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Elephant Ear Betta Or Dumbo Betta Care Guide

When I first saw elephant ear betta I automatically thought of an elephant. I am sure you might experience the same when you saw them for the first time. It is quite obvious where they got their name.

Elephant ear betta or dumbo betta fish got the name from their great, big, elephant ear-like fins. Those two big fins sticking out of the sides of the fish’s head, just like the Disney character Dumbo. So, today I am going to update your knowledge about Elephant Ear Betta. By reading this article, you will learn about Elephant Ear Bettas care and many other interesting facts about them.

elephant ear batta

Appearance Of Elephant Ear Betta

I must say of all betta fish this fish is considered a uniquely shaped fish. The fins of this fish amazed you with their bright, striking colors. The name comes from the two pectoral fins that resemble an elephant’s ear.

Colors of the elephant ear betta

As I have seen they have quite a wide color range. In the wild, you can find them with dark green, gray, and brown coloration. In the meantime, there are more vivid colors such as bright blue, turquoise, red, and yellow among the aquarium bread elephant ear betta. Dumbo pectoral fins have been bred into long and shortfin Halfmoon bettas, and this phenotype is most common in bettas with so-called ‘salamander’ coloration. Also, there are dumbos in gold, pineapple, and platinum white. Sometimes there are crowntail plakat fish that has dumbo pectorals.

Elephant Ear Betta Male vs Females

Although dumbos (betta elephant ear) exist in shortfin and longfin forms (concerning the unpaired fins and ventral), the ideal way of identifying males and females is the same as other betta fish types.

Origin of Dumbo Betta (Elephant ear betta)

They are native to Southeast Asia (Mekong Delta). On a related note, although the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) is found in Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia naturally today, it is believed to have originated from Thailand. But having spoken to various breeders I know it is clear that elongated pectoral fins do crop up in spawns occasionally on a random basis, so it’s not so hard to envisage how the first dumbos would have been created from such fish. Sadly, IUCN currently lists elephant ear beta as an endangered species. The reason behind that classification is the habitat degradation of this species.

Dumbo Betta Elephant Ear Betta

Tanks Requirements

Elephant Ear Betta CARE infographic

Minimum Tank Size

Although beta fish are known to be super hardy, you have to provide the right environment for them to thrive well.

Betta’s recommended minimum tank volume should be at least 5 gallons or larger.

To be honest, you should have a tank of 20 gallons or more, to begin with. It is very impotent to buy a tank, that exceeds the minimum tank size.

Smaller tanks are likely to cause health problems in fish, which can lead to death due to various problems. The reason behind this application is; The smaller the tank, the harder it to maintain a clean, ammonia-free environment.

Water Quality

Tap water is the easy and the most popular choice for the betta fish tank. Tap water can be used for as long as it is correctly prepared.

Water Temperatures

The recommended water temperatures are between 24 ° C and 28 ° C or 75-82 Fahrenheit. As you know bettas are native to Southeast Asia, living their lives under the sun in rice paddies–they are tropical fish. Therefore they are healthiest in similar water temperatures.

The temperature you pick should be as consistent as possible. With a good heater for your betta tank, this can be done, and you should test the temperature periodically with a thermometer. Be sure that the new water has the same temperature that your fish is now swimming in when adding new water to a tank. Abrupt temperature changes will shock your beta.

Water pH

For elephant ear betta, the optimal pH level is 7.0. But they can live in much more acidic environments than that. Like all fish, the trick is not to keep the pH perfect, but to keep it stable. In an atmosphere that is always too acidic or alkaline, the beta will do much better when Ph is constant.

If the pH is not correct, they will suffer from a condition known as a pH shock. Often, though, this will kill them immediately, sometimes it may take a little longer. You will need to identify them correctly before you take the necessary steps to save your bettas. You will need to know if they have symptoms caused by pH that is too low or too high to do this.

If you are worried about the actual pH of the water in your house, most pet stores will be able to test the water when you carry a sample there. If you want to check the water yourself, another choice is to pick up a pH test kit. Although you should periodically check the pH in your beta tank.

you can find more in this post

How Often You Change The Water

You want to make at least a partial water change every week. Use your betta’s water conditioner, you brought home. If you keep your beta in a filtered tank, then 15-20 percent of the water tanks change every week.

Why Not Change All The Water In Aquarium?

Okay, in the water of your bettas, there are probably quantities of beneficial bacteria that maintain water levels optimum for longer. You’re going to want to keep around some of that. Maintaining much of the original water also ensures that water levels and temperatures do not change much during the transition. Big drastic changes in the environment will stress your fish, such as 100 percent new water.

Tank Setup

Because of the long flowing fins, smooth rocks should be chosen that do not clash with floating threads and fins. As the fish swim, rough rocks can tackle the tails, which can lead to fine redness that mainly affects aquarium fish.

