You do realize that bettas don't live in small puddles..
They live in rice paddies, swamps, wetlands, and shallow ponds. These bodies of water, though shallow, are quite expansive; rice paddies typically span many acres. Some places their waters can go on for miles. There is nothing "small" about their homes except for during the dry season where the water can become smaller.. but between May until October they are in Monsoon season which means a ton of rain.
So some areas may be shallow, but not small.. no "washing of potential mates" as it doesn't work that way.. females will travel all around the acres/miles visiting different males as they go. They don't just live in rice paddies.. (each segment of those are often very large).
i knew that they don't live in puddles, but i was (wrongheadedly) equating the climate in southeast asia with what i experienced while i was in panama: that even large bodies of water will dwindle down to isolated pockets during the dry season, essentially cutting fish off from each other till rains come and reconnect the disparate ponds into a larger body of water.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger-all down here on Earth.
Loki/Grendel/Gail/Beowulf/Camilla/River/Bathory/Arwen/Lafayette/Deb/Jack Skellington (soon)