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Old 08-07-2012, 09:58 PM   #1 
blue moon
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Question Could I keep a Betta in my uncycled 5 Gallon tank?

ok i am a super nob when it comes to fish i have been researching like crazy. i have a 5 gallon tank with a filter, gravel, a hood light and a plastic cup that pretty big for a hiding space until i get more decoration and plants i do not have a heater yet but hopefully i am getting it tomorrow and my tank water has conditioner in it already i left it there for about a day or 2.

so had a fish that my cuz gave to me but he died i blame my self because i don't take the right steps and i was being foolish (RIP nemo ). i made a proper grave for him in my backyard me and my two brothers said our last fair-will. But after his dead i know what i've done wrong and im trying to prevent that from my up coming fish sora i did not get him yet because i what everything to be perfect for him.

Having this said i what like to know if its ok to have a uncycled tank for one betta? if so:

1) do i need a kit to test the water? how many times do i test ?

2) how many times do i change the water? and how much?

3) what is better live plants or fake plants? which live or fake?

4) do i need any chemicals if i don't cycle ? if so which?

5) if i do uncycled what do i do to keep my betta from dying and happy?

6) if i cycle how long do i wait to get my fish? and how long will the cycle tank?

if you have anymore tips for me that would be amazing and thank you for your time and answers i hope to get your answers very soon
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:44 PM   #2 
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I can't answer all your questions because I'm still a bit of a newbie myself when it comes to cycled tanks, but I can answer some!

First off: you can totally keep a betta in an uncycled 5 gallon, but you need to do 1-50% and 1-100% water change a week, which means you'd probably do best with a bare-bottom tank. (Just a pointer!) Cycled tanks at 5 gallons and up are easier, but uncycled is an option and poses no harm to the fish-- it's just more work for you.

2. In an uncycled tank, as I mentioned before, generally you want to go for 1-50% and 1-100% change a week. (So, say, 50% on Tuesday and 100% on Friday.)

3. In an uncycled tank, fake (silk!!) plants are generally better because, since you'll be doing full water changes, it might be a little difficult to move around live plants once a week. In a cycled tank, live plants are AWESOME because they help to keep your ammonia levels in a good range while you're cycling-- but you can also add silk plants too. (In my sorority, I have a mix of live and silk-- the silk just helps to add more hiding spots while the live ones get bigger.) There's a really handy sticky in this section (I believe) about low-maintainence freshwater plants that are great for bettas.

4. The only chemical you'll need is a good water conditioner. :) I, like pretty much everyone else, will recommend Seachem Prime-- but if you're using something else right now you should be fine! It just might be a really good investment when you run out of whatever you're using right now. (Also, semi-relatedly: it's always a good idea to keep both aquarium salt and epsom salt on hand. 90% of all fishy problems can be fixed with one of those salts-- they're cheap, they last forever and they don't expire like medication does!)

And that's basically where my expertise runs out, because I am dead tired and need to be up early, haha. Good luck!
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:00 PM   #3 
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No, you not not have to cycle a 5 gallon tank but you would need to do 2X water changes a week. One 50% and one 100% and clean out the gravel.

Live plants are better but you don't need them either. They can help suck up ammonia but if they die they can pollute the tank. If you get live plants, make sure you get ones that match your light source and co2 needs. I use low light plants like anabuias and moss. Floating plants would be best because of the 100% water changes or ones you attach to driftwood like moss/anibuas

For water conditioner I recommed API stress coat. Prime is also good but it smells horrible

If you cycle, you can add the fish right away and do a fish in cycle but then you need to keep an eye on the ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte levels. It's really not as bad as it sounds - somehere on here there is a sticky on it from oldfishlady. personally, I like to get the test kits so I know exactly what my ammonia, ect levels are at. When the levels get unbsafe, do a 20-50% water change. In order for a cycle to start, you need a filter, source of ammonia and air (I think). You can also do a fishless cycle using pure ammonia

Last edited by Tikibirds; 08-07-2012 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:19 PM   #4 
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Welcome to the forum! it's great that you came here for advice! You are going to learn so much here and everyone here is so nice

For your questions:

1. You don't NEED a testing kit, but I have found it EXTREMELY helpful... Would definitely recommend one! I use the API liquid master test kit. Works very well. Don't get the test STRIPS. They are inaccurate.

2. I would change it, like underdebate said, a 50% and a 100% a week should be good. You can do it more if you like that is for an unfiltered, uncycled tank anyway.

