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Old 07-15-2012, 09:14 PM   #1 
Visa356
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Question Help a newbie out? :)

hey, this is my first post :) ,anyway, im getting my first betta fish soon and i have been reading all about them like crazy and I think i have a complete list of what i need to start it off here it is:

1. 3.5 Gallon Tank Kit ( http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...7&clickid=cart )
2. Marina Betta Mini Heater
3. Top Fin Floatin Glass Thermometer
4. Tetra AquaSafe
5. Aqueon Betta Food
6. Freeze-Dried Blood Worms
7. Aquarium Gravel
8. Live Aquarium Plants (any suggestions as to which ones?)
9. Smooth Rocks
10. Water Test Kit

So thats my shopping list (minus the betta, but i wont get her till i have the tank ready), and i read i need to cycle the tank, and i read that i can get away with not cycling by using "Tetra SafeStart" and watching for the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, and when the nitrates get high to do a 50% water change, now during that the bottle says i can have my fish in from the start? is that safe? or should i do a fishless cycle with the SafeStart? anyway sorry for the lenght but i want to make sure i have everything ready, if you see anything else i need or any suggestions (other than tank size, ik ppl say i should have a 5gallon, but the betta im looking at getting is fairly small, so it should b e fine) thanks!

Last edited by Visa356; 07-15-2012 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:14 PM   #2 
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I'm not sure a tank under 5 gallons can be cycled, do a bit more research on that.

I would change #4 to Seachem Prime.

I think an anubias tied to a rock would be nice plus some floating plants. Maybe one of those betta hammocks?
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:24 AM   #3 
jeremywadejunior
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Visa356 View Post
hey, this is my first post :) ,anyway, im getting my first betta fish soon and i have been reading all about them like crazy and I think i have a complete list of what i need to start it off here it is:

1. 3.5 Gallon Tank Kit ( http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...7&clickid=cart )
2. Marina Betta Mini Heater
3. Top Fin Floatin Glass Thermometer
4. Tetra AquaSafe
5. Aqueon Betta Food
6. Freeze-Dried Blood Worms
7. Aquarium Gravel
8. Live Aquarium Plants (any suggestions as to which ones?)
9. Smooth Rocks
10. Water Test Kit

So thats my shopping list (minus the betta, but i wont get her till i have the tank ready), and i read i need to cycle the tank, and i read that i can get away with not cycling by using "Tetra SafeStart" and watching for the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, and when the nitrates get high to do a 50% water change, now during that the bottle says i can have my fish in from the start? is that safe? or should i do a fishless cycle with the SafeStart? anyway sorry for the lenght but i want to make sure i have everything ready, if you see anything else i need or any suggestions (other than tank size, ik ppl say i should have a 5gallon, but the betta im looking at getting is fairly small, so it should b e fine) thanks!
You sound ready for your fish. I'm not very knowledgeable about cycling tanks, though... I just do regular water changes. My tank is about 5 gallons so I do 25% water changes once a week. You could probably get away with using the fish-less cycle, though, just follow the directions on the bottle. But definitely having a heater and a filter will be helpful you'll find :) Good luck!
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:31 AM   #4 
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I have that tank! BTW, the filter is too strong. I put it away but you could put a sponge over the flow. NO, you can not get away from cycling because of Tetra SafeStart. It just has good 'bacteria' in the bottle. You could add it, but it won't even get close to doing anything to the tank. I think doing a fish-in cycle is OK if that's the only thing in the tank. You could use Java Fern, Java Moss, Swords, Camboda?
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:12 AM   #5 
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Hey, its great to see you all prepared for your betta!

I have a cycled 3.5 gallon tank. It's been very stable over the past several months, but I attribute that to regular-as-clockwork water changes and extremely heavy planting. I test two or three times a week to make sure everything's running smoothly. Stock is 1 small female betta + 5 cherry shrimp.

I change the water 2 x 30% per week at the moment, and that seems to keep things running very smoothly. Any less or more than that and I find things lose balance. I do not vaccum the substrate much either, only in the spots where there's not a lot of plants. But yeah, you CAN cycle a smaller tank.. Mind you, this tanks been running a while and is pretty much micro-managed, and.. has a LOT of plants. I'd not like to cycle anything much smaller unless it was a Walstad set up, and even then..