At the bottom of the tank, fine sand or substratum should be applied. Live hardy freshwater plants are also a tank requirement. In addition to the beauty of the aquarium, plants often give the fish a sense of safety. Note to have plants that do not conflict with the fishtail or fins without pointed extensions. So let’s see what is the most suitable feed for elephant ear betta.

Elephant ear Betta Feeding

Elephant betta is primarily a carnivorous fish. They live in South East Asia, where small insects and larvae make up the vast majority of their diet. The meat they normally eat is going to be high in fiber and protein. The insect they consume also contains nutrients from the food they have consumed in their stomachs.

If you were going to let your bettas live off of plants in your tank, that is the worst feed you can give them. That being said, the odds are in the wild, they may sometimes consume plant life, but for them, there will be almost no nutrition.

Freeze-Dried Food

It is the best addition to betta’s balanced diet. These have more protein in them than flakes and pellets. But they have eliminated the moisture from them. It means they can be a bit more difficult to handle. In many cases, the basic protein from frozen foods can be predicted to be well over 50%. Also, this contains a lot of fibers that are perfect for your betta’s digestive system. you can use freeze-dried food in conjunction with pellets to ensure that your bettas get a balanced diet.

Live Food

Elephant ear bettas love lives food. Also, it is the most nutritious and it’s what its betta eats in its natural habitat. It contains primarily insects and other invertebrates. Although live food for bettas is generally the best, it has some downsides as well. Because it’s more costly than anything else. Clearly, transporting, handling, and storing live food costs more money, so you’re going to have to pay the bill for that.

While costing more, getting your hands on live food can also be harder. While pellets, chips, and freeze-dried food can all be found on the internet, to buy live food, you’ll have to go to the store. And it’s going to be more expensive even if you can buy it from the store. Live products are riskier because of the risk of infection with parasites. If the animals you purchased were not properly cared for, there is an increased likelihood that they will bear parasites. You will transfer these parasites into your beta which could get sick and even die.

All this, however, can not take away from the fact that live food can bring out the most natural behavior of your bettas. In reality, he’ll be killing live animals, close to what he’d be doing in the wild, and that’s sure to make him happy. Try to use daphnia, mosquito larvae, brine shrimps, and other small insects when selecting live foods. Although bloodworms can be used as a treat, the majority of your betta’s diet should never be made up. We are high in fat, sadly, and too many bloodworms will have a negative impact on the health of your beta.

Frozen Food

This is a great alternative to live food because it provides all the nutrients, but it’s not as costly. Also, because it’s refrigerated, it’s significantly less likely to contaminate your betta’s tank. While your beta will get all the nutrients it needs from eating this food, he will sadly not be able to hunt like live food.

How to feed

You can defrost it in a small cup of his tank water when you offer your betta freezer food. It’s difficult for him to eat if you drop it in frosted and can do some harm.

When to feed

Note that you don’t want to go overboard while feeding your beta-freeze food. Only a slight morning and evening sprinkle is more than enough. 

Breeding Of Elephant Ear Betta

Set Up A Breeding Betta Tank

Place your tank somewhere with privacy. Bumbo betta like privacy so avoids busy areas and other busy aquariums when breeding.

Fill the tank with 3 to 5 inches of water. Install the heater and filter. To keep the water at about 78 ° F.

Many people choose to use filtration, while others choose not. Using filtration creates a small that disturbs the nest. So don’t use a powerful one if you choose to use a filter system. Do not use any gravel, as the eggs can settle in it. Hiding places is important because of the male bettas’ aggressive nature while breeding. Plants can be used to provide hiding places; plants also provide a place for developing small organisms that can be eaten by the fry. Java fern is a perfect plant to use, or you can use plastic plants if you don’t want to include live plants.

The main part of the tank setup is to provide a surface for the male bettas to create their bubble nest. Using a piece of Styrofoam or an almond leaf is a popular choice. Bettas need privacy to breed. As far as lighting is concerned, they will not spawn if it is too bright, so use only a dim light.

It is also important to ensure proper cycling of the breeding tank. It takes about 4-6 weeks to complete this process, so always do this beforehand.

Finding Successful Breeding Pair

Choose fish with the characteristics you want to breed. Your Betta is supposed to be free of parasites, disease, and fungus. Make sure they’re not lethargic or sitting on the tank floor. You should also test for any signs of infection, injury, or tears on their scales and fins. The fish’s age is also significant. Bettas are at their best at 12 months of age. Older fish are still capable of breeding, but with younger ones, you will have more success. They should be around the same size. Never use a big female and a smaller male. 

