How to help a betta fish live longer

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

  • How to Keep Your Betta Fish Healthy
  • Tips for Caring for Your Betta Fish

Whether you’re considering getting a pet betta fish or you already have one, understanding the lifespan of betta fish will help you know what to expect. Knowing how to keep your betta fish healthy and care for them properly can help them live a longer life.

How to Keep Your Betta Fish Healthy

Fish as a species have general needs, but betta fish — also known as Siamese fighting fish — are unique and need even more specific care. Because they come in a variety of colors and are typically cheap to purchase, they make popular pets. But, many people don’t realize the commitment they’re making when choosing betta fish as a pet.

Betta fish lifespan. Betta fish on average live to be 2-4 years old. The length of your betta fish’s life is directly related to the environment you keep them in. By maintaining a clean tank and watching their diet, you can help them live a longer life.

The role of tank quality. Betta fish are primarily presented in pet stores in small, vase-like jars that allow the roots of plants to extend into the water. This is because of their aggressive, territorial nature. Keeping betta fish separated is the best way to keep them healthy in the short term.

However, a small container is not enough to allow your betta fish to thrive. In fact, betta fish require at least 2 cubic feet of space in a tank to be healthy. The bigger the tank, the better.

Keep your betta fish’s water clean but not sterile. Your fish need good bacteria to grow in the water to help maintain their health. Live plants also contribute to good water quality. When you change the water in the tank, only do 10%-15% at a time to allow for the introduction of fresh water without shocking your pet’s system with a dramatic change.

Nutrition for your betta fish. While other pet fish are content to have flakes of fish food, this won’t do for betta fish. In the wild, they hunt insects to eat. Special pellets are designed to provide betta fish with the specific nutrition they need. Vets also recommend you supplement their diet with treats like:

  • Freeze-dried tubifex worms
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Bloodworms
  • Brine shrimp

Continued

Tips for Caring for Your Betta Fish

The following tips can help your betta fish live as long as possible.

Maintain a low-stress environment. Stress affects all of us, and betta fish feel it, too. Seeing rival fish in their tank or in a nearby tank can cause stress. This is because betta fish may perceive a threat but not feel like they can avoid the other fish or escape. For the same reason, male betta fish cannot be housed together.

All fish like to hide, so betta fish need real or plastic plants to nestle between when they need a break or want to hide. If you have other pets, like cats or dogs, keep them away from the tank so your betta fish doesn’t feel threatened.

Consider which breeds share a tank. Talk to your local pet store or veterinarian about which other fish breeds are compatible with betta fish. You may also consider the difference in having male versus female fish. If your betta doesn’t adjust to life with another fish, try a bigger tank or separate tanks.

When you adopt a new fish, keep them separated for about a week. By ensuring that your new fish is healthy, you can avoid spreading diseases to your current betta fish. This also allows time to acclimate to a new environment.

Find a fish veterinarian. You may not think that your betta fish can get sick, but it is possible. If you want your betta fish to live a long, healthy life, keep in contact with a vet in your area who is familiar with bettas. Because not all veterinarians treat fish, you’ll want to do some research and find a specialist in your area.

Signs of betta fish illnesses. Signs of possible sickness include:

  • Being disoriented
  • Swimming in an odd pattern or upside down
  • Not eating
  • White spots appearing on scales or gills
  • Discoloration
  • Trouble breathing, indicated by staying at the surface of the water
  • Bulging eyes
  • Mucus appearing on the body
  • Rubbing against hard surfaces
  • Isolating from other fish
  • Sores
  • Bloating
  • Change in shape, size, or appearance

If you have any concerns about your fish’s health, check with your veterinarian. Illnesses that can affect beta fish include:

  • Physical injury
  • Parasites
  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Fish pox (wart-like growths) caused by a fish herpes virus
  • Ammonia or chlorine poisoning due to poor water quality

Sources

American Association of Fish Veterinarians: “Find a fish vet.”

American Veterinarian Medical Association: “Got a sick fish?”

Bettafish.org: “Betta Fish Food & Feeding.”

Bettafish.org: “How Long Do Betta Fish Live? Average Lifespans.”

National Geographic: “Betta fish often mistreated in pet industry, evidence suggests.”

University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine: “BETTAS NEED MORE THAN BOWLS.”

University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine: “FRESHWATER FISH 101.”

Last Updated: July 27, 2021

How to help a betta fish live longer

How great would it be if you knew how long something was going to last before you bought it?

You wouldn’t worry about warranties, and you could plan ahead for when the day came to replace it. Unfortunately, that’s not how things work.

There are no guarantees in life, but there are steps we can take to max out the longevity of anything we buy, no matter if it’s a new car, a new plant, or a new fish.

