How Long Can Betta Fish Live in Cold Water? (Know the Fact)

I’m sure you’re wondering how long can Betta fish live in cold water. Ok, so you probably know that Betta fish are tropical creatures. So they need warm water to thrive and live a long life. But sometimes, it’s hard to keep the tank at the right temperature all day, every day (especially without a heater).

I typically just leave my heater on 24/7 because I don’t want anything happening to my little guy! 

So, can Betta fish survive in cold water? Well, it actually depends on what type of cold water we’re talking about here. They prefer room temperature or warmer, ranging from 72 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Suppose your tank is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit or below. In that case, there’s definitely a chance that Bettas will not make it through a month, especially if they are sick or injured already! So it would be best to try and get them back into warmer waters as soon as possible. 

Keeping the temperature of their habitat between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit will help ensure that your pet stays sparkling and healthy for many years!

Can Betta Fish Live in Cold Water?

Betta fish can live in cold water, but they won’t survive for long. However, just because they can live in cold water doesn’t mean they are happy. Think about dogs; they can stay outside the kennel, but they prefer and thrive in a warm home. 

If you’ve got a cold fish tank, your Bettas are going to be really sluggish. This is because their entire body slows down; they eat less, move less, and retain more fat. They might even sit on the bottom and not move at all when it comes time for food!

Can Betta fish live in cold water

Therefore, you’d never consider putting betta fish in cold water. Instead, provide them with a cozy warm home. 

Moreover, the ideal temperature range is usually higher than the room temperature, so you can’t rely on the room temperature. Also, room temperature is subject to constant fluctuations. 

The Betta is a fish that can survive in rapid changes in conditions. However, it goes without saying there are limits to their hardiness and ability to adjust before things get too much for them!

Coldwater is harmful so does constant temperature fluctuations. Therefore, you must find a means to keep a consistent tank temperature in your betta tank. 

How long can Betta fish live in cold water?

Bettas can survive for up to six months if the water is just a few degrees below their ideal range (78-82°F). But freezing temperatures (below 72°F) will probably kill them in a month! The ability to endure cold water depends mainly on the fish’s health condition. 

ow long betta fish can live in cold water

If you are an owner of a betta fish, there are specific rules you should follow to keep your Betta healthy and happy. And, the most important is the temperature. Never risk your fish keeping in cold water. 

Betta fish are used to living in warm rice paddies with low watercourses, high oxygen levels, and steady temperatures of 80-82 degrees all year long. So it is imperative for their happiness when cared for by someone who can provide these things!

What’s the Ideal Water Temperature for Betta Fish? 

Every pet owner has a vested interest in keeping their pets healthy and happy. Therefore, you are trying to figure out the optimal water temperature for betta fish is? 

Betta fish are tropical creatures, but that doesn’t mean they can’t live in temperate climates too! It just means that you need to take care of them differently. Ideally, betta fish need an aquarium with warm water between 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be heated by artificial means like a heater or light bulb.

Ideal temperature for Betta fish

Although betta fish can survive in water as low as 65 degrees or up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. But, those extreme temperatures should not be with them for too long because temperature plays a vital role in their lifespan!

If you keep it higher than 86 degrees, the temperature will be too hot for them. On the other hand, going lower than 70 degrees is too cold to survive for long.  

Even at 72 degrees, bettas can still get sick and scared. So if you observe that your fish is lethargic or lazy, it may be a symptom of the cold water in their tank being too much for them to handle!

Running your tank at the high end of the Betta survival range, 86-90 degrees Fahrenheit is also harmful because it can shorten Betta’s lifespan. The warmer temperature speeds up metabolism, and faster metabolisms mean shorter lifespans for these tropical fish! You need to find a balance for optimum metabolism and growth. 

Dangers to Your Betta in Cold Water

Betta Fish In An Aquarium
Betta Fish In An Aquarium

There are some serious consequences of raising Betta in cold water. Below are some of the outcomes you can expect. 

#1: Susceptible to Diseases

Betta fish are most susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections when kept at temperatures below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, a strong immune system protects them against various pathogens present in the aquarium water. However, immunity reduces and becomes less effective in cold temperatures, making them vulnerable to various diseases. 

The most common disease that Betta falls prey to is fin rot. This bacterial infection causes the fish’s fins to appear raggedly torn away as if it has rotted away gradually over time. This can be devastating for your little friend!

If it remains untreated, it can permanently damage the fin and can prove lethal for your Betta fish as well. Moreover, fin rot is a highly infectious disease. If you don’t track and take action, the infection in your tank will quickly spread to others – that doesn’t sound very appetizing!

Popeye is a disease that may be lurking in the water just waiting to strike. The eyes of this unfortunate fish will protrude from their head, giving him an ugly and frightening appearance. 

