8 Fishes That Don’t Survive More Than a Year

Keeping fish can be a rewarding hobby, but it’s essential to choose the right species for your aquarium. While many fish can live for several years or even decades, some species have much shorter lifespans.

In this article, we’ll explore eight fishes that don’t survive more than a year, helping you make informed decisions about your aquarium inhabitants.

When setting up an aquarium, it’s crucial to consider the lifespan of the fish you plan to keep. Short-lived fish typically have specific environmental or biological factors that limit their lifespan. Understanding these factors can help you provide the best possible care for your aquatic pets.


Guppies are popular freshwater fish known for their vibrant colors and active personalities. However, they are also notorious for their relatively short lifespans, typically living for around one to two years in captivity. Despite their short lifespan, guppies are prolific breeders, making them a favorite among beginner aquarists.

Betta Fish

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are another common choice for aquarium enthusiasts. While bettas can live for several years with proper care, they are prone to health issues that can shorten their lifespan. Factors such as poor water quality, inadequate diet, and aggressive tank mates can contribute to a betta fish’s shortened lifespan.


Goldfish are iconic aquarium fish that have been kept as pets for centuries. However, despite their popularity, goldfish are not known for their longevity. In ideal conditions, goldfish can live for up to 20 years or more, but many succumb to health issues or improper care long before reaching their full potential lifespan.

Neon Tetra

Neon tetras are small, colorful fish native to South America. While they are a popular choice for community aquariums, neon tetras are relatively short-lived compared to other species, typically living for around one to two years. Factors such as water quality, diet, and tank mates can influence the lifespan of neon tetras.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

White cloud mountain minnows are peaceful, schooling fish native to China. While they are relatively hardy and easy to care for, white cloud mountain minnows have a shorter lifespan compared to other aquarium species, typically living for around one to three years in captivity. Providing a well-maintained tank environment can help prolong the lifespan of these colorful fish.

Tips for Prolonging Fish Lifespan

While some fish species have inherently short lifespans, there are steps you can take to ensure your aquarium inhabitants live long, healthy lives:

Maintain Water Quality

Regular water changes and monitoring water parameters are essential for maintaining a healthy aquarium environment. Clean water free of toxins and pollutants can significantly impact fish lifespan.

Provide Proper Nutrition

Offering a varied diet that meets the nutritional needs of your fish is crucial for their overall health and longevity. Research the dietary requirements of your fish species and feed them a balanced diet accordingly.

Choose Compatible Tank Mates

Some fish species are more compatible with others, while some may exhibit aggressive behavior that can stress or harm their tank mates. Research the temperament and compatibility of potential tank mates before adding them to your aquarium.


While it can be disappointing to discover that your favorite fish species have relatively short lifespans, understanding the factors that contribute to their longevity can help you provide the best possible care. By maintaining water quality, providing proper nutrition, and choosing compatible tank mates, you can help ensure that your aquarium inhabitants live long, healthy lives.


1. How can I tell if my fish is stressed?

  • Signs of fish stress include loss of appetite, erratic swimming behavior, and changes in coloration. Providing a stress-free environment with proper hiding places can help alleviate stress in aquarium fish.

2. Can I extend the lifespan of short-lived fish species?

  • While you can’t change the inherent lifespan of a fish species, providing optimal care can help maximize their lifespan. This includes maintaining water quality, providing proper nutrition, and minimizing stressors in the aquarium environment.

3. Are there any fish species that live longer than average?

  • Yes, several fish species are known for their longevity, including koi fish, certain species of catfish, and some types of cichlids. Proper care and attention to their specific needs can help these fish live for many years.

4. Is it normal for fish to die suddenly?

  • While sudden fish deaths can be alarming, they are not uncommon in aquariums. Factors such as poor water quality, disease, and aggression from tank mates can contribute to sudden fish deaths. Regular maintenance and observation can help prevent unexpected losses.

5. Can short-lived fish species still make good pets?

  • Absolutely! While short-lived fish species may not provide the same long-term companionship as species with longer lifespans, they can still bring joy and beauty to your aquarium. With proper care, you can enjoy their company for the duration of their lifespan
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