So how long do betta fish live? And what can we do help them live longer?

In this article, we’ll look at how long you can reasonably expect a betta to live.

We’ll let you know the average lifespan for bettas, plus what you can do to help your betta live as long and full a life as possible.

Table of contents

Average Lifespan for Betta Fish

How to help a betta fish live longer

Image Credit: Ron Kuenitz, Shutterstock

Bettas are native to the marshes and rice paddies of Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand (which is why they are sometimes known as Siamese Fighting Fish, Thailand having formerly been named Siam).

In the wild, they have a life expectancy of about two years. This may not seem like long, but you have to consider all the variables working against longevity in the wild. It really is an eat-or-be-eaten world out there!

Bettas kept in captivity and properly cared for may live considerably longer. Given reasonable quality of care, betta adequately housed in an aquarium can live about four years on average.

What is the Oldest Ever Betta Fish?

Although Guinness doesn’t list a world record for the oldest betta, there are stories of bettas living as long as ten years.

One would have to imagine this happens extremely rarely (and let’s be frank, that’s if it happened at all!) and only under the most ideal conditions, plus aided by a bit of good luck, too.

Many aquarists report having kept bettas for as long as seven or eight years.

Five Tips to Help Your Betta Live Longer

How to help a betta fish live longer

Image Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay

Again, there are no guarantees, but there are lots of things you can do to help your betta live a long and healthy life. Here are some of our top tips for extending your fishes lifespan.

1. Use a Proper Aquarium

A cup, bowl, or vase is no place for a betta (or any fish), no matter how you see them displayed at pet stores. To stay healthy, a fish needs clean, healthy water, and that means a proper aquarium complete with a filtration system and more than likely a heater. (You can learn more in guide: What size tank do betta fish need.)

There are many stories out there about how bettas are found in tiny ponds and puddles, cut off from larger bodies of water. This is entirely true; they have adapted to survive during the dry season if they get stranded in small places. But only temporarily!

Amazingly, they can jump and flop about from one puddle to the next until they reach a suitably large area of water.

This is partly because they have what’s called a labyrinth organ. This highly specialized organ allows the betta to draw oxygen right from the air. Provided it stays moist, they can survive outside of water for a shockingly long time, breathing the air like we do.

So, while they can survive in close quarters for a while, they can’t live there for very long. Get that betta out of the cup or bowl and into a nice aquarium ASAP!

2. Keep Clean Water for Healthy Living

How to help a betta fish live longer

Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock

You may have read that betta commonly live in still, brackish water in the wild, so therefore yours at home can live in the same conditions. This is only partly true.

Yes, the water can be a bit murky from sediment, but it’s still clean. The natural flow of water and the abundance of plants acting as filters, keep the water cleaner than it looks.

Chances are your betta has been bred from a long line of fish that have only ever lived in captivity. They are far removed from their wild ancestors, and while they retain many of their characteristics, they have different needs.

For a happy, healthy fish, you want nice clean water, and probably a filtration system. Live plants suitable for betta are still a great idea, though!

For more information, you can check our guides on to choosing filters for betta, and the best canister filters and best hob filters available today.

3. Slow the Flow

If you’re using a tank larger than a few gallons in volume, you’ll want a filtration system. But, because they’re built for slow-moving water, and despite a surprising ability to jump, bettas are not great swimmers.

Make sure the rate of flow is gentle, or your betta will have to work too hard to swim around. Aquariums with incorporated intakes (like the BioCube) can be very hazardous if the flow is too fast, and your fish may end up plastered against it.

4. Maintain a Consistent Temperature

How to help a betta fish live longer

Image Credit: Pixabay

The weather doesn’t change much where betta come from. It’s usually either hot and wet, or hot and dry. That means the temperature of the water they live in doesn’t change much, either. As such, a betta does not endure extremes of temperature well.

To give your betta the most comfortable environment you can, use an aquarium heater to keep the temperature between 76F – 81F (24C – 27C), make sure you have an aquarium thermometer to monitor the temps.

5. Feed Your Betta a Varied Diet

While they aren’t little piranhas, bettas are definitely carnivores. It’s important they get enough protein to help them stay healthy and live a long life.

Live, frozen (and then thawed), and freeze-dried proteins like shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms are typical favorites on a betta’s menu. Mix it up with pellets and flakes, too. A varied diet is the healthiest diet.

Bettas can be fussy, so be mindful of what yours does and does not eat. There’s no point wasting your money and your fishes health by continuing to offer food it doesn’t want.

You can learn more in our guide to the best foods for betta fish.

Swim Long and Prosper – Final Thoughts

We hope after reading this article you’ll be inspired to care for your betta as best as you possibly can. They are beautiful fish and very rewarding for any aquarist. Properly cared for, they can provide years of enjoyment.

