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Lifespans of Aquarium Fish

How long will your fish live?

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Lifespans of Aquarium Fish

Betta

Daniella Vereeken
Goldfish

Goldfish

Benson Kua
Lifespans of Aquarium Fish

Black Widow Tetra

Shirlie L Sharpe

Few reference books include one of the most common questions asked by fish owners. How long should my fish live? The answer varies greatly depending on the species of fish. However, in general smaller fish have a shorter lifespan than larger fish, and fish that lay eggs live longer than those that give birth to live young.

The two most popular species of fish, Bettas and Goldfish are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Bettas on average live little more than two years, while Goldfish live for decades.

Short Lifespans
Killifish are among the aquarium fish with the shortest lifespan. They generally only live a year or two. Bettas are not far behind, averaging only about 2 years. There have been documented cases of Bettas living 5 years or more, but that is not the norm. Livebearing fish such as Mollies, Platys, and Swordtails, generally live less than 5 years.

Long Lifepsans
On the other end of the lifespan spectrum, are Goldfish. There are many documented cases of Goldfish living a quarter of a century. They are perhaps the best example of how poor habitat and care shortens the lifespan of aquarium fish. The majority of Goldfish are not properly cared for, and as a result live only a few years.

Other fish that live longer include loaches, such as the Clown Loach and Weather Loach, which often life 10 to 15 years. Silver Dollars and Pacus also live 10 years or more, and the ever popular Convict cichlid can live 20 years.

Reference List
Here is a reference with the expected lifespan of popular aquarium fish. These figures are simply an average. Keep in mind that with good care fish can live much longer. Likewise, fish that are not kept in the proper habitat, and are not cared for properly, will have a shorter lifespan. Click on the fish name for a photo and additional information. If you cannot find your fish listed here, check the Fish Library or email me.

Adolfos Cory - 5 years
Angelfish - 10+ years
Apistogramma - 3 to 5 years
Archer Fish - 5 years
Armored Catfish - 7 to 15 years
Axelrods Rainbowfish - 5 years

Bala Shark - 10 years
Bandit Cory - 5 years
Banjo Catfish - 5 to 8 years
Betta - 2 to 3 years
Black-Banded Leporinus - 5+ years
Black Neon Tetra - 5 years
Black Phantom Tetra - 5 years
Black Shark - 4 to 10 years
Black Widow Tetra - 5 years
Blackfin Cory - 5+ years
Bleeding Heart Tetra - 5 years
Blindcave Fish - 5+ years
Bloodfin Tetra - 10+ years
Blue Gourami - 4 years
Boeseman's Rainbow - 5 years
Bolivian Ram - 4 years
Bronze Cory - 5 years

Cardinal Tetra - 4 years
Cherry Barb - 5 to 7 years
Chocolate Gourami - 4 years
Clown Loach - 15+ years
Columbian Tetra - 5 years
Congo Tetra - 5 years
Convict - 10 to 18 years

Debauwi Catfish - 8 years
Diamond Tetra - 5 years
Discus - 10 to 18 years
Dojo Loach - 10 years
Dwarf Gourami - 4 years

Emperor Tetra - 6 years

Festivum - 10+ years
Figure 8 Puffer - 5 years
Firemouth - 10 to 15 years
Frontosa - 8 to 15 years

Giant Danio - 5 to 7 years
Glassfish - 8 years
Glowlight Tetra - 5 years
Gold Barb - 5+ years
Goldfish - 10 to 30 years
Guppy - 3 to 5 years

Harlequin - 6 years
Hatchetfish - 5 years
Hog Nose Brochis - 10 years
Honey Gourami - 4 years

Jack Dempsey - 10 to 18 years
Jordan's Catfish - 10+ years

Killifish - 1 to 2 years
Kissing Gourami - 5 years
Kribensis - 5 years

Lake Kutubu Rainbow - 5 years
Lake Madagascar Rainbow - 5 years
Lake Wanam Rainbow - 5 years
Lemon Cichlid - 8 years
Lemon Tetra - 5 years
Leopard Danio - 5 to 7 years
Leporinus - 5+ years

Livingstoni - 10+ years
Marigold Swordtail - 4 years
Midas Cichlid - 15+ years
Mollie - 4 years
Moonlight Gourami - 4 years

Neon Rainbow - 3 to 4 years
Neon Tetra - 5 to 10 years

Oscar - 10 to 18 years
Otocinclus - 5 years

Pacu - 10 years
Pearl Danio - 5 years
Pearl Gourami - 4 years
Pictus Catfish - 8 years
Piranha - 10 years
Platy - 3 to 5 years
Pleco - 7 to 15 years
Powder Blue Gourami - 4 years

Rafael Catfish - 7 to 15 years
Rainbow Shark - 4 to 10 years
Rams - 4 years
Rasboras - 5 to 10 years
Red Bellied Piranha - 10 years
Red Eye Tetra - 5 years
Red Fin Shark - 8 years
Red Hook Silver Dollar - 10+ years
Red Rainbow - 5 years
Red Tailed Catfish - 15 years
Red Tuxedo Platy - 4 years
Red Wagtail Platy - 4 years
Rosy Barb - 5 years
Royal Pleco - 10+ years
Rummy Nose Tetra - 5+ years

Sailfin Molly - 3 years
Severum - 10+ years
Silver Dollar - 10+ years
Silver Pacu - 10 years
Silvertip Tetra - 5 years
Swordtails - 3 to 5 years

Texas Cichlid - 10+ years
Tiger Barb - 6 years
Tinfoild Barb - 10 years

Upside Down Catfish - 5 years

Weather Loach - 10 years
Whiptail - 10+ years
White Cloud Mountain Minnow - 5 to 7 years
Wimple - 20+ years

Yellow Tetra - 5 years

Zebra Cichlid - 10+ years
Zebra Danio - 5 years

Readers Respond: Some fish seem to live forever, how old is your oldest fish.

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