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The Lifespan of a Fish

Freshwater Aquarium Fishes

By Jaymie SuhPublished 4 years ago 6 min read

Freshwater fish can live depending on their species. Fish who live long can amaze the world as well. But most of the time the life of the fish on the fish tank depends on how well you take care of them. Here's a list of the freshwater fish that live the longest.

14 Freshwater Fish That Live the Longest

By Hannah jones on Unsplash

1. Bigmouth Buffalo Fish

The life expectancy of this freshwater fish is up to 80 years old. That's why it's record-breaking news when scientists found out that the bigmouth buffalo fish were able to live 112 years. Most fish can't last this long that's why it's a big deal.

By carbon dating, they were able to verify that this is the longest-lived freshwater fish known. This fish who live long is a native to North America. It can reach up to 80 pounds. According to some studies, this type of fish lives around southern Canada as well as the northern US and lived longer than they thought.

2. Plecos

It can live up to 20 years or even more. Not bad for a fish. Plus it can be a good addition to your fish tank. Since Plecos are scavengers, they will eat almost anything. It will make your aquarium stay clean longer compared if you don't have one on your fish tank.

This is also known as Janitor Fish since they are responsible for cleaning the fish tank. However, make sure to have a good hiding place for them since they are nocturnal. It can also reach 2 feet in length when they reach their maximum size.

3. Goldfish

This is the most popular fish for people who want to start their fish tank. It can live up to 15 years on captivity. In the wild, they can last as long as 25 years. It always depends on how you take care of the tank environment for them to maximize their lifespan.

The oldest goldfish that was recorded even reaches 43 years old. That's hard to imagine especially if you look with the common goldfish. However, taking care of a goldfish needs a lot of maintenance. You need to feed them a few times a week. You must also change the water from the tank 2 to 3 times each month.

4. Neon Tetras

They can live up to 10 years in the wild but can be shorter than 5 years when in captivity. This freshwater fish can grow to 20 inches long. Their bright color can make them visible even in blackwaters which are their native habitat. It's originally found in the Amazon basin of South America.

Neon tetras are omnivores. Even though they are small, you have to feed them small foods such as brine shrimp, blood worms, daphnia, tubifex, and flake foods. They also need to have a water temperature of 21-27 degrees to be the same as their natural habitat.

5. Discus Fish

On average, this fish can live up to 10 years. But it depends on how well they are taken care of. They can even last up to 15 years at a maximum. Although caring for this fish in a fish tank will require too much maintenance. Since Discus Fish is very hard to keep as a pet.

Their costs can range from $150-$400 depending on the rareness of its color. You need to be well experienced in taking care of an aquarium ish as well in order to keep up with this type of fish. It can only be found from the Amazon basin of South America.

6. Oscar

The Oscar fish can live from 10 to 20 years. In captivity, this fish can live up to 12 years. Of course, it also depends on how well you take care of them. They can grow in a fish tank up to 16 inches. They originated from the Amazon River Basin. 

The best quality of the Oscar fish is their ability to recognize their owner's face. This fish is also very tame and that's why it's popular with many hobbyists. They can live alone or with a partner. If you decide to have another fish with your Oscar, the South American Cichlids is the best choice.

7. Kuhli Loach

They can live up to 10 years and grow around 4 to 5 inches in length. It looks like a small snake but this fish is not harmful. They are more active during night time and fond of hiding during the day. But when there's food rivalry, they can be active even during the day to feed.

This is also a good fish tank cleaner since they are bottom dwellers that eat almost anything. They like pellets, tablets, granules, blood worms, brine shrimp, and everything. Since they are an omnivorous bottom feeder, they can find more food from the pebbles that will keep your fish tank clean.

8. Angel Fish

This fish can live up to 10 years. They can grow up to 10 inches if they are kept in a big fish tank. Carnivorous by nature so they will like to be fed with pellets, flakes, shrimps, daphnia, and other fish food. 

These fish need to have proper filtration to keep them healthy. The female angelfish referred to deposit their eggs in neat rows in a submerged slate. Both males and females look identical so it's hard to tell their gender.

9. Pearl Gourami

This fish can live from 5-7 years depending on how you take care of them. They can grow up to 5 inches and like to live with well-planted fish tanks. Pearl gourami is a peaceful type of fish like pearl danios or neon tetras. 

They are covered with the pearl-like spots that earned them the name. This fish is used to slow-moving freshwater in Asia. So it's best to mimic their natural environment to make them happy.

10. Jack Hempsey

This type of fish lifespan can last for 5-7 years. It's from Guatemala and Honduras and can grow up to 8 inches. It has a very striking appearance as well as an attractive mannerism. This is a territorial fish and can be destructive on your fish tank. 

It's recommended to provide hiding places for them like a clay pot or cave-like structures. It has stronger facial features and it's an aggressive type of fish. You can feed it with flakes, vegetable food, worms, insects, and other fishes. So it's best not to have other fish around it or they might end up getting eaten.

11. Longfin Zebra Danios

This fish lifespan is up to 5 years. They can grow a maximum of 3 inches. Their color varies from blue, purple, white, or yellow. Since they are from the Ganges region of eastern India, they like to have a well planted and wide fish tank to live in.

They have a peaceful temperament so it's best to keep them with the same temperament type of fish. This type of fish is an omnivore. They can eat almost anything so feeding them won't be an issue. Male can be in torpedo shape while the female has a massive belly.

12. Corydoras Fish

This is also called the Cory fish and can live up to 5 years. It's a good fish to start as a beginner hobbyist. They are known as bottom dwellers but they are calm and peaceful types of fish. It's also easy to take care of them.

The Corydoras fish have several varieties of species. They come in different colors so you can have a colorful fish tank. You can feed them with pellets of flakes. They are comfortable in a school size so you may want to have at least 3 or more of its kind in your fish tank.

13. Betas

This small type of fish can live up to 5years. If you're a beginner, this is the best fish to start with. They do not require any filters or heaters. It's a maintenance-free type of aquarium fish so you can easily start with betas. This belongs to the gourami family and they are territorial.

It can grow up to a maximum length of 3 inches. This has a vibrant color that makes it viral for those who want to keep them on their fish tanks. You can also keep them in a very small aquarium and avoid putting them with other fish since they are also known as fighter fish.

14. Guppie

Guppies are widely distributed around the world and they can live up to 3 years. Males can grow up to just 1.4 inches long. But females can reach up to 2.4 inches or double the size of the male guppies.


Freshwater fish life expectancy can vary. Sometimes it can be longer if you take care of them in a fish tank. But when in the wild, it can be shorter since there are many factors out there. However, if we continuously care more for our environment they can maximize their lifespan for other generations to witness.


About the Creator

Jaymie Suh

A highly regarded writer known for her insightful and engaging content. With a passion for storytelling and a talent for crafting compelling narratives, she has made a significant impact in the world of online writing and content creation.

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