It's been a month and I've gone from zero fish, to two and I find myself looking around my room and trying to figure out how many more tanks I can fit comfortably into the space. My question is how many is too many? Meaning, how many fish and tanks can one person really manage without someone suffering? I don't have the space or money for a large tank, as much as I want one, so I would be looking at 1.5-2.5 gallons. I can see myself easily over flowing my room with 3 more but is that really a good decision? I work pretty much full time and my hours are never the same from week to week.
5 tanks at that size would be at -least- 10 water changes a week. Plus the care if any of them got sick, running costs, water costs, and all sorts of things. Stay at two for now I think and get used to having them around and have them worked into your schedule. You need to have time to enjoy your little friends as well as time to take care of them after all :D Just because you have the space doesn't mean you have the time.
I think two is a good number, *maybe* three if you have the time and money. I know I couldn't take care of more than three, I'm way to busy to give attention and care to any more. Technically I only take care of 2 1/2 because one of them is my mom's haha, i just do her water changes for her =)
I personally wouldn't recommend anymore than 10 bettas to the casual fish owner. Unless you have a barracks system, or a set-up that requires minimal maintenance, it can start to get overwhelming.
The trouble is it's very easy to go out and buy a betta and tank. The hard part is the day-to-day maintenance. All it takes is a couple of skipped water changes in a small, uncycled tank, for it to culminate in some very sick fish.
I spend two hours every day taking care of all my bettas/fish. Since I'm now unemployed it's not so bad, but I would not imagine having this amount of bettas in my current set-up when I was working full-time.
I think it would have just completely burned me out of the hobby.
too many is when you're not happy anymore, and your fish aren't doing well. I had almost 10 bettas at one point... and then I realized I was starting to resent or put off my water changes. And then when I did my best to get back on track, I found that I had too many to comfortably keep up with while at my job which I'd just gotten at the time. So I rehomed two, and lost two to disease due to my neglectful care. Now I have five... and honestly it's still probably three more than I really wanna have anymore. I got a taste of what being able to really decorate was like with my 5 gallon-- and let me tell you it's fun and it looks a lot nicer than a tank with a bunch of dividers in it.
Still, I can manage my five. Sometimes I still wish I had more room or could get other fish. Other times I regret some of my purchases.... for example I have two DTPKs with colors I love... but I don't really care for doubletails. I was just taken by their colors at the time. Sometimes I wish I'd have waited it out for what I really wanted.
Still... hm, is it a bad joke if I go the whole 'if wishes were fishes?' route? xD
Whatever you can handle depends on your time and budget. If someone were to tell me they can't afford a big set up, that's clue number one that they shouldn't have loads of bettas. I have 2 tropical tanks, a sorority and 6 individual male tanks. I also have other pets and two small kids. I'm a stay at home Mom, and I find it a task to keep up to everyone but it works out. Sometimes I've had to go on 4h sleep because tanks all landed on the same day and I can't do tanks while the kids are up. Me personally, I'm at my limit and sometimes wonder what I got myself into. But when I see those wiggle bums and bubble nests or my new girls swim to the top to see me, its worth it.
If you have a good routine going with 2, and feel a little more would wouldn't be too hard on you or your pocket, go for it :)