Betta fish life span is based on a few simple factors. Environment, diet, genetics and a little luck all play a role in how long your betta fish will live. Domesticated bettas, when cared for properly, have an estimated life span of about 3 years. It is not unusual for a betta to live longer than 3 years, but most bettas succumb to disease early due to factors like poor water quality
, inadequate diet, inappropriate housing, or accidents. When conditions are right, your betta may live as long as 5 or 6 years. Some fish keepers claim to have even older bettas but such claims haven’t been cohobated (as far as I know). Even Wikipedia’s latest Betta splendens
page says bettas can live 7-9 years when fed anabolic steroids. This statement causes me to raise a very skeptical eyebrow and I’d love to see the evidence. With fish that breed so proficiently, I’m not sure why any breeder would even want to go down that road. I suspect this is one of those crazy internet rumors spread by someone who doesn’t really know a whole heck-of-a-lot about betta fish. But hay, I’m all about sharing the latest, so if I hear differently you’ll be the first to know.
If you find that your betta fish aren’t surviving long (less than a few years), I’d encourage you to look at three of the four factors you DO have some control over.
- Environment – Fish are very sensitive to any change in their environment. Recreating an ecosystem in a bowl, with all the elements, minerals, bacteria found in nature, can be tricky, but not impossible. Your betta’s chances of survival will increase significantly if you cycle your aquarium and test your water parameters regularly.
- Diet – There are many wonderful options when it comes to betta food, but a well-balanced, nutritious diet is key. Live and frozen foods are the closest thing to what bettas eat in the wild. Offering a variety of live and frozen fish foods will put your betta on the right track. You can supplement your betta’s diet with pellet, freeze dried, and flake fish food, which have been treated with vitamins to offer well-balanced nutrition.
- Genetics – You have less control over genetics, however, I personally have found that fish I have purchased direct from a reputable breeder have greater resistance to infection than many of the big box store bettas. There are ALWAYS exceptions to this rule, but if you are having bad luck with your Walmart fish, try buying direct from a breeder. There are never any guarantees, but you might have better luck trying new sources.
- Luck – Well, there isn’t much you can do about luck but you know what they say about the Lotto? You can’t win if you don’t play; so get out there and find yourself the perfect betta fish for your family.
Untitled, originally uploaded by prismaviolet.