6 Signs of Old Betta Fish + Old Betta Fish Care - Aquarium Sphere (2023)

Did you know that betta fish don't survive long in the wild? Predators keep their population under control.

But in the aquariums, bettas can fully live out their natural life cycles. The average lifespan of betta fish is around3 to 5 years.

In the twilight years of their lives, they are more vulnerable and require extra care.

Table of contents

Signs of Old Age in Betta Fish

You can tell a betta fish is dying of old age when its colors begin to fade or it develops curled fins and ragged tails.

Frequent sleeping and a white spot on the face are also signs that your betta is now old.

If your fish has stopped making bubble nests and is unenthusiastic about eating, it may dieold age.

The Siamese fighting fish are small but very intelligent.

They can identify people and objects and make associations with patterns. Betta fish can and have formed bonds with their owners.

Losing a betta is painful because owners don't just lose a pet. It often means the loss of a source of love and comfort for owners.

How long bettas live depends on a combination of their genetic makeup and environment.

For example, Bettas in tanks with poor water quality will not live long. You can often tell the age of betta fish based on their origin.

Bettas from major retail chains usually live six months to a year.

The size of bettas can also help you estimate their age.

For example, smaller betta fish are younger and can live for several years.

(Video) 10 Signs of Happy Betta fish

That said, you really can't fight biology. You can delay the inevitable by being consistent with water changes and providing good food.

View yourauto regimeand revise it based on your betta's health. In the section below, we take a closer look at signs of aging in bettas.

An older betta will show some or all of the following symptoms:

1) Colors begin to fade

Bettas are known for their dramatic colors.

Therefore, they are prized by hobbyists. However, age brings subtle changes in their appearance.

For example, you will notice themcolor loses its shineafter a while. It will fade to a dull brown color.

Their iridescent appearance will fade to a muted hue. You will find that a regular diet with a colorful formula does little to solve this problem.

There comes a time when you see only a hint of their former color.

2) Bettas stop making bubble nests

Bettas love to make bubble nests, especially if they are full of youth.

They make bubble nests every few weeks in hopes of mating with a female. Most bettas only make a few litters a year.

Some bettas will never make bubble nests, but they are still healthy.

As mentioned earlier, bettas are intelligent creatures with their own personality. No two bettas behave the same way, but their sex drive will decrease over time.

Once they pass middle age, they lose all interest. Fewer bubble nests are indicative of an aging betta that has lost interest in reproduction.

3) Betta sleeps too often

Age makesbettas sleepmore often.

It becomes harder for them to carry all their weight. They lose energy more easily and become lethargic, leading to more frequent naps.

Younger bettas, on the other hand, love to explore their tank. Young bettas swim around and wiggle their tails for their human owners.

However, older bettas are more content just lying around in their plants.

It is worth pointing out that loss of activity is a gradual process. If your betta suddenly loses interest and becomes lethargic, it's probably sick.

(Video) How to Tell the Age of a Betta Fish?

Read also:Betta fish lying on the bottom of the aquarium - 10 possible reasons

4) Has curled fins and a ragged tail

The once beautiful betta fish with perfect fins now has a worn, ragged appearance.

Their fins are all coiled and frayed. Like hair loss in old age, older bettas lose their fins.

As bettas age, their fins become twisted or frayed over time.

That said, fin curling can also occur due to a change in pH.Hard watercan cause the tips of the fins to curl up.

Read also:Can Betta Fin Regrow? Surprising fact!

5) A white dot that appears and disappears

Most experts are pretty sure this is a sign of old age. You may think your betta has a case of the old ich, but it doesn't.

Ich is when the fish has white dots all over its body.

But this lone white dot only appears on your betta's face and later disappears.

The older your betta gets, the more often this mysterious white dot appears.

Don't worry, the white spot is harmless, but make sure to check the parameters of the water.

Read also:How to Treat Ich in Betta Fish? 3 different ways!

6) The Betta is not enthusiastic about eating food

Older bettas will only eat to survive. Their excitement about the prospects of a food frenzy will diminish over time.

They will also show less interest when their people come over to feed them.

Some older bettas may also begin to lose their sight.

In that case, they will miss their food very often. You will see more of their food sink to the bottom of the tank.

You should be concerned about your betta's health if they don't eat for weeks.

An obvious consequence of eating less often is weight loss.

