Have I got a special fish here?

I have a single Zebra Danio who is very old. How old? I got him 8 years ago. I looked up the life expectancy for this breed, and it seems to be around 3-5 years. He is still energetic and bright-eyed, and the only evidence of his age is that his back has become more hunched over the years.

Is this unusual to have a Danio of this age, or has anyone else experienced this?

In my experience with fish, the life expectancy you usually find during research is more a “This is how long they’ll usually live when treated with the minimum amount of care at best”. Many ‘resources’ for bettas, for example, list the life span from 1-3 years. Well that’s because the vast majority of people with bettas keep them in those tiny, unheated, unfiltered dungeons that are marketed for them. But if you take really good care of them, they can last five years or more.

Another anecdote - we’ve got a goldfish that’s getting on five years old. Pretty good, considering it was sold as a “feeder” fish with a life expectancy measured in minutes before being eaten by some other fish.

Obviously, it’s not been eaten, and instead, lives in a 10 gallon tank with filtration.

I have a gup that is four years old, despite the fact that they typically live two years. I thought I was going to lose her when her last tank mate passed (a serpae tetra - they actually schooled and were nearly inseperably!) but she eventually got over her depression and is now swimming around happy again. She is obviously old, though - like your danio she is noticeably “bent”. I’m reluctant to get her more tank mates because I’m afraid the stress of the introduction period may do her in.

I think one of the reasons she’s lived so long is she never bred. Her mother only gave birth once (already pregnant when I bought her, as they usually are) and she was the only fry to survive so she never had the opportunity to mate. I think that’s the reason why livebearers are so short-lived - being baby factories must be exhausting.

I have to tell you, though, 8 years for a zebra danio is amazing. You must have an ideal little ecosystem going for him.

Aww, poor depressed fishie. Glad she got over the loss of her friend.

Mine had two other tankmates who lived a couple years each before dying naturally. I have my guy in a 1 gallon tank (just right for him), with a filter, a live cabomba plant and a lazy apple snail to munch the algae and poo. Despite not having any other fish to keep him company for the last 6 years, he seems pretty happy. Maybe the snail keeps him company.

Also, I rarely do part-water changes. Maybe 3 times a year. The snail, and water circulation keep the setup pretty clean. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it. I also use Stress Coat when I do do a change.

Goldfish can live as long as 40 years.

To build on what Angelsoft said, according to my vet, our ferrets lived amazingly long lives. They were eight and ten when they passed. The vet demanded to know what we did* because he’d never treated a ferret that lived longer than five or six years. His assertion was that the books and websites are wildly optimistic about the lifespan of the animal.

So I looked it up… Websites and books claim they live on average (yes, each one claims to be the average) 5-7 years, 6-8 years, and 8-10 years, so obviously they’ve come to no concessus. I think that limits the value of website lifespan predictions.

  • when we explained, he concluded that the only apparently atypical things we did were: feed them kitten food (it’s recommended for ferrets who refuse ferret foods, which both of ours did); bathe them regularly with shampoo made for ferrets (considering how prevalent the belief that they’re smelly animals is, a lot of owners must be lax on bathing); closely supervise their out-of-cage time. That’s it.

When I was a kid I picked up a bunch of feeder fish from Long’s Drugs for a nickel each. (I chose white ‘veil-tails’ with red caps, gold veil-tails, and a couple of black Mollies.) They went from a five-gallon aquarium to a ten-gallon to a 20-gallon, and finally ended up in the (300-gallon?) fish pond in the back yard. They lived for years and got to be about ten inches long.

They must not have treated very many ferrets then because the exotic vet I worked for for a short time regularly saw ferrets 6+ years. Of course many of them had cancer or adrenal diseases so they were on their way down. We had a locally run and well respected ferret breeder in the area so I believe that had something to do with the longevity of the ferrets. From what I remember, the vet mentioned that the reason most ferrets don’t live more than 5 or 6 years is because the pet store ones are almost exclusively from Marshal farms, an large corporation that basically breeds ferrets like crazy with little regard to selective breeding.

Interesting–I’m guessing care and captivity must be a big part of these longer lifespans, similar to species who are longer lived in zoos than the wild. Goldfish and some catfish are fairly long-lived, but danios, barbs, and tetras would seem more of a sparrow than a parrot to this junior biologist…so to have one 8 years seems remarkable.

Currently in my 45gal tank, I have a featherfin synodontis catfish (“Fezzik”) who has been my pet for 11 years, and was a full adult when I bought him, so he must be at least 12 years old and almost certainly is older.

Catfish can live quite a while, so I’m more surprised by my kuhli/coolie loach “Frack” (“Frick” died years ago) who is at least 9 years old.

I also have a glass cat (also seen it called a ghost cat) named Ethan (because he was the sole survivor of my first batch of glass cats, and Ethan won Survivor that season) who is at least 7 years old. He has survived the demise of all of his fellow glasscats from batch #2, who apparently succumbed to their age, and now keeps a group of 8 noticeably smaller whipper-snappers in shimmy-shape.

Oh, well, and I was coming in here to brag about my 10-year-old goldfish.

Never mind, then!

One of my co-irkers has a mollie that’s going on 9 years old. At least, she thinks it’s a mollie. It’s white, and all alone in its tank.