lives in a 3 foot by 1 and a half foot by 2 foot tank, Has about 10 plants (just basic oxy weed) and a few rocks with a silocon sand base. Water filter and a heat stick set to about 27 degress (round 76 farin i think) He shares this new home with 2 Discus that are as new has he is, They all seem to have settled in well and i plan to get a few more fish in the next few weeks. I’m totaly new to all this and was planning on putting about 15 fish in this tank but will lower it to round 10. Your site has great info about the care and welbeing of my new Betta, as i thought i would only feed him once every 2 or 3 days and with just a basic flake. I now know he needs a bit more care. My question is about the other types of fish i was going to have him flatting with i.e the discus, has they are bigger than him allready and fairly bright (silver, blue and black strips) would he be intimindated by them? I also plan a a few algie eaters to help lower cleaning, few clown fish and maybe 1 or 2 angle fish. Would this be to much company for him? my tank is a converted turtle tank that has the shelf (which he has claimed as his). I was also told that when i do clean the tank to only take about 20% of the water out to reduce the stress on my new found friends, with my algie eaters and filter i’m hoping to only have to clean once a month. Any feed back would help alot.

    • @BettaInfo 8 June 2013 at 1:22 pm Permalink

      Hi, your tank set up sounds good!

      I have heard stories of bettas and discus fish getting on fine, although it is something you should keep an eye on, their colors and shape can be a little intimidating.

      Angelfish are a bad idea, not only do their shape look like flowing fins to the betta, but the angelfish are aggressive too! You will find the angle fish picking on the betta and the betta fighting back, sometimes just nips which stress the fish but it could lead to a fight. Best to stay away from this combination.

    • @BettaInfo 8 June 2013 at 1:36 pm Permalink

      Oh and thanks Drew for the comments on the site! :)

  12. @BettaInfo 21 June 2013 at 5:02 pm Permalink

    Well that is a small tank and carrying him around in it will stress him out. I strongly recommend a bigger tank.

    You will have to change his water very frequently in a tank that size so that he has conditions that will help him survive longer.

  13. terri 7 July 2013 at 3:01 am Permalink

    i was just curious about how long they live,,,mine is about a yr old an hes still alive ,,i have 2 cats and my 1 yr old cat loves him,,he comes to he top of the tank an lets me pet it,its pretty cool..his name is catnip,,i hope he lives a long time….

    • @BettaInfo 7 July 2013 at 12:56 pm Permalink

      most will live 2-3 years in the right environment. But they can live longer! I have heard a few stories about betta fish that live to 6 years – 10 years is the record.

  14. Spike 8 July 2013 at 2:55 am Permalink

    Hi my betta fish spike is about 1+ year old water changes every week some times twice a a month but I also hav a hydro plant growing in the tank too he seems to like swimming between the roots etc… I was wondering what his lifespan will be the tank size is about 1.5 gallons thanks dudes much abliged

    • @BettaInfo 11 July 2013 at 6:14 pm Permalink

      Thanks for joining the conversation. As I mention the on average they will live 2-3 years. Your tank is a little small and if it doesnt have a filter it may not be as healthy as a betta fish in a big tank with a filter – although many people have mentioned that their betta fish has lived a long life in the conditions you describe. just remember keeping the water clean is very important! :)

  15. Angela 19 July 2013 at 7:29 pm Permalink

    Hello I’m Angela and I have a question. Well in case of over feeding, do you have to wait a few days to let the betta get his stomach empty? Or do you keep giving the 2 pellets, which is now reduced?

    • @BettaInfo 20 July 2013 at 12:17 pm Permalink

      Hi Angela, yes if bloated from overfeeding it is best to give your betta fish a small fast of a day or two. Some betta fish owners actually miss a day out of feeding once a week / every 10 days at all times as it helps reduce the risk of constipation.