If you’ve kept bettas before, how long did your oldest live?

If you have other questions about caring for any aquarium fish, please check out the rest of the site for all the information you need to make life better for your fish. And if you can’t find it here, just ask and we’ll see what we can do!

We appreciate you taking the time to check us out today. Thanks for letting us be your source for the best aquarium info on the ‘net!

You would be blown away if you knew how many times we get asked: “how long do betta fish live?”

And really, it makes total sense. Betta fish are extremely popular, so it’s only natural that new and potential owners want to know how long their fish will be around.

But it’s not as simple as that.

Sure, you can simply find the average betta fish lifespan below and be on your way. However, we highly encourage you to take a second to learn about the factors that can influence how long they live.

You want your fish to be around as long as possible, and knowing this will help you make that happen.

Table of Contents
  1. How Long Do Betta Fish Live In Aquariums?
    1. Here’s The Catch
  2. How Long Do Betta Fish Live In The Wild?
  3. Ways To Help Them Live Longer
    1. Start With A Healthy Fish
    2. Focus On The Water Quality
    3. Give Them Enough Space
    4. Make Sure There Aren’t Any Scuffles
  4. Now You Know

How Long Do Betta Fish Live In Aquariums?

The average betta fish lifespan when kept in aquariums is roughly three years. While this is the average number, you can sometimes extend this by a year or two if you give them the best possible care.

How to help a betta fish live longer

Here’s The Catch

When a lot of people research how long betta fish live they’re under the assumption that they’ll have their fish for their entire life. This is not the case.

In reality, most fish stores sell bettas after they’re six months to a year old. This means if your male betta lives for three years, you’ll probably have it for around two (males are sold later than females).

We felt that this was an important thing to point out just to help manage expectations for any new owners. We’re heard from new aquarists who have thought their betta died young when in reality it had an average lifespan.

How Long Do Betta Fish Live In The Wild?

In the wild, the average betta fish lifespan won’t be quite as long as in an aquarium. There are a number of reasons for this but they all have to do with the additional stressors and difficulties that they will face.

For example, there’s no guarantee that they will be living in water conditions that are suitable for maximizing their lifespan. Also, there’s a good chance that males will injure each other due to their aggressive territorial nature.

Ways To Help Them Live Longer

Like any animal, the lifespan of a betta fish can be drastically impacted by the quality of its living conditions. Here’s what to be aware of from a high-level. If you want the nitty-gritty you can read our betta fish care guide.

How to help a betta fish live longer

Start With A Healthy Fish

It should come as no surprise that purchasing a healthy fish from a reputable supplier will make a huge impact on the lifespan of your betta fish. A fish that has grown up in subpar living conditions and isn’t healthy simply won’t live as long.

Look for any concerning signs before you buy your fish. Bulging eyes, faint colors, and any other external red flags will help give you a good idea.

Focus On The Water Quality

This is the second most important piece of the puzzle if you want to maximize the lifespan of a betta fish. For any fish, poor water quality equals poor health.

We’re not going to get into the exact parameters you need to be aware of in this post. If you want to see them click this link to be taken to that section in our other guide.

Give Them Enough Space

Another great way to increase the number of years a betta fish lives is by keeping them in a proper tank. This is their home, and if they don’t have an adequate amount of space it will cause stress and negatively impact their health.

How to help a betta fish live longer

The average betta fish lifespan can swing by at least a year depending on if they have a suitable home or not. Take this seriously and do what it takes to give them the space they need. This will also help them sleep, which impacts lifespan quite a bit.

Make Sure There Aren’t Any Scuffles

Betta fish can be feisty and territorial, which can obviously cause problems if you’re trying to maximize their lifespan.

This means you should never have them share a tank with fish that aren’t a good match. Males should never be in the same tank with other males, and other aggressive fish are to be avoided (here’s a more in-depth look).

This will cause stress and potential injuries which all can shorten the average betta fish lifespan significantly. You want your fish to be happy and healthy so they can live as long as possible.

Now You Know

You now know the answer to the question “how long do betta fish live” along with the various factors that can impact their lifespan.

If you want them to live as long as possible, make sure you give them the best possible environment and habitat that allows them to thrive.

Just like any other animal, the average betta fish lifespan can change drastically depending on the level of care you provide. Do right by them, and they’ll be around for you to enjoy for quite a while!

Alison Yang

Alison has been interested in fish and aquariums for over five years. When she’s not writing about fish you can find her hiking, swimming, and doing yoga.

Next to the goldfish, betta fish may be America’s most popular pet fish. But how long do betta fish live on average, though?

