Elephant Ear Betta: Meet The Dumbo Of Your Unique Aquarium

elephant ear betta
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Last Updated: February 20, 2023 by Dave Gibbins

There has never been more colorful fish than Elephant Ear Bettas. Betta fishes, also known as Dumbo Bettas, are a popular aquarium type of tropical fish. There are about 73 Betta types, and one of the most popular is the Elephant Ear Betta.

More on that in a few…

Originating from Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, where they swim freely. They are part of the gourami family and are known to fight if two of them are placed together in the tank. If you are thinking about getting an Elephant Ear Betta for your aquarium, you have come to the right place.


Elephant ear betta, also known as betta splendens in the scientific community, hails from the Gouramis family of fishes and is an endangered species. They are freshwater fish native to the Asian waters of the Mekong Delta.

They are a type of Siamese fish distinguished by their huge fins. In addition to their standout fins, elephant ear betta, like others of the same family, boast a vibrant array of colors, making them a popular choice among fish.

You can find them in various colors such as blue, gray, light green, red, brown, and pink.
elephant ear betta fish with vibrant color

However, the rarest of all bettas is the albino betta fish with pink or red eyes.

Their distinctive pectoral fins give the fish a gentle, graceful appearance, and they can be up to twice the size of the betta’s body. While the pectoral fins of male bettas are usually more extensive and more colorful than those of elephant ear betta females, both sexes sport impressive fins that are sure to turn heads.

Although they are low maintenance, they usually don’t enjoy having other bettas as tank mates since they are predatory fish. Especially male dumbo bettas, as they get very hyper when they have to share the tank with another male betta fish or any bright-colored fish.

Other than that, elephant ear betta fish are pretty straightforward to take care of, and their lifespan ranges from 1 to 3 years.

Most importantly, becoming betta fish owners is easy as they are super affordable. Depending on the color, prices are somewhere between $10 and $20 in most pet stores.

Appearance and Varieties

The elephant ears betta, or “EE betta,” is a type of betta known for its huge and flowing fins.

elephant ear betta with black background

EE bettas are named for their large pectoral fins, which resemble the ears of an elephant.

The average size of an EE betta is about 2.5 inches (6.4 cm), but some specimens can reach up to 3.5 inches (8.9 cm). Male elephant ear betta tends to be larger than female ear betta and has more exaggerated fins.

Fun Fact: You’ve finally met the elephant of the betta species. We’re presenting you the dragon of the betta species! Meet and greet this unique betta — Dragon Scale Betta: Appearance, Behavior, & Life Span.

Diets of Dumbo Bettas

The dumbo Halfmoon Betta Splenden (also known as Elephant Ear Betta Fish) is native to Thailand and is found in slow-moving streams and rivers. In the wild, they feed on small insects and crustaceans.

You should also get foods produced specially for the betta fish, like betta pellets, freeze dried food, and flakes.

If you are sourcing any live foods like brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, or blood worms for your pet fish, then make sure that the supplier is highly reliable and honest in his job, as you do not want to risk infiltrating the tank and your new fish with any parasites.

feeding betta fish in a small tank

Here is a list of their favorite food:

  • Fish Pellets
  • Freeze-dried blood worms
  • Brine shrimp
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Crustaceans
  • Insects
  • Vegetables… rarely when sharing tanks with other fish species.

Remember, A balanced diet containing all the nutrients is the key to retaining their bright color because the beautiful color of dumbo ear betta may fade if it isn’t fed correctly.

Dumbo Betta Feeding

fish pellets in a glass jar

Although, experts suggest keeping a feeding timetable for your dumbo betta fish to avoid over-feeding. Preferably, two small doses, i.e., 4-6 pellets per day, and a fast day each week to prevent excess food intake.

The weekly fast is commonly advised to give their digestive tract a much-needed break and ensure a healthy life for your beautiful fish.

If you are feeding them frozen food, then be sure to defrost it before sprinkling it in the tank; otherwise, it can be difficult for the betta fish to ingest.

Setting Up A Home Aquarium

aquarium at home

It is essential to know that the Elephant Ear Betta is comfortable in shady environments. For this reason, you should keep the fish betta tank indoors where there is less daylight.

In addition to that, you can also place some accessories in the tank under which the fish can take shade. You can use floating plants like Riccia and Salvina.


You can also add tall stem plants or tropical lilies to brighten up the tank’s environment while making the fish feel at ease.

You would need to do this because they are naturally shy, or you could say they are introverts. Apart from this, Elephant Ear Betta also likes it if the betta tank environment includes driftwood or live hardy freshwater plants like Taxiphyllum and Microsorum.

To provide more comfortable places for shade or a place to hide in for Elephant Ear Betta fish, you can add some caves and live plants in the tank to give it a feel of its home.

To add to that feel of nature, you can also add fine sand or gravel substrate at the bottom of the betta’s tank with some dried leaf litter.

