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Old 06-23-2012, 09:18 PM   #1 
MissLyss1024
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I'm so confused!

Ok, so I'm not new to bettas, BUT I am just learning how to properly care for these little guys! How sad is that? I guess that's what I get for listening to the idiots at pet stores. Anyway... I just got a betta the other day, and it's the first one I've had in a long time. I have him in a 1 gallon bowl for now, I ordered a 5 gallon tank and am waiting for that to arrive. I've never had any other fish, EVER, other than bettas, and I always kept them in 1 gallon bowls and changed the water completely every two weeks. All the ones I ever had lived 3-5 years, but I'm just finding out how miserable those years probably were.. I want to do it right this time. I'm so confused with the entire tank cycling part. I would like to put him in his nice new tank with some live plants and eventually get a couple of companions for him. So I guess what I'm asking is aside from the tank kit I bought, what do I need to get and how do I cycle it? Also, if anyone has any other recommendations as far as types of tank heaters or any extras and pieces of information I'd really appreciate it!
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:43 PM   #2 
MameJenny
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Get a liquid ammonia test kit, a liquid nitrite test kit and a liquid nitrate test kit. "Cycling" is actually just a process of waiting for colonies of bacteria to form. As you may know, these bacteria convert the toxic ammonia that fish produce into less harmful forms. This is called the "nitrogen cycle". It takes a few weeks for the colonies of bacteria to be big enough to constantly process the waste of a fish.

You can start the cycle by dumping a raw, dead shrimp into the tank, or by dumping in in a clump of betta food. If you have some gravel or decorations in your betta's bowl, they might have enough bacteria on them to kick-start the cycle. Use the liquid test kits to test the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels in the tank. You can add in your betta once the ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0 ppm and you start detecting nitrates.

My favorite heaters are the Marina preset mini heaters and Hydor Theo heaters. For a 5 gallon, I'd definitely recommend the 25 watt Hydor Theo heater. It is a glass heater, though, so you have to be really careful doing water changes.
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:52 PM   #3 
teeneythebetta
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Thi heater is a smaller wattage than mine, but is perect for a 5 gal. It's a good quality heater, adjustable with thermostat. Better yet: ON SALE! only $11! http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00544...dir_mdp_mobile

You sound like you will be a great Betta owner and I admire you for approaching the problem wisely. Dont feel bad about your past bettas, most of us here including me did the same thing. Live and Learn.

In the meantime, be sure to do a 75% water change every other day for your betta's bowl. Good luck!
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Old 06-24-2012, 04:17 AM   #4 
Hallyx
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First of all, welcome to the forum. We're glad you're here; your fish is glad you're here. Before we get into cycling, you may want to make sure of your basics.

In order of importance:
---Water conditioner. Seachem Prime is recommended a lot around here as a good value. API StressCoat is also good. What kind are you using?

---A heater is very important. The one Teeny recommended is a good value. Aqueon makes a quality 50w heater, so does Hagen. Fifty-watts is not too big for a 5gal tank. Eighty degrees is about right.

---A place to hide. Some sort of decoration that he can get in or under to hide from predators. We know there aren't any, but he doesn't.

---Plants, artificial or live. To make him feel more cozy and at-home.

---Quality food. Pellets: the first ingredients listed should be fish products. Frozen bloodworms for a treat.

---Water test kit to keep an eye on your water quality. If you can't afford the whole API liquid test kit, at least get the two bottle ammonia test kit.

This is a good beginners article by one of our members: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/b...are-faq-20058/

I recommend that you get used to keeping him well-fed and his water clean and ammonia free for a while---get used to the routine---before getting into the complexity of cycling.

Cycling is a little mysterious but not too hard to understand. This is a nice basic explanation of how it works: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/betta-fish-care/

And this is a longer piece on how to actually do it: Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle and cycling. Methods for ammonia, nitrite removal.

Cycling with raw shrimp or fish is no longer recommended due to the risk of Saprolegnia mold. The same goes for fish food, unless done with caution.

Take your time. Get used to Betta-keeping. When you are more confident in you abilities, come back here and we'll coach you through tank cycling.
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Old 06-24-2012, 04:37 AM   #5 
Hallyx
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This is the water test kit I mentioned:
Amazon.com: API water test
Buy $10 more stuff and they'll ship it free.
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:37 PM   #6 
MissLyss1024
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Thanks guys! I've been thinking about it, and would it be necessary to cycle the tank if I just have the betta in it? And how often should I plan on doing partial water changes in the new tank? I plan on using live plants and I know they help keep the tank clean.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:04 AM   #7 
Hallyx
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Two 50% changes per week with a light vacuuming is conservative. Every couple of weeks wipe down the walls and decorations. You can carry on like this indefinitely, especially with lots of live plants. You'll get various opinions about this, but the bottom line is: keep your ammonia below 0.25 ppm.

Tip: use a turkey baster to suck up any poop and uneaten food. This will keep it cleaner between changes.

Somewhere along the way you'll be used to keeping your fish and will be ready to cycle. Maybe even before. No rush. Let us know.

If you find you have a green thumb, you can go with a natural planted tank (NPT) and never have to cycle.

Last edited by Hallyx; 06-25-2012 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:27 AM   #8 
Enkil
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Welcome. ^_^

I recommend Prime as a water conditioner. I use it and love it. Last quite a while.

I recommend floating plants. Bettas love these and will rest on them up near the surface. I leave anubias to float or water wisteria. I recently started using java moss as well. It's really what you'd like.
Silk plants are also nice to use with males. Have to be careful about rough/sharp decorations.

PetSmart has this barrel decoration that I like. I have it in my 3.5 gallon and my sorority.
Betta logs are also popular. I would avoid betta hammocks though unless you take out the metal piece.

I have a little compact mirror that I keep handy for flaring the boys. I do this once a day for only a couple of minutes. Some of them like the mirror and some ignore it. My Uther will stare at his reflection but not do anything. XD
I also have pots in one of my divided tanks. The boys seem to like them. Also got a turtle decoration and a bridge decoration from PetSmart. Mine love them both.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:50 AM   #9 
teeneythebetta
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^ I agree, I have the floating Betta log too. They really like it.

Also I bought at walmart a fish tank decoration that is a log about 6 inches or so long, it had really ugly silk plants attached to it, but I pulled them off and I reall like the way it looks, and it'll give my sorority an extra hiding spot!
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