  16. Kris 26 July 2013 at 4:30 am Permalink

    So I’ve had bettas forever and I actually work in the pet care department at a pet store. I took a little guy home a few days ago and he’s nice and happy in a 5gal with a heater and filter. Lots of plants and a leaf hammock. His fins and body look fine, like no signs of ich or fin rot or anything. But he will not eat. At all. I’ve seen him eat one freeze dried bloodworm. ONCE. He doesn’t swim funny. And he’s actually blowing a bubble nest. So none of the other pet care associates (or myself) know what’s wrong. Any ideas?

    • @BettaInfo 27 July 2013 at 5:34 pm Permalink

      Hi Kris,

      Since it has only been a few days I would put it down to a little bit of stress in his new tank. Hope he is fine now?

  17. Angelina 31 July 2013 at 2:28 am Permalink

    I guess someone liked my Beta so much that they stole it…

  18. Alice 10 August 2013 at 12:34 pm Permalink

    Hey, my betta just turned 3 years this August, and i think he’s dying, sleeps a lot, swims very hard and usually sided, and he hasn’t eaten for 2 days now, i don’t know what to do to make him more comfy, changed his water this morning (completely) thought he might feel better, but he didn’t react much, almost no stress sign showed :(
    if you know any way to make him feel better please tell me!

  19. sophie 12 November 2013 at 6:22 pm Permalink

    ok i have 2 bettas and one is in a 1.3 gallon and the other is in a 2.5 gallon do i need to get a bigger one or are they ok you can go on instagram and look up my page @bettahelp11 one is a crowntail and the other halfmoon

    • @BettaInfo 12 November 2013 at 7:06 pm Permalink

      Hi Sophie, Betta fish can live in tanks that small but they thrive in 5 gallons! Happy and Healthy is what we want! :)

      Betta fish can get ill easier in smaller tanks so please remember to change the water frequently :)

  20. sophie 12 November 2013 at 6:26 pm Permalink

    and my betta in a 1.3 gallon the crowntail is 4 years i just got my halfmoon two weeks ago and hes doing great one thing though i think he might have ick!!!!!:(

  21. David 19 November 2013 at 11:13 am Permalink

    how mush water do bettas need to survive????????????

    • @BettaInfo 20 November 2013 at 3:52 pm Permalink

      Well, they dont need much to survive. However, is just surviving a good life??
      For a happy healthy long living betta fish, 5 gallons of personal water space is recommended! :)

  22. Aliah 26 November 2013 at 11:26 pm Permalink

    I just bought 2 betta fish and there are a few flakes of food left in their new tanks! I just put new water (room temperture with conditioner) in their bowls . But will they be alright if I wait to to clean the bowls in the morning (because of the coupke flakes of food) ? I want them HAPPY & healthy.! Please help!

    • @BettaInfo 8 December 2013 at 4:55 pm Permalink

      Yeah. But you should avoid leaving uneaten food in the tanks – this quickly dirties the water. Try feeding them less so less food is wasted. :)

  23. K 5 February 2014 at 8:02 pm Permalink

    Holy cow. Great information but unfortunate that you have to repeat yourself over and over again….

  24. Cassidy 8 March 2014 at 4:53 am Permalink

    Hi! I have two betta fish, one is a male and one they don’t know what gender! Anyways, the male one is about 1.5-2 years old. He has started shrinking. Do you know what is causing this? Thanks!:)
    Also, I have many more questions and advice to ask you, so be prepared!!!!!:)

  25. olivia 13 May 2014 at 8:38 am Permalink

    my fish is sinking, he can’t even swim to the top of his bowl.

    poor thing. he’s only 1 year old. i don’t want him to die!!!!
    please help,

    also, his backside always anchors him down. i feed him a pinch per day
    and now i don’t think he’s eating enough! I mean, he can’t swim up to
    the top of his bowl to get the food in the first place. He’s been like
    that for 4 days now, please help! it;s urgent!!!!!!
    please help me. i think he will die soon

    • @BettaInfo 21 May 2014 at 7:52 pm Permalink

      Please look into swim bladder disorder! There is loads of great info on treating it here

  26. Nicole and Scalene 4 June 2014 at 5:06 pm Permalink

    Hi betta friends! I wanted to know if you have any advice on taking care of my new female betta, Scalene. She is in a one gallon tank just like my little sister’s male betta. She is not sick, but I just think a little advice might be helpful. Do you have any ways to keep her alive for a long time? Also, do female bettas get along with other girls? Girl bettas, not humans.

