How to Tell the Age of Betta Fish?

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If you are wondering which date to mark in your calendar as the birthday of your favorite Betta fish, we, unfortunately, need to disappoint you. Unless you adopted your fish from a friend who keeps a record of the exact dates, it is quite hard to determine how old it is.

Luckily, there are a few handy tips on how to tell the age of Betta fish, and we are of course going to share them with you.

How Old Is Your Betta Fish?

The best way to start is by taking an estimated timeline based on when your Betta was adopted. Breeders usually never sell these fish before they reach a minimum age of 3 months, so you can always be certain your pet is not younger than that.

When heading to a pet store, however, most Bettas live there for an average of 6 to 9 months until a human decides to bring them home. That said, you can easily count on your Betta being anywhere between 9 to 12 months of age once it begins living with you.

As opposed to mammal pets, which feature some more or less clear signs of age, it is quite difficult to apply similar rules to Bettas. Indeed, these creatures are extremely small and they tend to remain small during their entire life. And that is why we start by referring to some simple math.

For those Bettas which are over a year, there is actually a small tip to recognize that, and it relates to the shape of their back. In fact, adult Bettas use to develop a slightly humped back when compared to juvenile fish.

This is not a sign of old age, as it is in people, but simply an indication that the fish has now obtained its full, adult size and that it will not grow anymore.

How Long do Betta Fish Live?

Generally, a Betta fish can live anywhere from 3 to 5 years. However, this is not always the exact lifespan for those Bettas who are extremely well maintained. In fact, it seems that really happy and healthy Bettas can surprisingly survive up to even 7 years in captivity. How amazing is that?

Owning such an old tropical fish is not a mission impossible. Indeed, all you need to do is to properly take care of your fish, starting from a generously sized tank with functioning heaters and filtration systems.

Some owners like to keep their pets into simple glass bowls, as Bettas have such respiratory organs which allow them collecting oxygen from the air, but those Bettas will definitely not survive that much.

Providing environmental conditions similar to those of their natural habitats and feeding them with high-quality and nutritive meals is, therefore, a big must.

To conclude, there is unfortunately no way to predict the life expectancy predispositions of a certain fish, but with amazing life quality they can often spend many happy years with their human parents.

Signs of Old Age in Bettas

A Betta which is quite old is much easier to distinguish from adult or younger ones. Just as old people, old Bettas will not have that much energy anymore. Indeed, old Bettas tend to rest more instead of swimming around, so you will spot it more frequently while spending time on plants.

Another clear sign of old age is related to their colors. While young Bettas have amazingly vibrant and striking coloration across their bodies, those bettas that suffer from old age will have more faded colors. And not only, but they can often feature ragged edges on their fins, as well as white spots or some lost scales.

As your betta fish becomes older, its vision will become weaker. This might cause problems in seeing or catching the food. Don’t confuse this with blindness, because that is another health condition, which is caused by infection.

Look for signs of eye infections though, as you will have to intervene with some antibiotics if the problem is related to that. Moreover, old Bettas are unfortunately more likely to develop tumors.

These are all perfectly normal consequences which start showcasing after a fully lived, active life, and there is nothing owners can do to stop that.

All that can be done is to provide all necessary features for making their life easier, and constantly monitoring their well-being to intervene when necessary.

Increase Betta Fish Life Expectancy

If your favorite fish has the genetic predispositions to live longer, there are many things you can do to enhance such chances and to extend its life expectancy. Here are some general guidelines which certainly help:

  • Provide your fish with a decent tank size, with a proper filtration system and heaters to maintain tropical temperatures.
  • Water needs to be extremely clean all the time. Perform regular water changes to ensure that, as well as occasional substrate vacuuming and thorough cleanings.
  • A healthy and nutritive diet plan is essential to provide a longer life. But it is just as important as avoiding overfeeding, as this could lead either to obesity or ammonia spikes.
  • Provide enough live plants across the tank, not just for making it resemble to tropical waters, but also to provide great resting spots during their old days.
  • Avoid any sharp decorative objects or substrates, as Bettas are delicate and prone to injuries and scratches. Same goes for aggressive tank mates.
  • Finally, try to constantly monitor your pet’s behavior and visible changes on their bodies. Although they are sensitive and can easily get sick or infected, most of major complications can be easily avoided when spotted on time.

Wrapping Up

Although it is sometimes hard to determine how old your Betta fish is (unless it is extremely young or, oppositely, very old), there are some handy tips to follow so that you can at least have an approximate idea of the current stage of your pet’s life.

And finally, remember, your Betta can easily spend many happy years with you, as long as you make sure it has a healthy environment.

avatar I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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