This will also benefit microbe colonies as the leaves decompose over time. The microbes will serve as a great natural food source for Elephant Ear Betta.


Adding aquarium light is also a good option. However, you will have to keep monitoring the water temperature as light increases the temperature, and Elephant Ear Betta need a particular temperature to suit them.

Tank Size

You would think that such a small fish like Elephant Ear Betta fish which likes to be alone in its environment, would not mind living in a small space like a fishbowl or a small aquarium. If you think that, then you’re mistaken.

This suggests that a minimum tank size of 3 square feet is good enough for your fish aquarium.

Your tank shape should have enough space for the fish to breathe above water as Elephant Ear Bettas likes to do that.

The fish tank also needs ample space for feeding and a filtration system.

Quantity Of Water

Although it’s known for surviving in water bodies with less oxygen source, we still recommend that you have up to 5 to 10 gallons of water in the fish tank.

If you have other fish in the tank, you will need a larger tank with more gallons of water as space affects aquarium fish.

Filtration Systems

You need to have a filtration system installed in the fish tank for Elephant Ear Betta, which is why it is best to get a larger aquarium. The filtration system allows the fish to stay alive in the artificial environment by getting a feel of being in their natural habitat.

An air-powered sponge filter or internal filter is recommended as any other filter that moves too fast will disrupt the water environment and make the fish uncomfortable and aggressive.

The filtration system will also help protect these beautiful fish from any diseases and rotting of the fins as they are highly susceptible to bacteria and infection.

Water Temperature

Water quality affects aquarium fish as much as anything.

Elephant Ear Bettas do not do well in unstable water conditions. For this reason, it is a must that you have a heater installed in the tank.

The recommended temperature of water for this fish is between 75F and 78F.

Cold temperature water will make the fish more prone to sickness while losing energy and becoming lethargic.

Water pH

Maintain the pH levels of the tank water between 5.0 and 7.5. Water plants can aid in maintaining this actual pH level that fish swim in.

Life Spans

Elephant Ear Bettas can live a good life for up to five years in your aquarium. The fish is also trendy, which is why you can easily find it at a local pet store near you for a very affordable price range.

You can get one and have it as a cute and colorful little family member at your home. It’s effortless to have them live a long and healthy life of up to five years.

Typical Behavior and Temperament of the Siamese Fighting Fish

Elephante ear bettas are generally peaceful, but males can be territorial towards each other. They should be kept in separate tanks unless spawning is desired.

They are carnivorous fish and when kept in a community tank, they should be kept with other peaceful fish that do not have long fins (such as guppies or neon tetras) that the bettas may mistake for rivals.


The Elephant ear betta is a popular aquarium fish, and it is well-known for its dramatic fins and elegant swimming motions. They are relatively peaceful and can be kept with other species, but they are known as aggressive fish towards other betta fish in the same tank.

Elephant ear bettas are found in slow-moving freshwater habitats in Southeast Asia, such as rivers, canals, rice paddies, and ponds.

They typically live among vegetation, where they can hide from predators and find food.

Suitable Tank Mates

It’s important to remember that they are often quite aggressive when it comes to finding a roommate for your elephant betta fish. They don’t tend to get along with everyone, and they can be very territorial.

Other peaceful freshwater fishes like danios, guppies, and platies are good options for elephant bettas.

These are similar in size to the elephant betta and shouldn’t pose a threat. Catfish such as plecos and corydoras also make a suitable partner for these aggressive elephant bettas.

Other fish tank buddies for betta splendens include shrimp, snails, and other peaceful invertebrates. Just be sure to avoid any aquatic animals that are known to be aggressive or territorial.

Fun Facts About Dumbo Betta Fish

Halfmoon Elephant Ear Betta fish is an endangered species as compared to the other betta splendens due to the increasing contamination of their habitat. Dumbo Halfmoon Betta usually comes in lavender, violent, and maroon colors.

If you are thinking of breeding Elephant Ear Betta, it may be good to put a female betta and a male together in the same breeding tank. However, make sure you do that only for a limited amount of time, as after a while when the female will lay eggs, the male becomes aggressive. The female attacks the male’s bubble nest, and then the fighting content begins.

Sometimes, they are also called dumbo betta fish after the Disney character “Dumbo,” as elephant betta have much larger fins than other betta splendens.

Betta Splendens get their name from the ancient warrior clan of Asia called Bettah due to their aggressive behavior. They are called “jewels of the orient” in Thailand.

Fun Fact: Have fun with another unique betta species to take care of — black orchid betta. Read our post about Black Orchid Betta: Fishing Your Way To A Rare Aquatic Pet to learn more!


Elephant Ear Betta is an absolutely adorable and aesthetically pleasing addition to your family as a pet. It is best that you have only one of these at a time and do not have any tank mates if it is a male

The proper care for this type of fish lies in ensuring the precise tank environment, suitable water temperature, and a diet that keeps them healthy.