We’re here to answer how long a betta fish can live and provide ample tips on how to help your betta live the longest life possible. Let’s dive into our guide on the lifespan of an average betta fish and find out just how we might be able to keep them until they’re old and gray.

How Long do Betta Fish Live?

So, how long can a betta fish realistically live inside your fish tank? The short answer is 3 to 5 years, on average.

And while most fish species fair better in the wild, the opposite is true for betta fish. Wild betta fish only live for about 3 years, on average.

The oldest living betta fish was 10 years old, so their lifespans can’t be stretched too far – but there are steps you can take to keep your betta happy and healthy for as long as possible.

Tips to Increase the Lifespan of a Betta Fish

Though fragile creatures, it’s common to see a betta fish live for 4 to 5 years in optimal tank conditions. When cared for properly, they can live longer than the one or two years they generally survive in most new homes.

Pick a Healthy Betta Fish

When you got to the pet store to select your betta, they’re not all going to be in the same shape. Likewise, some may be older than others.

Pet stores usually don’t put male betta fish up for sale until they’re fully developed so their fins and colors are at their brightest and most fluid – but that’s not until they’re already a year old. For female betta fish, they get put up for sale a bit sooner at 6 months of age.

With that in mind, you can expect to keep your betta fish for another year or two in the right conditions. You can stretch this as much as possible by giving them the perfect tank parameters they need.

Avoid betta fish at the store that is pale in color, have bulging eyes, ripped or torn fins, or have scratches or injuries on their body. These are signs that the betta fish is not in the best health and will not last as long in your care.

Look for a betta fish that has clear eyes and is bright in color, especially if they’re a male. Pick a betta fish that responds when you place your hand on their tank, as that’s a good sign that they’re healthy and active.

If the pet store employees are helpful, you can also just ask them how old the betta fish in their store are – they should be able to tell you which ones are the youngest so you can gauge which one you might want to take home.

Appropriately Sized Tank

Contrary to popular belief, a betta fish won’t survive long in a small fishbowl or 1-gallon tank. The small cups betta fish are often sold in are devastating to their health, but they’re kept separated in these containers to prevent fighting amongst the male betta fish.

The first step to making sure they live a long, happy life is to get them into an appropriately sized tank – and that means a minimum of 5 gallons.

Many make the mistake of thinking betta fish can thrive in a smaller tank because wild betta fish live in shallow waters. The shallow bodies of water wild betta fish swim in are miles long, however, which gives them ample opportunity to swim and stay active.

A 5-gallon tank or bigger is the minimum you want for your betta to stay active and healthy.

This is also the case for only one betta fish, which we generally recommend. Betta fish can be aggressive to each other, especially males, so it’s best to keep them always separated.

Introducing a female betta fish into a male’s community is fine, though you’ll absolutely need a larger fish tank to house both together. If you intend on breeding the two, you’ll want to keep a careful eye on the offspring and likely separate them after a period.

Add Plants

Betta fish need locations in their tank they can hide and swim around, so adding plants is always a huge recommendation. They need space to rest and hide whenever they feel threatened, tired or stressed.

Different plants also add variety to their environment, which can make them more active. The more active a betta fish, the more vibrant and bright their colors stand out.

The more you can keep your betta fish moving, the better.

Heater and Filter

Many fish owners make the mistake of housing their fish in bowls with no circulation, filtration, or heating system. This dramatically decreases the likelihood that they’ll have a healthy, happy lifespan.

The waters wild betta fish are used to sit between 75- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure your betta’s fish tank can mimic this. A heater in the tank gives you full control of what temperature the tank is at.

A filter is also essential, as betta fish cannot survive in unfiltered, dirty water. While this shouldn’t keep you from performing regular water changes, this helps to eliminate the buildup of nitrites, ammonia, and other harmful compounds.

It also keeps the water aerated to help your betta fish thrive even further.

Proper Diet

Finally, a betta fish can’t thrive for long without a proper diet. Vibrant fish, their diet greatly affects their color, growth rate, and especially their lifespan.

Most branded betta fish food is filled with fillers that won’t prolong your betta’s life. Avoid any fish food brands that have a fish meal as any of their ingredients.

Make sure the food is full of protein and fat, which is what the carnivorous betta fish needs to thrive.

Brine shrimp, bloodworms, and other insects make for excellent homemade fish food for bettas. Make sure you stick to items high in protein like those.

In addition, make sure they can eat whatever you feed them within two minutes (twice a day) to keep them as healthy as possible. A betta fish overeating or excess food going to waste in their tank is detrimental to their health in the long-term.

Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp for Betta Fish

Summary: Key Tips to Note

  • Pick a healthy betta fish to bring home
  • They need a minimum 5-gallon tank
  • Feed them twice a day in amounts they can eat within two minutes – avoid fish meal if you can
  • Keep their filtered tank between 75- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit

Conclusion

If you stick with our key tips to note, your betta fish can live a happy, healthy life in your care. Try to achieve as many of these conditions as possible to increase their chances of living longer than their average lifespan.

If you’re not able to accommodate your betta fish completely, simply follow as closely to this guide as possible to keep them healthy and happy. They need a 5-gallon tank if they’re on their own with a proper diet, a filtration system, and clean water.

Once you nail the things they need the most, you’ll be able to enjoy your betta’s bright colors and graceful fins for far longer.

How to Feed Kissing Gourami

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are generally low-maintenance pets that can survive in less-than-ideal living conditions. However, in order for your betta to thrive and reach its maximum body size, the water, tank size, food and overall health of your betta come to play. The average growth length for betta fish is 2.25 inches, but manipulating your betta’s environment allows your betta to reach its maximum size.

Increasing the Size of Your Betta

Step 1

Keep your betta fish in a tank of at least 5 gallons. Pet stores often sell betta fish in small cups or bowls to save space, since bettas cannot be kept together in a single tank due to aggression toward each other.

Step 2

Replace 50 percent of the water on a daily basis if you want a larger betta. Bettas excrete a hormone that inhibits their growth, so removal of most of this water is essential for maximum growth, according to the Betty Splendens website. Refill the tank with clean treated water.

Step 3

Maintain a tank temperature of 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Changes in temperature can stress a betta fish, inhibiting growth. Frequent changes, or a sudden drastic one, can kill your fish.

Step 4

Feed your betta a diet high in protein and fiber. Bloodworms, mashed shrimp and vitamins are often combined into food pellets to help bettas’ immune systems.

Step 5

Feed your betta two to three times daily and give only enough food that the betta can consumed within a few minutes.

More Articles

Care for a Harlequin Rasbora →

Take Care of a Betta in a 10-Gallon Tank →

Do Guppy Babies Need a Filter? →

  • Betta Fish Center: What Fish Food Is Right for Your Betta Fish
  • Complete Betta Fish Care: Betta Tank Selection – Choose the Right Betta Aquarium
  • Lifespan of a Betta Fish: Caring for Your Betta Fish
  • Betty Splendens: Power Growing Your Fry
  • Fresh shrimp is a delicious treat for your betta, but it does not increase the betta’s growth potential.
  • Purchase a thermometer for tanks, so you’re able to visualize the temperature of your betta’s environment. Also measure the temperature of replacement water before pouring it into the betta’s tank.
  • Larger tanks lower your bettas risk for disease, according to Complete Betta Fish Care.
  • Feeding your betta more food than he can consume in a few minutes can kill your betta.
  • Excess food in a tank increases bacteria concentration of the water and leaves bettas prone to disease and infection, according to Betta Fish Center.
  • Keep betta fish in separate tanks to avoid fighting and premature death of one of your bettas.
  • Do not feed your betta a plant-based diet.

Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

Next to the goldfish, betta fish may be America’s most popular pet fish. But how long do betta fish live on average, though?

We’re here to answer how long a betta fish can live and provide ample tips on how to help your betta live the longest life possible. Let’s dive into our guide on the lifespan of an average betta fish and find out just how we might be able to keep them until they’re old and gray.

How Long do Betta Fish Live?

So, how long can a betta fish realistically live inside your fish tank? The short answer is 3 to 5 years, on average.

And while most fish species fair better in the wild, the opposite is true for betta fish. Wild betta fish only live for about 3 years, on average.

The oldest living betta fish was 10 years old, so their lifespans can’t be stretched too far – but there are steps you can take to keep your betta happy and healthy for as long as possible.

Tips to Increase the Lifespan of a Betta Fish

Though fragile creatures, it’s common to see a betta fish live for 4 to 5 years in optimal tank conditions. When cared for properly, they can live longer than the one or two years they generally survive in most new homes.

Pick a Healthy Betta Fish

When you got to the pet store to select your betta, they’re not all going to be in the same shape. Likewise, some may be older than others.

Pet stores usually don’t put male betta fish up for sale until they’re fully developed so their fins and colors are at their brightest and most fluid – but that’s not until they’re already a year old. For female betta fish, they get put up for sale a bit sooner at 6 months of age.

With that in mind, you can expect to keep your betta fish for another year or two in the right conditions. You can stretch this as much as possible by giving them the perfect tank parameters they need.

Avoid betta fish at the store that is pale in color, have bulging eyes, ripped or torn fins, or have scratches or injuries on their body. These are signs that the betta fish is not in the best health and will not last as long in your care.

