Fish Age - How long will they live? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-26-2011, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Fish Age - How long will they live?

Many ask this question, and in writing the profiles I attempt to ascertain reliable information on expected lifespans. I think this is important, because purchasing a fish that may easily live for 10, 20 or more years is a commitment. Most of us (I hope) would not buy a dog or cat (with lifespans normally of 12+ years) expecting to get rid of it in 2-3 years, and any living creature deserves as much.

Of course, an animal's lifespan in captivity may often exceed what it would normally have in the wild. Protection from disease, better nutrition, no environmental or ecological upheavals, etc. all contribute to this fact. In 1984 I acquired a frog, one of what are commonly called the Red Bellied Toad, and this species has an expected lifespan of 11-13 years according to two scientific authorities. My little fellow ended his life in his 20th year. He shared a terrarium with my last surviving newt, one of those Japanese Firebellied Newts. I bought two of them in 1983 and they happened to be a pair and bred. The last surviving offspring, born in the Spring of 1985, died in December 2006, in his 21st year; unfortunately, he might still be here today, had he not decided to climb up the glass and venture into the next room where I couldn't find him--until while removing the artificial Christmas tree I found his dried corpse.

The linked article from the excellent British magazine Practical Fishkeeping sets out some amazing lifespans. The record is held by a Japanese Koi that lived for 226 years--no, that is not a typo, it lived for more than two centuries.

This is one reason I write so frequently on providing the proper environment for our fish, be it water parameters and stability, reduced light, dark substrates, plants, wood, rocks, minimal filter flow--whatever, since all of these contribute to the fish's chances of living out its expected lifespan.

Enjoy the article. Byron.

How long will my fish live? | Blog | Practical Fishkeeping

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 02-26-2011 at 02:35 PM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-26-2011, 02:56 PM
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Interesting article Byron!!!! Thanks

When looking for a solution to an Aquarium problem go slow and change only one parameter at a time!
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-26-2011, 03:59 PM
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Very interesting article. I've got some long lived species in my tanks. I hope I'm able to do right by them.

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-26-2011, 05:38 PM
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Most of my fish are shorter lived. 4-6 years. Guppies only 18 months - 2years. The longest lived is my Rainbow shark that could live up to 10 years but he was at least a year old when I got him. Who knows for sure. He was an adult that is all I am sure of.

It certainly is something that people should keep in mind when they are looking to get fish or any living creature for that matter. I have worked in rescue with dogs and even horses for years but when it came to getting fish admittedly, I didn't think so much about it.

I have no intentions of dumping my tanks at all. In fact, I still dream of upgrading my crew to much larger tank. I dream of putting a Betta in the 25 gallon. Moving the female Guppies to the 60 with maybe just the Gourami. Then having a 150 gallon for my Barbs, Platys and Rainbow shark. That would give the energetic Barbs more room to stretch out those fins.

It has always made me sad to think of fish in most homes. Any animal for that matter. We live in a disposable world and most people consider their pets disposable as well. Get because you just have to have it and then dump it when you have had your fill. Sad

OUCH!!! I just noticed that my Cory could live upward of 18 years. Hope the seals on the aquarium last that long. I thought I had read somewhere else they only live 5 years. Yikes! I had my horse 24 years and a Parrot that I never wanted but fostered for 17 years. I guess that if God is willing, I can keep my fish another 18 years.

Last edited by Inga; 02-26-2011 at 05:44 PM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-26-2011, 06:19 PM
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226 years thats crazy. Sadly Ive read that swamp darters only live like a year.
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-26-2011, 09:31 PM
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Great read Byron. Thanks!

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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