How Long Do Bettas Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 – 5 Years

Betta, which is a Siamese fighting fish, is a freshwater fish found in Southeast Asia, in countries like Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. This species of fish is extremely popular and thus, is the most widely available aquarium fish in the entire world. It is generally low maintenance, found in various vibrant colors, looks attractive, and is globally popular as an easy-going pet.

The bettas have been domesticated for over at least 1000 years, which is the longest duration as compared to any other fish. They are known for being territorial with male bettas attacking one another if kept in the same fish tank. Females bettas can also behave aggressively when kept in confined spaces. This highly territorial nature of bettas can even lead to the death of one or even both fishes when kept in shared spaces.

Bettas are also the national aquatic animal of Thailand. Thailand is also a major breeder as well as exporter of bettas in the global fish aquarium market.

How Long Do Bettas Live?

ConditionsDuration
Betta’s average lifespan3 – 5 years
Betta’s lifespan without food10 – 14 days

Bettas live in the shallow water of ponds, marshes, and slow-moving streams. They are diurnal and hence are active during the daytime but require darkness of the night to have a good sleep. These small and sensitive fish are largely exploited in the pet trade and are susceptible to inadequate care. Even though there is an abundance of bettas as pets, due to increasing pollution and habitat destruction, bettas are listed under the vulnerable category by the IUCN.

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Bettas are curious creatures and thus, inspect every new item placed and added in their tank. This trait of bettas keeps them mentally stimulated. According to research, betta fish can even identify their human owners and swim excitedly when they observe their owners approach.

Betta fish are unique and require care and special attention. They are available in a variety of colors and are typically quite cheap to afford. On average a betta fish will live for about 3 to 5 years. A betta’s lifespan is directly dependent on the environment it is kept in. A clean and well-maintained tank would allow the betta to live peacefully and enjoy a longer life. Along with clean surroundings, even the diet of the fish should be monitored.

Why Do Bettas Live This Long?

Bettas generally do not have a long life. Its average lifespan is said to be 3 to 5 years but a betta purchased from a pet shop is often already one year old. To enjoy living with one’s betta fish for a longer time, make sure to buy the fish from a reputable pet shop.

One should avoid buying pale betta fish as it could be a is a sign of a disease or illness. The fins of the fish should be bright and upright and not torn and ragged. A healthy betta will behave actively and will respond when a person keeps their hand on the glass of the fish tank.

Bettas are usually sold in small, vase-like jars in most stores. This is to keep their aggressive and territorial nature in check. Keeping any two betta fish separated from each other is the best way to ensure that the fish remains healthy in the short term. However, a small container is certainly not a big enough space for the betta fish to thrive. Thus, it should be kept in a space that is at least 2 cubic feet long. Remember, the bigger the tank, the better it is for the fish.

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Good care along with a healthy diet can help bettas to have a long and fruitful life. Proper attention to the needs of the fish can help in prolonging its lifespan. Regular maintenance of the fish tank and frequent cleaning of the fish’s living area can help bettas survive in a good environment. Bettas should never be overfed as too much food can cause fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis) that could contribute to the shortening of the betta’s lifespan.

Conclusion

It is extremely normal for the betta fish to live only a year or two after one purchases it considering its short lifespan of about 3 to 5 years. Due to betta’s aggressive nature, the rule of one male betta per tank should be followed. The ideal water temperature to keep bettas in is 78 to 80 degrees F. Overall, it is vital to keep a betta fish in a well maintained, clean, treated, and filtered aquarium or tank, preferably by itself or with other species of similar sized fish.

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4442930
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1901/jeab.1965.8-341

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