How long do betta fish live? That depends on you and the care you take in keeping your betta healthy.
Before you decide whether or not the betta fish is the right breed for you, you’ll want to consider how long you’ll be taking care of your new friend.
Fish are often considered easier pets to care for than cats or dogs because of their comparatively diminutive size, but adopting a fish requires equally diligent care.
On average, a captive betta fish will live for between three and five years, depending on the kind of care they receive.
There are a number of factors that play into the betta fish lifespan, which can shorten it or lengthen it accordingly.
Care for a Long Betta Fish Lifespan
How long can betta fish live, then?
As long as you attend to their diets, social needs, and the cleanliness of their tanks, you can lengthen (or shorten) your betta’s lifespan, sometimes even seeing that your pet lives beyond the breed’s average range of years.
In order to do so, though, you will need to keep the basics of a betta fish’s care in mind.
Betta fish are carnivores – a status that’s not so unusual in our furry, household friends, but that’s a little unusual in household fish.
Like any other carnivore, though, your betta will need a protein-rich diet in order to maintain its optimal health.
It’s best when keeping a betta, to maintain a steady diet of food pellets. Even so, bettas can prove to be somewhat picky eaters.
Feel free to intersperse a monitored diet of pellets with a few live meals (after doing a bit of research). Do not, though, feed your betta other live fish – stick to bloodworms or to pre-prepared, fish-friendly shrimp.
Take care, as well, to keep from over-feeding your betta. The urge to use food as a reward or a sign of affection is understandable, but fish can get overweight, just like cats and dogs can.
Monitor how much food your fish is getting, and you’ll have a better grasp on their overall health.
This maintenance of general health is, of course, essential to ensuring that your betta makes the most of their three- to five-year lifespan.
Speaking of lifespans: Bettas are notoriously aggressive fish who, when paired improperly in a tank, have been known to shorten the lifespans of their compatriots.
Male bettas, in particular, do not enjoy each other’s company. Whatever you do, do not place two male bettas in the same tank.
You can pair a male and female betta, if you like, so long as you’re prepared to take care of their fry; aggressive or not, nothing can rid a fish of its instinct to mate.
The safest bet, if you’re looking to keep a tank full of betta fish, is to pair a number of females together. This collective is referred to as a “sorority” and is the safest combination of betta fish, as, while the fish will still flair and chase each other about, physical altercations between the fish will be rare.
Ideal Betta Tank
Most importantly, in terms of both a betta’s lifespan and its general health, is the status of its tank. You will need, at the smallest, a five-gallon tank to house your betta, adding ten gallons every time you introduce a new betta into the school.
Do not fall for the stereotype that popular media has established regarding fish and their contentedness in bowls; a betta in a bowl is a betta whose health will undoubtedly suffer due to stress and under-stimulation.
Take care, when building up your betta’s tank, to buy a secure lid, as bettas enjoy jumping up towards freedom and can sometimes throw themselves out of their tanks.
However, do ensure that your bettas can access a bit of air in their tank – don’t fill the tank up all the way.
With the lid in place, you can move on to the rest of the set-up, bringing in a number of silk plants and carved rocks that offer your new friends plenty of hiding places.
Your bettas will thrive in water that mimics a tropical habitat and that has access to light which ensures it stays in line with (or, at least, mimics) a natural day and night cycle.
Keep your betta’s water between 76 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit, and use pH strips to keep the acidity of the water between 6.5 and 7.5.
Here’s a video showing a quick recap on the betta fish lifespan.
How long do bettas live, then? While the breed has an average lifespan, it is your care and keeping of the fishy friend which determines how healthful their lives will be, and how long those lives will last.
A betta, like any pet, is a lot of responsibility, but these beautiful fish can be as companionable as any cat or a dog.
Treat them with care, and they’ll remain in your life for quite some time.
Do you have experience with betta fish? How long has their lifespan been?