01-03-2007, 11:10 PM
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Unfortunately, 3 - 5 yrs is the average lifespan of a betta. Considering many of them are at least 8 months - 1 yr old when we buy them at the store, to have had it 4 yrs is about average.
The best thing you could do would be to explain to your daughter that this fish is "old" and its time for him to pass on. Then, when the time comes, clean everything out and find a new betta to love, or upgrade to an aquarium setup and venture into a new environment with more fish options.
Once a betta is too old to swim to the top easily for air, there isn't much you can do for him. One thing that might help him for a while is to reduce the amount of water in his bowl to 1/2. This will make it easier for him to reach the surface of the water for air. This also means more frequent water changes, which was the other thing I was going to suggest. Keep him as clean as possible, well fed if he's still eating, and make it "easy" for him in his last days.
I'm sorry there's not much more you can do.