How Long Do Betta Fish Live? (Increase Their Lifespan)

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how long do bettas live

Betta fish are calm and tranquil creatures who peacefully roam around their habitat without bothering anyone. They also don’t require much space to thrive. However, if their flare fins are disturbed, they can become aggressive. 

Bettas are also known as Siamese fighting fish, and because of their vibrant and beautiful colors, they are the top pet choice among most people.

But unfortunately, there is widespread misinformation about these wonderfully elegant creatures because no one bothers to learn about their true nature.

That is why we decided to guide you about them. From questions like how long betta fish live to what they eat, we will cover as much as we can about these fish. So, let’s start with learning more about them.

How Long Do Betta Fish Live?

 If you are wondering how long bettas live, then you should know that they usually live for a maximum of three to five years.

But that doesn’t mean that your betta will live for exactly 3 years because it is already one year old (sometimes more or less) when you purchase your fish.

Image of two Betta Fish

However, there is a difference between males and females. Males are left to mature so that their bodies develop beautiful colors.

On the other hand, female bettas can be sold at a younger age because their colors develop early; they are as young as six months old when sold.

A good way of enjoying your bettas for longer is to buy healthy and relatively young bettas. These fish will complete their lifespan if they have ideal living conditions and if you keep their environment clean and healthy. 

Do Betta Fish Die Easily?

Bettas don’t die very easily because they are sturdy fish. They can bear bad water conditions but not for too long. They need certain water conditions and parameters along with a healthy diet to live a good and fruitful life. Bettas are considerably easier to care for than other fish and are also more enduring than other fish.

How To Tell If Your Betta Is Dying?

The environment of where bettas live and their diet are the biggest factors determining how well and how well your betta lives.

Image of 5 different colored betta fish

However, if something goes sideways, you should at least know the symptoms your betta shows before dying. But, what are the obvious signs of your betta about to die?


Bettas are active fish; they swim around the whole day, exploring and playing. But, if you see that they are slowing down or that their activity has decreased, then they are sick. Then, they will behave lethargic and start staying at the bottom of the tank.

This also happens with old bettas when there is a slight change in the water parameter.  You should do something about it as soon as you notice them slowing down for more than one hour.

Loss in appetite

as bettas grow old, they lose their appetite because of metabolism getting slower. However, if your betta is healthy and in perfect shape, then a sudden loss in appetite can be worrisome. A drastic decrease in appetite can signify your betta being extremely sick, which can lead to death.

Warning Colors

The colors that once were the biggest attraction of bettas start to fade, especially when they are sick. Bettas can lose their beautiful colors because of old age or a particular specie (marble betta’s gene will change color during their life).

However, in most cases, the color fades from their fins and body because of illness or stress. This can be a prominent sign of your betta closing in on death.

Clinched fins 

Bettas are popular for opening their fins wide and roaming around their habitat happily. However, if someday you notice that they are constantly holding their fins close to their bodies, it is a sign of stress.

In addition, you will notice the issue if the tail’s top is curled and not completely spread. This can happen because of bad water quality, aggressive tank mates, poor environment, cramped spaces, etc. 


TB in fish is a common disease caused by a bacteria called mycobacterium. This bacteria is usually present in all aquariums but only affects the fish if they are weak and stressed. 

This is one of the most deadly diseases because it takes roots in your fish, and you’ll start noticing signs only after it becomes incurable. 

These were some common signs that bettas show before they are about to die.

How To Increase Your Bettas Lifespan?

We all want our fish to live as long as possible, and since it is trickier to take care of fish, they also tend to die quicker than other pets. So, how long betta fish live in captivity depends on how you treat them and what environment you give them to strive in.

If you too want to know how long bettas live for and how you can increase their lifespan, then read on because we will discuss some ways to help you.

#1- Fish Nutrition Is The Key

Sometimes, our fish look so adorable to us that we overfeed them. Unfortunately, overfeeding your fish takes away all the nutrition the food has to give them and instead turns into poison for bettas.

It would be best if you only feed your fish once a day with proper food (the times you feed them can vary according to the age and specie of your betta).

Image of a betta fish and slug in tank

Many fish are greedy and will keep eating if you keep feeding them.  But, with a betta, you have to be twice as careful because if they eat food that doesn’t suit them, they can get sick.

So try to feed the special betta food, bloodworm, larvae, or brine shrimp. These foods provide the nutrition that bettas need.

#2- Plants In The Aquarium

Bettas thrive around plants. In the wild, they live near spots where there is aquatic vegetation. That is why you should mimic their natural environment by placing plants in the tank. 

Bettas love to rest on plants, so the plants you put in your tank should be good enough to feel welcomed and are not so wild that they affect betta’s fins. 

Image of a black Betta Fish

Good betta plant options are; java fern, anubias, moss balls, morimo, cryptocoryne wendtii, water sprite, amazon sword, a banana plant, and java moss. 

All these plants mimic nature and are sure to keep your bettas happy and healthy.

#3- Use A Filter And A Heater

The best way to keep the aquarium clean is by installing a filter. It is not necessary, especially if your betta lives alone and you have plants in the tank.

But, if there is a company in the tank, a filter is the only thing that will help. A good filter will remove waste and add good bacteria to the water. It will also remove any harmful chemicals in the water.

Putting a heater in the tank will maintain a consistent temperature in the water (similar to the wild). A low-watt heater is perfect for bettas as they don’t require hot water. 

#4- Keep Males Separate

Two male bettas shouldn’t be kept in the same tank because they are super aggressive. They can fight and kill each other over a territorial dispute. Also, a male betta can get angry at the sight of another male betta, so the safe thing to do is to keep them in separate tanks. 