Add Your Male To Your Female Betta

Introduce your breeding pair to your breeding tank in optimal condition. When adding a female to the breeding tank, you can use a divider in the tank. It allows her to explore their surroundings once you’ve added her. After 30 minutes, introduce your male betta to the other side of the tank and allow him to swim freely around the breeding tank section. Once the female is seen by your male, the male turns a deeper color and starts showing his fins, flaring, and typically showing off to try to attract the female.

If he’s trying to bite at the glass–don’t worry that’s normal behavior. If your woman is responsive, her color will darken and reveal her’ barring’ pattern (vertical stripes around her mid-section showing that she is ready for breeding). And her ovipositor will be seen between her ventral fins as a speck of white. A cheeky woman’s going to smile back at him and wag her butt.

The Bubble Nest

The male starts building his bubble nest about an hour after the initial introduction. He’ll spend time between building the nest and showing off, going back and forth and fins. You’re going to want to leave them overnight isolated. Now time for the big show to breed the bettas. Yet, be warned, it can be violent.

Release The Female

She heads straight to the nest to test whether it is up to her standards. If not, she’s going to swim away. He will begin chasing her around the tank and attempt to include her in the “dance” mating. Now you’ll see a lot of chasing and scratching in the next few hours (can be between 2 and 6 hours). Females continue to check on the nest throughout this cycle. The mating dance will begin once she has decided it’s ready. They’re going to spread their fins and swim side by side, stopping every few inches to flare at each other and show off their faces.

If your male doesn’t feel like she’s impressed at his success, before dancing again, he’ll nip and chase her around. The manner in which your woman initiates spawning depends on her temperament. If at any point, because of how violent the male is, you feel very concerned about your female protection–take her out.

The Betta Mating Dance

Mating should continue with the compensated nosing on each other’s sides until the male can turn the female upside down and wrap around her mid-section–squeezing her tightly. Before they do it again, your male must release her and give her some time to recover (3-5 minutes). You will see her beginning to drop eggs during each hug after several tight squeezes.

Fact: They don’t strain out the female’s eggs. The aim of this embrace is to close each other’s ventrals in order to improve fertilization chances.

Now, don’t panic here, it’s critical. Your wife is going to go into a “zombie-like” state as her ovipositor lowers the eggs to the ground. She’s going to float sideways, looking like the dead. but she’s not–trust me. The male’s going to start scooping up the eggs now, putting them one by one in the nest.

She will help your male put the eggs in the nest when the female recovers. Some females are going to eat eggs. However, so watch carefully and remove her. I recommend taking her out of the tank as soon as she wakes up because males see her as a threat and may try to kill her. Bettas need protection, and sometimes they don’t spawn if the light turns on them. Using almond leaves can give water to your tanks, making them feel more relaxed.

Male Betta Looks After

The Nest Over the next 24-36 hours. The male will take care of the eggs: blowing up them with more bubbles. In another place, he may even build a brand new nest and move all eggs there. Many dads may eat the eggs or fry them for the first time, which may be very stressful. Males can only eat those eggs that are not properly fertilized or have something wrong with them. A male may just do his job, so we’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Breeding Genetics of  elephant Ear Betta

The dumbo gene is recessive, affects only the pectoral fins, and behaves in a predictable manner, such that fish with two copies of the gene have dumbo pectorals and fish with only one copy have normal pectorals.

Elephant Ear Betta Life Span

and betta fish facts bettas are known to recognize their fellow human beings, follow your finger around the aquarium, and can even be taught to do tricks! the beta fish’s life span is 3 to 5 years on average, but they can in captivity reach up to 8 or 9 years in rare cases. 

Related : Why Betta Fins Shredded Overnight? [SOLVED]
Related : Alien Betta Care Full Guide

Tankmates for Elephant Ear Betta

A lot of dumbo betta (elephant ear bettas) keepers want to find other fish, that can live in the same tank as bettas. Because they want to lighten up their tanks. keeping betta fish in the same tank with other types of fish can be tricky unless you know what you’re getting into. In the introduction step, always keep an extra tank ready in case you need to quickly remove your fish to safety. To assess compliance, you should also track the fish closely for at least 72 hours.

Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimps are almost invisible to the naked eye in tanks without close inspection. They’re making great companions of beta fish. The recommended introduction is in a 2-4 community, with 6 or more contributing to breeding potential. Ghost shrimps are easy to care for and inexpensive, and scavengers can scour your tank for excess food. It grows to a length up to 1.5 inches and lives for 1 to 1.5 years. They are really fun watching, enjoying moss balls and other live plants, and keeping your tank clean.

Mystery Snails

Snails don’t get enough credit as good tankmates. Mystery snails can feed on uneaten food and clean up algae to help with the cleanliness of the aquarium. However, they do not reproduce asexually as some snails which can cause an invasion. Also, mystery snails are plant-safe and compatible with bettas. They have a hard shell in which they can escape if appropriate. The lifespan is one year and can grow up to 2 inches. You’ll love to watch them around the tank.

