2 – 3 years is the average lifespan of a domesticated betta fish. However, up to 6 years is very achievable and 10 has been done! You just need to make sure you can give your betta fish the best environment possible.
It’s this blog’s aim to make that 10-year achievement possible for you and your betta.
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; betta fish 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. Check out the tools all betta fish owners need.
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 for the happiest and healthiest betta.
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.
A few live aquarium plants 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?
If 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 you should be removing 10 – 15% of your water and replacing it with fresh conditioned water.
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.
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 a betta fish will live is the water temperature in the aquarium. Be sure to keep the water at between 75 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Choose and research a good aquarium heater and get a reliable tank thermometer to keep track of the temperature. A 25 watt heater will do the trick!
Although we strongly disapprove of it… if you do 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 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.