Image of two betta fish in separate tanks

However, male bettas don’t necessarily attack other fish but consult a vet before keeping other fish with male bettas. So, how long do male betta fish live depends on how you and with whom you keep them.

#5- Aquarium Size: Keep Them In An Appropriately Sized Tank

There is a common misconception that bettas thrive in tiny tanks. Indeed, they don’t require big tanks like goldfish, but they also don’t want to live in cramped spaces.

Like other fish, bettas can stay happy if you provide them with good space and environment, but if the conditions require, they can also survive in polluted water longer than other fish.

If you are keeping one betta fish, you should at least provide them with a 5-gallon tank the bigger the tank, the better.  Therefore, how long can betta fish live is influenced by the living conditions you provide them.

#6- Environment & Lighting

The environment of the tank should be clean and healthy. Bettas can indeed thrive in polluted waters longer than other fish, but that doesn’t mean you should keep them in dirty water for long. 

Apart from this, bettas also prefer warm water. Their ideal water temperature is 80°F to 82°F. However, they don’t do well in cold waters, and if you are wondering how long can betta fish live in cold water, then they can’t live for long; they get sick quickly. Bettas should also have enough room to spread their fins and roam freely. 

Bettas should be exposed to light for around 15-16 hours every 24 hours. You can install LED lights with timers which will help you provide the amount of light they need. Good lighting helps betta to stay happy.

#7- Betta Breeding History

If you are willing to breed your bettas, then you can put any variety of one male and one female betta together because they are varieties of the same species.

During the mating season, the male betta will make a nest bubble at the bottom of the tank to attract the female. Once they form a pair, they will engage in a courtship ritual; once that is done; the time will come for the female to lay eggs.

The male will take the eggs, put them in the nest, and shoo the female betta away to guard the nest until the eggs hatch. However, you should remember not to disturb your fish while they are in the mating process.

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Final Verdict:

Taking care of a pet fish is more complicated than caring for other pets like cats and dogs because fish don’t express themselves exactly like cats and dogs. That is why you need to take care of all your betta fish needs without them expressing it. 

The best thing you can do for your betta is to give them a proper environment for living, give them the right food, put plants in their aquarium which mimic nature, take care of bettas when they are sick and also keep them with the right tank makes.

Hopefully, after reading our guide, you will know how long do bettas live, how you can take care of them and how to increase betta lifespan. 

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – What kills betta fish?

The commonest cause because of which bettas die is because of bad environment. Small tanks, polluted water, aggressive tank mates, poor lighting, etc., all contribute to the death of your fish.

These factors can make your fish stressed and sick, eventually killing them. You should always monitor your bettas for any sign of sickness they show.

#2 – Do betta fish get lonely?

Male bettas can’t bear to live with other male bettas, so it is ideal if they are kept alone. They rarely get lonely, au contrair; they live quite happily alone. On the other hand, female bettas can easily live with other bettas, but they also can live happily alone. 

However, you should add other enrichments to their tanks, like plants, caves, etc., so they may explore and stay happy.

#3 – How long do betta fish live as a pet?

Usually, bettas live for 2-5 years as pets. But, you should know that when you buy betta, they are already one year old (at least) and won’t complete five years with you as pets. However, how old do betta fish live depends on how you keep them.

#4 – Can betta fish recognize you?

A great thing about fish is that they are smart enough to recognize their owners and are not in nature anymore, instead of living in someone’s living room. 

They can even recognize their owners if the owner is standing with other people. This sense of association is developed by being fed by the same person every day or a person interacting with them or cleaning their tank.

#5 – Do betta fish like to be touched?

No fish likes to be touched because it can frighten them. In their fear, they can bite you or become shy from you. This will defeat your purpose of befriending your fish.

Likewise, you should not touch your betta because it can remove the natural slime from their bodies, protecting them from diseases.

However, if you really want to touch your betta, then you will have to create a strong bond with them, and once that is established, you can put your hand in their tank, and if they feel comfortable, they will swim in your hand. 

#6 – How often do you feed a betta?

The recommended amount that you should feed your betta is 2-4 pellets once or twice a day. This is because the food expands and sits at the bottom of the tank.

Therefore, bettas can eat it whenever they want. But, you shouldn’t feed them more than the recommended amount because it can pollute the water and make them sick.

#7 – How long can betta fish live in 1-gallon tank?

Keeping any fish in a one-gallon tank is pure cruelty. If you want to keep a fish in such a small space, you shouldn’t even buy a fish.

However, if you keep bettas in a 1-gallon tank, they will live for less than a year. You can keep betta temporarily in a 1-gallon tank and get them to a bigger home.

#8 – How long do betta fish live in a 2.5-gallon tank?

If you keep bettas in any tank smaller than 5 gallons, then they won’t live to their full extent. A betta can live for 2-5 years if kept in good conditions, but if you keep them in a cramped room where they can’t even breathe properly, they won’t live for long. Bettas might only live for one year in a 2.5-gallon tank.

#9 – How long do betta fish live in a 5-gallon tank?

On average, a betta can live up to 5 years in a 5-gallon tank. However, how long can betta fish live depends on how you treat them and what kind of environment their tank has.

If the tank stays clean and has warm water and ample light, they will complete their lifespan, which is five years or even more.

#10 – How long do betta fish live without food?

Have you ever wondered how long do betta fish live without food? Then you should they can live up to 9-10 days without it. But, this doesn’t mean you should starve them for ten days and feed them.

Ideally, this situation should never arise where you don’t feed your bettas for so long. But, if it does happen, try to feed them before nine days, or they can get weak and die easily.

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