If your betta’s home is in a bowl, you can expect a shortened life span. Any fish living in a bowl is in an environment unfit for long-term survival. The best environment for a long-lived, healthy betta is a minimum 5-gallon tank with a filter and a heater. Yes, bettas are tropical and NEED A HEATER. Heating a small volume of water is difficult for any heater brand, so make sure you have a thermometer to keep it in check.
Provided your betta is in a properly heated and filtered tank, how long should you expect them to live? Most bettas will live 3-5 years, but it is unknown how old they are when you adopt them from the store. Some will live longer than that, and others will die young no matter what you do. Unfortunately, no matter what species of pet you have, some are just not setup to make it to old age.
Geriatric bettas should be kept with the following considerations:
- Give them lots of rest spots, dragging those long, for-appearances-only-fins takes a lot of effort.
- Feed a good quality diet and replace it every 6 months. We have NEVER seen a fish go through an entire container of betta food. The cardboard backed ones come in smaller amounts, but will lose nutrition faster through the water-permeable cardboard.
- Make sure your filter flow does not push them around too much. Brands like this have adjustable flows to make a better betta home.
- Remove all pointy obstructions. Even some of those betta-safe plants have point parts. Brush your hand against any potential décor and if they poke you at all, trim them back or cover them with aquarium-safe silicone.
- Maintain a good environment with regular water changes. The bigger volume of tank will require fewer or smaller water changes for only one inhabitant. If you have other fish or invertebrates, you will need to clean the tank more frequently.