3. For me, live plants are great all around! They also help a bit with the bettas love the plants and my king male builds bubble nests in them ALL THE TIME..if you want more information on live plants, i will give it to you but I'm just telling you the basics for now. If you want to do fake plants, (maybe best if you're just starting out...less to worry about) I think silk plants are the best. Many other plastic plants can tear your betta's fins

4. Just a water conditioner/dechlorinator

5. Just keep up with water changes, keep the water clean, keep the water warm (are you going to have a heater?), keep him well fed! Oh and make sure there's a lid! :-O

6.with my bettas, I have always done fish in cycles...I just kept up on water changes. Are you planning a filter or no filter? Because you can't really get a good cycle without a filter.

Hope this helped!
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:19 PM   #5 
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I don't follow convention. I would just do it. I keep bettas in large jars about 1 gallon without any filter.
I put some black water extract, this lowers ph. I use Reverse Osmosis water which already has a ph of about 6.5. I put in some ammo lock and rock a small amount of rock salt.

I use a plastic eye dropper and suck out the poop several times a day. My fish with torn fins or new fish go through this as a quarantine. Then I usually put them in their new homes after about a week. My fish with torn fins seem to heal faster in this water than their normal tanks with filters.

You can do the research as to why low ph water can neutralize ammonia and nitrite creation.

Or you can just put some quick start bacteria or some filter material from an already established tank to seed the new tanks filter. I never use carbon seems to give me a lot more headache and the reality is you only need if your done medicating. I think the original idea was to remove the odors that occur from fish. If it doesn't smell fishy its not a fish tank in my opinion.

Might be a more expert method of doing things depending on how you look at it, but I did a lot of experiments and research before using this method.
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:48 PM   #6 
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When cycling a tank fish in you NEVER do a 100%, that will just mess up the entire cycle. 2 50% water changes should do, though testing might have you change the water again, but I did that schedule and Mars is fine. You don't need any chemicals because many believe that the bacteria in a bottle is fake, some think it works, it isn't worth the money.

Live plants are better as they can help with water quality, but the start up cost will be a bit more since you do need a plant specific bulb, 6500k is what you want. And fertilizer Luke Seachem Flourish. After that plants can be really easy to maintain. Make sure you see what plants you want, then go home, or if you have a smart phone, look up and see if they are aquatic. There is a thread for common aquarium plants by Mo.

To keep your betta happy do water changes! That will keep ammonia down which can easily kill him or her in small amounts. Also get a good food, cheap foods or flakes can cause more problems like overfeeding or incorrect nutrients. A betta specific pellet that has fish as the first ingredient is best. New Life Spectrum I swear by, and Omega One is also great. Hikari is iffy as they changed their ingredients, but supposedly changed it back. Look and make sure that the first ingredient is fish. Wheat is a nono.

Cycling can take a month to two months, depending on how you do it. Fishless is the fastest. The best way is to crank up the temperature to like 86 add ammonia to 4 ppm and add an airstone. Then you turn the temperature down when it is cycled AMD you can take the airstone out.

Last edited by kfryman; 08-07-2012 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:59 PM   #7 
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Ammonia Toxicity and pH Changes
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:02 AM   #8 
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Welcome to the forum and betta-keeping! Everyone makes mistakes, but it's great that you have learned from them.

1) If you aren't going to cycle the tank, you don't need a test kit. The only reason you would need one is if your fish gets sick. They're good to have around, but if you don't have the money right now, you can skip it.

2) In a 5 gal uncycled tank, you should be doing two water changes a week. One 50% and one 100%. With a cycled tank it would be one 30% once a week.

3) Depends on what you mean by better. Live plants improve water quality and won't rip betta fins, but fake plants don't need special lighting and ferts. I will always use live plants because I believe the benefits outweigh the costs. Every single one of my five tanks is planted.

4) Chemicals? If by that you mean dechlorinator, you'll need it whether or not you cycle a tank. I recommend Prime as it will also detoxify ammonia. It is also super-concentrated, so a whole bottle could last you years.

5) Basically the thing to know about uncycled tanks is the water changes. Keep up with those and your betta will be happy and healthy. And of course a heater.

6) Cycling can take a while. It seems like it's different for everyone but most cases are between 4 and 6 weeks. There is nothing wrong with an uncycled tank, tho. If you want a fish soon, you should go uncycled.
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:01 AM   #9 
blue moon
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Thank you everyone soooo much you helped me alot :)
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:44 PM   #10 
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"In 5gal without filter-50% weekly with vacuum and 100% monthly"

This is what I do. I consulted with OldFishyLady a while ago, and this is what I have been doing and it works great.
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