Can anyone keep bettas longer than 2 years?

  • #1
Has anyone had luck keeping bettas SUPER healthy and avoiding fin rot for the significant life of the betta? I'd love to hear from any keepers who kept them healthy without constantly battling sickness for at least 2 years.

STORY TIME, if interested: I think bettas are gorgeous with great personality. As with many others, my introduction to aquariums was through bettas. I named my first betta "Worf/Wharf". He is still my profile pic. I enjoyed them so much and they did well... for a few months. Then fin rot always set in and it was a constant battle between healing up the fish and worsening fin rot, like a terrible roller coaster. Eventually he passed.. I had learned so much and had acquired better habits as a fish keeper, I thought I'll try this betta one more time. Eventually he also started the fin rot cycle... He would heal and then a month or two later fin rot would set in again. Its a sad story, which lead to me giving up on bettas. I didn't want to torture another creature for a year or 2 only to see them die a sad death.

I moved onto other fish and I find, they are SO much easier: pea puffers, corydora, male guppies, and fancy goldfish have all been doing much better and although there have been occasional issues, most of my fish live healthy and happy. What I wonder is... Am I just a much better fish keeper now, or are bettas actually that difficult to keep healthy?

For those who want more diagnostic information my first tank was a 2.5 gallon and I did a fishless cycle with pure ammonia, avoid sharp decore and rough plants... I did feed a low quality flake food. For my first betta I did have some periods where the water changes were not performed as regularly as they should have been, but by me second betta I had established better habits and kept his water very clean with a solid cycle. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0-5 nitrate. My pH is super stable at 8.4 and I've never tried to change it as I've heard that can be worse for the fish. No tank mates to stress the fish out. My pH is super stable at 8.4 and I've never tried to change it as I've heard that can be worse for the fish. No tank mates to stress the fish out. I had an internal filter on that tank that had come with a 20 gallon kit. The betta would drive me crazy and rest on filter's intake which I always suspected was not good for his fins (first betta liked to let himself get sucked by the filter intake too.) That's most of the story that I can remember... it's been atleast over a year, probably 2.

Anyone's thoughts are welcome as I am always trying to learn more and improve my fish keeping skills.

  • #2
Mine are around 3-3/12 years old. My water is pretty neutral. Ph 7.2. Neutral hardness. They are in a 55 gallon with an aquaclear 70. No baffle no intake sponge running full blast. 3 males 16 females and I have had no issues. I keep the tank at 80 degrees.

  • Thread Starter
  • #3
That is encouraging and thanks for sharing! That's a cool setup and I haven't hear of others keeping males and females in the same tank. Are they all free in the tank or divided? I love aqua clears now. If I could go back to the past I would gift myself lots of them.
  • #4
I’ve had mine for a year and a half, and he was fully grown when I got him so he was about a year old then. I’ve had no issues of fin rot or anything. Just a good diet and warm water and tons of live plants
  • #5
I lost my oldest and first betta, Libra a few years back. He made it to the ripe old age of 6.5 years. He was a red/purple Cambodian plakat. He never had any health problems until he developed a large tumor towards the end of his life. It didn't seem to bother him, he didn't stop eating or jumping into my hands and playing. But just passed peacefully one night. I loved him so dearly, he lived in an 8 gallon planted tank alone for the most part, with the occasional peppered Cory fry passing in and out, which he seemed to almost care for, he'd try to mimic them and hang out with them on the sand lol . I think nowadays with so much pedigree linebreeding for looks and dramatic finnage, lots of strains are more fragile than they used to be. The more dramatic the fins, the more difficult they seem to be to care for. I still to this day predominantly own plakats and the 3 longfin rescues I do have all have issues with tail biting, collapsing fin rays or swimming struggles due to fin weight.
  • #6
Our blind diamond eye (never buy dragon scale bettas) made it about 5 years, they really have a hump at that point. My wife says her betta "zombie fish" made it even longer. It was called Zombie Fish because we went out of town for a week and almost all its water evaporated. So she came back to a dead betta in a dent in the gravel, she was sad, then it moved. So she added water and it lived for many more years.
I guess there was enough water to moisten it and it was just breathing air as bettas are equipped to do.


