How Long Do Healthy Betta Fish Live?

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Congratulations on purchasing a betta fish! Now that you’ve brought a new fish into your home, do you know how long they will live? Just how long do betta fish live?

How to Give Your Betta a Long, Healthy Life

If your betta’s home is in a bowl, you can expect a significantly shortened betta lifespan. 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 reliable thermometer to keep it in check (those stick on ones DO NOT count!).

Betta lifespan also depends on their diet. Make sure you are feeding an appropriate betta diet around 35% to 40% protein. Many betta diets are very high in fat, which lazy betta fish just do not need. The biggest dietary risk to bettas is overfeeding. Many have eyes bigger than their non-existent stomach, and coupled with any husbandry issues, can easily lead to an impaction. No, not constipation, but a literal poop blob too big to pass.

These cases are heartbreaking since there is no great treatment. It is best to feed small meals throughout the day. If you are not around your betta all day, we recommend this awesome tank vacation feeder to provide precisely measured meals when you can’t be home. 

Concerned that your betta isn’t swimming too much? Well, compared to other fish, bettas are very lazy. Their small bodies and long fins do not make for efficient swimming. We like to equate it to trying to swim in a ballgown. It is perfectly normal to see the resting for long periods on their favorite perch.

So, provided my betta is in a good environment, how long do betta fish live?

Provided your betta is in a properly heated and filtered tank and fed a good diet, 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.

how long do betta fish live

Providing Care for Older Bettas

If your betta has passed the 1.5-2 year mark, we consider them “geriatric.” Celebrate their longevity by keeping their environment in tip top condition. 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. These suction cup leaves provide an excellent perch and you can provide several in your tank, depending on where your fish likes to hang out.
  • 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.

If you stick to the above rules and suggestions, your betta will live a long and happy life! The biggest factor for betta fish longevity is to get them out of a bowl and into a properly heated and filtered fish tank! You have no idea how many bettas we “fix” with these simple changes.

Learn more about proper betta care on our YouTube Channel!

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15 thoughts on “How Long Do Healthy Betta Fish Live?”

  1. Pingback: Dead Betta Fish | Why did my betta fish die?

  2. Hi,

    In your “Betta Fish Basics” Video, You said that you have a book about Betta Genetics. Where can i get the book? Thanks in advance.


  3. The betta’s lifespan has always been my doubt. I am interested in creating the betta fish that will have a long life if the conditions of the aquarium are correct. This information is very good. Thanks.

  4. Jessica Ross

    Hello, I have had my Betta fora little over 2 years now, his behavior has recently changed and I am concerned about his health. He use to greet me every morning for his feedings and was quite active and bright. However over the last month or so he has begun laying down on the bottom of the tank or his plants, and doesn’t eat much, also his colors are quite a bit darker and he no longer greets me. I have tried fully changing his tank water, giving antifungal medication, and fasting him but he isn’t improving, is he just at the end of his life span, or is there something I can do to help him get better?

  5. Thank you for this very helpful information, and for all of the great information you share. There is such a lack of understanding about betta fishes, and so many of them suffer so terribly because of it. That is in large part due to the way they are marketed, which gives the notion that it’s alright to keep them in tiny containers. The commercial trade in bettas –and other fishes/animals– is rife with animal suffering and death. People who want to keep a betta fish (or any animal(s)) should adopt them from animal shelters, rescue groups, people on Craig’s List looking to rehome them for free, or the like. Adopt don’t shop! Any time animals are treated like commodities there will be needless suffering. They should instead be treated like the sentient beings they are, with respect and compassion.

  6. The betta’s life expectancy has consistently been my uncertainty. I’m keen on making the betta fish that will have a long life if the states of the aquarium are right. This data is generally excellent. Much obliged.

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