So after that post a few days ago (here) saying that people who house male and female bettas in the same tank when they’re not trying to breed are just trying to be ~~edgy~~ and don’t care about the well-being of their fish, and after all the drama that followed, I’ve been thinking about it and am still pretty frustrated about the whole sequence of events. So I’m going to make another post on the topic.
I’ve never said housing male and female bettas can’t be successfully done or that any attempts to do so will result in failure. What I was trying to say (and I still stand by this opinion) is that people who KNOW that males and females shouldn’t be kept together but do it anyway are extremely irresponsible and I question whether or not they are truly concerned for the well-being of their fish.
You’ll notice that I added another part that I didn’t add to my original post describing the people I am referring to: those “who know that it shouldn’t be done”. I didn’t add that descriptor to my original post because, well, I doubt that there are many people out there who are able to escape the knowledge that you can’t (or it’s not recommended to) house bettas with conspecifics.
An example: There have been multiple times when I have bought more than one betta at a time. Male and male, female and male, multiple males and a female… Any combination of gender, I’ve bought it at one point. And, unless I knew the cashier, they’ve ALL given me that hesitant look before asking me if I was planning on housing them together. Of course I know better, but I’m sure that if I said yes then they would have politely informed me that it can’t/shouldn’t be done.
These were cashiers at PetCo or PetsMart, not hired for their expertise on fish care. Even they knew that it’s not a good idea to house Siamese fighting fish together in the same tank.
Even those awful betta bowls, barely larger than the cup you buy the fish in, have some sort of literature on the side of the box saying that they’re aggressive with their own species, warning you to NEVER put two of them them in the same tank.
So I doubt many people could go home with a male and a female intending to put them in the same tank without being educated and warned.
So then why do people still do it? Well, they could just like to abuse animals. That’s always a possibility.
Sometimes, however, people talk to betta breeders or look on forums and find advice saying that it CAN be done. However, that advice comes with a lot of disclaimers: the tank has to be X gallons or larger, there needs to be lots of hiding places, you can get away with it for awhile but then something changes and someone goes on a killing spree, etc. They give a LOT of warnings on what can go wrong.
Even the people who are honest with you and tell you it is sometimes possible heavily discourage you from doing it.
So for someone to take all those warnings, hear all those worst-case scenarios, and still turn around and decide to try it anyway? Yeah, I’m a little contemptuous of them.