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Old 01-13-2011, 02:08 AM   #21 
c4talys7
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If you're cycling the tank, you won't need to do 100% changes. That's the great thing about it, the water quality is much more stable. Once your tank is cycled, for a 10 gallon tank one 25% change weekly is all that you need to do. :)

BTW, cheap decorating solutions from one student to another-terra cotta pots from Walmart make great caves and are less than a dollar each. If you want to use fake plants (though it seems like you want to do live), silk plants from a craft store like Michael's or a dollar store are MUCH cheaper than the petstore variety-just be sure that it doesn't have exposed wire, isn't perfumed, glittery, or anything like that.

Dividers will cost you less than $5 if you make it yourself.
Awesome! I can use fake if the are cheaper. Live and a cycled tank is something I want to work towards for sure. But I didn't even think about the terra-cotta pots I'll go pick up a couple tomorrow.
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:10 AM   #22 
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Just to clear something up… if you have a filter the tank WILL cycle. Cycling is something that happens on it's own… a byproduct of having a filter. You don't need to do anything special. It will happen on its own. People here make it sound much more complicated than it really is.
Thank you for your input! The whole cycling thing is a bit confusing to me still. Should I just keep testing the water and act accordingly? I thought it was something that you had to purposely do.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:57 AM   #23 
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You can do a fish in cycle. I have done it several times with many types of fish and have had no problem. The important thing is to start off slow. Start cycling with one fish. Once it's cycled add more. But not too many more. You have to give the bacteria a chance to adjust to the bioload. For a 10 gallon I suggest doing a 50% WC 2x a week. You don't even need to buy a testing kit (those are dang expensive and you are trying to save). After a few weeks take your water to a LFS to get it tested. Make sure to test it before a water change not after. If ammonia and nitrates are "0" then you are cycled and can drop down water changes once a week. If not then keep doing the water changes for a few more weeks and try again.
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:46 AM   #24 
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Craigslist, sales, flea markets and thrift stores! My 10G cost $20 and it came with a hood and filter at PetSmart. My sister in NC can't get that deal becuse the sale was supposed end at the beginning of the year there, although the sale in SC ends 1/30/10. Not even all stores in my city have the same sale. So call around! I have seen a 29G tank with everything but gravel and decor (this means nets, heater, filter, etc) at a thrift store for $35. GoodWill is a good place to look, though I have seen some rip offs in thrift stores before. A friend of mine down the road offered me a fully set up and cycled 10G for 55, which is about where I am with my current 10 less a heater and cycling. I should have talked to her first!

At a flea market, I found a 10G full set up (gravel, decor, filter, etc) with a stand for $25. Just clean, add water and fish. The guy offered to let me see that it worked too, but I didn't have any cash on hand.

PetCo has $1/gal sales, but you still have to get the $40 hood. I think they're 20 at walmart.

Just shop around. Be patient and have fun. It may take a while to find the best deal, but it can be done. I think a 10G will be what you'll wind up with, since they're mass produced and, therefore, cheaper. However, they're small size means people can keep them if they move and they aren't the hassle that 55G tanks are. I see a lot of 55G on craigslist, but I can neither afford nor accomodate it. I once talked to a guy who drives around and picks up tanks off the side of the road and sells them or keeps them.

Try places like Ross or TJ Maxx for decor. My sister and I set up my other sister's tank with a neat silver candle holder shaped like coral and put it in the tank. Much nicer looking and cheaper than fish decor at stores. Just be careful with painted items.

My sister did try a 5G tank from Wal-Mart and doesn't recommend it. She said it'll work, but it's a cheap peice of crap.

Also, if you want to avoid illness, be sure to buy only a very healthy fish. They're hard to find, but they're out there. It'll still get sick, but there will be less complications and you can catch something early rather than just thinking a new illness is more of an old one.

I think you can do what you want on that budget, but it'll take time and thinking outside the box and pet stores. I do think it will only cover the initial set up, though unless you get used equipment.

I've heard of using plastic needle point sheets (it's a cheap plastic grid thingy) from Marshal's or AC Moore as a divider. That would save money too. Just get some suction cups and anchor it to the bottom and sides of the tank. I've never done it, but I'm sure someone here has.

You're lucky you can have up to a 20G tank. I've only heard of dorms allowing 5G. Good luck and happy hunting!

Last edited by Omega3; 01-13-2011 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:59 PM   #25 
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Awesome! Thank you guys so much!
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:36 PM   #26 
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Just to help make it more clear about the cycling/filter thing.

Cycling a tank means you establish benefical bacteria in your tank,these bacteria take the posionous ammonia out of the water (made by fish waste,uneaten food) and turn it into nitrites (which is less posionous) and is then turned in nitrates (which is much less posionous).
Therefore with a cycled tank,the water takes longer to reach a dangerous level of posions to harm the fish (so you can do less water changes).

These benefical bacteria live on surfaces in the tank (not in the water itself),the main place being inside the filter (and on the gravel).So if you have a filter drawing in the water from the tank it helps "feed" the bacteria living in it and therefore cleans the water of its two most strongest forms of posions (ammonia & nitrites).
Live plants help because they will consume some of the ammonia themselves.

Thats a basic guide,if I have left something or or made a mistake please correct me.

Tomsk

Last edited by Tomsk; 01-13-2011 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:53 PM   #27 
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If you're not picky on looks, dishwasher safe ceramic coffee mugs make excellent hidey caves for bettas. They're smooth (no ripped fins) and if you put in a blue or black one they are nice and dark when betta wants to sleep and the lights are still on. Plus there is that fun little handle that my betta loves swimming through.
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:56 PM   #28 
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You're lucky you can have up to a 20G tank. I've only heard of dorms allowing 5G.
Technically, my school doesn't even let us have fish. However, my house director does care, so I get away with my 2.5 gal.
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:56 PM   #29 
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If you're not picky on looks, dishwasher safe ceramic coffee mugs make excellent hidey caves for bettas. They're smooth (no ripped fins) and if you put in a blue or black one they are nice and dark when betta wants to sleep and the lights are still on. Plus there is that fun little handle that my betta loves swimming through.

Yeah I had an old mug that I used for my first Betta so I was thinking about that also. Thank you all for your input! I can't wait to set up my tank.
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