Betta Fish Lifespan – How Long Do Bettas Live For?

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Betta Fish are a very popular breed among aquarium owners. These fish come in all shapes, sizes and colors. If you want a truly beautiful fish in your tank, a Betta Fish is a very good choice.

But if you plan to buy bettas, maybe you’re asking yourself how long do these fish live for? And is there any way to you improve their life expectancy?

In most cases, Betta Fish live about 3 years. That’s not a bad lifespan for an aquarium fish. Even so, there are certain things you can do, to increase their life expectancy to even 4 years.

Now let’s talk about some tips that will help your bettas thrive in your tank for a longer period of time:

Tips to Improve Betta Fish Lifespan

There are multiple things you can do to improve their lifespan. Right now, we’ll talk about 6 different aspects that all need to be taken into consideration, to increase your bettas lifespan.

Keep in mind, that if you don’t apply all 6 of these tips at the same time, you can’t be sure your fish will live longer. All these tips work in sync, for the best outcome. Let’s start with the first one:

Proper Tank Size

This aspect is left out by many owners. They think that because bettas live in shallow waters in the wild, a small 1- or 2-gallon tank is all they need. But that isn’t true at all. Just think about it!

Those shallow waters where the bettas usually live, run for miles and miles. They have plenty of room to swim around and thrive in. So, keeping them is such small tanks is a total misconception.

If you own 1 or 2 bettas, a 5-gallon aquarium is the bare minimum in which you should keep them. Keep in mind, this is the minimum. If you own a bigger group, easily go for a 10- or even 20-gallon fish tank. Or if you put a female together with a male in the same tank, also look for a bigger aquarium.

When you buy a Betta Fish from a store, you’ll likely receive it in a 1-gallon tank. But don’t get fooled. That is only the housing for the fish until you get home. Don’t leave it in there. As soon as you have the proper sized tank set up, move your Betta Fish over there.

This is actually one of the best things you can do to increase your fish lifespan.

Quality Food

If we don’t have a healthy diet, we can quickly get sick, or even worse. The same is true for most animals, fish included. Your bettas need quality food to help them live a healthy and long life.

Usually, Betta Fish are carnivorous. Keeping this in mind, you have to get food that’s rich in protein and fat. How can you do that?

You can get them frozen food or pellets that include a high value of fat and protein. But probably the easiest way to feed them properly, is to buy food made specifically for Betta Fish. Depending on your own breed, buy food that’s crafted to their needs.

This way, you’ll make sure they get what they need to live a long and healthy life.

Also, make sure you feed them regularly. To know how, just do a search online for your own species. Since there are many different species, with many different needs, we can’t cover them all here. Find out what the feeding times are for your species, so you don’t overfeed or underfeed them.

Good Water Parameters

To help your bettas live longer, keep a keen eye for the water parameters in your tank. Any Betta Fish, no matter its type, is very sensitive about water quality. What are the best conditions for this species?

The water temperature should always be kept at 76-81 degrees Fahrenheit. The bettas are tropical fish, so they need warm water to thrive in.

Also, keep verifying the pH level too. The ideal value for bettas is between 6,5 and 7,5 in pH level. Don’t go above or below, otherwise, they could get sick. But at the very least, they won’t enjoy the environment at all.

The ammonia and nitrate levels should be all times at zero. For this to happen, use an efficient bio-filter that works day and night. A good choice would be a canister filter, because this one has a more thorough cleaning process, than most other devices.

And on top of all this, avoid sudden water changes. If any of these parameters change suddenly, it will negatively impact the well-being of the bettas. Use an underwater thermometer for instance, to always see the temperature, and make adjustments if needed.

Reduce Stress

Are you happy when you’re stressed out? Of course not. Bettas are all the same as us in this regard. To make sure they live long, you have to make them feel happy in their environment. This is mainly done by reducing stress factors in their environment.

For instance, don’t keep 2 males in the same tank. If you do this, they will attack each other regularly. In many cases, they don’t give up, until one of them is dead. If that isn’t stressful, then nothing is.

Another matter to look out for, is the water composition. This isn’t only relevant because of their health. If you don’t keep the water parameters at ideal levels, the bettas will stress out. High ammonia and nitrate levels are especially impacting them in a bad way.

Monitor and Treat Diseases

If you don’t monitor and treat any disease that surfaces in the tank, your bettas might even die from them. There are many different diseases that could appear in your aquarium: constipation, fin rot, ich, velvet, fungal infections and others.

Study these and others separately, to know what their symptoms and treatment are. But the best method to treat such diseases, is to prevent them before happening. How can you do that?

Make regular water changes and have a good filter in the tank. Also, give your fish quality food and keep the water conditions at their peak. This way, most diseases won’t ever surface.

Choose Quality Betta Breed

To make sure from the very beginning that your bettas will live long, choose quality breeds and buy them from reputed sellers.

If you start out with healthy fish, you’re more likely to keep them for a long period. Avoid stores that don’t specialize in aquarium fish. That’s because they might sell you low quality breeds, that will probably die in a year or two.

Search for shops that have good reviews from actual buyers. If you want to, you can even reach out and call some of these stores before you decide to buy from them. Make all the necessary arrangements, to be sure you get the best fish for your money.

Related Questions

Now, I’ll answer some of the frequently asked questions about Betta Fish and their lifespan:

Do female bettas live longer than males?

Mostly, males and females have the same life expectancy. Like I mentioned above, the average lifespan of bettas is about 3 years. It doesn’t really matter if the fish is a male or a female. If you care for them either way, you can get them to live long, even longer than 3 years.

How long can a Betta Fish live without food?

You shouldn’t keep your bettas unfed for long periods of time. By long periods I mean, multiple days. A Betta Fish can survive up to 2 weeks without food. Of course, don’t let them starve like that if you want to improve their lifespan.

Do Betta Fish live longer in captivity or in the wild?

Yes, in most cases bettas do live longer in captivity. Usually, if nothing unforeseen happens, a Betta Fish will live about 2 years in the wild. However, if you care for yours properly, they could live up to 3 and even 4 years. But the normal lifespan is mostly 3 years.


In this article we talked about Betta Fish lifespan and how you can increase it for your own bettas. As you can see, a Betta will live for an average 3 years, if cared for well.

Do everything like described above: get a proper tank, give them quality food, don’t stress them, ensure good water parameters, prevent and treat diseases and buy quality breeds from the start. This way, they will probably live a long and happy life in your aquarium.

Author Image Fabian
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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