March 10

Sarah Robertson

Elephant Ear Betta (Dumbo): Care Guide

The Elephant Ear Betta, sometimes known as a Dumbo Betta, is a designer variety of Betta Splendens fish. Like their name implies, these creatures have enormous, long and flowing fins just like an elephant's ear.

These fishes are sometimes called as "deformed" bettas because their extremely large fins cause these bettas to swim in such a way that they cannot keep their bodies upright and must swim on their sides or upside down. They are also known as Halfmoon Betta as their fins have two lobes rather than one.

 Their body is usually wider with less length than usual for a Betta due to the excessive fin size. The Elephant Ear Betta's beautiful large ears make it one of the most sought-after varieties of Siamese Fighting Fish. They're generally available in many Vibrant colors. Steel blue, grey, light green, drab green, brown, red, and pink are some of the common color variations.

Origin

The fish is native to Vietnam's Mekong Delta, Thailand's Yom River and the surrounding areas. They are mostly found in standing water located along floodplains, canals, and rice paddies.

Male and Female Elephant Ear Betta Fish

The dorsal, ventral, and caudal fins of male bettas are generally long. Because of their length, the dorsal and caudal fins frequently droop. Female Betta fish have shorter fins that are approximately as long as the Betta is tall or shorter.

 Also, males have a brighter and more vibrant coloration in contrast to a duller and less vibrant color in females. Also, their fins are much smaller than the male bettas. However, it is very hard to tell each other apart in their early stages, but as they grow older, the females will appear darker, fatter and their fins shorter.

Tank Mates

The Elephant Ear Betta fish usually don't get along with other regular water fishes or the fishes of similar kind due to their active nature and the fact that they will compete for territory. They are extremely aggressive, and it's best to keep them as a single betta fish or else they'll tear each other apart. However, there are certain fishes that can be their tank mates.

Ghost Shrimp- Ghost Shrimp are great tank mates with Elephant Ear Betta fish because they're non-aggressive, peaceful and smaller than the bettas.

Mystery Snails- They are excellent companions as the snail will feed on fish waste. The problem is that they grow too big for a betta tank and you have to take them out when they get big enough.

Zebra Snails-Zebra Snails will not bother your betta but there is a high risk that they will multiply too quickly and become an issue to your tank. In that case, you have to get rid of them immediately.

Feeder Guppies- They are fun to watch them swim around with the betta fish. Feeders are really cheap, but keep in mind that they may carry some harmful parasites that shouldn't be transferred into your betta tank.

African Dwarf Frogs- They are great tank buddies because they stay smaller than the betta fish. The only problem is that they may annoy your betta fish, but it's not common unless you have a very small tank.

White Cloud Mountain Minnows- They are great to keep with Elephant Ear Betta fish because they're peaceful, small, and easier to find than the other types of minnows.

Cory Catfish- They are great to keep with betta fish because they like the same water conditions and will occasionally pick at leftover betta food. Be aware that Cory catfish produce a lot of waste, but it's still better than having an overstocked tank.

Rasbora- They are a type of small cyprinid freshwater fish. They're a shoaling fish and will make your betta feel less lonely. But just like bettas, they are also very active, so be cautious of that.

Neon Tetras- They are a type of small, colourful freshwater fish. They will add color to your betta's aquarium and be great tank mates. Usually, they like to swim between the bottom and middle water layers.

Kuhli Loach- They're a type of very small fish native to Southeast Asia. They will keep the substrate clean and eat betta fish food as well as leftover food so you won't have to worry about overfeeding your fish.

Ember Tetras- They are a type of small freshwater fish. They like to swim between the bottom and middle layers of water and they will be great tank buddies for your betta.

Clown Plecos- They are a type of freshwater suckermouth catfish. Clown plecos will eat all kinds of leftover food and make the tank substrate clean for your betta, but you have to do at least 50% water change regularly because they produce a lot of waste.


Male bettas are more aggressive than female bettas. As a result, they can't be kept together with their own kind, but females can be put in with other female Elephant Ear Bettas if the tank is big enough. It's critical to ensure that the tank is spacious enough so that the Elephant Ear Bettas have room to establish their own territory.

Tanks Requirements

It is very important to understand that an Elephant Ear Betta should not be housed in a small bowl or vase like an ordinary Siamese Fighting Fish. They are energetic swimmers who fight each other in confined areas or tanks that restrict their movement.

