Different Aquarium Fish Species' Average Lifespans

Illustration of the lifespan of popular aquarium fish

Few reference books address one of the most often asked topics by fish owners. How long do you think my fish should live? The answer varies significantly depending on the fish species. Smaller fish, on the other hand, live shorter lives than larger fish, while fish that lay eggs live longer than fish that give birth to live young.

Bettas and goldfish, the two most popular fish species, are on opposing extremes of the spectrum. Bettas live for around two years on average, although goldfish can live for decades.

Keep in mind that aquarium fish can live considerably longer if they are well cared for; on the other hand, fish that are not kept in the right environment and are not adequately cared for will most likely have a lower lifetime.

Short Lifespans

Killifish have one of the shortest lives of any aquarium fish. They only live for a little more than two years on average. Bettas are following close after. Bettas have been known to live for five years or longer, although this is not the usual. Mollies, platys, and swordtails, for example, have a lifespan of fewer than five years.

Long Lifespans

Goldfish, on the other hand, have a short lifetime. There have been several recorded incidents of goldfish living for over a quarter-century. They are possibly the finest example of how aquarium fish have shorter lives due to inadequate environment and treatment. Because most goldfish are not properly cared for, they only survive for a few years. Loaches, such as the clown loach and the weather loach, are among the fish that live for 10 to 15 years. Silver dollars and pacus may survive fish ten years or longer, while the ever-popular convict cichlid can live for even longer.

The lifespans of common aquarium fish species span a broad gamut, as you can see. Here are typical lifespans of some well-known fish species, from the Adolfo cory to the zebra danio. 

A

  • Adolfos cory (Corydoras adolfoi): five years
  • Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare): 10+ years
  • Apistogramma (Apistogramma cacatuoides): five to 10 years
  • Archer fish (Toxotes spp.): five years
  • Armored catfish (Corydoras spp., Brochis spp.): seven to 15 years
  • Axelrods rainbowfish (Melantaenia herbertaxelrodi ): five years

B

  • (Puntius denisoni): 10 years
  •  (Corydoras metae): five years
  • Banjo catfish (Acanthobunocephalus nicoi): six to 12 years
  • Betta (Betta splendens): two to five years
  • (Leporinus fasciatus): five-plus years
  •  (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi): five years
  • Black phantom tetra (Megalamphodus megalopterus): five years
  • Black shark (Labeo chrysophekadion): four to 10 years
  • (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi): five years
  • Blackfin cory (Corydoras leucomelas): five-plus years
  • Blackskirt tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi): three to five years
  • Bloodfin tetra (Aphyocharax anisitsi): five to eight years
  • (Trichopodus trichopterus): four years
  • Boeseman's rainbow (Trichopodus trichopterus): five years
  • Bolivian ram (Mikrogeophagus altispinosus): four years
  • (Corydoras aeneus): five years

C-D

  • (Paracheirodon axelrodi): four years
  • Cherry barb (Puntius titteya): five to seven years
  • (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides): four years
  • (Chromobotia macracanthus): 15+ years
  • Columbian tetra (Hyphessobrycon columbianus): five years
  • (Phenacogrammus interruptus): five years
  • Convict cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata): 10+ years
  • Debauwi catfish (Pareutropius debauwi): eight years
  • Diamond tetra (Moenkhausia pittier): five years
  • (Symphysodon aequifasciata): 10 to 18 years
  • Dojo loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus): 10 years
  • (Colisa lalia): four years

F-G

  • Festivum (Mesonauta festivus): 10+ years
  • Figure 8 puffer (Tetraodon biocellatus): up to 15 years
  • Firemouth (Thorichthys meeki): 10 to 15 years
  • Frontosa (Cyphotilapia frontosa): eight to 15 years
  • (Devario aequipinnatus): five to seven years
  • Glassfish (Parambassis ranga): eight years
  • (Hemigrammus erthrozonus): five years
  • Gold barb (Puntius semifasciolatus): five-plus years
  • Goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus): 10 to 25 years
  • Guppy (Poecilia reticulata): three to five years

H-K

  • Harlequin (Trigonostigma heteromorpha): six years
  • Hatchetfish (Gasteropelecus sternicla)): five years
  • Hognose brochis (Brochis multiradiatus): 10 years
  • Honey gourami (Colisa chuna, Colisa sota): four to eight years
  • Jack Dempsey (Rocio octofasciata): 10 to 18 years
  • Jordan's Catfish (Arius seemani): 10+ years
  • (Fundulopanchax  spp.): two to three years
  • (Helostoma temmincki): five years
  • (Pelvicachromis pulcher): five years

L

  • Lake Kutubu rainbow (Melanotaenia lacustris): five years
  • Lake Madagascar rainbow (Bedotia geayi ): five years
  • Lake Wanam rainbow (Glossolepis wanamensis): five years
  • Lemon cichlid (Neolamprologus leleupi): eight years
  • Lemon tetra (Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis): five years
  • Leopard danio (Danio frankei): three to five years
  • Leporinus (Leporinus spp.): five-plus years
  • Livingstoni (Nimbochromis livingstonii): 10+ years

M-O

  • Marigold swordtail (Xiphophorus helleri): four years
  • Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus): ten to 12 years
  • Mollie (Poecilia latipinna): three years
  • Moonlight gourami (Trichogaster microlepis): four years
  • Neon rainbow (Melanotaenia praecox): three to four years
  • Neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi ): five to 10 years
  • Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus): 10 to 18 years
  • Otocinclus (Otocinculus sp.): five years

P

  • Pacu (Colossoma spp.): 15+ years
  • Pearl danio (Danio albolineatus): five years
  • (Trichogaster leeri): four years
  • Pictus catfish (Pimelodus pictus): eight years
  • (Serrasalmus piraya): 10 years
  • Platy (Xiphorphorus maculatus): three to five years
  • Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus): seven to 15 years
  • Powder blue gourami (Colisa lalia): four years

R

  • Rafael catfish (Platydoras costatus): seven to 15 years
  • Rainbow shark (Epalzeorhynchos frenatum): four to 10 years
  • Ram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi): four years
  • Rasbora (Trigonostigma heteromorpha): five to 10 years
  • Red bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri): 10 years
  • (Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae): five years
  • Red fin shark (Epalzeorhynchos frenatum): eight years
  • Red hook silver dollar (Metynnis argenteus): 10+ years
  • Red rainbow (Glossolepis incisus): five years
  • Red-tailed catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus): 15 years
  • Red tuxedo platy (Xiphophorus maculatus): four years
  • Red wagtail platy (Xiphophorus maculatus): four years
  • (Puntius conchonius): five years
  • Royal pleco (Panaque nigrolineatus): 10+ years
  • Rummy nose tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus): five-plus years

S-U

  • Sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna): three years
  • Severum (Heros efasciatus): 10+ years
  • Silver pacu (Colossoma brachypomus): 10 years
  • Silvertip tetra (Hasemania nana): five years
  • Swordtail (Xiphorphorus hellerii): three to five years
  • (Herichthys cyanoguttatus): 10+ years
  • (Puntius tetrazona): six years
  • Tinfoil barb (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii): 10 years
  • (Synodontis nigriventris): five to 10 years

W-Z

  • Weather loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus): 10 years
  • Whiptail pleco (Rineloricaria fallax): eight years
  • White cloud mountain minnow (Tanichthys albonubes): five to seven years
  • Wimple (Heniochus acuminnatus): 10 years
  • Yellow tetra (Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus): five years
  • Zebra cichlid (Metriaclima callainos): 10+ years
  • (Danio rerio): five years  

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