What a lot of well meaning hobbyist forget in regards to the Long fin adult males...Is the abnormal long heavy fins and then comparing them to either their wild cousins or failure to understand normal behavior of sexually mature male Betta splendens-as well as how they are grown out.
Years of selective breeding went into creating these long heavy fins...Abnormal, delicate and heavy. Many of these males have never been in water volume greater than half gallon from the time they are separated for grow out. Rarely if ever in tanks with any kind of water movement.
Due to these abnormal, delicate, long and heavy fins-too much space and/or water movement can be stressful as well as cause fin damage. While this damage may only be cosmetic-it is an open wound that you risk a secondary infection on top of the compromised immune response due to stress.
Some...not all....Long fin males can have issue in too much space and/or with water movement. That can vary too, some Long fins males won't have any problems at all..but many will and some can be acclimated in steps so that they can tolerate larger volumes and water movement.
You will almost always have exceptions......
Understanding normal behavior of sexually mature males can help you understand abnormal behaviors. This species is a surface dwelling, surface nester that stakes territory-waiting on a female to pass by to reproduce. The upturned mouth tells us they are mainly opportunistic surface feeding as well. They do patrol their territory for intruders on occasion. This tells us that the sexually mature male-is not an overly active fish that generally stay in one place-They shouldn't be expected to be swimming all the time, however, due to being kept in a closed system-they will be conditioned to US and when they see US-they should respond by swimming over to us, wagging their tail and begging for food. Once we are out of sight-they normally will look around for any missed food-then return to their staked territory.
The sexually mature male-shouldn't be non-stop swimming, glass surfing-in constant movement like you see social specie behave.
The female Betta behavior is different than males behavior-in that they don't stake territory and can be seen swimming more than the males.
Young males will often be more active than mature males.
The long fin males will sometimes need special care due to the abnormal Long heavy fins man created-Sometimes a smaller tank without water movement is best to start out with. Its not fair to compare the needs of the Long fin males to the short fins wild cousin-two different needs to be met....
If you want to compare space in regards to humans-look at like this...strap a 50# weight to your back to swim. A closet or a ranch-look at it like you are disabled in a wheelchair and the only way to food is to climb up and down the stairs or you have to go from one end of the ranch to the other to get food.
I am not saying that a small tank is the only thing you should keep the long fin male in-what I am saying is that- due to their disability created by man-Sometimes we have to provide special care and we might need to start small and work our way up to larger tanks-with and without water movement and sometimes they might not be able to tolerate this-Since each Betta can be so different.....Special......Sometimes the best we can do for them...is to maintain water quality and provide good nutrition....