They are best raised in larger aquarium. These Aggressive Fish require at least a 20-gallon aquarium with plenty of décor and hiding places to live and swim upright. The water needs to be hard and alkaline (8-12dH) for Elephant Ear Betta's as they are very sensitive to changes in their environment. The pH level should be maintained between 7.5-8. Water Temperature should be around 75-82 degrees F.

Elephant-Ear-Betta-2

How Often Should You Replace the Water?

The Elephant Ear Betta is very sensitive to changes in water parameters, so it requires frequent water changes of at least 15%-20 weekly.

Why Not Change All the Water in Aquarium?

When it comes to changing the water, keep in mind not to replace the entire volume of water; only change the water that is depleted in the aquarium (about 50%). Maintaining a large portion of original water ensures that water levels and temperatures do not fluctuate significantly during the shift. Changing the entire volume of water may cause a lot of stress to the fish.

Tank Decor

The Elephant Ear Betta is very active and requires a lot of free space to move around in. It is best to have decorations that are low, wide, or short so the betta fish can swim upright instead of on its sides. Make sure not to place any pointed objects in the tank (such as large gravels) as their fins can get trapped and damaged with their sharp edges.

You should also avoid using all silk or live plants because their long, flowing fins will tangle up in them. Decorate with soft plastic plants or hardy aquatic plants that are fast growing, such as Java Fern, Anubias Nana, Valisneria, and Amazon Sword.

You should also invest in various rock ornaments and bog wood to supplement the aquarium décor and give them a place to rest and hide. Like other bettas, Elephant Ear Bettas require time to get acclimated to their surroundings. However, once they are accustomed to their new habitat, they are quite resilient.

Breeding

Breeding requires the same water parameters as for normal bettas. You will need to ensure that the breeding tank has a tight-fitting cover or an air stone, in order to prevent the female from jumping out.

It is also important not to introduce any other fish or plants into the aquarium because these may be seen as competition and could cause stress to the developing eggs. Female Bettas prefer dim-lit aquariums with lots of plant cover to help them hide when they are ready to breed.

If you wish to conduct breeding trials, Mustard gas bettas can be crossed with elephant bettas. The offspring will have a long and flowing tail.

How to Find Successful Breeding Pair?

When it comes to breeding, choose fish that are the same age and size. This will ensure a compatible tank mate for your breeding pair. The ideal time to breed bettas is when they are still young, which is between 4 and 12 months old. This will guarantee that the eggs are not infertile. 

Breeding Process

During their breeding session, the male elephant ear betta will build a bubble nest on the surface of the water. When the female sees the male, he changes color and begins to dance with his fins. He will then entice a female into the nest to mate by flapping his fins.

Female Bettas also turns darker as an indicator that she is ready for breeding. The male must wrap around the female's mid-section and squeeze her tightly after releasing her from his grasp. This requires him to turn her upside down and wrap around her mid-section, which he does by nosing compensated on each other's sides. The eggs are released at this time, and he fertilizes them.

 The females should be removed from the tank as soon as the breeding session is finished to avoid her eating the eggs. The male continues to tend his nest for 6-12 hours before it's time to let the eggs fall into the water column. At this point, he will thin out the bubble nests and allow them to either float freely or sink slowly in order prevent the baby betta fry from getting trapped inside the bubble nest.

 The male betta will make sure the eggs are kept in a suitable location. If they get stuck to the sides or bottom of the tank, he uses his mouth to push them back into the water column. He also blows bubbles over the eggs and fans them with his fins in order to keep them healthy and remove any debris that is in the water.

How to Look After Male Betta After the Breeding Procedure?

After a successful mating session, male bettas often want a break from caring for the eggs. They will retreat to the bottom of the tank and become almost motionless in order to rest. Once they have rested for a few days, they will resume their usual activities and continue to care for their fry until they are born. They must be provided with a diet high in protein, in order to help them maintain their strength.

Feeding Guidelines

The elephant ear betta or Halfmoon Betta is a carnivore. They must be provided with a balanced diet. Overfeeding can cause a variety of health issues, including obesity, constipation, and swim bladder disorders. They prefer a variety of foods, which include;

dumbo-betta-fish
  • Freeze-Dried Food- Freeze Dried Foods are a great and nutritious option for your betta fish. They can be stored in the freezer without affecting the nutritional value and it is very convenient. This type of food has a high water content, which means you can feed your betta more than other options. They include freeze-dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia and plankton.