  27. kim 25 June 2014 at 3:45 am Permalink

    Hey everybody! Just wondering what are the signs of a betta fish last remaining days? I’ve had my Byran for 3 1/2 years now, and he doesn’t seem the same like he used to be!

  28. Frankie 4 July 2014 at 4:07 am Permalink

    Hi I’m Frankie…I got my fish 3 days ago from a pet store. Before bringing home the fish was very active in the pet store. I have fish bowl. Now at home, the fish has become very lazy, always at the bottom of the bowl.Is this because of the weather? The weather is quite cold here. Please help me. I changed the water and that day the fish was happy. Now today its being lazy again. Please help me. I dont want it to die :(

    • @BettaInfo 4 July 2014 at 7:37 pm Permalink

      Hmm, you mention cold. Betta fish should be in water of 76-78 degreesF. Betta fish can get ill and act lethargic if not in the right conditions.

      • Frankie 5 July 2014 at 7:12 am Permalink

        Hmm..I am taking care of the water but is it gonna be a problem for the fish in a bowl?

  29. anita 7 July 2014 at 9:11 pm Permalink

    Hi, I’ve had my betta for almost a year, and he is in about a 1 gallon tank. He has a castle that he loves to go in and a (fake) leaf hammock that he lays on. I have seen suggestions of putting plants in their tanks and was wondering if this meant fake plants or real plants? If it is real plants, what kind of plants can go in their tank? I am thinking of investing in a larger tank after reading your responses. Thanks.

  30. Sapna 27 July 2014 at 3:57 am Permalink

    My fish Frank has been lately producing alot of bubbles in the fish bowl. What does that mean? Is it a safe sign?

  31. Hannah and Patriot 11 August 2014 at 5:59 am Permalink

    My betta fish is just staying in one corner of his tank and not swimming at all. He also looked like he was going to fall but stayed up. Please tell us what could be wrong because I am very worried!!!!

    • Wayne 17 August 2014 at 1:46 am Permalink

      I have breed bettas for 15 years and have seen this condition go to your local pet store and ask for aquarium salt put a tea spoon in a cup and dissole it in aquaruim water then add it to your aquarium put the heat up to 30 degress wait a week and do a 1/4 water change drop the tempbackto 26degrees this should help

  32. Betta Newbie 29 August 2014 at 3:04 pm Permalink

    Hi! I used to have a betta when I was ten, but it was a split (very small) tank with no filter. It died after about a year. :(
    I am getting a betta within the next month or two, and I want to be a much, much better owner!!! I was looking at the national geographic betta 2.5 gallon starter kit, and I’ll need a small heater, too.
    I don’t want to spend more than $20-$40, any reccomendations?

  33. Kim 30 August 2014 at 5:19 am Permalink

    Hi had a beta for 2.5 years he was good this morning and tonight I went to feed him and he’s dead at bottom of his vase. I have the big vase with plant on top. I just had hip surgery on Monday so I’ve been laying down and my friend came over and was cleaning kitchen where the fish was. Do you think the cleaning chemicals got in his water somehow and killed him? I’m sad. Thanks

  34. LeeAnne 22 September 2014 at 12:20 am Permalink

    We just got our Betta a week ago, its in a little over 6 gallon tank and loves swimming around this helicopter we got for it. However we were curious as to how we could figure out the gender of the fish? Not entirely sure how we could do that.. Another question, we forgot to ask how old the fish was when we bought it at Wal-Mart-is there any way we would be able to tell how old it is?

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