How Old Are Store-Bought Betta Fish?

Store-bought betta fish are usually between 8 months and 1 year old when put up for sale. At this age, they are nearly physically mature and their colors are fully developed.

The rest of this article will explain the typical lifespan of a betta fish and give you pointers on how to extend the lifespan of yours.

How Old Are Bettas When You Buy Them?

Betta fish are recognized for their extravagant flowing tails and striking colors. Their beauty is in sharp contrast to their tendencies for violence, though, as bettas are infamous fighters. Since most bettas are around 8 months to a year old when purchased, you can expect to have your betta for 2 more years.

Betta fish are native to Southeast Asia, where most breeding centers are located. Once partially or fully mature, the fish are packaged and shipped around the world to be sold as pets. Males should be around 1 year old when sold, but females can be chosen as early as 4 months old.

Purple and Orange Betta

Life Expectancy of Bettas in the Wild

There are obviously more environmental challenges in the shallow marshes of Asia than your quaint fish tank. Predators, lack of food, and disease can cut the lifespan of wild bettas short. They are also subjected to human-caused pollution which kills their food and poisons the waters they live in.

It is estimated that bettas in the wild will live around 2 years. Because of their disposition to fight, they have a high probability of getting severely injured in a brawl. Once their fins or tails are damaged, it is harder for them to find food and escape predators.

Life Expectancy of Bettas in Captivity

Captive environments are safer and less stressful if you set them up correctly. A betta in captivity should live from 3 to 4 years in the right conditions. Keeping a clean, spacious tank and feeding them nutrient-rich foods will keep your bettas happy and healthy.

Aside from regular care and cleanliness, the lifespan of bettas is reliant upon which fish you pair them with. Betta fish are extremely territorial and will without a question fight over their space. For safety purposes, experts do not recommend pairing two betta fish together in one tank, especially not two males.

How to Determine the Age of your Betta

Many articles online say that the tail size and color indicate the age of a betta, but this is simply not reliable. There are different variations of the breed, and some are more colorful, larger, and smaller than others. Some bettas become more colorful as they age while others fade to be dull towards the end of their life.

The most reliable determinant of a fish’s age will come from the pet store you’re buying from. Some stores will tell you the hatch date if you ask. If the seller is not sure, you at least know that they’re between 6 months to a year old when put up for sale.

If the local pet store doesn’t know how old the bettas are, that’s not a great sign that the store is reputable. A reliable fish seller should be able to tell you where the fish are from, their approximate age, and how to best care for them. If you aren’t sure how dependable the seller is, make sure fish look healthy and there are no visible sores or ailments.

How Can you Extend the Lifespan of your Betta Fish?

The following section contains some care instructions to keep your bettas living a long, healthy life!

Habitat Size

A solo betta requires a minimum of 1 gallon of water to survive, but a larger tank is needed long-term. Surviving does not mean they’ll be comfortable, and 5 gallon tanks are recommended if you want your betta to thrive, which we all do! They like to breathe above the surface and even jump out of the water, so keep some open space between the water’s surface and your lid.

Male bettas can cohabitate with small, non-aggressive fish as long as there is ample space. Less territorial female bettas can pair with other small fish or other female bettas. 20 gallon tanks are required in such cases to prevent fighting and overcrowding.

Water Quality


Since bettas are from the warm marshes of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, they need warm tank water between 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit.


Bacteria is more likely to grow in the warmer waters that bettas prefer. Because of this, monthly cleanings are recommended to prevent disease and infection. You can install a water filter in addition to regular cleanings to promote a clean habitat.


Feed your fish once or twice a day with varied, nutrient-rich foods. It should only take 1-2 minutes for the food to be finished; if it is taking longer, you may be overfeeding which can be fatal and contributes to a dirty tank.

Habitat Decorations

Bettas appreciate a place to rest and hide, but they also need space to move around. Avoid adding sharp or metal decorations as their delicate tails are easily torn and metal will rust, infecting your water supply. If using any organic material, research the safety of the item and always sterilize it before placing it in your tank.

Live plants are visually pleasing and can improve your tank’s water quality. Bettas will appreciate the plants as a refuge to hide and rest, as well as their ability to produce oxygen and make it easier for them to breathe! Java Fern and Java Moss are two recommended plants for betta fish.


In nature, bettas eat protein-rich foods like small bugs and brine shrimp. You can replicate this protein with high-quality pellets, brine shrimp, live food, and flakes. Most importantly, vary their diet and use high-quality foods specific to bettas.