Look for a betta fish that has clear eyes and is bright in color, especially if they’re a male. Pick a betta fish that responds when you place your hand on their tank, as that’s a good sign that they’re healthy and active.

If the pet store employees are helpful, you can also just ask them how old the betta fish in their store are – they should be able to tell you which ones are the youngest so you can gauge which one you might want to take home.

Appropriately Sized Tank

Contrary to popular belief, a betta fish won’t survive long in a small fishbowl or 1-gallon tank. The small cups betta fish are often sold in are devastating to their health, but they’re kept separated in these containers to prevent fighting amongst the male betta fish.

The first step to making sure they live a long, happy life is to get them into an appropriately sized tank – and that means a minimum of 5 gallons.

Many make the mistake of thinking betta fish can thrive in a smaller tank because wild betta fish live in shallow waters. The shallow bodies of water wild betta fish swim in are miles long, however, which gives them ample opportunity to swim and stay active.

A 5-gallon tank or bigger is the minimum you want for your betta to stay active and healthy.

This is also the case for only one betta fish, which we generally recommend. Betta fish can be aggressive to each other, especially males, so it’s best to keep them always separated.

Introducing a female betta fish into a male’s community is fine, though you’ll absolutely need a larger fish tank to house both together. If you intend on breeding the two, you’ll want to keep a careful eye on the offspring and likely separate them after a period.

Add Plants

Betta fish need locations in their tank they can hide and swim around, so adding plants is always a huge recommendation. They need space to rest and hide whenever they feel threatened, tired or stressed.

Different plants also add variety to their environment, which can make them more active. The more active a betta fish, the more vibrant and bright their colors stand out.

The more you can keep your betta fish moving, the better.

Heater and Filter

Many fish owners make the mistake of housing their fish in bowls with no circulation, filtration, or heating system. This dramatically decreases the likelihood that they’ll have a healthy, happy lifespan.

The waters wild betta fish are used to sit between 75- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure your betta’s fish tank can mimic this. A heater in the tank gives you full control of what temperature the tank is at.

A filter is also essential, as betta fish cannot survive in unfiltered, dirty water. While this shouldn’t keep you from performing regular water changes, this helps to eliminate the buildup of nitrites, ammonia, and other harmful compounds.

It also keeps the water aerated to help your betta fish thrive even further.

Proper Diet

Finally, a betta fish can’t thrive for long without a proper diet. Vibrant fish, their diet greatly affects their color, growth rate, and especially their lifespan.

Most branded betta fish food is filled with fillers that won’t prolong your betta’s life. Avoid any fish food brands that have a fish meal as any of their ingredients.

Make sure the food is full of protein and fat, which is what the carnivorous betta fish needs to thrive.

Brine shrimp, bloodworms, and other insects make for excellent homemade fish food for bettas. Make sure you stick to items high in protein like those.

In addition, make sure they can eat whatever you feed them within two minutes (twice a day) to keep them as healthy as possible. A betta fish overeating or excess food going to waste in their tank is detrimental to their health in the long-term.

Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp for Betta Fish

Summary: Key Tips to Note

  • Pick a healthy betta fish to bring home
  • They need a minimum 5-gallon tank
  • Feed them twice a day in amounts they can eat within two minutes – avoid fish meal if you can
  • Keep their filtered tank between 75- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit

Conclusion

If you stick with our key tips to note, your betta fish can live a happy, healthy life in your care. Try to achieve as many of these conditions as possible to increase their chances of living longer than their average lifespan.

If you’re not able to accommodate your betta fish completely, simply follow as closely to this guide as possible to keep them healthy and happy. They need a 5-gallon tank if they’re on their own with a proper diet, a filtration system, and clean water.

Once you nail the things they need the most, you’ll be able to enjoy your betta’s bright colors and graceful fins for far longer.

“Surely these beautiful and smart fish can’t get THAT big?” I’m sure you’ve seen at least one betta fish in an aquarium. They are often kept alone in a small fish tank. They’re the aggressive ones! The ones who will literally fight to their deaths if kept with another fish. But how big can bettas get?

These Siamese fighting fish are territorial, no doubt. But they survive only in freshwater and become fully-grown adults in 7 months . Their physical size, however, is often based on external circumstances. Like the environment, feeding, care, and habitation.

How to help a betta fish live longer

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Table of Contents

How Big Can Bettas Fish Get?

The average size of a betta fish, at 11 weeks old, is 1.9 inches long . But that’s not the longest they can grow. A fully-grown betta fish can be as big as 3 inches . But this is only if they’re bred well, fed well, and kept well.

What factors must you take into consideration for this? Betta fish can live up to 2-4 years , that is their ideal age.

The size of their finnage depends on their health and environment. How clean the water is or their relationship with other fish. Fin rot is a common concern that could change affect finnage and overall well-being.

