Elephant Ear Betta Fish – Facts & Profile

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If you are in the middle of a search for the ideal Betta fish type for your home aquarium, you have certainly stumbled upon many variations so far.

These mostly differ in accordance with their tail shapes and sizes, but there is one particularly peculiar breed that catches the attention immediately.

Indeed, the elephant ear betta fish is surely one of the most spectacular choices above many others. We are sharing a complete list of facts and profile to get more familiar with these creatures.

The elephant ear betta fish is special because it has enlarged pectoral fins, rather than a distinctive tail. When these are wide open, they make the fish slightly resemble an elephant head, so it is not uncommon to call them dumbo betta fish either.

This mutation is possible thanks to a recessive gene, firstly discovered accidentally and then transmitted to many other betta types. Today, dumbo versions of betta fish are one of the most popular among many breeders.

Also Read: Are Betta Fish Expensive?


The only visible factor which can help you in recognizing a dumbo betta fish are its pectoral fins. If these are generously larger from its head, this is certainly a dumbo specimen.

When it comes to all other appearance specifications, there is basically no rule here. Indeed, the elephant ear gene can be implemented in any betta fish type.

It is mostly crossed with plakat variations, but it is not uncommon with any other subspecies either. Those which feature extra-long tails, such as halfmoons or deltas, can be extremely spectacular among dumbo variations.

That said, your elephant ear betta can grow anywhere from 2 to 3 inches in length, depending on the type, and can weigh around 0,2 ounces. Also, it can have a lifespan from 2 to 5 years, again depending on the betta type.

When it comes to coloration and patterns, everything is possible. The dumbo gene in elephant ear bettas is not connected to the tail type or to the coloration genes. This means that they can often be seen in a variety of different colors. As well as patterns- from solid to bicolored, but also from dragon scale to marble.

Behavior & Personality

There is a belief that specimens of dumbo betta fish are usually more aggressive when compared to other betta splendens. This is because every single betta fish, being dumbo or not, has its own personality and temperament.

Therefore, you should always avoid placing more than one male specimen into a single tank. If you decide to adopt female bettas, you can place a sorority of about 5 into one aquarium.

Additionally, they are often noticed reacting aggressively to their own reflection. It is not exactly proven why this happens, but it is possible that they are in fact not used to seeing such large pectoral fins. It is speculated that the fish may be trying to attack what it perceives as another fish invading its territory.

Care & Requirements

Elephant ear bettas do not really require any special care. However, the peculiar size and shape of their pectoral fins are certainly not a factor to disregard.

When setting their tank up, please make sure to always avoid rough substrate or edgy decorative items, as well as pointy plants. Fine gravel or sand will help your pets to avoid injuries or dangerous fin rots as much as possible.

Another thing to consider is the current strength across the tank. No betta likes heavy current, but this is especially true with elephant ear bettas. Their heavy and excessively large fins can become awfully hard to maneuver if the current is not extremely gentle.

Food & Diet

The feeding plan can be identified as for any other betta splendens, as these too are carnivorous.

High-quality commercial pellets enriched with protein should make the basic meals of these little hunters, with the addition of healthy treats. Such treats can be either live or frozen, and ranging anywhere from brine shrimp to occasional bloodworms.

Same as for any other betta, please be sure to never overfeed your pet.

Health Problems

Luckily, there is no proof until now that elephant ear betta fish are more subject to health problems when compared to other betta splendens.

Indeed, the only thing to be extra attentive about is the remarkable size of their pectorals and their sensitivity to injuries. We could probably state, as a conclusion, that these fish are keener to fin rot.

Adding to that, some owners have reported their dumbo bettas having more trouble with swimming than other specimens do. This is entirely related to the heaviness of their fins.


  • Elephant ear betta fish are quite difficult to breed. Even if two specimens with the same elephant ear gene are crossed, there is no guarantee that most of their babies will grow into dumbo bettas.
  • Their pectoral fins can grow up to even 5 times larger when compared to the fins of other betta splendens.
  • Dumbo betta fish tend to become quite lethargic during old age, as their fins become heavier to carry around. They are often spotted resting instead of swimming around.
  • The most common color of the pectoral fins across elephant ear bettas is white.
  • Although oversized fins make these fish look simply spectacular, there are still many controversial ethical questions between breeders and fish fanatics. Is it really okay to play with genes to make beautiful fish, even if they can struggle with swimming later in life?

Wrapping Up

Betta fish are one of the most amazing tropical fish among today’s hobbyists and enthusiasts. They can be adopted in so many different colors and patterns and are simply stunning to observe while swimming.

This seems to be especially popular with those types which feature larger tails, as seeing them floating can really be mesmerizing. That is exactly why many breeders have decided to isolate a special gene that can make betta splendens to develop oversized pectoral fins, too.

If you have decided that an elephant ear betta is your perfectly suitable type of pet fish, please make sure to provide extra care when decorating its aquarium. Your pet will grow amazing fins in return.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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