Betta Fish Lifespan: Explore Fascinating Facts About Betta

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Nov 01, 2023 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Mar 01, 2022
Read about the betta fish tank size, aquarium, water temperature, betta fish lifespan, healthy food options, how long do they live in captivity, and the wild.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 10.7 Min

Betta fish are aquarium fish that are well-known for their attractive look.

They belong to the Gourami family; they are commonly referred to as bettas. They have a very popular reputation for being aggressive, territorial, and 'fighting' fish.

Betta fish are indigenous to the areas of Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Surprisingly, they are not found in puddles, contrary to common perception. They dwell in the wild in areas with standing water, such as rice paddies, floodplains, and canals.

The betta, or Betta splendens, is a fish that thrives in freshwater. The fish is endemic to Southeast Asia and a popular choice for aquariums all across the world. While the genus betta contains 73 species, only Betta splendens is ordinarily called a betta, owing to its global popularity as a pet.

Bettas are widely available aquarium fish, owing to their varied and vibrant color, diverse morphology, and low maintenance requirements. These fish are unique to Thailand's central plain and have been domesticated by humans for over a thousand years, making them one of the longest-lived fish on the planet.

Betta splendens prefer shallow areas of water with rich vegetation, such as marshes, floodplains, and paddy fields, wherever they are found. Bettas were discovered and domesticated by humans because of the historical prominence of rice farming in Southeast Asia, which offered an excellent environment for them. Because of the shallow water and high air temperature, gases quickly evaporate, resulting in a considerable oxygen shortage in the betta's native environment.

Bettas were well-known outside of Thailand thanks to King Rama III, who presented them to Theodore Cantor, a Danish physician, naturalist, and botanist, sometime between 1788-1851. They originally emerged in the west in the late 1800s and got popular as ornamental fish within a few decades.

Their extensive history of selective breeding has resulted in a vast range of color and finnage, earning them the title 'designer fish of the aquatic world'.

Bettas are notoriously territorial, with males prone to fighting each other if kept in the same tank without a method of escape, one or both fish will likely perish. In limited quarters, female bettas can grow territorial toward one another too. Furthermore, while breeding, a betta fish pair can get hostile towards each other post-mating, and either of the fish can also eat the eggs. So, it is imperative that you do your research and monitor the fish's behaviors very closely if you are planning on breeding them.

Bettas' unusual labyrinth organ is a feature unique to the Anabantoidei suborder that allows surface air entry, allowing them to withstand low oxygen levels and poor water quality.

The Siamese fighting fish is popularly known to be the national aquatic animal of Thailand, which continues to be the leading producer and supplier of betta fish for the global aquarium industry.

Despite their popularity as pets, the IUCN has classified B. splendens as Vulnerable because of increased pollution and habitat damage.

The enormous betta is one of several betta fish species. It is the most common betta variety and is the result of careful breeding. The massive betta is a stunning fish with brilliant colors. Because of its highly colorful look, it is beloved among many fish keepers.

If you are enjoying facts about the betta fish thus far, you should definitely keep on reading further to find some great insights into betta fish lifespan. If you are thinking of getting one of these beautiful creatures for yourself as a pet, you must first know basic things like how long do betta fish live. Or you could simply read all about the health, life, and lifespan of the betta fish because it's all so much fun to learn about. Either way, keep reading!

How long can a betta fish live in a fishbowl?

Betta fish are typically (and very popularly) sold in pet stores in tiny, vase-like jars that feature holes meant to allow plant roots to protrude into the water.

Typically, betta fish live a life of about two or four years. The water you keep your betta fish in has a direct impact on their lifespan or how long they live. You may help them potentially live longer by keeping their tank clean and controlling their nutrition intake.

The plants in the tank, food (a rich diet), and water quality play an important role and have a major impact on their lifespan. In captivity, both genders of betta fish live up to two to four years. When kept in aquariums, betta fish live for around three years on average. While this is the average, if you provide them with the greatest possible care, you might be able to further prolong their life by a year or two.

In the wild, for obvious reasons, the betta fish lifespan isn't as long as it is in an aquarium. All the various reasons for this focus on the additional stresses and problems that young fish face. There's no guarantee they'll be living in water that permits them to survive as long as possible.

Furthermore, males should never be housed with other males, and aggressive fish living with docile ones should be avoided at all costs, but nobody has any control over these things in the wild. This may cause stress and even harm, all of which will drastically shorten the betta fish's lifespan.

If you want your beloved betta fish to live and survive as long as they possibly can, make sure you provide them with a healthy lifestyle.

How long do betta fish live as a pet?

If you want your beautiful betta fish to survive as long as possible, you should provide them with the finest possible atmosphere and environment.

The typical betta fish lifespan might vary dramatically based on the quality of care you offer, just like any other animal. Your betta's life expectancy will be lowered if they live in a bowl; hence the most important component in betta fish lifespan is to move them out of the bowl and into a properly heated and filtered fish tank.

It's a popular myth that betta fish can be kept happy in a cup. If you keep betta fish in unfiltered, unheated bowls, their lifespan will almost always be considerably decreased. Betta fish can survive in a tiny cup to some extent, but they need at least a 2 gal (9 l) tank to thrive and live their best life.

