What should we do if our betta fish are old?

Aging Bettas

In nature, aging Betta splendens would quickly succumb to predators but in the aquarium hobby they often live much longer then their wild counterparts. If we are lucky we will see our fish live out their full lives and eventually cede to natural causes. Before that time approaches you may notice your betta fish illustrating signs of aging, many of which can be observed in humans.


The average life span of bettas varies from 2 to 5 years. How long they live has to do with a combination of their genes and environment. Bettas exposed to stressors like poor water quality will likely not live as long as those that have been housed in good conditions consistently. Depending on where you buy your bettas you can often find out exactly how old your fish is. Breeders will certainly know the age of their bettas and smaller Ma & Pa fish stores may also know. If you buy yours from a large chain store you are often buying a fish that is already between 6 months to one year old. Size can sometimes give you an estimate. I’ve noticed smaller and likely younger bettas coming out of stores like PetCo and PetSmart over the last several years.

Little research has been done on aging aquarium fish. Until some formal studies are done all we have are our own observations. It’s important to first understand that there is a learning curve involved with the aquarium hobby and every specific species of fish. I often hear new keepers surmise that the death of their betta was old age even when the fish was only 2 years old. I admit I blamed the death of my first betta on old age even though I only had him 11 months. If I knew then what I know now I would have considered that the unheated, half-gallon, sporadically water-changed bowl I had him in probably had something to do with it.

Tip to know

  • If your betta is 2 years old and belly up it was probably something environmental, not old age.

Reviewing your care regimen may prove useful. If your betta suddenly becomes lethargic or looses color over a few days or weeks it may be a sign of disease. If the symptoms are very gradual and your attempts at curing them seem to be in vein then it may just be that your betta is getting old. For me, it was a number of symptoms increasing over many months before I realized that my betta might be in his senior years.

See more information>> Old betta fish

Credit : Nice Betta Thailand

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