The average life expectancy of someone living in the United States is about 77 years, and the average life expectancy of a Betta fish is 3 years. By this logic, each year a Betta fish is alive counts for about 25 human years.
How Can You Tell How Old Your Betta Fish Is?
Unless you are breeding Bettas, you probably aren’t getting your animal at the very beginning of its life. You can safely assume a new fish is a pre-teen or young adult (3-12 months old) because that’s when your betta fish is ready to be safely sold and transported.
Determining Age by Size, Fins, and Color
You can also determine your Betta fish’s age by its size, fins, and color. A fully-grown adult Betta is about 3 inches long, so if your Betta is a bit smaller, you might have a juvenile.
Additionally, male Bettas have long, flowing fins, so if your male Betta does not have long fins just yet, he may still be growing into them.
Please note that female Betta fish usually do not have long, flowing fins, and some varieties of Betta have shorter, less ornamental fins, so the “fin-test” isn’t always reliable.
Young Bettas are usually brightly colored and highly active as well, so you can guess your Betta’s age by its color. Keep an eye on your Betta’s color because discoloration can be a sign of health problems, as well as healthy aging.
Your Betta Is Likely a Young Adult
Even if you purchase a juvenile fish, your Betta will quickly get through its teen years and go to college, and most of the time you spend with your fish will be in its adulthood, middle age, and golden years.
Adult male Betta fish are a delight, as they are flashy and energetic. Adult males also build bubble nests when they are in their breeding years. Fortunately, this is a sign of happiness in a betta fish because an adult Betta will only think about breeding when all its other needs are met.
Signs of Betta Aging
During your Betta’s life, you may notice signs of aging. For example, your Betta may appear less vibrant and colorful over time. It may also develop other physical changes, such as cataracts in its eyes and a slight arch in its back.
Your Betta may also calm down, eat less, and spend more time hiding in aquarium plants and decorations than swimming around its tank.
As long as your fish is still eating and seems generally healthy, you have nothing to worry about.
Keep in mind that it may take a longer time for your Betta to find its food, so wait a few minutes before removing uneaten food from the tank.
The signs of aging should only become apparent after the first or second year of a Betta’s life. If you haven’t had your Betta very long, and something seems wrong, don’t hesitate to call a veterinarian.
How Do You Calculate Fish Years?
Calculating fish years isn’t an exact science, but you can estimate where your fish is at in its lifespan based on the following factors:
- The average lifespan of a human vs. the average lifespan of a Betta fish
- When you got your Betta fish
- Your Betta’s appearance and behaviors
Some fish can also be aged by their scales or bones, but you usually can’t do this outside of a laboratory (and obviously you should not be able to see your fish’s bones if it’s still alive)!
How Old Is 2 Years in Fish Years?
As far as time in relation goes, two years in fish years is approximately 50 years in human years. That’s because one Betta fish year is about 25 human years, based on both creatures’ average lifespans (see above).
Let’s look at an example:
If you purchase a full-grown Betta from the pet store, they’re likely about 15-25 years old because they have lived nearly a quarter of their 3-year average lifespan already.
In two more years, your Betta fish would be nearly 75, which is old for a Betta fish. Still, some people live past 100.
One of the coolest things about Betta fish is that their lifespans are directly related to how well you take care of them. Some people have had fish live for up to 6 years, which is 150 in human years!
Grow With Your Fish
Your Betta grows up a lot faster than you do, but you can still grow together. If you just bought a new fishy friend, take a close look at them and try to guess how old they are.
Then, keep in mind that every year for you is 25 years for a Betta fish. Watch for signs of aging and enjoy seeing your Betta’s entire lifespan unfold.
Always keep an eye on your Betta’s health, because the better you care for them, the longer they will survive.
If you’re just getting started with a Betta fish, here are some articles that will help you keep your pet happy and healthy: