How Long Can a Betta Fish Live In a Fishbowl?

Siamese fighting fish, commonly known as betta fish, are resilient little creatures.

These highly-territorial fish are one of the most popular aquatic animals that are kept in aquariums and fish tanks all around the world.

Their vivid colors and flowing fins make them an excellent choice to keep as pets.

In this article, we will talk about the survival rate of these freshwater fish and how long can a betta fish be kept in a fishbowl.

How Long Can a Betta Fish Survive In a Fishbowl?

Just like humans, animals, and basically any other living creatures on Earth, the lifespan of a betta fish depends on how well they are cared for and the conditions they live in.

When kept in captivity, in an aquarium or a fish tank, a betta fish can live up to an average of 3 years. However, a betta fish can only live up to a year or even less if kept in a fishbowl.

This lifespan is based on the assumption that the betta fish gets proper nutrition, lives in a clean tank, and is cared for.

The three-year lifespan of betta fish is calculated from the time they are born, not from the time you buy them.

A male betta fish develops colorful fins and a beautifully streamlined body after it has turned one year old. That is when it is usually sold in pet stores.

On the other hand, a female betta fish develops fully by the time it is 6 months.

A female betta fish has a longer lifespan than a male betta fish. However, most people prefer buying male betta fish since they are fancier and more colorful than their female counterparts.

Why You Should Not Keep a Betta Fish in a Fishbowl

Many pet store owners, marine life experts, and vets strictly advise against putting betta fish in a fishbowl. When you place a betta fish in a fishbowl, its life expectancy can decrease substantially.

Betta fish that are forced to live in a fishbowl usually live for only a year or even less at times.

In a fishbowl, installing a filter and a heater is almost impossible because it does not have a flat surface. Without a heater, you will not be able to regulate the temperature of the water.

This will become a problem when extremely cold or hot seasons arrive. Water purification will also be difficult without a filter. You are putting your betta in danger by not having a proper purification and heating system.

A betta fish requires at least 20 liters of water. Finding a fishbowl that can hold up to 20 liters of water can also be pretty challenging.

If you really want to keep your betta in a fishbowl, you must clean the tank regularly. Make it a habit to change the water twice a week or anytime it looks cloudy and dirty.

To make the bowl more appealing, you can add some plants or decorations for your betta fish to enjoy.

However, if you have access to a proper fish tank or an aquarium, please consider moving your betta fish from the fishbowl as soon as possible.

Your betta fish’s lifespan can increase by 2.5 times if it is placed in an appropriate environment in the tank, with a heater and purification system.

The Lifespan of Betta Fish in the Wild

Betta is a freshwater fish that mostly live in streams, rice fields, ponds, and canals. They are widely found in countries with tropical climates like Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, and Brazil.

Surprisingly, the lifespan of a betta fish in the wild is usually shorter than its lifespan in captivity. In the wild, betta fish have to hunt for their own food.

The water they live in can get polluted, killing plants and other food sources for the betta fish. The temperatures in the wild are also not regulated for the betta fish.

In the wild, there is an added risk from other species of animals. Since betta is a territorial, fighting fish, it is aggressive.

A male betta fish displays a lot of anger with other males around. The more aggressive a fish is, the higher is the risk of it dying earlier.

Because of the development in farming and the increased amount of water and air pollution, a betta fish’s life is in grave danger in its natural habitat.

How You Can Help a Betta Fish Live Longer

Here are some ways you can help you Betta fish survive longer.

Buy a Healthy Betta Fish

When picking out your betta fish, make sure it is healthy and free from any kind of illness. Bringing an unhealthy or a sick betta fish back home and placing it with other fish can be detrimental for all of them.

Before you head over to a store to buy a betta fish, read its reviews on the Internet or ask people that might know about it. Go to a trusted place to buy your betta fish.

If a fish has torn fins, looks pale has bulgy eyes, or scratches its body, avoid buying it.

Keep Male Betta Fish Separately

The best way to increase the life expectancy of a male betta fish is to keep it separately and away from other betta males. Betta fish are called the Siamese fighting fish for a reason.

They are aggressive, compete for spaces, and fight to mark their territories. As a result of frequent fighting, they can get severely injured and can even die.

It is safe to keep betta males with females or other male species like rasboras, loaches, or neon tetras that co-exist naturally.

Also read: What Fish Can Live With Betta Fish in an Aquarium?

Install a Filter and a Heater

While impossible in a fishbowl, please add a filter and a heater in the tank your betta fish is kept in. Betta fish are unable to tolerate unregulated, dirty water.

A betta fish is a tropical freshwater fish that is used to an ideal temperature of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Installing a heater will help you regulate the temperature to this level.

Adding a filter will ensure clean water supply and convert nitrate and ammonia substrates into harmless compounds. A filter also helps keeps the water aerated.

However, despite the presence of a filter, you must still clean the water regularly.

Ensure Proper Nutrition

A betta fish’s diet plays a huge role in impacting its growth rate, the beauty of its features, and its lifespan. The essential nutrients for betta fish are protein and fat.

Betta fish eat other small fish and insects when in the wild. Ensure that you give your betta fish foods that have a high nutritional value. Bloodworms and brine shrimps are excellent sources of protein for a betta fish.

When giving food, be sure not to overfeed your betta fish. Overfeeding a betta fish can cause some severe bloating. It makes their bodies heavy, making it harder for them to swim and eventually, kills them.

A useful trick is to feed your betta fish the amount of food that it can eat within two minutes. Give this amount twice a day to ensure your fish stays healthy.

Keep Your Betta Fish in an Appropriately-Sized Tank

Keeping your betta fish in a small fishbowl or container can seriously harm its health. Get an appropriately-sized tank or aquarium that can hold at least 5 gallons of water.

The water level should allow the betta fish to have access to the air present on the top surface of the water so it can breathe properly.

Even though betta fish live in shallow waters in the wild that does not mean that they will be able to survive in less water in a tank or an aquarium.

In the wild, a betta fish has a vast area to swim freely. In a tank, the area is limited so the water must be deep, so your betta has plenty of room to swim.

If you are keeping more than one betta fish, adjust the water level accordingly or get a bigger tank.

Ensure Proper Oxygen Supply

Make sure your betta fish is getting the amount of oxygen it needs to breathe. Adding real plants to the aquarium can increase the oxygen content in the water.

Since betta fish are carnivores, they won’t devour any of those plants! By adding plants, you will be able to create the oxygen supply and make the environment close to a betta fish’s natural habitat.

Final Words

On average, you can expect your betta fish to live up to 2 to 3 years after you buy it. Again, the life expectancy of a betta fish depends a lot on the environment you create for it.

Keeping a betta fish in a fishbowl will definitely decrease its lifespan so please avoid doing that.

Create a hospitable environment for your pet in a fish tank or an aquarium and ensure you are meeting all its needs.

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