how long do betta fish live

How Long Betta Fish Live and How to Prolong Their Lives

The lifespan of a Betta fish  (also known as a Siamese fighting fish) is a common and essential topic amongst betta fish hobbyists. If you’re a first-time betta keeper, you’re probably wondering how long your fish can live and how to prolong its life. 

The average betta fish live from two to five years, although bettas can live for up to 10 years if cared for properly. There are some factors, however, that can affect your betta’s lifespan.

Bettas aren’t the easiest fish to care for, so we understand if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or intimidated by the task of keeping your fish friend alive for its entire lifespan. Don’t worry because we’ve written this article to guide you.

Keep reading to find out the difference between a betta fish’s lifespan in the wild vs. in captivity, ways to prolong your betta’s life, and betta life-saving products to help your pet fish live longer.

How Long Do Betta Fish Live in the Wild?

Betta fish can live in the wild for about two years. They have shorter lifespans in their natural habitat than when living in captivity because wild bettas are prone to living in more polluted and aggressive environments than pet bettas.

You can find wild bettas fish in shallow freshwater canals, ponds, rice fields, or streams. Their shallow freshwater habitats are in parts of Brazil, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. You can also find wild bettas in drains and puddles if their territories have dried up!

Wild betta fish have short lifespans, especially if they live in polluted water. Polluted water is a threat to wild bettas’ lives because it can poison or kill off their food options. Plants typically don’t do well in polluted water either, and this means wild betta fish lose oxygen in their habitat as another food option, shortening their lifespan.

Additionally, wild male betta fish are typically territorial and aggressive towards other fish. Unlike captive male betta fish, wild male bettas frequently get exposed to fighting opportunities. This is why we’d say male bettas have the shortest lifespan of all betta fish (wild or captive).

How Long Betta Fish Live in Captivity

Captive betta fish can live for anywhere between three and five years if their owners take proper care of them. Bettas’ living conditions are directionally proportional to how well their owners look after them, and they typically live longer in optimum conditions.

They thrive in clean habitats where they don’t feel threatened and receive regular, nutritious feeding.

Let’s talk more about what you can do to prolong your betta fish friend’s life.

How to Prolong Your Betta Fish’s Life

Aquarium Tips

Follow our aquarium tips below to prolong your betta fish’s life:

  1. Ensure your betta’s water has a pH level of between 6.8 to 7, a temperature of between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and low ammonia and nitrate levels.
  2. Choose an artificial aquarium light with a timer and set it so that it’s only on during the day. Betta fish require darkness at night and plenty of light during the day. 
  3. Use an aquarium heater to auto-regulate your tank’s water temperature.
  4. Use a purifier to help keep the tank water clean and healthy.
  5. Keep your betta fish in a tank with a minimum of three gallons.
  6. Keep a tight lid on your betta’s tank to prevent it from jumping out.
  7. Change 25% of the water in the tank once a week to keep the tank clean without shocking your bettas to death.
  8. Make sure your bettas have enough plants and hiding places to keep them busy and happy.
  9. Keep your bettas with suitable tankmates that are passive and non-threatening. 
  10. Ensure that you feed your betta fish a healthy diet.


Diet affects your betta’s lifespan, color, and growth rate. Betta fish keepers should always strive to feed their bettas the most nutritional, well-balanced, and high-quality food. This will ensure that your betta is healthy, which is a big factor when it comes to prolonging your betta’s life.

Bettas are carnivores that require a variety in their diets. Your betta’s fish food should have plenty of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. It should also be floating food because betta fish are top feeders that typically eat at the top of the tank. 

High-quality live food, flakes, pellets, or frozen food can play a big role in prolonging your betta’s life. Although Betta fish can go up to 14 days without food, this isn’t healthy for them. Make sure that you feed them what they can consume within one to two minutes, twice a day.

What to Avoid

There are a few things to avoid when it comes to betta fish keeping. To help you prolong your betta fish’s life, take note of the following list of what to avoid:

  • Don’t overfeed betta fish.
  • Don’t keep bettas in fishbowls; they’re too small for them to live in and shorten their lives by years.
  • Don’t buy sickly-looking betta fish from the pet store because they may not live for too long.
  • Don’t keep bettas in less than a 3-gallon tank because the lack of pace may stress them to death.
  • Don’t keep male betta fish in the same tank because they are highly likely to fight over territory.
  • Don’t mix betta fish with any aggressive tankmates.
  • Don’t keep bettas with other bright fish because this may intimidate them.

