15 Fish That Live the Longest in an Aquarium

Looking for fish that live the longest in an aquarium? Some of the species listed below can live up to 35 years, so you should definitely take a look.

Mar 26, 2024By Monika Dimitrovska
fish that live the longest in an aquarium

If you’re like me and can’t handle the loss of a pet with ease, you probably favor animals with long lifespans. And if you’re considering buying fish, you’re in the right place!

In this article, we’ll cover 15 fish that live the longest in an aquarium. This will certainly give you more options to choose from.

The life expectancy of most aquarium fish is short (about 3-5 years). Fortunately, some species live much longer, so let’s start exploring!

1. Koi Carp (25-35 Years)

koi fish
Image credit: Glorfmorph from Pixabay

Most fish enthusiasts avoid Koi Carp because they’re bigger than most captive fish, so they require a bigger tank or pond to thrive. The good news is that they aren’t difficult to maintain.

They’re also one of the most colorful fish species, have a peaceful and social nature, and can live up to 25-35 years. They’re omnivorous, so they should eat veggies, pellets, and live foods.

2. Goldfish (10-30 Years)

Image credit: Pouria Oskuie from Unsplash

If you’re a fish lover, you’ve probably heard of Goldfish by now. They’re one of the best fish breeds for first-time owners, as they come in various colors, sizes, and shapes, and they’re social and peaceful.

Goldfish have a reputation for being short-lived, but they can actually live up to 10-30 years with proper care. They’re also omnivorous, so they consume veggies, live foods, pellets, and flakes.

Goldfish produce more waste than other species. Fortunately, they’re one of the best freshwater tank cleaners.

3. Catfish (7-15 Years)

Image credit: agamerswife from Pixabay

Catfish come in over 3,000 species categorized into 36 families and have a very long lifespan. However, not every species can thrive in captivity.

Some catfish species that make great pets include the ret-tailed catfish (15 years), armored catfish (15 years), Rafael catfish (7-15 years), Jordan’s catfish (10+ years), and Banjo catfish (12 years).

They’re all small and can fit in a home-sized aquarium. However, you should filter their freshwater daily. They’re scavengers, so we suggest feeding them with worms, cut fish, and shrimp.

4. Discus Fish (8-10 Years)

discus fish
Image credit: Ralph from Pixabay

If you’re looking for stunning and elegant freshwater fish, look no further than Discus. They make a lovely aquarium addition because of their vibrant colors.

Additionally, they’re shy and peaceful and can live between 8 and 10 years, sometimes even longer, with proper care.

However, they require pristine water conditions and a balanced diet (pellets, flakes, live or frozen foods, and beef heart).

5. Oscar Fish (10-12 Years)

oscar fish
Image credit: hartono subagio from Pixabay

Oscar fish have unique personalities and can actually recognize their owners, which is pretty amazing. In other words, they’re interactive and intelligent creatures that can live up to 10-12 years.

They’re also high-maintenance fish with huge personalities. So, you can’t just set up their fish tank and forget about them. You must clean it and change their water regularly.

They’re also territorial and predatory, which means they need a big tank and carefully selected mates for a peaceful environment.

6. Clown Loach (10-15 Years)

clown loach
Image credit: Wikipedia

The colorful Clown Loaches have playful behavior and prefer living in groups. They’re also omnivorous, so they require live or frozen foods and pellets.

Additionally, these active creatures practice strange fish behaviors like hiding, which is why they prefer a cave-like environment and many hiding spots. With proper care, these stunning fish can live up to 10-15 years.

7. Plecostomus (10-15 Years)

Image credit: Wikipedia

Plecostomus, also known as plecos, can live up to 10-15 years and have algae-eating habits, making them super popular among fish lovers. They help keep tanks clean but still require special care, as they can become quite big.

They need a spacious tank with many hiding spots and a balanced diet consisting of algae, protein-rich foods, and vegetables. Sometimes, plecostomus eat other fish, but only dying ones.

They’re generally friendly, but territorial issues may arise if their tank isn’t big enough or doesn’t have enough hiding spots.