  • Live Food- Live foods make great betta food because it is rich in nutrients, but there are certain things to be aware of before you provide them as a staple for your betta's diet. Be careful about the size of feeder fish you choose. Live foods are always best but not all bettas will eat them. The larger the live food, the more mess it will make and the harder it is for a betta to eat. Live foods such as mosquito larvae, bloodworms, brine shrimp are easy to raise yourself for feeding your betta. They can be found in most pet stores under fishing supplies.

  • Frozen Food- Frozen food is another great option for your betta fish. They are easy to store and require no preparation before feeding them to your bettas. Best examples of frozen food includes bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia and plankton.

  • Protein-rich Pellets- Protein rich pellets, such as betta staple and color enhanced pellets, contain all the nutrients your betta needs. They can be used on their own or complement them with other types of food.

  • Meal Replacement Gel - Gel nutrition is a good option if you find it difficult to feed your betta fresh food on a daily basis. It is a one-step feeding solution that requires no preparation or refrigeration. Just add a little gel to your betta's aquarium and it will slowly dissolve, releasing the nutrients throughout the day. The betta can either eat it directly or you can use an automatic feeder to dispense it for them.

  • Aquarium Plants- Bettas love to eat live aquarium plants in particular plant matter in the wild. They are harmless to use for this purpose, providing your betta with additional nutrients.

  • Formulated Flakes- Flakes are super easy to store and feed your betta. They contain all the nutrients required by bettas, but lack in variety of natural foods. Flakes can be used as a supplement for daily feeding or occasional treats

How to Feed

Bettas can be fed 2-3 times a day, which is about the same frequency as they feed in the wild. It's important however to know that not all bettas will eat at once and that their stomach size is small. Always feed your betta until they've eaten what they can and then stop. You want to avoid overfeeding your betta. 

Recommended Ratio of Live, Frozen, Freeze-Dried Foods by Volume per Batch:

Live Foods:

1 part

Freeze-Dried Food:

1 part

Freeze-Dried Food:

2 parts

Pellets/Flakes:

1 part

If your betta won't eat pellets or flakes, increase the amount of freeze dried food until they are eating at the same frequency as the other options. You can mix up all of these types of food in a large container and pull out enough daily to feed your betta. Mix the foods together before feeding them to your bettas, so you don't overfeed them with any one type of food.

When to Feed

Feed your betta when they are swimming actively, instead of resting on the bottom of the tank. Bettas are not nocturnal feeders and prefer to be fed in the morning or during day time, while at night they rest. If you offer them food while they are resting, the tank is more likely to become clogged with uneaten waste.

Lifespan

The average life expectancy of an Elephant Ear Betta is 2-4 years, although there have been some cases where they lived up to 5 years. Their lifespan depends upon how well you care for them. It's important to keep the water clean, do regular tank maintenance, and feed them a healthy diet in order to keep them safe from diseases. Some studies also say that the Elephant Ear Betta lifespan is up to 8 years. However, it's very uncommon and only happens if they receive special care from their owner.

Diseases

Most aquarium fishes are susceptible to many diseases and infections, and Elephant Ear bettas are no exception. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasites, dropsy, fin rot, swim bladder disorders, constipation problems and more.

  • Fin Rot: It is caused by bacteria which are found in contaminated water. This disease causes the fins to appear tattered and torn, usually starting from the edges of the fins. The betta may also exhibit abnormal swimming behavior or will look lethargic. In order to prevent this disease, ensure proper water quality and avoid overstocking the tank.

