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Old 08-24-2012, 08:36 PM   #1 
Seki
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Setting up new tank... questions!

Okay, so I finally have everything I want for my new 5.5 gallon, and I think I'm ready to get it set up and start cycling it. Before I do, I have a few questions, having never had a cycled tank before. I have read the stickies, but I just want to make sure I do everything right. Some of my questions have to do with cycling, some of them don't... but I appreciate any help you guys can give!

1) How many times do you guys rinse your gravel before putting it in a tank? I rinsed the gravel for my 2.5 gallon only a few times and the water was cloudy for a while after I first set up the tank. So... how many times will keep me from having cloudy water this time?

2) 7 pounds of gravel... enough for a 5.5 gallon?

3) If I am understanding correctly, a fish-in cycle seems to be recommended for a tank this size? I don't have a liquid test kit, just test strips. I'm afraid after dropping about $150 on a new heater for my 2.5 gallon and all the things I needed for this new 5.5 gallon, I really can't afford to buy a liquid test kit right now. Will I be okay with just the strips? I thought I read a test kit wasn't even necessary, just recommended?

4) Is it okay to do a cycled tank without live plants? They were just a bit too pricey for me right now, so I ended up getting silk plants. Would it be alright to add live plants in the future, after the tank is established? Or would that mess everything up?

5) I don't have my new betta yet. I wanted to get everything done before I actually went and got him. Is it okay for the tank to sit for a couple days without a fish in it if I'm doing fish-in, or do I need to wait until it's fully cycled if I'm going to let it sit for a few days without a fish?

6) What do you guys know about Fluval heaters? I just bought a 50 watt for my 5.5 gallon, but I am quite leery about heaters, having heard horror stories. Is Fluval a good brand? Does anyone on here have a Fluval?

7) Anything else you can think of that I need to know?
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:53 PM   #2 
teeneythebetta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seki View Post
Okay, so I finally have everything I want for my new 5.5 gallon, and I think I'm ready to get it set up and start cycling it. Before I do, I have a few questions, having never had a cycled tank before. I have read the stickies, but I just want to make sure I do everything right. Some of my questions have to do with cycling, some of them don't... but I appreciate any help you guys can give!

1) How many times do you guys rinse your gravel before putting it in a tank? I rinsed the gravel for my 2.5 gallon only a few times and the water was cloudy for a while after I first set up the tank. So... how many times will keep me from having cloudy water this time?

2) 7 pounds of gravel... enough for a 5.5 gallon?

3) If I am understanding correctly, a fish-in cycle seems to be recommended for a tank this size? I don't have a liquid test kit, just test strips. I'm afraid after dropping about $150 on a new heater for my 2.5 gallon and all the things I needed for this new 5.5 gallon, I really can't afford to buy a liquid test kit right now. Will I be okay with just the strips? I thought I read a test kit wasn't even necessary, just recommended?

4) Is it okay to do a cycled tank without live plants? They were just a bit too pricey for me right now, so I ended up getting silk plants. Would it be alright to add live plants in the future, after the tank is established? Or would that mess everything up?

5) I don't have my new betta yet. I wanted to get everything done before I actually went and got him. Is it okay for the tank to sit for a couple days without a fish in it if I'm doing fish-in, or do I need to wait until it's fully cycled if I'm going to let it sit for a few days without a fish?

6) What do you guys know about Fluval heaters? I just bought a 50 watt for my 5.5 gallon, but I am quite leery about heaters, having heard horror stories. Is Fluval a good brand? Does anyone on here have a Fluval?

7) Anything else you can think of that I need to know?
1. You just need to rinse and rinse again and again until you get clear water. I know, it sucks. :P

2. It is reccomended to have 1-1.5 pounds of gravel per gallon, so youre good!

3. A fish in cycle is reccomended. You dont neccesarily need a test kit, although it is strongly reccomended. Although test strips are better than nothing, they arent entirely accurate :P

4. You do not need live plants to cycle

5. fish-in means fish-in. Youre never going to not have a fish in the tank. you need to get the fish, then cycle the tank. If you dont have a fish in there, there will not be any bio load source and therefore the BB cannot grow or survive.

6. I dont have experience with fluval brand. Is it adjustable? does it have a thermostat? if it does have those, do not worry. Just read the instructions and youre good. make sure to have a thermometer so you can keep an eye on the temperature so you feel better and know its working properly.