Zebra Snails

Zebra Snails might be the perfect choice as a betta tank mate. It can bring to your tank a different dynamic and are interesting to watch. For the most part, Zebra Snails feed on algae and uneaten food, which helps keep your tank clean. However, like most other snails, Zebra Snails do not multiply. This is seen as an enormous benefit as other snail species can quickly overrun freshwater tanks.

Feeder Guppies

Feeder guppies are grown for larger fish food and have no bright coloring or long fins like the fancy guppy. Guppies are also happy to live alone, so it’s easier to add one as a tank mate. Feeder guppies also have wide pH and temperature tolerance and they are very robust fish.

African Dwarf Frog

African dwarf frogs are also excellent betta tank mates. They are pretty easy to look after as well. Dwarf frogs can grow to an average length of up to 2.5 inches and live for 5 years. They are very friendly and enjoy exploring. Because they have lungs, the frogs come to the surface.

White Cloud Mountain Minnows

They’re hard to find, but they make great friends with the Betta fish. They are friendly and hardy. Make sure you have a school of at least 5 or 6 while you hold White Cloud Mountain Minnows. Such fish seem to get anxious and nip at other fish when kept isolated. Keeping these minnows, a school should make sure they’re not nipping at the fins of the Betta. White Cloud Mountian Minnows is going to eat almost anything. So regular Betta flakes are supposed to be enough.

Cory Catfish

Corydoras are good additions to a betta tank. They are easy to look after and enjoy the same quality of water as bettas. Corydoras live on the bottom feeding. These vary in length from 1.0 to 2.5 inches. The average lifespan in captivity for cory catfish is 2-3 years and is non-aggressive in disposition. It makes them a great beta fishing partner. They are mostly very successful and can animate a tank.


It is shoaling fish that prefers living in a tank with a group of 5 to 6. So long as your tank is 10 gallons or more, they’re perfect tank mates. This will give them plenty of time for the activity they need. Like the betta, Rasboras also enjoys delicious brine shrimp.

Neon Tetras

While betta fish owners are advised to avoid tank mates with bright colors, due to their speed, the neon tetra can do well with beta fish. The typical lifespan is in captivity 5 years, and they can grow up to 4 centimeters tall. You may see their red stripe fade or disappear completely in prolonged periods of darkness. Neon tetras are like densely planted tanks with plenty of hiding places, just like the regular ones.

Kuhli Loach

Due to their docile nature, another great fish that can live with beta is the Kuhli Loach. They are long, eels-shaped, and love to disappear into tiny crevices. Kuhli loaches their own business, enjoys eating brine shrimps and needs to be content with at least 20 gallons.

Ember Tetras

Embers are another tetra species, with neon tetras also going to school. They grow 1 inch and need 4-6 tetra groups to be adequately trained. We also enjoy heavily planted tanks and tasty brine shrimps, much like beta fish. Also, add joy to a group tank with an average lifespan of about 4 years. We prefer the middle of a tank, while beta fish tend to prefer the top half, helping with issues of stability and territory. Nevertheless, they are both surface feeders.

Clown Plecos

The clown pleco is another eater of algae that can be compatible with the elephant ears betta. The Clown Pleco is the species ‘ dwarf member making it an ideal tank companion with a maximum length of approximately 4 inches. Nonetheless, make sure to avoid the Common Pleco because it can grow up to two feet long.

Related questions

Are elephant ear bettas aggressive?

They are aggressive fish. Sometimes they attack their own species. Their aggressiveness peaked in the breeding season. in the breeding season, you should avoid them from other tank mates.

Are Dumbo and elephant ear bettas the same?

Yes, both names are used for the same betta fish with big pectoral fins. Those big pectoral fins seem like elephants’ ears.

How big does an elephant ear betta get?

In the aquarium, they normally grow up to 2.5 inches or 6.4 cm. But in rare cases, they can grow up to 3.5 inches or 8.9 cm.

How long do elephant ear betta fish live?

In a properly maintained aquarium, they can live a minimum of 3-5 years. my friend once told me he saw 10 years old elephant ears betta in an aquarium. Their life expectancy totally depends on your care.


This tropical fish exhibit a unique shape and colors to other tropical betta fish. The most prominent feature is their big elephant ear-like pelvic fins. Their big flowing fins make your aquarium magical. Females and males are the same as other bettas. Even though they are hardy fish you need to maintain a certain tank setup to thrive them well. Try to feed them with live food such as daphnia, mosquito larvae, brine shrimps, and other small insects. So what do you think of adding this beautiful fish to your home aquarium?

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.

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