Older bettas tend to be slimmer than younger bettas because they don't eat as often.

Read also:How Often Should You Feed Betta Fish?

Note: the symptoms will appear gradually

It should be noted that these symptoms of old age appear gradually. Old age is not an overnight process, and neither are the symptoms.

You can estimate your betta's age by looking at their fins. Longer fins are a sign that your betta is at least a year old.

(Video) Super Rare Betta Fish Types | 17 Betta Breeds to Buy

Younger bettas should not have any of these symptoms unless they are sick or stressed.

How to Care for an Older Betta Fish

Older bettas lose their vitality and ability to fight disease.

This makes it important for owners to be more vigilant with care instructions. Be sure to check forammoniaand nitrite levels in the tank.

As a general rule, the tank should hold at least 3 liters of water. The bigger the tank, the better.

Betta fish will not survive in a tank cooler than 77 degrees.

In addition, you must ensure that the water parameters remain consistent.

Below are some adjustments you can make to care for older bettas:

Lower the water level

The depth of the water depends on how old your betta is.

If you notice your betta resting on a leaf, the water should be 8 inches. If the betta rests almost all the time, the water should be 5 inches.

Lower water depth makes it easier for bettas to breathe in the tank.

Raise the temperature

It is recommended to raise the temperature in the range of 80 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

This will keep the bettas warm when they sleep. A higher temperature also reduces the chance of getting sick.

Offers tank ornaments and plants

Older bettas like to sleep and prefer to rest on live plants.

Therefore give them plenty of comfortable places such as higher plants.

Taller plants are better because they allow bettas to sleep closer to the surface.

Use frozen foods

Older bettas don't have good eyesight and will have trouble finding food.

In this case, you may need to introduce them to wet food. These foods often have a strong odor that can attract bettas.

The best wet food choices are bloodworms and brine shrimp.

(Video) 5 Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE I Got My First Betta Fish

In general, if you can smell the food, so will your betta.

Change the water more often

Bettas are hardy fish, but they will not survive the chemical changes in the water.

A small spike in nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia levels can quickly kill bettas. So make sure to keep the tank and water in pristine condition.

Don't allow thenitrate levelsto rise above 10ppm in the tank. For best results, keep nitrates below 5ppm.

Use fresh water salt more often

Freshwater salthas been shown to keep disease and infection at bay.

It is often used by fish owners to protect fish with poor immune systems. Bettas prone to infection should have 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of salt.

This much salt does not affect other organisms in the aquarium.

Pro-tip:Dissolve freshwater salt in a container of water before adding it to the aquarium.

Use medicines

Older bettas that get sick are unlikely to recover.

You may therefore need to take medication. Keep in mind that most fish medicines are harmful to your fish.

It's best to take the sick betta fish to a vet for treatment.

Make your old betta comfortable

As your betta fish gets closer to death, you can make its journey more enjoyable.

Help him feed, keep the water clean and help him surface.

Read also:5 ways to comfort a dying fish

To block

Betta fish from chain stores are unlikely to live very long due to poor living conditions.

Try to buy betta fish from breeders, as they tend to care for them. Breeders charge more than retail chains, but they know what they are doing.

These fish live in a good environment and will live a long time under your care.

As long as you take good care of your betta, it should live a long time.

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6 Signs of Old Betta Fish + Old Betta Fish Care - Aquarium Sphere? ›

A betta that suddenly becomes lethargic may have an illness. Older bettas may not show the enthusiasm for food like they used to. They may show less interest in their humans or stop their “wiggle dances” entirely. Their tenacity for flaring may lessen over time as well.

How do bettas act when they get old? ›

A betta that suddenly becomes lethargic may have an illness. Older bettas may not show the enthusiasm for food like they used to. They may show less interest in their humans or stop their “wiggle dances” entirely. Their tenacity for flaring may lessen over time as well.

What does a sick betta look like? ›

Keep an eye on your betta's fins.

In a healthy betta, its fins will be whole. An unhealthy betta may develop holes or rips in its fins. Another unhealthy sign is if your betta's fins appear clamped down to the body; that is, they aren't fanned out properly.

How long are bettas supposed to live? ›

In the wild, they live in standing waters, often in rice paddies, floodplains, or canals. In the wild, they are less territorial due to the large space they live in - they will only spar, not fight to the death. Betta fish grow to be no longer than 3 inches, typically. Their usual lifespan is 2-5 years.

