So I just recently bought my first Betta (less than a week ago) I believed the woman in the store when she said bettas can live in one gallon bowls happily. But after reading everything on here, I see that is not true. My problem is I need a good tank that is not incredibly expensive. Im in college and I basically live off ramen noodles, so I need a tank that fits into a college students budget. I would love some suggestions! :)
If you can spring for a $30 tank, there is a 10g and a 5g kit that is sold by Petsmart. Each is $30, so really, you get more bang for your buck going for the 10g. But I understand sometimes space is a limiting factor, so either could be a good option. The kits come with the glass tanks, incandescent hoods, lightbulbs, filters (I replace them, but they do work if you want to use them), and a variety of other assorted goodies like water conditioner samples and food samples and such. All you'll need to buy is a nice heater. Personally, I love Fluval heaters, though I know a lot of people on here like Hydors or Eheims. I have one of each of those, though, and always find myself going back to the Fluvals.
Some bettas prefer smaller tanks. I've heard stories of people whose bettas chewed their tails off when put into larger tanks. But then, some prefer larger tanks, and I've heard of bettas becoming lethargic in small tanks. It all depends on your little guy's personality and what he likes. But yes, 1 gallon containers are fine. Heck, my EE wouldn't make much use of a 5 gallon... he has so much trouble swimming, he barely makes use of his 1 gallon!
In the long run, though, you could cycle a tank that was larger and had a filter. Cycled tank = less water changes and a more stable environment for your fishy friend. But I have several uncycled tanks and my fish are doing just fine in them. ^_^ In the end, it boils down to preference. Do you want something larger that you can decorate a bit more and cycle? Or would you prefer something smaller, where water changes are easier (albeit more frequent)?