  • Dropsy: This is a bacterial infection caused by poor water conditions. It causes swelling of the body as well as the scales to stick out from the body. Other symptoms include abnormal swimming behavior, loss of appetite, and shrunken eyes that appear bulging out. In order to prevent this disease, ensure proper water quality and do regular tank maintenance.
  • Parasitic Infections: It is caused by protozoa and worms which enter the betta's body through infected food or other fish. The betta may be infested with parasites such as Ich, Costia, Trichodina, Chilodonella, and anchor worms. Symptoms of an infestation include white spot on the body, lethargy, loss of appetite, abnormal coloring or behavior, etc. Fish lice are also commonly found in bettas because they love to stay underneath the plant leaves where they feel safe.
  • Pop-eye: This disease causes swelling of the eye which makes it appear to bulge. It is caused by the bacterium "Pseudomonas fluorescens" which usually enters through a cut or an injury on the betta's body. If left untreated, the betta may permanently lose his/her sight.
  • Bladder Disorder: This is a common disorder in Elephant Ear bettas caused by poor water quality. The betta may exhibit abnormal swimming behavior, stay at the bottom of the tank, or have difficulty with buoyancy due to this disease.

Keeping a betta fish in a healthy environment is extremely important if you want it to stay alive for a long time. A sickly Elephant Ear Betta will have difficulty fighting off diseases and can easily be stressed out by changes in its environment, which lowers its immune system.

They are also very sensitive to the pH level of their water. However, Elephant Ear Betta fish are not as difficult to keep as some people think. As long as you follow a few simple rules, they can live a long, healthy life. You need to monitor the pH level of your water, do regular tank maintenance, and feed them a healthy diet in order to keep them safe from diseases.

Elephant Ear Betta

How Do I Know if My Betta Is Dying?

If you suspect that your betta is sick, the first thing you should do is separate it from the tank. You can do so by moving it to another container or putting a divider in the tank to separate it from the other fish. Then, carefully examine your betta's body for any abnormalities such as unusual swimming behavior, loss of color, lethargy, fin rot, pop-eye, etc.

Most of the time, it is very difficult to treat elephant ear bettas because they are so sensitive to medications and poor water conditions. However, if you suspect that your betta is sick, please take it to a local fish store or an experienced betta keeper for advice. They will help you with the next steps to take and may be able to save your fish's life!

Interesting Facts About the Elephant Ear Betta Fish

  • The Elephant Ear Betta is a hybrid version of the Siamese Fighting fish.

  • They are tropical fish and are originated in Thailand and were made by selectively breeding Siamese Fighting Fish with other betta species.

  • In Thailand, Elephant Ear Betta fish are mainly used for gambling fights because they naturally have a very aggressive temperament. However, the Elephant Ear Betta is now kept as a pet all around the world by both experienced betta keepers and beginners alike.

  • The Elephant Ear Betta or Halfmoon Betta are naturally carnivorous.

  • Elephant Ear Betta are capable of associative learning, in which they acquire a consistent response after being exposed to new things.

  • These fish species have been selectively bred to produce large fins and are usually sold as ornamentals, rather than as fighting fish.

  • In Thailand, they are known as "Pla Kapong" or as "Hong Kong", which means "Red Tail".

  • Female fish often has shorter tails compared to male ones with elaborate tails.

  • When buying an Elephant Ear Betta, you should look for one with long, flowing fins that are wide at the bottom. Also make sure that there are no gaps in between each of its fins. Tail types must also be considered. Go for distinct tailed bettas rather than shorter tail betta.


Final Thoughts:

Elephant Ear Betta fish are beautiful pet fish with different tail shapes and long flowing fins that are gaining popularity among betta keepers. They have many different colorations and can grow very large, so they are a lot of fun to keep. Their care requirements are fairly similar to regular bettas, but they do need slightly larger tanks due to their extra-long fins.

They are also more sensitive to poor water conditions compared to other varieties of betta fish, so it is important that you maintain a high level of water quality or raised in a larger tank. Keeping a betta fish in good condition is critical to its longevity.

Always monitor the pH levels of your water and do regular fish tank maintenance, so you can keep them safe from diseases. Elephant ear betta fish are carnivores, so they should be fed a meat-based diet. They should be fed frozen and freeze-dried foods such as bloodworms, plankton, brine shrimp, etc. to keep them healthy.

Feeding your Elephant Ear Betta, a varied diet will ensure that they stay in peak condition for years to come! However, it's important to note that you shouldn't overfeed your betta. It is also very important to ensure that to move all the uneaten food so as to maintain water quality. Feeding your betta too much food can make them sick, so always follow the instructions on whatever you feed it. So, are you ready to bring one of these g fish into your home? They are truly impressive creatures that are a lot of fun to own!

Sarah Robertson


I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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