You are most probably a first-time fishkeeper, almost about to get yourself a Betta fish and want to know “How long is Betta fish going to live?”
So here is the direct answer: 3 years on average
This average is gotten from 2 different factors.
1) If it’s a male or a female
2) If it lives in an aquarium or in the wild
How long does Betta fish live in your aquarium?
If it is a male, it usually lives up to 3 years, if it is a female, it lives 3 years + 2-3 months. You have to know that, those male bettas will be already 1 year old when you buy them. Yes, they are not sold until they are at least a year old, so it is going to live with you for the next 2 years.
If it is a female, then these female bettas are usually sold when they are 6 months old.
Now you might be thinking, oh well! I have got my answer- ” Female Betta it is!!”. Before you jump on to that conclusion, read further.
When people have told you “Bettas are so vibrant and colorful, I love it in my aquarium”, they were speaking of MALE bettas. Why do you ask? That is because male bettas are more colorful than female bettas and obviously everyone prefers the colorful one ( Don’t forget that’s why you like Bettas in the first place )
Do you think you are making the life of a betta worse by putting it in your aquarium, rather than letting it have its freedom filled life in the wild? Read further.
How long does Betta Fish live out there in the wild?
Well, They tend to live longer in your aquarium than in the wild! ( Let us face it, it’s the other way around for almost all the animals out there ). Want to know why? Read further.
Reason no.1: Water pollution is taking away all the nutrients it needs in its daily food, making it hard to stay alive.
Reason no.2: Male fishes are heck lot aggressive to other males, and when they are out in the wild, they attack other male bettas and they end up killing each other because of their territorial nature.
With these 2 reasons being said, it is not predictive how long they can live out in the wild, but it is clearly shorter because it won’t be looked after enough regarding their food even if we minus fighting with other males from the equation.
Ya ok but,
Where are these fish naturally from?
If you have ever seen much fish in ponds, fields, streams, and still haven’t come across one of these betta fishes, then you are in the wrong country :D.
Originally Bettas are from Thailand and Cambodia, but now they are also found in Brazil, Singapore, and Malaysia because of the transport of these fish by humans.
So now, you know the basic answers a betta fish owner has to know before deciding to buy one. Now it’s time for a few tips to elongate the living time of your beloved betta.
Tips to Increase Betta Fish's lifespan :
1. First things first, buy the very healthy one
This goes without saying and sometimes, this is underrated and sometimes overrated, So choosing the fish that is very healthy and good to look at is very important, But what conditions should they match to be healthy?
Here are few important checkboxes you gotta check:
- The colors on the fish have to be very bright and should not be dull/pale.
- The eyes of the fish have to be clear and don’t have some irregular patterns in them and don’t have some abnormal bulginess.
- The fish should come running towards your finger when you dip it in the water.
- Should have very attractive fins and it should not be torn or has injuries on them.
2. Make 5 gallons tank its home
You might see this fish living in a small cup when you visit to buy it, don’t jump to the conclusion that these fishes can stay in those small cups, I mean yes! they can stay in small cups but do you think they like it? Don’t let them live a life of a cruel prisoner just because you want to have it for your absolute need to have a betta fish.
Please buy a tank with a minimum capacity of 5 gallons to give that lucky fish a wonderful life!
If you want to include another fish in the tank ( not of the same gender ), then the recommended size would be 7 gallons tank.
Caution: Don’t keep 2 Male Betta fishes together, they will fight and kill themselves.
Just an FYI! Actually, these betta fishes do stay in a very shallow pond when they are out in the wild, but those ponds aren’t stagnant water ponds, they will have a regular continuous incoming of freshwater from streams.
3. Keep male Bettas in separate tanks
As I have been mentioning multiple times in this article, Male bettas fight with each other because of their nature. Usually in the wild, there’s a lot of places to escape when having a fight, but here inside the tank since it’s limited and one cannot hide away from a dominant male fish, its almost certain that 1 fish dies. So if you really want to have more than 1 vibrant bettas ( because you like it! ) then you have to buy another tank to keep every single fish.
FYI: People used to breed these betta fishes just to play fighter games against each other ( just like bullfights and cockfights ). If you were wondering why they are also called “Siamese fighting fish” ( fish from central Thailand that fights ), this is the reason. And these practices still takes place in Thailand.
4. Install Filter and Heater into the tank
There’s a misconception when it comes to fish keeping that, fishes don’t need a heater to stay alive. Come on don’t be a bad person ( I know you are not ). But usually, when they are in the wild, the waters they live in takes up the heat from the earth and stay warm, so you have to install a heater to give good warm shelter for it. Around 76-81’F, of heat, is the perfect temperature.
And for breaking down the poisonous elements in the water ( nitrates, ammonia ), into less harmful compounds, its very necessary to install the filter as well.
Don’t forget to change the water once in at least 10 days to keep the water fresh and inturn keep your fish healthier and to let your betta fish live longer.
5. Provide them good oxygen
Well, now I’m not gonna tell you to go buy oxygen from the hospital ( bad joke ? ). You just have to grow some plants to provide them with good oxygen.
Here’s the list of a few plants you can buy:
- Java fern – Grows up to 10 inches, so you don’t have to worry about the plant outgrowing the tank
- Java moss – Good option if your plan is it grow carpet walls.
- Anacharis – really a good plant to grow inside the tank. It adjusts itself to any kind of water condition and it lives longer.
A plus point of using the plants is that it feels like home to them. You will see them playing around the plants, which in turn keeps the fish very healthy.
6. Feed them the proper nutritive food
This goes without saying. But it is usually underrated.
The growth rate, the vibrant colors of the fins ( for which you bought it in the first place ), and more importantly to increase the lifespan of your beloved betta fish, you gotta feed them with proper food.
What they eat, you ask?
Basically, these fish are carnivorous, which means they eat small insects and lead their happy little life. But you cannot give them the insects they want, can you?
That’s why there is a lot of fish food available. And these betta fishes need good protein and fats to get a good dine 😉
You can specifically ask the fish food vendor for Betta fish food or you can yourself make great food by mixing bloodworms and brine shrimp together. (DIY)
And now the question is How much food to feed?
well, see how much food it eats in 1 minute and feed it 3 minutes worth of food. That’s all, no complexities.
NOTE: Don’t feed them with food that you think is good ( this is a general mistake people do ). Since these fishes have a very teeny tiny digestive tract, they won’t be able to digest it and thus causing problems like bloating. Avoiding it improves the life span of the betta fish.