We're new at this and are graduating from a 2.5 gallon up to a ten gallon. I have read the different stickies on cycling and was wondering if someone would be so kind as to make a 1 2 3 step type list on getting the tank set up and running. We can keep Fish in his 2.5 until the ten gal is ready. I understand what to do about silk plants, filter and baffling, substrate, decor, and heating. (This will be a heated filtered tank.) We may do a very few of the recommended additional tank mates once we are up and running, but this is not my concern right now. Now I'd like to ask for specific steps after I get it set with the water. I have the advantage of being able to pull some filter media from the old tank to help the new tank get going. I have the API master liquid test kit.
So once I get it filled, should I put some of the filter media in from the other tank? I can also put in a shrimp as in one of the recommendations from OFL's sticky.
How often should I test the water?
What readings should I expect as it gets going? What readings dictate that I should do a water change?
How will I know when it's ready for our betta?
How long can I reasonably expect it to take to be ready?
Sorry for so many questions. We are upgrading to a bigger tank because wears a busy family and need a more stable environment that will be maintained ultimately with one water change per week. I'm willing to do the work involved to get there but I think I'd be more successful by asking for help here so I do it right the FIRST time!