I saw another thread about cycling but I didn't want to hijack it with my own questions, so here's another.
I'm sooooo confused right now about cycling. I have a 5 gallon planted tank. I've even had the filter running because a day after I planted it the water started getting cloudy. Anyway, when I first got the tank (before I got the betta), I asked on another forum (or maybe it was this one?) how to prepare my tank. This was before I ever heard of cycling, and someone answered that I just have to put in the water, conditioner, acclimate my fish to the water temp, and then put the fish in. But then I read about cycling. So then I was under the impression that cycling was for bigger tanks, but I didn't know if that included 5 gallon tanks. Then I read about a lot of people cycling 5 gallon tanks. So since then I bought a betta and he's temporarily in a 1 gallon until I get his 5 gallon ready. I haven't bought ammonia yet to start a fishless cycle. But then I've heard of cycling with fish in the water (but some sites say the fish should be hardy fish if you're cycling with fish), and then someone said cycling with fish takes longer. And then I read something else that said you don't have to cycle a 5 gallon, So which one is it??!! lol. I'm really impatient and I'd rather not have to spend 2-6 weeks waiting for my 5 gallon to cycle.
Is it safe to just put my betta and a snail in my 5 gallon now without cycling? How would it be different from having him in a smaller tank and doing regular water changes? Would I have to do a lot of water changes with an un-cycled 5 gallon? Would they have to be 100% or could I just do more frequent 50% changes and vacuum the gravel? The tank will cycle eventually so that I'll be able to do less water changes, right? I should just keep an eye on the ammonia and the nitrates/-trites, and then change the water accordingly???
I'm so confused. Any help clearing all this up would be great.