siamese fighting fish betta

Factors That Affect a Betta Fish’s Lifespan

How long do betta fish live? If you’re like me, you may worry about how long your beautiful bettas will swim in your tank.

The good news is that bettas can live for quite a long time with proper care, but a few factors can impact their lifespan. 

Here’s what you need to know about how long betta fish live and what you can do to help them live a long, healthy life.

Betta fish lifespan

Average lifespan

The average lifespan of a betta is 3-5 years, but some individuals can live longer with proper care. For example, I had a betta that lived to be over seven years old! So, while you can’t expect your betta to live as many years as a goldfish (which can live for decades), you can still enjoy your fish for many years.

Factors that can impact lifespan

Three things impact the lifespan of your betta:

  • Living conditions
  • Diet
  • Handling

Betta care guidelines

blue half moon Siamese fighting fish in a fish tank with a snail

Spacious and well-maintained tank

One thing that can impact a betta’s lifespan is its living conditions. If you keep your betta in a small, poorly-maintained tank, likely, it will live a shorter life than a betta kept in a larger, well-maintained tank. 

So, if you want your betta to have a long, healthy life, provide it with a spacious tank (at least 2.5 gallons, but preferably 5-10+) and keep it clean with regular water changes.

Warm water and a high-quality diet

First, bettas are tropical fish that need warm water (around 78-82°F) and a high-quality diet to thrive. If you can provide these basic needs for your betta, you’re already off to a good start!

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Another factor that can affect a betta’s lifespan is its diet. Betta fish are carnivorous, so they need a diet high in protein. Avoid feeding your betta a diet primarily made of plant-based proteins, as this can lead to malnutrition. Instead, opt for a high-quality betta food with a good balance of animal-based proteins, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms.

Avoid overfeeding

I always tell my friends who own bettas to be careful not to overfeed their fish. It can be tempting to spoil your betta with treats, but overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health problems. A good rule of thumb is to feed your betta as much as it can eat in two minutes and only once a day.

Gentle handling and consistency in the environment

betta fish in the tank

Finally, if you want your betta to live a long, healthy life, handle it gently and avoid stressing it out. Betta fish can be sensitive to sudden environmental changes, so keep things as consistent as possible for your fish. And, if you need to transport your betta, you better do so carefully and in a secure container.

So, these are a few tips on how to help your betta fish live a long, healthy life. Just remember to provide your betta with a spacious tank, a high-quality diet, and gentle handling, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your beautiful fish for years to come!

Oh, and one more thing–give your betta plenty of love and attention! After all, fish are social creatures too! Perhaps you want to find tank mates for your betta.

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Fun facts about bettas

They can breathe air from the water’s surface via a unique labyrinth organ that functions similarly to the lungs, and they also have gills. The species of fish with labyrinth organs are in the Labyrinth fish family, which both Bettas and Gouramis are.

Bettas are also reasonably intelligent compared to many other fish of comparable size. You can train it to perform tricks like following your finger or swimming through obstacles.

And even if they have a badass name like “Siamese Fighting Fish,” you would think they are robust creatures, but they are pretty sensitive to changes in their habitat. Avoid anything that makes it stressed, like having to acclimate to temperature changes, introducing too many fish to your small tank, or lousy water quality, etc.

P.S. Did you know that “betta” is the name of a genus of 73 different species? The Betta Splendens, or Siamese Fighting Fish, is the one people call betta, but it is also the name of the genus. It’s true! So next time someone asks you what kind of fish you have, you can impress them with your knowledge.