How Long Do Fish Live

How Long Do Fish Live is One of the most common questions for any aquarist. The answer to this question depends on many factors.

How Long Do Fish Live

How Long Do Fish Live In An Aquarium

The following factors affect the lifespan of aquarium fish:

  • type of fish;
  • water temperature;
  • feeding conditions;
  • conditions of detention;
  • selection of neighbors.

The most important factor that determines the lifespan of a fish is its size . Small fish (the length of which does not exceed five centimeters) live from one to five years. Medium-sized fish (the length of which is from five to ten centimeters) live ten to twelve years. Large fish (over ten centimeters long) live longer than fifteen years. For example, cichlazomas, piranhas, goldfish, astronotuses can live up to thirty years.

Fish can live longer in an aquarium than in natural conditions. This is due to the lack of predators, constant availability of food, stability of the environment. However, everything here depends on the aquarium owners create favorable conditions for their pets. It is curious that in most fish species the life span of males significantly exceeds that of females. For medium-sized fish, the difference between these indicators reaches two years.

Read Also: How long do goldfish live and why do they die prematurely?

Water Temperature For Fish

The lifespan is also influenced by the temperature of the water in the aquarium. Since fish are cold-blooded animals, they are not able to maintain a constant body temperature, and the speed of most of the processes occurring in their body is determined by the temperature of the water. The warmer the water, the more intensive is the metabolism in the fish’s body, and accordingly, its life expectancy decreases. In some cases, the difference in lifespan of the same fish species living in warm and cold water is several years.

In addition, the less frequently the water in the aquarium is changed, the higher the concentration of harmful substances contained in it, which reduces the life of aquatic inhabitants.

Feeding Aquarium Fish

With regard to feeding, in addition to the quality of the feed, overfeeding and underfeeding play an important role. Obesity in aquarium fish is a common problem. This is especially true for families with young children who love to watch the fish eating food.

You can tell if there is an overfeeding problem by the smell of water. Ideally, it should not emit any fragrances. If the water has a specific rotten smell, then this indicates overfeeding. Other signs of overfeeding are rapid turbidity of the water, the formation of a film on the water, and the presence of slippery deposits on algae.

The other extreme is also dangerous – underfeeding. Due to the lack of nutrients and vitamins, fish cannot exist normally. To prevent premature death of fish, moderation should be observed in feeding. The amount of food should be such that the fish eat it in a few minutes from the moment of serving.

Combination Of Varieties Of Aquarium Fish

The most important factor in determining how many years aquarium fish live is the choice of neighbors for them. One of the main rules of the aquarist is to combine the size of the fish. Large fish can eat small ones, so before adding new inhabitants to the aquarium, you need to carefully study how compatible they are with existing species.

Overpopulation also negatively affects the longevity of fish. It is fraught with a lack of food, lack of oxygen, high competition, struggle for leadership, constant diseases, and increased aggressiveness. It is necessary to provide a certain number of liters of water for each individual.

The Lifespan Of Popular Aquarium Fish

So how long can popular aquarium fish live if kept in favorable conditions? Below are the averaged data on the lifespan of some known species (groups).

The information will be useful to those who are just thinking about purchasing the first fish. If you are not sure that the aquarium will be interesting in the future or only for a while, then it is advisable to acquire species with a short natural life span.

Betta Fish

Siamese fighting fish, also known as Betta fish, live on average for about 2-3 years.


Viviparous fish, Poecilia sometimes successfully live up to 5 years, but this is rather an exception.

Guppy fish

Poecilia’s related Guppy fish also have a lifespan of about 3-5 years, but in most cases the 3 year limit is.

Tetra Fish

Life expectancy varies greatly depending on the species, but for small Tetras it is usually around 5 years.

Swordsman fish

Swordfish, like other viviparous species, are not among the centenarians, however, due to their larger size, they live on average for 4 years.


Mollies, which are the closest relatives of the Swordsmen, have a similar lifespan of about 4 years.

Rasbora fish

The small species of Rasbora fish, which are the most popular among their group in the aquarium hobby, live for about 3-5 years.


Gourami are distant relatives of Betta fighting fish, but due to their larger size they live longer – on average 5 years.

Corydoras Catfish

Usually, representatives of catfish live long enough, but miniature catfish Corydoras rarely overstep the bar at 5 years.

Danio Fish

Among the Danio fish on sale, there are a large number of breeding forms that can live up to 7 years.


Plecostomuses are among the long-livers. However, often under this name they supply Ancistrus catfish, which do not live so long, which explains the large range from 7 to 15 years.

Barbs Fish

Barbs are a very large group of fish. In this case, miniature species are considered, such as the Summatran barb, which lives in a suitable environment for about 5 years.


There are several species of scalar, including breeding varieties that can live for more than 15 years, but since this is a very demanding species, they rarely live up to 10 in an amateur home aquarium.

Iris Fish

Iris is a collective name for exotic fish from the shores of Australia and the adjacent islands. In this case, we mean the classic representatives of this group from the genus Melanotaeniidae, living for about 5-7 years.

Although in this case the life expectancy of Discus is indicated as 10-18 years, such age records are possible only for professional (experienced) aquarists. These fish are very demanding on their habitat, so beginners usually do not live long at all.

Cichlids Fish

Cichlids are one of the most extensive groups of fish that inhabit almost all continents. In this case, we mean popular African cichlids such as the Aulonokar, Mbuna and Utaki. Life expectancy is indicated up to 10 years, since they do not have a simple disposition and often injure each other, which negatively affects their health.


Goldfish hold the record, along with Koi carp, in terms of life expectancy of up to 25 years. However, records are inherent only to those fish that are in relatively cool water, in non-freezing ponds.

Labeo Fish

Some types of Labeo are impressive in size, while others, on the contrary, are quite miniature. This directly affects life expectancy (all other things being equal), so it is listed in the range from 4 to 10 years. Although under ideal conditions, cases of surviving up to 15 years of age have been recorded.

Goltsov Fish

The Goltsov group is very diverse, almost all of them live in relatively cool water, so it is not uncommon for them to live 10-15 years.


Oscar is a major representative of the South American cichlids. Cases have been recorded when these fish lived up to 20 years. Nevertheless, the average life expectancy is slightly less – 10-18 years.

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