How do you know if a fish is struggling? ›

If your fish is swimming frantically without going anywhere, crashing at the bottom of his tank, rubbing himself on gravel or rocks, or locking his fins at his side, he may be experiencing significant stress. Talk to your veterinarian about treatment and look into what may be causing the stress and alleviating it.

How old are the betta fish at Petsmart? ›

Because a Betta purchased at a pet shop is often one year old already. Males, in particular, are allowed to fully mature, so their fins and colors are well developed. Females may be sold at a bit younger age, but they will generally be at least six months old when offered for sale.

When should you put down a fish? ›

When Disease occurs: The most appropriate time to consider euthanasia, is when a disease occurs. In cases when diseases are highly contagious, or very hard to treat or even untreatable, then the old adage of one bad apple in the barrel, can be synonymous with one sick fish in the tank.

What does an unhappy betta fish look like? ›

If your betta is flaring their fins at the other fish, chasing them, and even nipping at them, this is a sign they're unhappy, and you may need to remove the other fish from the tank.

Why do bettas lay at the bottom? ›

If you're not seeing other signs of stress, a Betta may be listless and laying at the bottom all the time because it lives in too small of an aquarium and/or is being kept in poor water conditions.

Why is my betta acting weird? ›

Erratic swimming behavior may be caused by several factors. These include: Parasites affecting the skin and gills – ich, gill and skin flukes, fish lice, and anchor worms. Infection of the swim bladder.

What calms betta fish? ›

Use tannins.

You can use either aquarium safe woods or Indian almond leaves in your tank, as they both naturally release tannins. This darkening of the water will mimic your betta's natural environment, which will make him feel less exposed and less stressed.

When should I worry about my betta fish? ›

Here are some things to watch for: Fin Rot: The fins or tail appear shredded. Ich: White spots on the fish's body. Velvet: The fish is not eating or scratching itself on objects in its tank.

Do water changes stress betta? ›

Stress should be the first thing to come to mind when your betta is breathing abnormally after a water change. Your fish will most likely react stressfully when you replace the old water, and therefore you should not be too worried.

How long can betta fish go without food? ›

How Long Can Betta Fish Survive Without Food? Most betta fish can survive anywhere between 10-14 days without food. Even though betta fish are generally picky eaters, they have a stomach as small as their eyes, so they don't need a lot of food to survive.

Why does my betta fish look dead? ›

Acidic Levels of the Water in the Tank

Too high a pH will affect your fish's fins and alter its regular swimming patterns. Too low a pH can cause a betta fish vertical death hang because the water would be too acidic for the fish's body to withstand.

Do old bettas sleep a lot? ›

Why Do Bettas Sleep a Lot? In the fish kingdom, bettas fall in the more lazy spectrum, requiring longer rest periods than many other pet fish. Their long, ornate fins take a lot of energy to pull through the water, a feature that many other pet fish do not have.

How long do Petsmart betta fish live? ›

Betta fish live for an average of three years long. If they live in ideal conditions with the best care, it can sometimes be longer. Keep in mind that they may already be six months to a year old by the time they make it to the pet store.

Are betta fish hard to keep alive? ›

Betta fish are beautiful to watch and are generally easy to care for as long as they are given the space to roam and explore in their tank. Bettas can be rewarding pets for any household. Their ease of care and diverse coloration and appearance make them an entertaining fish species.

Why is my fish not moving but still alive? ›

If fish are experiencing acute stress (i.e., gasping up at the surface, lying on the bottom and not moving, or darting around the aquarium), you can be pretty sure that the water has been poisoned in some way. Maybe cleaning sprays got into the aquarium, or something released toxins into the water.

Why is my fish not swimming but still alive? ›

Constipation, enlarged organs, or infection can all cause the swim bladder to stop functioning properly. Swim bladder disorder refers to issues affecting the swim bladder, rather than a single disease. Affected fish will inappropriately float or sink.

Why is my fish floating upside down but still alive? ›

Why Is My Fish Swimming Upside Down? If your fish is swimming upside down, it has a problem with its swim bladder. Your fish has stopped being able to control its swim bladder and has got stuck with too much air inside it. The reason for this could be constipation, a poor diet, eating habits, or an infection.

