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Old 08-26-2013, 06:34 PM   #1 
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Ichiro's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Long Island, NY
Exclamation 2.6 gal Uncycled Tank, Help!

Hello everyone! I'm relatively new to betta fish. I had a few when I was younger. They lived anywhere from 6mo to a year. I was not the primary care giver at the time. Merely an observer.

I decided recently to give it another go. I thought I did my research, but it seems I missed a key step. I did not cycle my tank beforehand. I would love any help and tips you all could give a fumbling beginner! : /

I have a Fluval Spec III 2.6 gal tank. I set it up on Saturday and now have a dragonscale veiltail (His name is Ichiro! Hence the username), a cherry red shrimp (Sam) and nerite snail (Fred) in the tank. For decoration, I have two silk sword plants and a smooth cichlid stone as well. I adjusted the nozzle on the filter output for a minimum current with some sponge. Ichiro seems to have adjusted well so far. He is very active and swims up to the glass when I approach the tank. He flares at me and my cat and loves to hide in the stone and rest on the leaves. So, everyone seems very happy thus far, but I'm concerned about the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels after reading over a few websites and forums!

After my second round of research, I bought some prime conditioner and an API test kit on amazon with overnight shipping. I've been using tetra water conditioner thus far. They should come in the mail tomorrow. How often should I be testing the water?

Most of the information about testing and water changes I found related to tanks larger than my own. How often should I be doing water changes for my 2.6 gal tank? Will that become obvious once I receive the test kit?

I have medium sized gravel substrate, and I read that it should be vac'd once a week. Is this true for my tank size as well? Or should I be doing this more frequently?

Since I have my fish in the tank, does it still hold true that the tank will be well cycled in 4-6 weeks? Once it is cycled, is there a rule of thumb for how often to do water changes? Or will my test kit be my main guide? With a bio-media filter, are 100% water changes warranted and how often? (pre- and post-cycling)

I'm sorry for all of the questions! I wish I had done more research before hand, but I am very grateful for any help you can offer! Thank you!
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:45 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: California
There is a wonderful sticky thread on here in the habitats, acsessories, etc section called "nitrogen cycle - betta specific". I think that would help you a lot :). And yes the 4-6 weeks is for a fish - in cycle, and don't do 100% water changes. Hope I could help you :)
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:18 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Fungus corners
Just test your water every other day and perform a 50% water change whenever your ammonia (or nitrites when you get them) rise>0.25ppm. In fact, with your stocking, checking every day is good practice.

Don't clean anything beyond an occasional vacuuming. Feed your fish sparingly. Your tank will cycle automatically. Read the stickies on cycling, especially this one that finn suggested:
Once it's cycled, a 50% water change every week ought to keep it safe and healthy for you stock.

Get some live plants in there if you can. Anubias, Java fern java moss are easy. Floaters like Frogbit, Duckweed, Wisteria will help with ammonia and provide shade for you fish.
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