7. eerm, read this thread: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=107771
Oh, also know to never rinse off the filter cartridge in clean tap water; it will kill the BB. Only swish it in a bucket of used tank water, and never replace it unless it is falling apart (and that may require you to re cycle) Do not remove the gravel to clean it, or it will kill the BB. I reccomend getting a gravel siphon to clean debris out of the gravel :)

feel free to ask more questions if needed! :D
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:07 PM   #3 
shellieca
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Congrats on the new tank & for getting everything straight before getting your Betta.
1) rinse until water runs clear. If the water in the tank still gets cloudy it will clear up it just might take some time.
2) you won't need all of the gravel. Put in about 1/2, see if you like the look, add more if you want. The rule of thumb is a pound of gravel per gallon. Some people like an 1" of substrate but it's mostly personal preference.
3) IMO testing the water daily is necessary to make sure the ammonia doesn't get too high & harm your Betta. Plus you'll want to know when you get nitrites because those can also be harmful & it means the cycling process is close to being done. Having said all that IF you do 50% water changes every other day your water should stay safe BUT you won't know for certain when cycling has completed. Strips are better than nothing but I would get the liquid test kit when you can, the strips only last about a month but the liquid kit will last for months. I've had mine since early July, testing 2 tanks daily as well as the occasional test on a 3rd & I just started a 4th tank so they're well worth the money. Amazon has them cheaper than the stores.
4) You don't have to have live plants and yes you can add them later as money permits.
5) The tank can sit for a few days all it will be doing is circulating clean water.
6) I can't answer, I have an Aqueon heater in my 46g & Top Fin heaters in my 3 10g tanks.
Lastly, do you have water conditioner? I use nothing but Prime but I know many on here say to use a Stress Coat but personally Prime is all you need. Oh, caves of some kind? Food? I feed Top Fin Betta Bits & have never had a Betta say no to them unless they were sick. I also treat with frozen blood worms & brine shrimp, no freeze dried. I hope all this makes sense. Good luck!
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:13 PM   #4 
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Thanks teeney! I am planning on getting everything rinsed and set up in the tank tomorrow, but I'm not sure I can go and get the fish tomorrow. Is it okay to let it sit overnight without the fish, or are you saying that's a bad idea?

The heater is adjustable and has a thermostat. I have a thermometer on order, should be here soon. I also have a gravel vac. :) It's alright to use it on the 2.5 gallon and the 5.5 gallon both, right? :)
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:13 PM   #5 
teeneythebetta
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Ive had my API kit since april, and I just bought a seperate ammonia test because thats what I was lowest on.. Not sure of your budget but you can get the kit very cheap on amazon.

Go to the link below. and you can get the kit for 16.50 + $5.54 shipping!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listi...&condition=new
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:15 PM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seki View Post
Thanks teeney! I am planning on getting everything rinsed and set up in the tank tomorrow, but I'm not sure I can go and get the fish tomorrow. Is it okay to let it sit overnight without the fish, or are you saying that's a bad idea?

The heater is adjustable and has a thermostat. I have a thermometer on order, should be here soon. I also have a gravel vac. :) It's alright to use it on the 2.5 gallon and the 5.5 gallon both, right? :)
You can let it sit, it just cant start until the fish gets here lol thats what i was saying (;

You can use the siphon on both tanks, I'd reccomend washing it with vinegar after use until you know for 100% sure that the new betta is healthy.
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:22 PM   #7 
Seki
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shellieca View Post
Congrats on the new tank & for getting everything straight before getting your Betta.
1) rinse until water runs clear. If the water in the tank still gets cloudy it will clear up it just might take some time.
2) you won't need all of the gravel. Put in about 1/2, see if you like the look, add more if you want. The rule of thumb is a pound of gravel per gallon. Some people like an 1" of substrate but it's mostly personal preference.
3) IMO testing the water daily is necessary to make sure the ammonia doesn't get too high & harm your Betta. Plus you'll want to know when you get nitrites because those can also be harmful & it means the cycling process is close to being done. Having said all that IF you do 50% water changes every other day your water should stay safe BUT you won't know for certain when cycling has completed. Strips are better than nothing but I would get the liquid test kit when you can, the strips only last about a month but the liquid kit will last for months. I've had mine since early July, testing 2 tanks daily as well as the occasional test on a 3rd & I just started a 4th tank so they're well worth the money. Amazon has them cheaper than the stores.
4) You don't have to have live plants and yes you can add them later as money permits.
5) The tank can sit for a few days all it will be doing is circulating clean water.
6) I can't answer, I have an Aqueon heater in my 46g & Top Fin heaters in my 3 10g tanks.
Lastly, do you have water conditioner? I use nothing but Prime but I know many on here say to use a Stress Coat but personally Prime is all you need. Oh, caves of some kind? Food? I feed Top Fin Betta Bits & have never had a Betta say no to them unless they were sick. I also treat with frozen blood worms & brine shrimp, no freeze dried. I hope all this makes sense. Good luck!
Thanks for all your help! I am planning on getting the liquid test kit when I can, I just don't have the money right now. I'll probably have it in a couple weeks, after my wallet recovers from this little dent I just put in it.

