How Long Can A Fish Live – Most Important Factors That Control Lifespan

We can think of the average lifespan of a dog or a cat as a pet. But what about a fish? How long can a fish live? It’s about time you found out about that as well.

Even though there is one fixed answer to how long can a fish live. Scientists and researchers have found that different fish have different lifespans. It is affected by various genetic factors including metabolism, reproduction, and heart.

There are obvious external factors such as predation, drought, starvation, and diseases that need to be taken into consideration as well.

In this article, I will be pointing out certain indicators of how long can a fish live. But before I do that, let’s look at the average lifespan of some of the most common fish species.

How Long Can A Fish Live?

A goldfish is the most common pet fish in the world. It is also a friendly aquarium fish. And according to experts, a goldfish can live from 10 to 30 years.

Next up, is another popular aquarium fish, the Catfish. It is larger in size than a goldfish and yet it lives for a shorter period of time. A Catfish lives for 7 to 15 years.

Betta fish has the shortest life span which is between 2 to 3 years. The longest a Betta fish has lived for is 5 years.

1. Size

Does the size of a fish indicate its age? Large fish species have a longer lifespan than small fish. This much is true. What it depends on, however, is the energy needs of different sized fish.

Large fish species have a slow metabolism than small fish species. This increases their life expectancy. Offering large fish species to find food more successfully.

If Betta fish is considered small, anything larger than Betta is categorized as a large fish species. On average, a Betta fish can survive for 2 to 5 years.

Conversely, an Oscar fish that is large than Betta can survive for 10 to 20 years.

2. Reproductive Factors

The genetic pool of a fish including reproduction can seriously affect the lifespan of a fish. How soon does a species of fish reproduce? And how often does a fish reproduce?

For example, the common carp fish which is a tropical fish lays at least 300,000 eggs at one time. Once the eggs are scattered, the male carp fertilizes the eggs. The eggs hatch in 3 to 4 days.

The fertility time during which a female carp can lay eggs and a male carp can fertilize those eggs is 3 to 5 years.

Even though there is no parental care involved between the mother/father carp and the eggs. On average, a carp can live for up to 20 years in the wild and up to 7 years in captivity.

Fish out in the wildlife for longer than fish in captivity. This is because they have more access to fresh or tropical water. So this can bear more eggs as they mature.

3. Diseases

If you have several fish in captivity, knowing what are the common fish diseases is necessary. Ammonia poisoning, cottonmouth, tail rot, and fungal infections. These can kill fish sooner than their life expectancy.

Unhealthy water conditions, poor nutrition, and deficiencies are the main causes of diseases and early death.

Ammonia poisoning is not a disease but it contributes to most early deaths in fish. A proper water filtration system can prevent this from happening with your fish.

Bacterial and fungal infections in tropical fish are also very common. In all of this, maintaining the water quality in your tank and providing high-quality food are necessary steps. This will ensure that your fish lives for as long as possible without any life-threatening diseases.

4. Environmental Factors

While it’s necessary to keep the fish tank clean, there are several other environmental factors to take into consideration. Such as this.

How many fish do you keep in a single tank? Even two same species of fish can attack each other. One fish can bully another fish which could lead to fights and possibly even death.

Fish are territorial. If you have multiple fish in an aquarium, consult with an expert about fish compatibility. You can also invest in fish tunnels, caves, live plants, etc. Organize the fish tank creatively so that your fish have various hiding and playing sports in the tank.

The most common pet fish is a goldfish. If you take care of them properly with high-quality food, clean water, and sufficient light.


The lifespans of some of the most famous and common fish species is right here in this article. There are many more fish species whose lifespan is yet to be documented. But now you know the factors that influence the life of a fish. Genes, size, reproduction, diseases, and environmental factors.

Tracking any fish species’ lifespan is no easy task. However, lots of new fish owners want to know how long a fish’s life expectancy is. The longest living tropical fish for aquariums is a goldfish. They are affordable, easy to maintain, and small.

Koi fish, on the other hand, are goldfish’s cousins. They live up to 40 years. But they are high maintenance fish. They need expensive, high-quality food and a super-large aquarium in a quiet, away from sunlight area.

If you’re planning on bringing home a new fish based on age, this article has everything you need to know about it. Keeping your fish happy, healthy, and safe is one way of increasing their life expectancy!

Lisa Thompson

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