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Old 11-17-2008, 11:26 PM   #1 
anafromcolombia
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Red face I have never had a fish and need some help

I have never had a fish before so I don't know anything about them. My mom just got a fish tank for my 2 year old, it is a sesame street 2.5 gallon plastic fish tank, it comes with a filter. I know it is small so I was wondering if it was ok to get 2 fish or only one, if they could be betta and what kind, will I need the thing that makes bubbles? how often do I have to change the water? do they need special water? how often do I have to feed them? and any other info you think I would need.. Thanks.
p.s: a gift for my girl, and a new job for me!!
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Old 11-17-2008, 11:44 PM   #2 
dramaqueen
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A 2 and a half gallon heated and filtered tank is what is reccommended. You can't put 2 bettas, males or females together or they will kill each other. You don't HAVE to have a filter but it helps keep the water cleaner. You can use regular tap water but you have to put dechlorinator in it to neutralize the chlorine, chloramines and other bad stuff in the water. Someone else will have to advise you on cleaning an aquarium. They need to be cycled and I don't know anything about cycling a tank or how often to change the water. Bettas can be fed pellet food or tropical flake food as their staple diet and frozen or freeze dried bloodworms and brine shrimp as a once or twice a week treat. I hope that this info helps.
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Old 11-18-2008, 01:47 PM   #3 
iamntbatman
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Have you purchased the fish yet? If not, I highly recommend doing a fishless cycle on your tank. Many fish are already in a stressed state and may already be diseased when you buy them, so having a nice cycled tank will definitely be beneficial.

Here's a blurb about what cycling means:
Quote:
"Cycling" a tank is the process of culturing colonies of beneficial bacteria in your tank. Fish waste (urine and feces), decaying plant and animal tissue and decaying fish food all create ammonia in your tank. Ammonia is highly toxic to fish and can kill them even at low concentrations. In order for your fish to survive in a fish tank, they can't be exposed to ammonia. Luckily, there is a type of bacteria that converts the harmful ammonia into another chemical called nitrite. As ammonia is introduced to your tank (either by adding fish or another ammonia source) these bacteria multiply. Eventually, there are enough of them to completely convert any ammonia that is introduced to the tank into nitrite. Unfortunately, nitrite is just as toxic to your fish as ammonia, if not moreso. However, there is a second type of bacteria that converts this nitrite into nitrate, a chemical that is only harmful to fish in very large concentrations. As the first type of bacteria convert ammonia to nitrite, the second type of bacteria begins to grow in number. After more time, there are enough of these bacteria present to convert all of your nitrite into nitrate. After both types of bacteria are established, your tank is "cycled." At this point, you should never have detectable levels of ammonia or nitrite in your tank and you only need to do water changes to keep the nitrate levels in check.

There are two ways to cycle a tank, fishless and with fish. When cycling with fish, the fish you add act as the ammonia source during the cycle. However, because the ammonia and nitrite that are produced during the cycle are toxic, you need to do water changes frequently when cycling with fish to keep them alive. The second way is to cycle without fish and use some other ammonia source, such as pure ammonia, fish food or even an uncooked shrimp. This is the preferred method as it allows you to stock the tank as you please (instead of with the fish you cycled with) and also doesn't subject any fish to ammonia or nitrite poisoning.

The best way to monitor the progress of the cycle is to get a good liquid test kit like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. It contains tests for pH as well as ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Testing the water lets you know exactly how far along the cycle is and when it's over, and therefore when it's safe to add fish.

Since the bacteria that you grow during the cycle aren't waterborne (they live on surfaces in the aquarium like the gravel, decor and especially the filter media) you can transfer some of these items over to a cycling aquarium from an established tank to help speed up your cycle.
Any of the fishless cycling methods mentioned will work. I've personally used the uncooked shrimp method several times and it has worked like a charm. Just get a single uncooked shrimp, put it in a filter media bag or some pantyhose for easy removal, and toss it in the tank. As it decays it will provide a steady ammonia source to the tank which will cycle it. As I mentioned, a good liquid test kit is the best way to monitor the progress of the cycle and will keep the fish happy and healthy down the road.

About decorating the tank: Adding a small heater is essential as bettas are tropical fish. Add some gravel of some kind to the bottom of the tank and decorate it how you please. Avoid decorations with sharp edges or plastic plants that could put a run in some pantyhose. Silk plants, smooth rocks and driftwood are all good decorations. You could also use live plants, which look great and are beneficial to the fish. Java moss and java fern are both incredibly hardy, have no special care requirements and will survive even in very low-light conditions. Also, pet stores sell resin decorations that are usually smooth enough for a betta. Bettas really appreciate a hiding place so plants and some kind of cave would be great.

As for routine care once the tank is cycled and you've added the fish: buy yourself a turkey baster. Twice a week, change 50% of the tank water. Use the turkey baster to suck poo and uneaten food out of the gravel during your water changes. You can leave the fish in the tank while you do this. Add back tap water that has been treated with a good water conditioner (I use Tetra AquaSafe) and is the same temperature as the tank water. Your fish needs a day/night cycle so turn on the tank lights in the morning and off at night. Feed the fish a good staple food like Hikari Bio-Gold betta pellets. Two feedings daily of 2-3 pellets is good. If you want to spoil him, buy some frozen bloodworms and substitute two of his regular feedings a week with a couple of thawed worms. He'll also really like live blackworms, if you can get them.