Males have larger fins than female betta fish. But their bodies, upon reaching adulthood, are the same size and shape. In fact, male betta fish look bulkier than female betta fish. So you can easily spot a difference between their sexes when you see one.

Most Beautiful Types of Betta Fish – Betta Fish Names

Can You Make A Bettas Fish Grow Bigger?

#1. Space

Many aquarium and pet owners make a mistake of keeping their betta fish in a confined space. This confined space is small, cramped, and often incompatible. Keeping them in a tank with at least a 5-gallons capacity is ideal.

#2. Cleanliness

Moving on, betta fish release a special hormone that is a growth inhibitor. So keeping the water clean and replacing it half of it at least once daily is important.

Buy a water filter for the 5-gallon water tank. It will be quiet and keep pumping clean water in. And even if you don’t have the time to replace 50% of the water every day, the water filter does it effortlessly.

How to help a betta fish live longer

#3. Temperature

Water temperature also plays a significant role in increasing the size of betta fish. The ideal average temperature is between 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Like I said before, betta fish are freshwater creatures. They need less stress and a consistent climate to grow.

The right thing to do would be to get a thermostat. This will monitor the water temperature so you know how to maintain it. Nothing about taking care of betta fish is easy and quick. But you can ease your maintenance with the help of such incredible aquarium tools.

#4. Food

Last but not least is nutrition. Protein and fiber are perfect growth enhancers. Look for fish food like shrimp, bloodworms, or food bits infused with vitamins. They not only keep your betta fish healthy, but they boost their immunity. A consistent and few-times-a-day diet is optimal.

It’s a great convenience that betta fish are omnivores. They eat anything from crickets to flies to shrimp. But shrimp and bloodworms are easier to attain for feeding betta fish. So stick to those to replenish their protein, vitamin, and fiber diet.

How to help a betta fish live longer

#5. Activity

It’s not enough to keep a betta fish in an empty water tank. Even if it’s just one fish and a small tank. Add some interesting plants or rocks or tunnels. Trust me; betta fish are intelligent creatures. They can figure out objects and tricks faster than any other domesticated fish.

A few objects inside the tank can encourage them to play, cooperate, and live happily. It’s the last thing you can do for your betta fish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Does Deteriorating Fins Mean Old Age? And Does That Affect Size?

If your betta fish’s fins seem spoiled or rotting, try cleaning the water tank. This is a sign of fin rot and not of old age. It has no direct effect on size but it does impact overall health. Your betta fish may lose appetite which may cause him/her to lose weight and look weak.

Make sure you remove all sharp toys like rocks or plants from the tank if you have any. The sharpness of such objects could be tearing the fin causing it to frail and thin.

Q2. Once My Betta Fish Grows Big Enough, Do They Have To Breed?

The ideal time for betta fish to breed is between 6 to 18 months . Under or above that age gap is not the most ideal time. Once the betta fish looks fully-grown – about 2-3 inches long – introduce to a new mating betta. But take it slow and know the right way to breed betta fish – these things take time!

Q3. How Can I Determine The Sex Of My Betta Fish?

Usually, the aquarium seller lets you know about this. But if that doesn’t happen, this is how you can find out.

The first way is by appearance. Adult male betta fish have longer fins than female betta fish. In about 2 months, there is a notable difference between a male and female betta fish. This includes the size and shape of their fins.

Male betta fish are prone to look longer and narrower than females. Females are stout and thicker in flesh.

There are multiple other ways to determine the sex of a betta fish. Like by their behavior, gills, aggression, etc. But we’re talking about size here. And so how big can betta get does have an impact on their gender.

How to help a betta fish live longer

Final Words – How Big Can Bettas Get?

Betta fish are famous for their aggressive and colorful attributes. They’re bold, beautiful, and instinctive creatures. Ranging from vibrant colors such as brown, grey, red, and pink. Some have different tail colors, some larger or smaller fins.

So if you’re buying betta fish for the first time. You’re supposed to know how big can betta get? And what you can do to impact their size and behavior?

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How to help a betta fish live longer

The “Siamese fighting fish,” or betta (Betta splendens), is an undeniably unique fish.

Even amongst its “labyrinth fish” relatives such as gouramis (Family Anabantidae), the betta fish is a real standout.

Betta fish, which is actually pronounced “bet-tah” fish, not “bay-tah” fish, have long been clear favorites of novice and advanced aquarists alike. However, despite their popularity in the fish world, many people are still unfamiliar with their care requirements.

This stems, by and large, from (1) expectations that bettas can be maintained on the cheap and (2) widespread exaggerations of their hardiness.