What is the longest living pet betta fish? ›

Did you know? When you see older Betta fish, they interestingly tend to be of the veil tail variety. There is some speculation that the red and blue veil tail Bettas are the hardiest and live longest simply because they haven't been selectively bred as extensively.

Do betta fish turn white as they age? ›

Unfortunately, betta fish may only live for two to three years. A minor loss in color is typical if your healthy betta is around this age. So betta turning white, in this case, is perfectly normal. Age-related color loss in bettas is a normal process.

How often do you feed a betta fish? ›

Betta fish should be fed twice a day. You can take a small pinch of food in the morning, and a small pinch in the evening. You should make sure you do not overfeed them. Extra food will become waste and generate toxins when they sit in the bottom of the tank.

Where do you put a fish when it dies? ›

Tie it up in a bin bag and place it in the waste. You can bury fish in the garden although make sure you bury it deep enough to stop foxes digging it up, or cats. If your local fish store has asked to see the corpse keep it in the freezer as dead fish rot and smell very quickly.

Should I bury or flush my fish? ›

Burial is probably the most popular option for an honorable disposition. Cremation takes quite a bit of work, and throwing the fish into the trash can seems a little heartless, so most fish owners tend to decide on burial.

Is it better to over or under feed fish? ›

It's always best to underfeed, especially in new aquariums, as uneaten food can cloud your water and cause dangerous rises in ammonia and nitrite levels. A general rule of thumb is to feed only what your fish can consume in 2 to 3 minutes.

Do betta fish like light in their tank? ›

Do Betta Fish like Light? Yes, they won't like anything too intense, but a standard aquarium light is perfect. Bettas also love aquarium plants, which need an aquarium light to grow and survive.

What is a healthy betta fish behavior? ›

Normal betta fish behavior

First, he will move around in the tank and inspect new items. He will also swim to the surface if you notice him. Second, he'll look for food. While he doesn't do this every day, a betta's happy and healthy behavior is a sign that it's happy.

Do bettas need a bubbler? ›

Despite what you may have heard, bubbles in a betta fish tank are an optional, rather than mandatory, feature. While bubbles produced by an air pump can increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, there are other perfectly good ways to oxygenate your fish tank.

Why is my betta swimming against the glass? ›

“Glass surfing” is when a fish – such as betta fish, gouramis, and cichlids – repeatedly swims up and down along the tank walls. It could be caused by stress, boredom, defense of territory, and other reasons.

What is the new tank syndrome in betta fish? ›

The new tank syndrome means quickly rising nitrite levels in water leading to a very high level. Afterwards, the nitrite concentration sinks again. Nitrite is toxic for fish and can even be fatal in higher amounts. The water parameters in the aquarium should therefore be checked regularly and altered if necessary.

What water levels do betta fish need? ›

Water Requirements for Betta Fish

Bettas prefer calm water with a pH between 6.8 and 7.5. While they may seem to tolerate cooler temperatures, they will be inactive and more susceptible to disease, therefore it's best for their overall health to keep the temperature between 76° and 85° F.

Do air pumps stress betta fish? ›

An air pump is used to aerate a betta aquarium. It is not used as a means of decoration (in fact, it can stress your fish out, as we explain below). Aeration isn't critical for a betta aquarium.

What is a normal betta behavior? ›

Normal betta fish behavior

First, he will move around in the tank and inspect new items. He will also swim to the surface if you notice him. Second, he'll look for food. While he doesn't do this every day, a betta's happy and healthy behavior is a sign that it's happy.

How old are bettas in pet stores? ›

Because a Betta purchased at a pet shop is often one year old already. Males, in particular, are allowed to fully mature, so their fins and colors are well developed. Females may be sold at a bit younger age, but they will generally be at least six months old when offered for sale.

Do betta fish sleep more as they get older? ›

Just like how aging humans are more lethargic than youthful ones, older bettas tend to be less active than younger ones. Old bettas swim sluggishly and spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank. As your betta ages, it'll start sleeping much more frequently than younger bettas.

At what age do bettas become adults? ›

SEXUAL MATURITY: Betta splendens reach sexual maturity at approximately 3 months of age. ADULT: Once sexually mature, a betta is considered an adult. They may not be completely full grown, and many continue to grow up to 1 year of age.


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