  • #7
Your tank sounds like it was set up fine and likely not the issue. Unfortunately store bought bettas have a lot of health problems and they can really be a hit or a miss depending on that.

As a child I kept one in horrible conditions for 3 years. My current betta is about a year and a half old in a 20 long with some snails, pH originally 8.4 but lowered to 7.4, kh around 4, gh around 6, temperature at 78f, sponge filter with the whisper20 air pump, planted, driftwood, and lots of tannins. He's been pretty healthy but looks like a wreck from his life at the pet store before. Hes a crowntail so his fins are already kind funky but he has permanent damage from ammonia buildup and he bites them because they grow pretty big.

If you're curious about some of the issues bettas have there's a link in my signature to a post about them.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I did take a look at that link. For now I have not plenty to keep me busy. I love the long flowing fins on the halfmoons, but if I were to jump into bettas again someday I may just stick to plakats as they seem to be much healthier fish.
  • #9
My mom unfortunately kept her bettas in a bowl about 0.25 gallons and they would live for around 5 years somehow. As a kid I didn’t know any better but now that I do, I talked to her about it and she said she did not want anything that would not fit perfectly on her little kitchen counter, so I bought her a 2.5 gallon with a filter and heater and a lid with a light, which is more than that betta ever had. I know that is not the best, and I have my own betta in a 5 gallon with a sponge filter and a heater, but it’s better than what she had before.
  • #10
I've never had an issue with fin rot even once, but my first (3 year old) betta died from swim bladder disease, and my second died of an enlarged liver I believe, it was very obvious and already like that when I bought it. I have a King betta now with fins like a plakat, and he is very new but looking like he will be a very robust boy. I cured the first 2 bouts of swim bladder issues in my older first boy with bettafix because it was likely a side effect of bacterial infection, and perhaps the 3rd time the bacteria had become resistant to bettafix. The infections were 2 and 4 months apart, so I'm not sure. I have a ton of plants for my small setup 5.5 gal (and I'm always fitting more new plants in), so even with minimal water changes, the test strips indicate that my water has always been good. Maybe if I had done monthly water changes, the first would have lived longer.
  • #11

I’m a total betta fanatic,they are just so appealing with their friendly curious personalities. I never really got into other fish because they just don’t seem very interested in people and since I started with bettas any other fish seems boring.

I don’t want to jinx myself but I’ve managed to keep my super healthy pink halfmoon betta Simon (pic attached) in a good state for almost a year now with almost zero health issues (knock wood). I have definitely made a ton of mistakes with him while learning, sorry Simon, but he weathered them all and seems fine now. That said, I chose a pretty healthy fish to begin with. So it could be that you’re getting borderline fish at the start, sometimes hard to come back from less than ideal starting conditions.

Simon lives in a 10-gallon planted tank that he shares with two nerite snails for algae control and one volunteer pond snail that managed to survive to quite a large size for a pond snail.

I am hyper-vigilant about water changes and change at least 10-20% of his water weekly whether the parameters test okay or not. Every once in a while I’ll do a bigger water change but as long as the water tests well I try to just keep it minimal and consistent for the most part. I do add a small amount of aquarium salt most of the time to just make sure the water is super clean and preventative for illness or rot.

Your ph seems super high, that might be part of the problem. Simon’s tank stays at about 7.0, neutral, though I’ve very slowly been lowering the ph (I mean over several months) by reducing the ratio of treated tap water (higher ph) and ROI (lower ph) just because lower ph is better for bettas. Temp is always at 78-79, I have a Marina Slim15 with the three filter cartridges so you can change them but always retain some of the bacteria.

I know it’s so frustrating to be a betta fan and not know why things go south, it seems like a shoot sometimes to try to figure out why. If your fish did not start with rot but they all seem to develop it I might look at your water quality, frequency of water changes, and the ph.

Glad other fish have been easier for you, hard to not want to keep trying with the bettas though.

It sounds like you’re a caring and conscientious fish owner, that’s the most important part.



  • D657B173-06E1-40BD-ABA5-776C544FA991.jpeg
    85.9 KB · Views: 71

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Locked
  • Question
  • Locked
  • Locked
  • Question
Rose of Sharon


Top Bottom