About a month ago my girlfriend bought two male bettas. An uglier looking one, and a nicer looking one. The ugly one we put in a community tank with a red tailed black shark, 3 red finned tetras, 3 tiger barbs, and a few other fish. The nicer one we put in a bowl. To conclude if the rumor was true about bettas being agressive towards other fish we thought we might as well try it out. It turned out that the bettas only problem was the tiger barbs. Not because they attacked it or he attacked them but they were the only ones curious enough to approach him. All the others give him his space. He goes left, they go right. Both are doing great and the only one that has flared his gills is the one in the bowl. He often flares at himself in the bathroom mirror, as well as my finger when I point at his bowl.
I don't recommend you put male Betta's in with Lyre Tail Mollies. I did this today, and the mollies just about ate my betta's ("Dawson") fins up. I had to relocate him in another tank. Although fish are different, this is just my opinion...if you do so, GOOD LUCK!
To comment on Joe's inclusion of ghost shrimp into the Betta's home, well I had the same idea. The betta turned to face his new tankmate, flared, and the shrimp kind of flared back, waving its swimming legs and extending its antennae. The Betta (no name; I don't name my fish since I know who they are) then seized the ghost shrimp, and facing me, shook it like a terrier shakes a toy, then threw it down. He then opened his mouth as if to say "There!" or just flex it, looking at me. I watched, kind of surprised, then went away to find a straw to withdraw the shrimp corpse and let the betta cool down. When I returned, the shrimp was gone and the betta was swimming about, looking for new targets. I was surprised it could eat something that big, and can only assume that the breeder fed it lots of brine shrimp, and to the betta, the ghost shrimp was just a larger version of lunch. I didn't feed him shrimp to often after that, since I had read that some fish can overdose on the shell material, but I figured he'd earned the occasional treat.
Yesterday, after much preparation, I went out and purchased my first betta, GLORY (think...I've been keeping fish for almost 15 years!). He is beautiful! Blue and red multicolored. He has his own 20 liter tank (for now...I am going to get a few pygmy cories to go with him). He flares up at his reflection whenever he sees himself! It felt really good to see him swim as fast as he could, for the first time in his life not trapped in one of those tiny containers. Little guy's got a real distinct personality!
I've only kept bettas for 1 year and already I have gone through 2 breeding cycles with the same 2 bettas. I kept my red female betta in a 145 litre tank with 2 gouramis, 1 clown loach and 2 different spieces of shark. She is easy to keep, mainly because she eats everything I give her. The annoying thing is I never see her eat, the only thing I know that she is fuller with eggs than ever before and has grown quite a bit. One bad side is that all she does day in day out is follow her reflections on the edge of the tank it is really weird. I keep my male in a small tank by himself. I recommend that you keep him in a tank about 30x15x10 cm. He is much happpier in this tank than he was in my community tank. He is a joy to watch. They are my favourite fish.
After almost 4 years we lost our first betta "Buddy" that my son got for his sixth birthday. Curious to know their lifespan I ended up finding this site. We don't know anything about fish but I did want to express our love of this little creature who we nicknamed Lazarus because we thought he was a gonner twice before today (once when he apparently jumped out of a large martini glass that I kept him in while changing his water for who knows how long and once when he was constipated - no kidding) . We wanted other novices such as ourselves to know Bettas make great pets with little effort. We kept Buddy in a small fish bowl (about 2 liters) with one plastic plant in it which he rested on a lot, especially towards the end. I changed his water every 10 days or so and fed him Tetra Betta Min flakes. Simple. Little did we know when we got this fish that he would be so entertaining and friendly. We released our little friend into the Pacific this morning...I never thought I'd see the day that I would cry over a dead fish. We will likely get another Betta but I doubt he'll have the same "personality" as our little buddy.