How Long Do Betta Fish Live?


How Long Do Betta Fish Live?

The Betta is one of the most regal-looking fishes in the freshwater aquarium hobby. They also tend to be quite personable, meaning anyone who gets one will want it to live for as long as possible. So, how long do Bettas really live?

On average, bettas live for about 3 years. In some rare and exceptional cases, they can even live for 4 or 5 years. So you may be wondering, how can you extend your Betta’s lifespan to live as long as possible? Let’s find out.

Factors That Impact a Betta's Lifespan

Age At Purchase

Bettas are known for their vivid colors and their flamboyant fins. However, they aren’t born with these physical traits. These develop and become prominent as they age and their coloration also becomes deeper with time. What this means is that oftentimes, the most colorful Bettas in fish stores are the oldest as well. Some Bettas can even be 18 months old and even with the best care, can die in a little under a year due to natural causes.
Your best bet is to choose a trustworthy breeder/fish store to ensure that the Betta isn’t too old.


Most people who have never seen a wild Betta would be shocked to know that they aren’t as colorful as Bettas sold in the aquarium trade. This is because specimens found in the hobby are the result of decades of selective breeding. While this is great when it comes to the visual side of things, it makes them genetically weaker. This is particularly true for the fancier Betta varieties with unique fin shapes and patterns.

Then there are those Bettas that were not bred properly. Too much inbreeding and poor genetics can all contribute to a much shorter lifespan. This is why it very important to get your Bettas from a good source.

Breeding Conditions for Bettas

Even if the Betta you get has been bred from parents with good genes, it isn’t always a guarantee of a fish that will live out it’s full potential lifespan. The care and upkeep the Betta receives during it’s first few weeks of life plays a huge role in how healthy it will be. Excellent tank conditions and good nutrition are key to ensuring that Betta fry develop properly. This will also make sure that the fish have a strong immune system. Poorly raised baby fish that manage to survive into adulthood will always be prone to infections and disease; it may be a matter of time before they succumb to something minor.

Betta Acclimatization

The factors described so far are not completely in your control. All you can do is choose a good fish store or breeder and hope for the best.
Among the factors in your control is the acclimatization process. Getting a new fish is an exciting experience and the temptation to add it directly to your tank can be irresistible, but nonetheless should be avoided. Proper acclimatization procedures should be followed. The bag containing the fish should be floated in the aquarium for at least 45 minutes. This will gradually equalize the temperature of the bag with that of the tank. Then slowly start removing small quantities of water from the bag containing the fish and add the same amount of water from the tank. Do this a few times before netting the fish and finally adding it to the aquarium.

Skipping this important step can result in shock to your Betta which it may never recover from and in turn reduce its lifespan.

Betta Fish Care

This is perhaps the most obvious factor. Even a fish with poor genetics can live for a reasonably long time by giving it proper and adequate care. This involves regular monitoring of the various water parameters and taking preventive action if something is amiss. Make sure that your Betta is getting a proper and balanced diet. The aquarium should be large enough and maintained well. Regularly check on your Betta to make sure that everything is fine. Seek professional help whenever a problem persists.

Betta Fish Tankmates

The Betta is a very particular fish when it comes to temperament and behaviour. They are generally docile and timid. However, they aren’t known as the Siamese Fighting Fish for nothing. Two males in the same tank will fight each other to the death. As such, male Bettas should never be mixed. As far as other fish are concerned, Bettas should only be kept with small and docile fish. Fin-nippers should be avoided at all costs. Large fish should also be avoided as they can bring about an abrupt end to the Betta’s life with a single gulp.

Prevention And Treatment Of Infections

The biggest reason why many Bettas don’t live for as long as they should is because of diseases and infections. As is the case for humans, prevention is always better than cure for Bettas as well. Getting the Betta from a good source will ensure that it is disease-free to begin with. Make sure that there isn’t an infectious outbreak in your tank before adding the Betta. If you plan to add a new tankmate then properly quarantine it before adding it to the tank.

Unfortunately, even with all these measures in place, a Betta can still catch an infection and fall sick. Properly treating any such ailments is highly important. Start by looking at the symptoms and try to do some basic diagnosis and treatment by yourself. If it doesn’t help then seek professional help.


Having a Betta in your home can be incredibly relaxing and fulfilling. However, losing one too soon can be heart-breaking. Hopefully, now you know how to make sure your Betta will live to a ripe old age and then some!


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