8. Pacu Fish (10-20 Years)

red pacu fish
Image credit: Wikipedia

Pacu fish resembles the notorious piranha with molar-like teeth. However, pacu fish have a peaceful demeanor. They’re also mainly herbivorous, so they require pellets, vegetables, and fruits and can live between 10 and 20 years.

Furthermore, they’re larger than most fish, so they need a large tank with enough space for swimming and proper filtration. If they don’t have enough space, they could become territorial.

9. Angelfish (8-10 Years)

Image credit: Danilo Batista from Unsplash

Anglefish can embellish any freshwater aquarium because they’re beautiful and elegant. These tall, disc-shaped fish can live between 8 and 10 years, sometimes even longer, if cared for properly.

They’re omnivorous, so they require pellets or flakes alongside live or frozen foods. You can keep your Anglefish happy by providing enough vertical space for swimming, proper filtration, and carefully selected mates. Otherwise, they could become territorial.

10. Arowana (15-20 Years)

Image credit: hartono subagio from Pixabay

Arowanas or dragonfish have a unique look and swimming style. These eye-catching predators can live up to 15-20 years in a large, well-maintained tank.

They’re also carnivorous, so you should feed them insects, shrimp, live fish, and pallet-based foods. Overall, they’re high-maintenance but worth the effort.

11. Bichirs (10-15 Years)

Image credit: Wikipedia

If you’re searching for a fascinating aquarium addition, consider Bichirs. These ancient, prehistoric-looking creatures, also known as Dinosaur Eels, have a peaceful nature but could become territorial if their tank isn’t spacious with many hiding spots.

But here’s the kicker. They can breathe air and live between 10 and 15 years if cared for properly.

12. African Cichlids (8-20 Years)

jewel cichlid
Image credit: Juan Carlos Palau Díaz from Pixabay

African Cichlids come in various colors, sizes, and shapes, making them popular among fish enthusiasts.

They’re also available in multiple species, each with a different nature. The same goes for their lifespan. They can live up to 8-20 years, depending on their species.

Even their diet varies by species, so we suggest researching the specific needs of your chosen cichlid to provide them with a proper home.

13. Figure 8 Pufferfish (15+ Years)

figure 8 pufferfish
Image credit: Bluegrassaquatics.com

The Figure 8 Pufferfish is excellent for new owners because they’re low-maintenance and can live for over 15 years with proper care. These fish can survive in freshwater but will thrive and live longer in a brackish water tank.

In the wild, Figure 8 Pufferfish consume oysters, mussels, cockles, and krill, so a diet of flakes isn’t recommended. You can extend their lifespan by providing frozen meats.

14. Gourami (5-10 Years)

Image credit: ivabalk from Pixabay

Many aquarium enthusiasts prefer Gouramis over other fish species because of their lovely colors, hardiness, and variety. They’re available in various species and sizes, so they’re suitable for different tank sizes.

Furthermore, with good care, they can live up to a decade, sometimes even longer. So, if you’re looking for fish with a long lifespan, look no further than Gouramis.

They’re omnivores, so they require pellets, flakes, and live and frozen foods. Regarding behavior, they’re generally peaceful but could become territorial with similar species.

15. Knifefish (10-15 Years)

Image credit: Fish Laboratory

Knifefish aren’t as dangerous as they sound. On the contrary, they’re generally peaceful and shy with unique, elongated bodies and wavy fin movements.

Like most fish on this list, they can live up to 10-15 years and require a large tank with a lot of hiding spots, dim lighting, and calm mates.

Closing Thoughts

small fish aquarium
Image credit: Cody Wu from Pixabay

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on these long-living fish pals, you can pick out your new aquatic buddy with confidence.

Fish can form bonds with humans, so remember, if you take good care of your fish, you might get best friends for life!

Monika Dimitrovska
By Monika Dimitrovska

Monika is a pet enthusiast and seasoned copywriter with a tech degree. She loves writing, but her heart belongs to her two mixed dogs, Buba and Bono, a mother-son duo. Bono’s siblings found loving homes, sparking Monika’s advocacy for neutering and deepening her curiosity about animal care.

But Monika’s pet family doesn’t end there. She also has two cockatiels and two rescue cats, proving her home is a haven for creatures big and small.