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Bettas are *TROPICAL* fish, that originate from a *TROPICAL* country. So yes, they DO need a heater. If you were cleaning your tanks every other day, like three times a week, and keeping the temperature at 24 deg Celsius, then I'd say you're fine. Bettas have a labyrinth organ that allows them to breath at the surface, so stacking them is not a very good idea firstly, and secondly cleaning tanks that small every two weeks is even worse, because of ammonia build up, nitrites and nitrates. All of which can kill your fish.

A 2.5 gallon IS recommended because its less maintenance than those half gallon - 1 gallon containers. I hope I have helped, and I also hope that you'll do a bit more research on these fish.
 

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I don't know if you get them there, but here we have 10gal starter kits that come with a heater and filter. IMO, bigger tanks are less maintenance than small tanks and it will work out to be cheaper and easier to keep in the long run.
 
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