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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.
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.