Keep the temperature between 75-80 F (23.8-26.6 C). The bettas' immune system will slow down in colder water, making them more susceptible to sickness. On the other hand, hotter water might make them uncomfortable and accelerate the aging process.

A 5 gal (22 l) tank with a filter and a heater is ideal for a long-living, healthy betta. Check to see if your filter flow is pushing them around too much. Be sure to adjust flow settings. This will help to create a nicer home for your betta fish. Also, be sure to remove any pointed and major hurdles. Even some of the betta-friendly plants have sharp edges.

If any potential decor item pokes you, cut them back or cover them with aquarium-safe silicone. We can speculate that in optimal conditions, including a humid environment, non-absorbent surface, and low temperature, your betta fish can live for up to five to six hours.

On the other hand, if your betta could survive 30 minutes in the worst-case scenario, which includes no humidity, an absorbent surface, and burning temperatures, it would be a miracle.

Make sure you have water testing equipment on hand, siphon the substrate and keep a watch on the filter once or twice a week to replace the water. For a betta fish to live longer, clean, warm water is essential.

Betta fish require a special diet, which can be provided by a variety of healthy food pellets. In addition to freeze-dried tubifex worms, mosquito larvae, bloodworms, and brine shrimp. Veterinarians recommend freeze-dried tubifex worms, mosquito larvae, bloodworms, and brine shrimp as treats.

Bettas are prone to overfeeding, which can result in obesity, constipation, swim bladder disease, other health issues, and polluting the water. Feeding a betta at least once a day is recommended, with only the quantity of food it can consume in three to five minutes. The remaining food should be discarded.

Read about the plants used to decorate active betta fish tanks, healthy food that helps it live longer, and how to maintain the water temperature in the tank via a heater.

Do betta fish get lonely?

Their popular name is Siamese fighting fish because the males are known to engage in territorial skirmishes.

They can cause harm to each other, which might shorten their lifespan. Betta condominiums are used by certain aquarium owners who desire to keep more than one male betta separate. However, it's possible that they still feel stressed when they see other guys, which might have an impact on their health.

Maintaining a low-stress and healthy home and habitat for your betta fish can help it live as long as possible. Stress affects everyone, even betta fish, and it has a detrimental impact on their lives. For example, seeing competing fish in their tank or surrounding tanks can induce stress and shorten their longevity.

Betta aquariums with many compartments should use opaque material to separate the parts. In general, one male betta per tank is a good rule to follow. Male bettas cannot be maintained alongside female bettas except for mating, after which they must be removed.

Female bettas may usually be kept together, but they do fight occasionally. One positive aspect of bettas is that a single male may be housed in an aquarium with non-aggressive fish of other species of comparable size.

Male bettas are solitary and can be potentially hostile against one another; they may live with a variety of fish and invertebrates if enough room and hiding spots are available. Compatibility varies depending on the character of the particular betta, so it's best to keep an eye on how the betta interacts with other fish. 

Their tankmates should be tropical, communal, and non-territorial, with no comparable body types or long flowing fins. Cold-water fish, such as goldfish, have conflicting temperature requirements, and aggressive predatory fish are more likely to nip at the betta's fins or eat their slime coat.

Species that shoal, such as tetras and danios, are thought to be the best since they tend to stay together and can withstand the territorial tendency of bettas due to their numbers.

Male guppies and other brightly colored fish with huge fins should be avoided as tank mates since they may attract fin biting by the male betta.

Potential tankmates should be introduced before the male betta so that they can develop their territories without competing with the betta.

Female bettas are less aggressive and territorial than males, allowing them to coexist with a wider range of fish. Brightly colored or large-finned fish, for example, are unlikely to bother a female. Female fighting fish can often handle bigger or more numerous tankmates than male fighting fish.

Keeping male bettas and female bettas together is not an idea that is encouraged unless for breeding purposes, which should always be done with caution and supervision.

If you wish to keep this fish in a community tank, keep it with smaller calm fish like Corydoras or Otocinclus catfish and small non-nippy tetras. However, tetras should be maintained in shoals of five or more of the same species.

Do bettas float or sink when they die?

Betta fish are now among the most popular and attractive pet fish in the world, but they weren't always that way.

The genus betta has over 73 species, but the most well-known is Betta splendens, also known as the Siamese fighting fish. B. splendens has a maximum length of 2.4-3.1 in (6-8 cm). Although aquarium specimens are recognized for their vibrant colors and huge, flowing fins, B. splendens' natural coloring is mainly green, brown, and grey, with short fins; wild fish only show bright colors when agitated.

These fish have been intentionally bred in captivity to exhibit a vivid diversity of colors and tail kinds.

When betta fish die, they usually sink to the bottom of the tank, so if you notice your betta resting at the bottom of the tank, you should be concerned. Bettas that float unusually near the surface of the water might be suffering from swim bladder conditions rather than being dead.

Keep in touch with a local vet who is knowledgeable with betta fish if you want your betta to enjoy a long and healthy life.

Surprisingly, scientists have discovered that fish can recognize their owners' faces even while they are standing near the tank with other people. When an owner approaches the tank, betta fish will usually swim to the front. A healthy betta is active and will react when you lay your palm on the tank's glass!

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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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