Don't worry, i have everything my new betta will need. I already have one in a 2.5 gallon, but it's not cycled, which is why I have so many questions about cycling and such. I have conditioner (not Prime, but it's good stuff), plenty of decor for my new little guy (bridge, pagoda, plenty of silk plants), Aqueon pellets (Drago LOVES them!), and I'm going to be getting some frozen blood worms (for now I feed freeze-dried as treats). I'm planning on getting a white or black and white marble halfmoon male for this tank, if I can find one! I can't wait!
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:26 PM   #8 
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3) If I am understanding correctly, a fish-in cycle seems to be recommended for a tank this size? I don't have a liquid test kit, just test strips. I'm afraid after dropping about $150 on a new heater for my 2.5 gallon and all the things I needed for this new 5.5 gallon, I really can't afford to buy a liquid test kit right now. Will I be okay with just the strips? I thought I read a test kit wasn't even necessary, just recommended? IMO liquid tests are a very good thing to have but from what OFL says they are not mandatory. Somewhere on here is a sticky for cycling for bettas. Honestly though, I seldom use the tests for nitrIte or nitrAte - mostly just the ammonia test and I use that mainly for when I get bettas from petco or walmart - just to see how bad the ammonia in their cup is.

4) Is it okay to do a cycled tank without live plants? They were just a bit too pricey for me right now, so I ended up getting silk plants. Would it be alright to add live plants in the future, after the tank is established? Or would that mess everything up? cycling with live plants is different then without plants. From what I understand about it, if you have an uber amount of plants - you don;t even need the filter as the plants will use up the ammonia and other by products. I'm really not sure on the specifics though. I just recently added a butt load of live plants to my 20G and it was already cycled. I haven't tested ammonia, nitrate or nitrite levels lately though.


5) I don't have my new betta yet. I wanted to get everything done before I actually went and got him. Is it okay for the tank to sit for a couple days without a fish in it if I'm doing fish-in, or do I need to wait until it's fully cycled if I'm going to let it sit for a few days without a fish? You can do a fishless cycle if its going to be awhile before you get the fish OR you can get one now and do a fish in cycle. The cycle won;t start unless you have an ammonia source and a filter. I don't see what difference it would make if the water sat in the tank for a few days before a fish is added...other then maybe some algae growth if you have a light on??

6) What do you guys know about Fluval heaters? I just bought a 50 watt for my 5.5 gallon, but I am quite leery about heaters, having heard horror stories. Is Fluval a good brand? Does anyone on here have a Fluval? I have never hard anything bad about them but since they seem to always be out of my price range, I seldom looked into them. I think Petsmart's brand - TOP FIN - is the one that most people have issues with them breaking or burning. Oddly enough, that is what I have in my 20G which was a replacement for some random chinese brand heater that freakin crakced in half inside the tank

7) Anything else you can think of that I need to know? Nope - just be sure to still do water changes after the cycle finished as that is the only way to remove the nitrAte
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:46 AM   #9 
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I can answer the question about Fluval. The brand is well-known in Europe as one of the best, along with Eheim. They're better known for their filters, but the heaters, from what I've heard, are quite reliable as well. I don't personally have a Fluval heater, but I have a Fluval tank + filter which are both of brilliant quality. It should work fine.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:47 PM   #10 
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I can answer the question about Fluval. The brand is well-known in Europe as one of the best, along with Eheim. They're better known for their filters, but the heaters, from what I've heard, are quite reliable as well. I don't personally have a Fluval heater, but I have a Fluval tank + filter which are both of brilliant quality. It should work fine.
Wonderful, thank you so much! I'm glad to hear it's a good brand. It was a little pricey, so I was really hoping that meant it might be a bit better quality. I am willing to spend a little more if it means better things for my fish (now I just have to scrape together enough for the liquid test kit).

I have been calling my local pet stores and asking about their bettas. One of the Petsmarts sounds promising... they said they have a DTHM male who is white! That's almost exactly what I wanted, and I'm certainly willing to go and look at him. You all will see TONS of pictures if I end up bringing him home!
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