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Old 01-21-2013, 08:19 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jan 2013
New to larger aquariums, and need help!

A little back story to help with answering my questions...
I am used to cleaning a smaller (1 & 3 gallon) tank, and now have a 10 gallon tank with a hanging filter and a water bottle baffle, heater set to 78, 2lbs per gallon of gravel, fake plants, decor, 1 live plant, and 1 seemingly very happy male veil tail Betta named Blue. I didn't cycle the tank at all when I got it, Petsmart never told me to, and I didn't read about it until Google brought me to these forums the other day. I have had the tank for 3 weeks now, and after the first week I changed about 25% water, last week was 50% due to taking more out than I thought I did while siphoning through the gravel, and have yet to do anything for this week until I get your advice...

When I got the tank, I excitedly came home, rinsed it very well with just water and wiped out the inside like the tank instructions said, rinsed the new gravel very well with just water until the water was clear, and then some more to be safe because I am OCD like that, cleaned the decorations and fake plants from my old 3 gallon tank he was in, then set everything up and waited what seemed to be an eternity before I could start to acclimate Blue to the new tank and then to set him free into it. His water is tap water with dechlorinator, and the recommended salt levels on the API freshwater salt I have from Petsmart. I learned with my last Betta, that they need a little salt to keep them healthy and stress free, and helps keep bacteria down...Fishy died at age 3 due to bacterial fin rot and infection...

My questions are, do I still need to cycle my tank like the stickied notes say to do? If so, best way for a newbie? How often to I need to change water, and how much? I did 100% weekly cleaning and changes with my 1 and 3 gallon tanks...another question, I have a test kit, but its not easy to understand, any suggestions on a better one? it was also one that i got for the smaller tanks. i would be getting it from Petsmart or Blue seems very happy, he is constantly building bubble nests around the top of a certain fake plant and his floating log. I have only had him for a month, but he already has quite a personality and even interacts with my dog through the tank! Thanks for your help! I uploaded a picture of his new set up, he is in the top left working on his bubble nest!
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:23 PM   #2 
blu the betta
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he must be happy.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:44 AM   #3 
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Location: Fungus corners
It is highly recommended that you cycle your tank. This provides the healthiest water for your fish. Read the cycling stickies at the top of this section. A fish-in cycle will be easiest for you; all you need to do is change 50% of the water every week.

To monitor wtaer parameters, most of us use this:[ame=] API Freshwater Master Test Kit: Pet Supplies[/ame]

He'd really like some live plants, especially floating ones to hang out in and sleep in and for shade.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:01 PM   #4 
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As long as you have a filter going, the tank is going to cycle.
It sounds scarier then it is, really.
In 5gal-10gal filtered without live plants:
Water changes of twice weekly for the next 4-6 weeks
Of... 1-50% water only and 1-50% with vacuum in all areas you can reach without moving anything or disruption of plant roots.
*The 50% with vacuum will be the water change schedule for the life of the system to maintain water quality once the nitrogen cycle has established.
Filter media needs swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of time a month

*If you have water test kit-base the water only change on: ammonia, nitrite 0.25ppm or greater.
With a low bioload often you don't need the second water only-I always recommend it when you don't have test kit to err on the side of caution...its the safety net....
You don't HAVE to cycle if you just keep one betta in there but it is easier to do so, in the long run.

Another tip - if you throw out the cartridge every month, you are tossing out most of the bacteria with it. Instead of using the cartridges, I stuff the filter with foam for the aquaclear filters and just rinse them out in old tank water when I do a water change- about 1-2 times a month. Carbon isn't really necissary unless you are trying to remove medicine or something like that from the water.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:42 PM   #5 
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As everyone said, definitely cycle your tank. It will cycle anyway since you have a filter running as long as you don't do any more 100% changes. Get a test kit to monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. When I cycled my 5 gallon tank with my betta in it, I automatically did 50% water changes every other day. It might have been a little over-cautious, but it prevented ammonia spikes. Plants help to eat up some of the ammonia too. Once your tank is cycled, you can do 25-30% changes once per week.
Don't put salt in the water unless your fish is sick! Salt can damage a betta's labyrinth organ if it's used for too long.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:30 PM   #6 
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Salt can damage a betta's labyrinth organ if it's used for too long.
that's a medication called bettafix that can destroy the labrinth organ. Long term Aquarium salt use can damange internal organs though.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:49 AM   #7 
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Thanks for the tips!! Going to go to Petsmart today for more live plants, a better test kit(the one suggested), and then going to cycle it like the sticky posts say to do. I'm sure I will have more questions later!! Blue still seems very happy and healthy, and is such a pig! He will finally eat pellets now, and not just freeze dried blood worms, and refuses any type of flake. My old fish, Fishy, refused everything BUT flakes, and was picky about his flakes as well!
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:56 PM   #8 
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Ah!!! Blue looks so happy and healthy! Congratulations on the upgrade, and good luck with the cycling! ^^
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