How Long Do Betta Fish Live?

On an average betta fish lives for 2 to 6 years. Many breeders and betta experts have come to a conclusion by years of observation and experiments that life expectancy of bettas can be 2 to 6 years. Actually if a betta lives for 6 years then it is considered as a remarkable achievement. 

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In normal circumstances an average betta would live a healthy life of 2 to 3 years easily. Every owner will always dream of having larger lifespan for their betta. Because of their sheer beauty and colorful display (in some species) bettas are considered the toughest and sought after aquarium fishes worldwide. Many breeders have a practice of feeding their betas with anabolic steroids for extended life spans. 
There are many factors that play an important role in how many years your betta will live happily. 

1) Amongst many reasons the most influential is the stress under which your pet fish lives. One secret to having healthy and long living bettas is to buy them from private breeders and not from local fish stores (LFS). Private breeders passionately take care of their babies (bettas) and hence tend to live longer than fish that you buy from LFS. 

2) You must have seen colorful photos of bettas on websites and even fish stores. But in natural environment and in the wild, bettas are not at all colorful. It is the extra efforts and research done by breeders for several years that have given rise to exotic and colorful species of bettas. In the wild, bettas come with dark colors with green and brown shades and with small fins on the body. The beautiful colors and the pattern of their fins plus their aggressive male like nature is what make them popular amongst aquarium owners worldwide. 


3) Another very important factor for deciding the lifespan of a betta is health of the fish being used for breeding. While breeding, the male fish creates a bubble nest and while mating squeezes the female betta several times. This looks very natural to us humans, but is this requires lots of energy and if the artificially built environment is not healthy then this can be stressful. Too much breeding, too often can cause damage to lifespan of bettas. 

That is why if you want your bettas to live longer, then donít play with their environment. Be ready to spend some money while creating the best space for them and you'll have healthy fish with increased longevity. Shortage of space because of a smaller fish tank should be avoided under all circumstances. Anything that creates stress on fish must be avoided. Many breeders have carefully studied for years that betts in large tanks tend to live longer than this with congested environments. 

4) That is why bettas in a 50 gallon tank are more likely to live longer and happy than those in a 10 gallon tank with other fish in it. I'm not saying that start big. Not everyone will have the time and money to start big and even knowledge matters in this complex hobby of fish keeping. But strive to create beautiful environments for your fish because they deserve the freedom they get, when they are in wild. 

Avoid keeping bettas in smaller tanks of less than 10 gallons. Many people keep them in fish bowls (those round shaped small bowls). Bettas living in fish bowls are reported to live for 3 years maximum. As mentioned above bettas are aggressive in nature and in order to express their aggression they need space and surrounding to swim swiftly. If you see an aggressive betta drifting in a large tank, you'll never think of keeping him in a fish bowl again. 

5) Fish food is another important factor in increasing life span of a betta. In the wild bettas consume mosquito larvae but in a home aquarium you can feed them with frozen brine shrimps and even bloodworms. Just like any other fish species overfeeding bettas can cause trouble. As the fish will not always eat everything you feed them and the remaining food drops down to the bottom of the tank causing all sorts of toxic trouble altering water chemistry. if not taken care of properly bettas can even die because of this.

Image Credits - By Gourami Watcher (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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