I wouldn't recommend housing any other fish with a betta in a 2.5g tank. Most other small fish are schooling fish that would need a bigger tank to accomodate a proper school size. Also, bettas can be tempermental and some aren't very friendly towards any other fish. You could add some other small critters like a couple of ghost shrimp or a mystery snail.
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Old 11-18-2008, 11:38 PM   #4 
anafromcolombia
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Wink

I haven't bought the fish yet, since I don't know anything about them I want to read and be informed first, I'm afraid it will die under my care and then my baby will be sad..
All the info was very helpful, I'm still confused about "cycling" , How often should I do that? And just to leave that clear, I only have to change 50% of the water twice a week? and it can be done with the fish inside!?!?! how often could I take everything out for a good cleaning??
well, that's all I can think of for now, but I sure will be asking more questions! Thanks>
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:47 AM   #5 
sparks
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Wow this is all great info!
That cycling post actually made sense to me!
I've read about cycling before, but I really didn't understand it.

Thanks!!!
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Old 11-20-2008, 04:13 AM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anafromcolombia View Post
I haven't bought the fish yet, since I don't know anything about them I want to read and be informed first, I'm afraid it will die under my care and then my baby will be sad..
All the info was very helpful, I'm still confused about "cycling" , How often should I do that? And just to leave that clear, I only have to change 50% of the water twice a week? and it can be done with the fish inside!?!?! how often could I take everything out for a good cleaning??
well, that's all I can think of for now, but I sure will be asking more questions! Thanks>
you did good. research before purchase.
you cycle a tank once. unless something causes the tank to go through another cycle or mini cycle (example: in a bigger tank adding to many fish to fast, or a fish dies and is left in the tank)
for a tank that small that sounds good to me. you can use another container for your water (to add dechlorinator prior to adding the water to the tank) the fish stays inside. try to add water as close as possible temp. wise and i wouldnt ever do a "good cleaning" as this will be stressful on the fish, and more then likely cause your tank to "mini cycle" because your killing the good bacteria that was growing in the intitial cycle to begin with

good luck!
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:25 PM   #7 
iamntbatman
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Yep, I agree. You only cycle the tank once, ideally before you put the fish in it. Once that's done, those bacteria should live and multiply as long as there's an ammonia source in your tank, like your fish. As was mentioned, you should never have to take the tank down and give it a good cleaning. A turkey baster should take care of any waste that accumulates in the gravel. Your filter media (the sponges in the filter) don't need to be replaced until they are physically falling apart. If they started to get gunked up, just swish them around in some of the water you remove from the tank during a water change. If the ornaments get algae building up on them, you can take them out and brush the algae off under some running water. If algae builds up on the glass, just scrape it off with a razorblade (if your tank is made of glass) or with an acrylic-safe algae brush (if the tank is acrylic). Taking the tank apart and cleaning will just destroy all of the bacteria colonies you worked so hard to establish during the cycle.
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Old 11-26-2008, 04:07 PM   #8 
Antje
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Yeah it seems like I still can't get let go of the cycling, so here are a few more questions:

- How long does the cycling in a 2.5 gal aquarium take approximately? (On the info sheet for the 10 gal it said something about 5-6 weeks).
- If the aquarium is cycled and I have added the fish and I read the nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and ph and they laeter don't show the right numbers, what do I have to do then? Does that tell me, that it's time for a water change or do I have to add something?
- How often do I have to test the water?

Antje
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Old 11-26-2008, 06:09 PM   #9 
Cody
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Originally Posted by Antje View Post
Yeah it seems like I still can't get let go of the cycling, so here are a few more questions:

- How long does the cycling in a 2.5 gal aquarium take approximately? (On the info sheet for the 10 gal it said something about 5-6 weeks).
- If the aquarium is cycled and I have added the fish and I read the nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and ph and they laeter don't show the right numbers, what do I have to do then? Does that tell me, that it's time for a water change or do I have to add something?
- How often do I have to test the water?

Antje
-That all depends. Some say a 2.5G will never cycle because of its small size. It can take 5 days to 2 months. For a 2.5G, I would think a shorter amount of time.
-Water Change. I am a firm beleiver that all of the "water-fixers" that help you to remove things (Not medications) are complete wastes of money.
-Once a week with a liquid test kit. But, that is saying you have a filter and do religious water changes. You can give more distance between them once your tank starts maturing, though.
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Old 11-27-2008, 01:57 AM   #10 
uluvsweetsdontu
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I found a some cycling charts at freshaquarium.about.com. Look in the upper left side for Cycling a New Aquarium. I charted my cycle in a 5 gallon and it was almost exactly what they said it would be. I agree with Cody, especially after using "water-fixers". They don't work very well.
I got my first betta as a gift also. In a bowl, in the winter time. So he wasn't really free because I had to go get him a real tank so I could buy him a heater. He's a happy boy now.
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