How Long Do Betta Fish Live? How to Increase Betta Fish Lifespan?

Bettas are quite famous fish among the aquarists. People show enthusiasm to keep them in their tank because of their beautiful features and colorful appearances. There are almost 73 different species of Bettas.

You can check the different types of betta fish. They are available in different colors, patterns, and tail types. The male Bettas are more famous as they have more vibrant colors and long tails than the female Bettas. The males are also more aggressive.

There are not many varieties of Bettas in the wild, as in the aquarium trade. The variety in their appearance is the result of breeding and experiment done by the experts in the captivity.

It’s easy to get attached to them because of their vivid appearance and active movements in the tank. They are bad-tempered and fast swimmers. The average lifespan of a Betta fish is around 3 years in captivity, but it all depends on the level of care and maintenance they get.

The lifespan of Betta fish can be stretched to 4-5 years if cared for properly and given ample space to swim in the aquarium. Many other factors determine the lifespan of the Bettas. In this article, we are going to look at them. Let’s see how long do bettas live.

How Long Do Betta Fish Live In Captivity?

How long do betta fish live

Different factors decide the lifespan of Betta fish. If they got the proper care and the tank setup is right, you can expect your Bettas to live around 3 years in the aquarium.

The tank they live in should be cleaned properly and have the right equipment. Also, good quality food and the right tank mates play a major role in this. The Bettas are ill-tempered, so it is quite difficult to find a mate, especially two male Bettas cannot be put in the same tank. They will end up fighting or hurting each other.

You can easily buy them from pet stores. But they sell them only when the Betta reaches a certain age. A male Betta is only available when he is at least 1 year old, while the female Betta is sold when she is 6 months old.

If you are buying them, you can expect them to stay with you for 2 more years. But in the case of females, you will get more time as they live a little longer than the males. Still, people prefer to buy male Bettas because of their vibrant appearance.

If you did everything right and took right care of your Betta, there will be no surprise to find them living longer than expected.

How Long Do Betta Fish Live in the Wild?

Bettas can be found living in shallow freshwater in the wild. They originated from Thailand and Cambodia but can be seen swimming in the ponds or streams of Brazil, Singapore, and Malaysia. They got introduced to many other regions due to the intervention of humans.

Betta fish live in the wild
Betta fishes live in rice paddies, floodplains, or canals. Ref:

The lifespan of Bettas in the wild are usually seen to be shorter than the tank setup. There are many reasons for this like unregulated water, the presence of other fiery fishes, exposure to diseases, etc.

If the water source got polluted, then the food and plants will be destroyed, and Bettas won’t get much chance to thrive in these environments. In the wild, there is more chance of male Bettas to confront another male.

The confrontation between the two male Bettas can take place into an ugly fight as they are quite territorial and aggressive. They can get competitive if they saw other fish wandering into their own territory. This is the reason they are also known as ‘Siamese Fighting Fish’.

Due to expansion and more development in Thailand, the natural habitat of the Betta fishes is getting destroyed. This is the reason Wild Betta is now kept in The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

How to Increase Betta Fish Lifespan?

We have learned why the lifespan of Betta fish is longer in the tank than in the wild. Now we will look at the main factors that can enhance the quality and add a few more years to the life of your Bettas. A proper betta fish care can help them live healthy and longer.

Betta fish lifespan

Always Buy a Healthy Betta Fish

It is an important factor that you have to keep in mind before buying or adding the new Betta in the aquarium. Make sure the Betta is healthy as an infected fish can infect the whole tank.

To recognize an unhealthy fish, below are some features that you can look for. If you notice any of them, the fish is sick or stressed and won’t survive for long.

  • Ripped or torn fins or tails
  • Bite marks, scratches, or injuries on the body
  • Paler or washed out coloration
  • Bulging eyes
  • Strangely swimming or not moving at all

You can recognize a healthy fish if –

  • It has clear eyes
  • It responds when you put your hand in the tank
  • It is actively swimming or moving around
  • It has bright colors (especially male)

We already learned that the Bettas are sold when they reach a certain age. So, ask the age of the fish before buying them.

Provide Healthy Betta Fish Food

Food is a crucial factor for every organism, and the same is for Bettas. But you can’t just feed them with anything. If you want them to thrive, make sure to provide them with high-quality food only.

The main ingredients in their diet should include fat and protein. Before buying anything, make sure the protein and fat are on the top of the ingredient list and buy food from the certified stores only.

Bettas are carnivores, so it is easy to include a variety of food in their diet. In the wild, they are known to feed heavily on insects, which are not easy to provide in the tank.

If you can’t get live food for them, you can use frozen food to feed instead. High-quality flakes or pellets are other best options to provide your Betta the required nutrition in their diet. There are many premade foods available in the market that are made primarily for Bettas.

You can also prepare their meal at home easily. Brine shrimp and bloodworms are perfect ingredients you can simply mix to create a healthy diet for betta fish.

The right food and right ingredient are essential to maintain health, and it greatly impacts the coloration, growth rate, and lifespan of the Betta fish. They are also quite active while feeding, so they can be easily overfed. Overfeeding can result in bloating, which can become fatal if not treated.

