It is generally agreed upon that the average life span of a Betta fish is approximately two to six years. Two to three years is the norm, four to six years is considered quite good. Breeders who feed their Bettas with anabolic steroids can increase the life span of their Betta fish to up to seven years. Nowadays, this is quite common. There are reports of some Betta fish living as long as ten years, but that’s exceptional. And one young man has averred that his Betta lived for 17 years. This may sound like a fish story, but he says that he got his fish when he was a boy of 6 years of age and the Betta lived until he was 23. He was actually reporting about the longevity of his Betta when the fish died.
Several factors affect the topic of “Betta fish life span“. One of these is the strain of your Betta. The Betta fish that are found in stores are, more likely than not, the product of selective breeding. Bettas in their wild state are quite dull looking, usually greenish-brown in hue and have small fins. But for many centuries in Siam and for approximately eighty years in the West, Bettas have been selectively bred to produce vibrant colours and color patterns as well as dramatic fin formations. In the breeding process, some strains of Bettas end up being less hardy than other strains. For example, strains whose colours are relatively recessive usually are more fragile since they have undergone more inbreeding to achieve the colours they now possess. Thus, they are less resistant to diseases, and generally live shorter life spans.
Another factor that affects the life span of Bettas is whether the fish is used for breeding. Breeding and spawning is taxing for the fish, and decreases longevity.
Space is definitely another factor that affects the lifespan of Betta fish. In general, the more space a Betta is allowed, the better. It’s been found that male Bettas that live alone in large tanks tend to live longer. Experiments have been done in laboratories with tanks as large as 50 gallons and have proven quite successful in terms of extending the fishes life span. Many times the fish lived for six to eight years or longer. However, most people don’t have the space or the capability to maintain a 50 gallon fish tank; a 2.5 gallon fish tank is an adequate size for a typical home aquarium.
Bettas that live in fish bowls normally live for only two to three years. It is important that only one male Betta fish at a time be placed in a container. Betta fish are highly territorial. It often happens that when a male Betta sees his own reflection, he gets into a combative pose. If two males are in an enclosed area, eventually they will end up fighting. However, it is possible to keep male Bettas with female Bettas as well as with some other types of fish.
A certain amount of exercise is said to increase longevity as well. Bettas that are prompted to exercise daily have been found to live longer.
Diet is another contributing factor that influences the life span of most Betta fish. Bettas are natural carnivores – meaning, they eat insects, worms, larvae and meat. In the wild, their upturned mouths are perfect for snatching any luckless insects that come within their sphere. Consequently, a diet of live food is ideal for Bettas. Since it’s difficult for the regular Betta fish owner to catch insects and worms for his pet on a regular basis, some good alternatives would be shrimp, beef heart, plankton, tubifex, glassworms, and daphnia. These are sold frozen or freeze dried. Betta fish can adapt to flake foods; but if this is to be the main source of their sustenance, it’s a good idea to supplement the flakes with the frozen or freeze dried food mentioned and, if at all possible, with live food once in a while.
One very important thing to remember is to avoid overfeeding. Overfeeding can result in shortening the life span of your Betta fish considerably. Bettas only need to be fed once a day; this schedule closely approximates their experience in nature. They should be given only as much food as they can finish in two minutes. Giving them more than they can consume immediately will cause the excess food to rot in the tank and to pollute the water. Polluted water is an ideal environment for bacteria to flourish, bacteria that have a harmful effect on the fish.
Finally, proper Betta fish care is a major contributory factor in extending the life of any Betta fish. Keeping his environment clean and stress-free ensures that the Betta’s immune system stays high, making him less likely to get sick and able to live a long life.