04-21-2008, 03:04 PM
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As Herr loach Lupin rightly says, there are many variables influencing aquarium fish life spans. The source of the fish is one. Recent imports, over the last five or six years or so, from Asian fish farms practicing questionable husbandry, particularly on Rams, that are of such low quality the fish rarely live long.
That said, properly kept and fed, aquarium fish can live remarkably long lives. I kept a Jack Dempsey for more than 25 years, and he'd probably still be his bellicose beautiful self if not for a 10-day power outage due to an ice storm. The pair of giant common plecos that were his tankmates were in their 20's.
Neon tetras commonly live between 10 and 12 years. I keep a large school of their cousins - Cardinal Tetras, and they are in their eighth year in my care. Most of the small schooling tetras can live at least five years properly kept. The livebearers usually only make it a couple years, because that's their nature; to mate and eat, live fast and die young. Bettas two, perhaps three years, and since they are adults when purchased, their life span can be very short in the best kept tanks.
Mid-sized to large cichlids can live for at least a decade. Discus, who in nature breed at a year old and are dead by two years, commonly continue breeding until they are seven or eight in our tanks, and live for two to four years past that point. Oscars, easily 10 years, 15 isn't uncommon.
You are to be commended for keeping your barbs and pleco well enough that they are still with you. I'd be interested to know how long those Tinfoil Barbs live for you.