Here’s what it really takes to properly care for a betta, including their history, life span, feeding requirements, tank setup and ideal tank mates, so you can set your betta fish up to thrive.

Get to Know the Betta Fish

Betta fish naturally live across tropical Southeast Asia (especially Thailand) in small, warm, stagnant bodies of water.

Around 150 years ago in Thailand, betta fish started to become pets when kids would collect them from the rice paddies and place them together to watch them spar. As these contests grew in popularity, the King of Siam began to regulate and tax betta fish.

The betta fish gained European attention in 1840 when the King gave a few of them to a Danish physician named Dr. Theodore Cantor. He studied and bred them, and by the 1890s, betta fish were being imported into France and Germany.

The first betta fish didn’t enter the United States until 1910.

How Long Can Betta Fish Live?

The average betta fish life span is about 3-4 years.

But to help them live this long, you will need to provide them with the right fish tank, food, light, and mental stimulation.

Betta Fish Tank Setup

While many people may think that bettas can live in small bowls, this is actually very inaccurate.

The Myth of the Betta Fishbowl

The reason for this misconception is not entirely clear but seems to stem from the fact that the betta fish can breathe air and survive in oxygen-depleted environments.

They are able to do this due to their “labyrinth organ,” which allows them to breathe air to a certain extent. It also allows them to gulp food from the water surface without worrying about the air disrupting their swim bladder.

However, bettas don’t actually prefer small habitats, but rather, they use these environments to avoid their competitors and predators (which cannot survive there).

And bettas are still just as sensitive to the effects of ammonia exposure as any other fish species. They are actually prone to fin rot and other maladies—due to their long fins—and a poorly maintained or undersized fish tank can increase their risk or exacerbate an already developing issue.

So if you have a pet betta fish that’s protected from competitors and predators, wouldn’t you want to give them the extra space to thrive and not just survive?

Betta Fish Tank Size

The minimal tank size for a betta is 5 gallons. There is no such thing as too much swimming space, so you could even do a 10-gallon tank—just be sure that the tank is not super deep.

Since bettas are used to swimming left-to-right in shallower waters, a deep tank is not ideal for their habits.

You should also choose a standard square tank over a bowl. The rounded sides of bowls—and relatively small opening at the top—seriously limit filter options. And with bettas being so sensitive to bacterial maladies, it’s important their habitat have an effective filtration system.

Betta Fish Tank Temperature

Bettas are also very temperature sensitive, so an aquarium heater is a necessity, not an option, for betta fish.

The betta fish strongly prefers temperatures (78-82°F) that are even higher than most other tropical fish.

Betta Fish Food

Betta fish are carnivores. They actually survive by eating insects and larvae, so you will need to feed them a balanced fish food containing a lot of protein.

Betta fish can be fed flakes, pellets, or frozen foods that are specially made for them. These foods will contain the levels of protein that suit their needs.

How Much to Feed A Betta

Betta fish are not capable of sensing when they are full. In the wild, they are typically always on the search for their next meal, so it’s up to you to feed your betta fish the right amount of food.

You should feed your betta fish no more than twice a day.

There are two common rules for feeding a betta fish:

Only provide enough food for your fish to eat in 2 minutes. If you have a fish that dawdles when they eat, you can give them up to 5 minutes.

A meal portion should be equal to about 5% of a betta’s body size.

Betta Fish Temperament

While the betta fish might be referred to as the “Siamese Fighting Fish,” they’re not as mean as their reputation would suppose.

The moniker comes from the tendency of male bettas, which are highly territorial, to attack each other on sight. Male bettas have even been known to attack their own image in a mirror.

It should go without saying that this fish should not be housed with another betta (including females); bettas are just too grouchy with each other.

And although bettas are actually quite peaceful with other species, before you get them a tank mate, remember that they are truly unsocial and most certainly do not get “lonely.”

Should Betta Fish Have Tank Mates?

It is possible to keep bettas with other fish, although it’s not at all preferable.

The long fins of males make an especially tempting target for aggressive fish. Even little schooling fish, if nippers, can be a constant bane to a betta.

For this reason, bettas are best kept alone.

If you are set on getting them tank mates, the most compatible options are small, gentle bottom-dwellers such as Corydoras or khuli loaches.

If you do bring in tank mates, you should look into getting a larger tank to allow for adequate space for the fish. The common rule is 1 gallon of water per inch of fish. So starting at a 5-gallon or 10-gallon tank for your betta, you would need to increase the size for each new tank mate.

Set Your Betta Fish Up to Thrive

Bettas are attractive and charming. There are plenty of good reasons to want to acquire one as a pet.

However, they require the same amount of care and equipment as other fish. They should not be seen as low-maintenance alternatives.

To the point, the only good reason to get a betta is because you really want a betta.