Danger of keeping Betta in cold water

Metabolism Drops 

Cold water slows down the metabolism of a betta fish, but warmth can make it more active. Fish in warm waters eat more than their cold counterparts!

Coldwater might sound like a blessing for fishkeepers whose fish waste production is too much. However, their digestive processes slow down in cold temperatures and are often associated with digestive ailments like bloat and constipation. This can result in swim bladder disease. 

Betta Fish Blue

Reduced Activity

A Betta in cold water will not get sick right away. But, gradually, they will start swimming sluggishly. After that, they will spend more time resting than swimming. If the low temperature persists, they might even stop moving altogether. 

You may see them hovering near the bottom or lying on their sides because they cannot muster up enough strength to move. The worst-case scenario is a betta in cold water can slip into a coma. 

Due to cold water, Betta fish’s bodily functions get so slow that their brains can’t get enough oxygen. But the great news is you can still save your Betta. Slowly raise the temperature of your tank to the ideal range for Betta fish. 

Signs that Aquarium Water is Too Cold for Your Betta

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the water temperature for your betta fish. You should undoubtedly have a temperature to check the temperature. However, what if the thermometer stops functioning? 

There are other ways to tell whether it’s too cold. For example, fish behavior and appearance can be good indicators in this instance. 

Symptoms that the water temperature is too cold for Betta

Lethargy is one of the first symptoms you’ll notice, so if your fish seems sleepy or sluggish, then it may have something to do with its temperature! In addition, your fish may look dull and pale and get fatter day by day. Getting obese without a change in their constipation pattern indicates cold water slows down their metabolism.  

If you notice them losing their glossiness, gaining weight over time, lazy, or looking dull in color, it could mean the aquarium water temperature has gotten too low for them!

Should You Use a Heater in Your Betta Tank?

It’s important to keep a Betta tank heated. They don’t do well in chilly water and could get sick. It sounds like you’re trying to save money by not using a heater, but it might end up costing you more because your fish will get sick and need to be treated with medication. In the long run, it costs less to use a heater than pay for medical treatment!

Does a Betta tank need a heater

So, the short answer is a big YES, you should use a heater. You don’t need to compromise the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium because a heater is often hidden behind decor, rocks, driftwood, or plants. 

A heater will allow your fish to live an exciting and active life. They will grow up in the tank slowly over time and complete their lifespan (5 years)! Currently, I have been using the Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater (50 watts).

You can also check out my article on the best aquarium heater for Betta fish.

Ways to Keep Your Betta Warm Without Using a Heater

Below are some tips to follow to ensure that your Betta fish remains warm if you don’t have a heater in place. 

Use a Small Fish Tank

Betta Fish In A Fish Bowl
Betta Fish In A Fish Bowl

The size of the container matters. A larger bowl takes a longer time to get warm than a smaller one. Though make sure not to go any lower than 2.5 gallons because it’s unanimously agreed that a bare minimum tank size for a single betta is 2.5 gallons. But 5 gallons is a better minimum. 

As you have all options to keep your betta fish warm without a heater, it’s up to you which one suits you best.

Arrange Stronger Lights

It’s cold outside! If you live in a region where it gets really chilly, then your Betta might not be happy. Instead of using a heater (which takes up space), try installing stronger lights that will provide just enough warmth without occupying aquarium water space. 

One might think that lights are an ideal replacement for heaters, but this is not the case. They cannot keep water warm as a heater does. 

Turning lights on all through the night may come up with additional problems like algae and hamper the circadian cycle of your fish. Unfortunately, therefore, there’s no way to replace the heater. 

Ways to keep the Betta tank warm without a heater

Install a Filtration System

If the filtration system is running, it will maintain vitality in your aquarium thanks to its dual-purpose – maintaining both cleanliness as well as warmth in the aquarium! 

However, it’s not the warmth that you expect with a heater. It’s only slightly warm, not much. 

Simply Cover the Betta Tank

You can put a cover on the top of your Betta tank. It might sound like it’s useless, but you’ll be happy to know that this will keep water warm and their tank or bowl from getting too cold at night! Experienced fish owners have been practicing this technique over the years.

Adding an air pump and airstone before covering their tank will solve the insufficient oxygen issue and keep them healthy and happy.

Final Thoughts

Betta fish are tropical animals, which means they cannot live long in cold water. Slowly, your fish gets infected by various diseases. The immune system becomes impaired, loses its activeness, and eventually dies within six months. If you wish your betta fish to live happily, you should provide them with warm water. 

The optimal temperature range for a betta’s tank is about 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. If your aquarium falls below this temperature range, you will need an aquarium heater so that your pet can thrive.

But what if you don’t want to use a heater? You have some options! Probably, you already know that. 

I hope you found the information in this blog post helpful. If you have anything more to know, please let me know by leaving a comment below, and I will be happy to help! Thank you for reading.

Sujit Modak

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