Do you have more questions about betta fish? Read the FAQ section below. 

How Long Do Betta Fish Live as a Pet?

Betta fish can live for an average of three years as a pet; however, they have the potential to live for up to five years. The length of your pet betta fish’s life mainly depends on how well you look after it.

What Kills Betta Fish?

Poor tank conditions, an improper diet, and stress kill betta fish. Bettas need enough water, a nutritious and balanced diet, enough oxygen, a suitable temperature to live in, and the right tankmates to stay alive. Also, remember to do frequent water changes to keep your betta pets healthy. If you aren’t sure whether your betta fish is happy and healthy, there are a few key behaviors they exhibit before death that you should constantly monitor for. 

How Long Can Betta Fish Live in a Fishbowl?

Betta fish can live for a maximum of 12 months in a fishbowl. Fishbowls do not meet betta’s 3-gallon tank requirement and are not ideal for bettas. You’ll frequently have to change your fishbowl’s water if you choose to keep your betta fish in one. Be sure to be on the lookout for the vertical death hang, which is a serious indication that your betta is not well.  

Do Betta Fish Get Lonely?

No, betta fish don’t get lonely. Bettas are territorial and aggressive fish that prefer to live in solitude. If your betta fish seems lonely to you, don’t worry because they aren’t. If you want to get your betta fish tank mates, however, choose ones that won’t threaten your betta (e.g., neon tetra, guppies, cory catfish, and rasbora fish) and make sure you keep them in a big enough tank with ample swimming space, plants, and hiding places.

Betta Fish Care Products 

The following are betta fish products that helped us keep our betta fish happy. We chose these betta fish care products after we embarked on a search to help our betta live their fullest lives. We based our search on customer reviews, product ratings, and professional advice. Read on to learn about our top three highly recommended betta fish care products:

1. API Bettafix Betta Medication

This multi-colored and all-natural betta medication is suitable for any betta fish bacterial infections. API Bettafix Betta Medication contains Tea Tree as an active botanical extract that heals your betta’s tissue damage and open wounds. 

Use API Bettafix Betta Medication if your betta shows any signs of a bacterial infection. Betta fish bacterial infection symptoms include slimy patches, red ulcers, and torn or frayed fins. You should note that this medication is for tropical fish use only. This medication heals betta fish’s damaged skin and fins.

API Bettafix Betta Medication also helps with dropsy, Malawi bloat, tail and fin rot, betta hemorrhagic septicemia, bacterial gill disease, open red sores, eye cloud, body slime, and mouth fungus (also known as saddleback disease), among a host of other betta fish ailments.

We recommend that you treat your betta fish using Bettafix in a separate, clean tank, especially if its original tank has live plants. This will help prolong your betta’s life.

2. API Freshwater Aquarium Salt

API’s Freshwater Aquarium Salt not only improves your betta’s health but that of your other fish too. This all-natural freshwater aquarium salt adds helpful electrolytes to your betta fish’s tank to improve your betta’s gill function, so it can breathe easier. You can use these evaporated aquarium salts to reduce stress in the tank or treat your fish friend’s diseases (fin rot and ich, for example). 

API aquarium salt is a must-have for fish hobbyists. It keeps your fish alive, healthy, and happy. This product is helpful to betta owners who want to prolong their betta fish’s life.

3. Teta Betta Small Pellets

Tetra Betta Small Pellets meets your betta fish’s daily nutritional requirements. We highly recommend this betta fish food because the healthier your betta’s diet is, the longer your fish friend is likely to live.

Tetra’s betta pellets are beneficial for your betta’s color and immune system. They’re suitable for bettas of all ages and for you to feed your betta two to three times a day. Tetra’s betta pellets are a staple food perfect for top feeders like betta fish and are packed with protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. 

Help your betta live its life to the fullest

The lifespan of a betta fish ranges from 2-5 years, depending on its environment and living conditions. In captivity, however, you can expect your betta to live on the higher end of the spectrum if cared for properly. 

When you know your betta’s environmental and dietary requirements, likes, and dislikes, you can be the best fishkeeper to your beautiful fish friend by helping it live its fullest life possible. 

Should you still have questions about caring for your betta fish, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to betta fish care including tank setup, food, and ailments to watch for. Check out our Complete Betta Fish Care Guide

If you found this article helpful, share this article with a fellow fish enthusiast, and feel free to comment your thoughts below! 

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