Fish longevity

mort

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15 Nov 2015
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1,190
Hi, I was thinking about how long some fish can actually live for and whether most of us even consider this before buying them? I'm currently on the look out for a new feature fish and am thinking of a dozen + chain loaches and looked into how long they can live. I found the average seems to be 6-8 years which is what I would expect but know loaches can be very long lived if they receive a decent environment, I myself have clown loaches over 25 years and a botia striata that turned 22 this year (average life for those seems 6-8).
I know when I was in the industry I was never asked how long anything would live for unless it had already died, like do neons only live a year kind of thing, so i'm not sure people really plan ahead.

I lost a silver dollar a week ago that was 20, it was part of a trio I bought for 80p each when I was 12 and I still have the other 2, so 4p a year is a bit of a bargain. I still have a silver shark that's over 20 (£2.10), a synodontis ocellifer (splashed out at £11), an unknown syno that only had one eye (85p), The aforementioned clown loaches now 6 but were 11, the single stripe loach (3.10), an ancistris that's about 18 and a striped doradid that's 27 (£3.75).
I know these are bigger species so expected to live a long life and I've had many other fish that were 15+ before they passed but I've seen people have corydoras for over 20 years and I have pencil fish at the moment pushing 6-7 which is quite old for a tetra like species.

So does anyone else plan for how long they might have things? I know most people tend to change there scape and sometimes stocking (I change the décor from time to time but have my fish for life) but its surprising how long some of our friends might be with us. I fully expect the doradid to outlive me especially seeing someone in Germany had one that was 47 at the time.

ps I have one of those weird brains that remembers silly things like prices, useless facts or scientific names but forgets I put the ro on.
 
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I do personally avoid very long lived fish, who knows whether I'll want a tank in 20 years time? But otherwise I don't plan ahead to the year...
 

roadmaster

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18 Oct 2009
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Lost 12 yr old Polleni Cichlid that tank was built with only it in mind, and I miss the interaction over the year's.Like smaller fishes,Larger fishes,but seldom fret much over how old they might get.Care remains same/same. Is a good sign when species exceed projected,or listed lifespans.No?
 

Kayne

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12 Jul 2014
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Think my only and longest lived fish was a 5 year old Zebra or leopard Danio. Keep quite common fish so most of them are probably weakened by the breeding and I will admit i'm not the best fish keeper ever.
 

tam

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5 May 2011
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Other than a few annual species most fish are longer lived than I expect most people think. I'd expect common tetras to be 5/6 years but quite easily closer to 10. I'd say a fair portion of my current fish fall into the 5+ year age bracket and some are heading for 20.

I've very occasionally rehomed/traded in a fish that's not suitable but it does make me feel uncomfortable. Most things I'd keep would count as small community though so they just move from tank to tank - that's where it's handy to have a few tanks running.
 
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26 Feb 2013
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Personally, one of the first things I check is fish life span. It's to give me some sort of an idea of the commitment and also to use as a check at my fish keeping performance long term...How am I going to know I've done something right and learn otherwise?

And I prefer long lived fish. When I was picking a school of small fish to go with the clown loaches, denison barbs and SAEs, I checked several species. Then I read somewhere harlequins can live up to 10 years.It could be wrong info but it was the info that swayed things for the rasboras for me. It's too hard parting with pets I've gotten attached to, even if they die of old age in the "happy" scenarios. Plus, swapping fish around is not a healthy habit if one wants to keep a healthy tank.
 
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