If you choose to cycle, fish-out is best, especially in a small tank where things can go haywire really fast. My tank already had mature filter media when I put this fish in it, so that was a heap less work. If you can get some sponge material from another, mature tank, that'd help your cycle go faster. Or a handful of gravel from an established tank, hung in an old stocking over the side, I hear is also good. See the sticky thread here on fishless cycling.

If you cycle with the fish in, you will need watch it like a -hawk- and test daily for spikes in nitrites and ammonia and change the water a LOT which will slow down your cycling.

In my tank, I have a lot of java fern and java moss, floating wisteria, planted wisteria, susswassertang, banana lily, cryptocorenes and anubias. The tanks is -crammed- with plants as much as I could make it without restricting swimming space too much. As the surface area isn't huge (it's a cube) I've avoided frogbit as I feel this would reduce the water movement too much.

I also have two small pieces of mopani wood, which softens the ph a bit, and the java fern grows on one of those. The shrimp love eating the goop that grows on it. The fish loves hunting the shrimp.

I use a LED light suitable for marine and freshwater tanks, which keeps the plants pretty happy. No ferts in 6 months, the fish poo does its job there.

My advice on those bacterial additives? At best they --stabilise-- the tank during a cycle, and are thus useful for fish-in cycles BUT they DO NOT CYCLE the tank. They just do not. It's different bacteria entirely than will seed in your filter. These products are no replacement for frequent tests, water changes and such. Your tank will cycle when it's ready - and that can take weeks.

I used Stability as a stabiliser when re-doing the 3.5 gallon for the new fish, in case the old media was not as good as it should have been. I had no trouble at all, only one spike early on (I was right about the media, I think) which I caught and fixed pretty quickly, thank goodness. All has been well since.

Anyway. I think you ought to let the tank cycle a few weeks minus fish and get a LOT of plants - java moss and wisteria in particular are good ammonia sinks, they help keep the tank stable. Echinodorus (swords) like to eat nitrates.

Last edited by Aus; 07-16-2012 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:00 AM   #6 
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Thumbs up Thanks!

hey thanks everyone for the quick response, i'll definitely take all the info into consideration, thanks!
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:19 PM   #7 
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Welcome to the forum....

You can safely cycle with a healthy Betta provided that you make the needed water changes...with or without a test kit....

While the small filtered tanks can establish the nitrogen cycle-due to the limited surface area for the beneficial bacteria to colonize the cycle isn't always stable and twice weekly water changes are still needed...

IMO/E-filters are optional for this species- especially in smaller tanks with the long fin males-since the water movement can be the cause of fin damage and stress....

In a 3.5gal filtered tank-water changes of 50% twice weekly regardless of cycling stage/completeness to maintain water quality.....1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate by vacuum or stir and dip method.

Filter media needs a swish/rinse in the bucket of old tank water with a water change a couple of times a month to maintain good water flow.

Depending on the number, species and growth state of live plants-water changes can be decreased to 50% weekly-Depending on your lights-if using stock light or LED-Anubias, java fern, java moss and crypt will work well.....the plant list is endless with proper color temp bulbs....

In 3.5gal without a filter-twice weekly...1-50% and 1-100% to maintain water quality....

You may or may not need a heater, however, its a good idea to have one on hand-Your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable temp in the 76-80F range

You do need a thermometer to monitor both the tank temp and the temp of the replacement water used for water changes.

The only chemical additive you need is a good dechlorinator that covers both chlorine and chloramines...Prime by Seachem is a good choice.....

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals

Look forward to pics.....
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:40 PM   #8 
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Hello, and Welcome to the forum, Good for you to do your homework,..and sounds like you are all ready for your new family member..Cannot wait to see pix..I love the Tank that is all picked out..Great choice..and you have everything else covered..

Just keep in mind the Freeze dried Bw's are really only to be used as a treat, they can cause bloat..other than that..Good luck,, and Happy Betta keeping:)
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:35 PM   #9 
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thanks, i'll post some pics soon, i whent out and got her tonight (oops :P couldnt help myself) i got everything, but the store was out of plants so i have to wait a day or two so i'll post pics once i get the plants :)
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:00 PM   #10 
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I have something to add as well... Freeze dried blood worms are very processed an therefore less healthy. For about $5, you can get a HUGE package of frozen bloodworms, they are much healthier for the betta and actually cheaper considering the amount you get for the price. They sell them at petco and petsmart in their mini freezer in the fish section.

Keep in mind blood worms are a treat and should only be fed about 2 x a week IMO.
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