Well I am allowed to get a betta fish after summer! I already bought a 10 gallon tank. Is that good for a Betta fish? I will oviously buy a heater, filter, light, and LIVE plants. But I need to know how to CYCLE the tank. I heard it takes over a month, maybe even 3 months at the most. But what is it? What do you do? How does it work? Does it take a shorter time? How often do you have to cycle it? What does it do? Can a betta fish survive in a 10 gallon tank? And can you PLEASE tell me hide outs, favourites, fun stuff, and suggestions to do my comming up betta's aquarium.
A cycle is the first...set-up with water. It creates the bacteria. A fast way to cycle is to add ifsh food. The food will break down, creating an ammonia spike. The ammonia will go away and turn into nitrites (spike of that). Then that will die down, and will turn into nitrates. When your nitrates are under 10ppm, then you are ready for fish. A cycle can take from 2 weeks to 16 weeks. Mine took 4 weeks. A cycle is only at the start-up of the tank.
Bettas love hiding spots. You can use anything they get get in or under, as long as it isn't sharp. I would add a cave, then any other decor you want.
You can use gravel or sand for the substrate. Bettas wont dig. If you have live plants, they will take the occasional nibble, but it wont affect your plants.
Congratulations!!! You are getting a beta!! A 10 gallon tank is GREAT for a beta so you are off to a good start. To cycle the tank, get your filter, fill up the tank, and let it run, that's all you need to do. The cycling process only needs to be done once and can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks normally. The cycling process puts good bacteria in the tank that will help control bad things such as Ammonia and Nitrites. You will have to get a liquid test kit (No test strips, they aren't very accurate) to make sure your water parameters are right for your fish. The kit should be able to test pH, Ammonia, and nitrites.
My beta loves Water Sprite which is a type of plant that can be planted or left to float. I let mine float and the beta loves hiding in it. They do like things to hide in, it makes them feel more secure. Anything that doesn't have rough edges is great for them. The rough edges will tear up their fins, so make sure you check anything you put in there. Whatever you think will look nice would be perfect as long as its fish friendly. It's your aquarium make it look great for you!
Once you decide what you want to do with your tank let us know, I personally love hearing what other people do with their tanks.
If you have anymore questions feel free to ask.
Your betta will love a 10 gallon! As for cycling it takes 4-8 weeks. You just need a lot of patience for it, but it is worth it to fishless cycle. You only have to do it once. There are several methods, but I recommend using a regular cocktail shrimp to cycle the tank. For a 10 gallon use a small shrimp, tie it up in some nylon stockings and put it in the tank. It will rot and establish good bacteria in your tank. All you have to do is check the water parameters every couple of days or so to see where things are. You should get API master liquid test kit for freshwater. Then you can check for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and ph also. It'll be safe to add your betta when ammonia and nitrite both read 0, and there are some nitrates.
Make sure you get fluorescent lights, they are better than incandescent, especially for plants. I have this decoration in my 10 gallon betta tank: http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...amily&keepsr=1
It looks really good if you are going for the natural look. You can also float some java ferns on top of the water since they don't need to be planted in the substrate.
OK that help ALOT! But now I need to know when to finish cycling... Do you have to get a test kit and test the water and if the results are 0 ammonia and 0 nirtates then I can go get a betta and put him in the tank?