• Home  / 
  • Guide
  •  /  How Long Do Pet Fish Live?

How Long Do Pet Fish Live?

If you are setting up an aquarium at home, one of the things you will need to decide is what types of fish you want to keep. There are many different types of fish to choose from and it is worth bearing in mind that some fish are more compatible than others. This is something that you should take into consideration when you are making your choice.




The appearance of the fish is something else that most people will take into account when deciding on which fish to choose for the aquarium. One other important point that you might want to take into consideration is how long do pet fish live. Some have shorter life spans than others, which means that you will need to replace them more often. When you are choosing the fish for your aquarium, it is always a good idea to speak to an expert if you have any doubts with regards to the right fish to choose.

How Long Do Pet Fish Live

The lifespan of your pet fish

As mentioned earlier, the lifespan of a fish can vary based on a number of different factors. The species of the fish will partly determine how long it will live. However, there are also other contributory factors such as water conditions. As a general rule of thumb, the lifespan of smaller fish tends to be shorter than that of their larger counterparts. In addition, the lifespan of egg-laying fish tends to be longer than that of fish that give birth to live offspring.

One type of fish with one of the shortest life spans is the killifish. These aquarium fish tend to live for only one or two years, so this is something to bear in mind if you are considering purchasing these for your aquarium. Bettas also have short life spans, and they live for around a couple of years on average. There are a number of other fish that tend to live for fewer than five years. This includes platys, swordtails, and mollies among others.

To give you a better insight into the life cycle of fish, below is a short and fun learning video:

When it comes to fish that have longer lifespans, the much-loved goldfish is a great example. There are many cases of goldfish living for 25 years or more. However, more often than not they die after a few years. This is not because they have a short life span but because they are not cared for as they should be. This demonstrates the importance and impact of making sure that your aquarium fish have a healthy and safe habitat and that they are properly looked after. The clown loach and weather loach also enjoy longer life spans and can live for around ten or fifteen years. Pacus and silver dollars can also live in excess of ten years while the Convict Cichlid can survive for two decades.




With many different types of fish to choose from, you will find that the life span can vary widely from one to another. In between the ones that have very short life spans and those that have quite long ones, there are various fish with average lifespans of around 5-10 years. However, you need to bear in mind that this is the life span associated with healthy fish. If they are not kept in the proper conditions, provided with a safe environment, and properly looked after, it can have a profound negative effect on the life span.

Some fish species and their average lifespans

  •  Angelfish – 10 years or more
  • Archerfish – 5 years
  • Armored catfish – 7-15 years
  • Bala shark – 10 years
  • Betta – 2 or 3 years
  • Black neon tetra – 5 years
  • Black widow tetra – 5 years
  • Bolivian ram – 4 years
  • Cherry barb – 5-7 years
  • Clown Loach – 15 years or more
  • Convict – 10-18 years
  • Discus – 10-18 years
  • Dojo loach – 10 years
  • Firemouth – 10=15 years
  • Frontosa – 8-15 years
  • Glassfish – 8 years
  • Goldfish – 10-30 years
  • Guppy – 3-5 years
  • Harlequin – 6 years
  • Hatchetfish – 5 years
  • Jack Dempsey – 10-18 years
  • Kissing gourami – 5 years
  • Rainbow Fish (Kutubi, Madagascar, and Wanam) – 5 years
  • Leopard danio – 5-7 years
  • Midas cichlid – 15 years or more
  • Marigold swordtail – 4 years
  • Neon rainbow – 4 years
  • Oscar – 10-18 years
  • Pacu – 10 years
  • Piranha – 10 years
  • Pleco – 7-15 years
  • Rainbow shark – 4-10 years
  • Red Fin Shark – 8 years
  • Red Tailed Catfish – 15 years
  • Severum – 10 years or more
  • Swordtails – 3-5 years
  • Tiger Barb – 6 years
  • Weather loach – 10 years
  • Whiptail – 10 years or more
  • Wimple – 20 years or more
  • Zebra cichlid – 10 years or more

Of course, there are various other aquarium fish that you can buy. It is always worth checking first if you want to know what the average life span is before you make your decision.