The Betta, thanks to its beauty, easy availability, and relatively simple needs is easily one of the most popular fish in the aquarium hobby.
However, most people wrongly assume that it has a short lifespan of less than a year.
That is not the truth though and today we will look at how long betta fish can actually live while also discussing the different requirements that need to be fulfilled to ensure that these fish are able to live for as long as they should.
How Long Do Betta Fish Live?
On average, Betta fish live for 3 years. In certain cases, they can even live for up to 5 years. However, as alluded to earlier, they generally tend to die off a lot sooner. There are a lot of factors that govern how long Bettas can live for and that is what we are going to look at next
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Factors That Decide Betta Lifespan
Many things come into play when it comes to the actual lifespan of the betta fish in a home aquarium. Here is a detailed look at each of them.
Age When Betta Was Purchased:
Bettas are bought mainly for their appearance. However, they attain their full coloration only as adults.
This means that most Bettas that are sold in stores will already be a year old. As such, they will only live for another two years even if they are taken care of really well.
You might get them to live for three years if you are lucky. You could get a juvenile but they aren’t as colorful and they tend to be a lot more fragile. So, for all intents and purposes, you should not expect more than two years of companionship from your Betta.
It could also happen that the Betta is a lot older when it is bought which will further reduce its lifespan in your home aquarium. That is why it is extremely important to buy your betta from a good store or a reputable breeder.
Its Condition When It Was Purchased:
Bettas that are not raised properly as juveniles can grow up to be weak adults. This can reduce their life expectancy by a big margin. Thankfully, there is a very easy way to spot this.
Bettas that are unhealthy will have cloudy eyes, torn fins, and their coloration won’t be all that brilliant.
They will also be quite lethargic. Avoid such bettas and go for the one that is playful and shows full coloration. This is a clear sign of the fact that it has been taken good care of and that would imply that it can live for as long as a betta is supposed to.
Tank Size For Betta Fish:
The previous two factors mentioned have an effect before you have bought the fish. However, even if you buy the healthiest Betta out there, it is not guaranteed that it will live for a long time.
A big role in this is played by the size of the tank the betta is housed in. It is a popular misconception that bettas can be kept in something as small as a pickle jar but that is not the truth at all.
Bettas, like any other fish, require a decent sized tank that can hold at least 10 gallons of water. They may survive longer than most fish in a confined space but it will be a miserable life for them that will inevitably lead to a slow death.
Keep your betta in a big tank as that will not only improve its quality of life but also its life expectancy.
Betta Tank Setup:
This is an extension of the previous point. Again, it is wrongly assumed that these fish can be kept in anything that holds water without the need for life-support systems such as a filter and a heater.
This again is a myth. Bettas are just as susceptible to poor water quality as any other fish.
They may be able to last longer but all you will be doing will be putting the fish through a short life full of misery and suffering. Always house a betta in a proper aquarium with a good filter, lights, and a heater.
Also, ensure that there are plenty of plants in the aquarium. They do not have to be live though it is preferred. This will create a stress-free environment where the betta can thrive and hence be able to live up to its full potential.
The final piece of the puzzle is the general care and upkeep the betta receives.
It has to be fed properly and the water in the tank should be changed regularly. Any infections should be treated promptly and tankmates, if any, should be chosen wisely so that the betta won’t have to fight for its space in the tank.
Under no reason keep two males together. Not only is this cruel, but highly detrimental to the health of all the bettas involved.
Provide them with a balanced diet that consists of dried and frozen fish food. All the water parameters such as temperature, pH, hardness, etc. should all be maintained as stably as possible and as close to the ideal range for the betta.
How To Ensure That Your Betta Can Live For a Long Time?
To sum it up, helping your betta live to a ripe old age will depend completely on how you approach the whole endeavor from the very beginning.
Always get your fish from a source that you can trust. Make sure that you choose the healthiest fish you can get.
Properly acclimatize them before adding them to their permanent home. Make sure that this home is spacious and set up nicely.
Ensure that the equipment used such as the filter is dependable and of high quality. Be very diligent with the care and upkeep the tank requires.
Provide the betta with good food and a happy and nurturing environment. Doing all of these will ensure that you get to enjoy the companionship of your betta for a reasonably long time without any hiccups.