To avoid this, provide only the amount of food they can finish in 2-3 minutes and feed only twice a day. Also, make sure to put another bite of the food when they have completely swallowed the first one. Otherwise, they will spit out the food without finishing to swallow the next one.

Betta Fish Tank Size Should Be Large Enough

Betta fish tank size

You may see the pet store keeping the Bettas in the small container or cup. They do this to stop them from fighting, especially if they are male. Often people give excuses such as the Bettas live in shallow water in the wild, so it is okay to keep them in the small tank.

This should not encourage you to keep the Bettas in the small tank. In the wild, the shallow water runs from miles to miles, so they get ample space to swim or hide if they feel threatened. But, in the small aquarium, they won’t get the same space, and it can make them stressed or more aggressive.

The minimum tank capacity for the Bettas should be at least 5 gallons. You can make it bigger but never reduce the size. 5 gallons is the limit that will decide the health of your Bettas.

If you plan to keep female Bettas in the community tank, you’ll have to increase the aquarium size. To figure out the Betta fish tank size, you can research the requirement of each fish and then decide.

Use A Planted Aquarium for Oxygen

It is as important to create a good environment to increase Betta fish lifespan. You can do this by including a variety of plants in the tank. The plants will provide them a feel of their natural environment, and you will be more likely to see their natural behavior.

Bettas don’t feed on the plants as they are carnivores, but they will nibble or try to uproot them. So, it is necessary to have the hardy plants to take their nibbling and grow faster.

Floating plants are a good choice for this purpose. They can grow fast and are hardy enough to take the nibbling from them. These plants also increase the oxygen level in your fish tank and provide ample hiding spots for a group of female Bettas.

Some best plants that you can add to the tank are given as follows –

  • Java FernThey can grow up to 8 inches, giving a lot of space without occupying the tank.
  • Anacharis –This is another hardy plant that can survive in a wide range of environments and will grow quickly as well.
  • Java MossThese will give a breathtaking look to your tank and are quite easy to grow and take care of. You can also use them for Aquascaping.

Use An Aquarium Filter and A Heater

It is imperative to use the right equipment in the tank to make the water conditions stable and healthy. Many people think that because wild Bettas live in rice paddies, they can tolerate dirty or different water temperatures. But it is not true.

The weather in countries like Thailand is tropical, so the temperature of the water of the streams or ponds ranges between 75-80oF. So, it is quite important to have a heater in your tank to keep the water warm.

Betta fish food

Another important thing that you need for the aquarium is a filter. The filter will regularly clean the water and keep it oxygenated. It will keep the water healthy by reducing the ammonia or nitrites level.

Even after using a filter, you have to change the water once every week. It will also help in reducing the other harmful components from the aquarium while maintaining the temperature.

Male Betta Fish Should Be Kept Separate

As early as the 19th century, Bettas were considered as a source of entertainment, especially the male Bettas. The aggressive species were bred to produce more aggressive species and battled out in the tank, like cockfighting.

Sad enough, Betta fighting is still in practice in some parts of Thailand. They get the name ‘Siamese Fighting Fish’ from that trend only.

If you have no intention of battling your Bettas, put them in the separate tanks or give enough space to swim or hide in the tank. On the other hand, the female Bettas are not that aggressive and can live peacefully in a group.

If there is ample space and the male Betta still confronted another male, they will fight for a few minutes. The weak one will give up and swim away to find another territory to own.

If there is limited space to swim and hide, you will encounter the ugliest fight among the two Bettas. They will fight until their last breath. In the end, you will have a heavily injured male Betta and one dead male Betta.

To avoid facing this situation, don’t put the two male Betta in the same tank. Other fish species can become a good companion of the male Bettas, such as Rasboras.

These two are known to co-exist in the wild, so keeping them together in the same tank is safe. Other fish species that can live peacefully with the male Bettas include Bristlenose Pleco, Neon Tetras, Snails, and Loaches.

Betta Fish Lifespan FAQs

How long can a Betta Fish live without food?

Bettas can survive for as long as 2 weeks without getting fed, but it is not recommended. You will not recover the health lost in two weeks, which can become fatal.

But if you are going on a vacation, make sure there is someone who can feed them regularly, or you can opt for an automatic fish feeder as well.

What’s the Betta Fish lifespan in a bowl?

Bettas cannot thrive in a bowl, so it is not recommended. It can significantly affect their growth and lifespan. If you keep them in a bowl, they won’t be able to survive even for a year.

How long do Betta Fish live in 1 gallon tank?

Betta fish lifespan in a 1-gallon tank will be less than a year.

How old is the oldest Betta Fish?

It is said that the oldest Betta has lived for ten whole years before passing away. It is also said that the oldest Betta was raised in the laboratory in the fixed conditions. But there is no evidence of any of these claims.


The Bettas are known to be live for a maximum of 3 years. But you can add the years in their lifespan if you did everything right from the right tank set up to the healthy and right diet.

The tank size also plays another major role. The Bettas need ample space to swim, to mark territory, or to hide if felt threatened. Please choose the right plants that can take their nibbling as well.

If you did everything right, your Betta will move actively and show bright colorations. This is all an owner wants when they buy a Betta for their tank.

Do you have Betta? How do you care for them? What are the qualities that you like most about them? Let us know in the comment below.