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Old 09-08-2013, 09:58 PM   #1 
HLewis1990
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[My First Tank] What now?

Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum, and this is my first post here. Please excuse any breaches of etiquette I may make with this post.

Getting to the point...
I recently won a male Betta at a friend's birthday party (named him Neptune), and have been scrambling to do research on how to care for him. My time was limited because he was in the small cup that he was originally sold in. I did a water change when I got home the night I got him, and the day after I purchased the following:

10 gallon tank from pet smart
Bag of small gravel/pebbles (looks like river bottom)
Thermometer
Water conditioner
Small Arch/Cave

I rinsed the tank, gravel, cave, and thermometer and then filled the tank to the top. With substrate this came out to around 8 gallons of actual water (conditioned accordingly). Neptune was then placed in a bag w/ his water into the tank and adjusted for an hour. I then put him in and fed him 2 pellets.

This brings us to the present...what now?

I am very interested in live plants, but am confused about cycling, water changes, and ultimately on adding additional fish to the tank.

*What steps do I need to take to cycle my tank?
* If live plants are appropriate, what kinds would work, especially with a striclty gravel substrate? How do I install them w/o disrupting neptune?

*Finally, when will I know when my tank is ready for additional fish? What sort of fish would work best?

I'm sorry if this is a wall of text. Rather than have 10 different posts for my myriad questions, I figured one big post would be best. Thanks for your time!
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:14 PM   #2 
marshallsea
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Originally Posted by HLewis1990 View Post
Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum, and this is my first post here. Please excuse any breaches of etiquette I may make with this post.

Getting to the point...
I recently won a male Betta at a friend's birthday party (named him Neptune), and have been scrambling to do research on how to care for him. My time was limited because he was in the small cup that he was originally sold in. I did a water change when I got home the night I got him, and the day after I purchased the following:

10 gallon tank from pet smart
Bag of small gravel/pebbles (looks like river bottom)
Thermometer
Water conditioner
Small Arch/Cave

I rinsed the tank, gravel, cave, and thermometer and then filled the tank to the top. With substrate this came out to around 8 gallons of actual water (conditioned accordingly). Neptune was then placed in a bag w/ his water into the tank and adjusted for an hour. I then put him in and fed him 2 pellets.

This brings us to the present...what now?

I am very interested in live plants, but am confused about cycling, water changes, and ultimately on adding additional fish to the tank.

*What steps do I need to take to cycle my tank?
* If live plants are appropriate, what kinds would work, especially with a striclty gravel substrate? How do I install them w/o disrupting neptune?

*Finally, when will I know when my tank is ready for additional fish? What sort of fish would work best?

I'm sorry if this is a wall of text. Rather than have 10 different posts for my myriad questions, I figured one big post would be best. Thanks for your time!
Adding enough live plants can keep you from needing to worry about the cycle. My favorite plant is Anachris as it's fast growing, it can be planted or floated. Floating them is easier and gives your Betta shade and things to play with. You need a bulb rated at 6500k and a bottle of Seachem Flourish fertilizer. Fast plants remove waste from the water fast. Add as many fast plants as you can. Get a water test kit and change half of the water when you see ammonia. Don't add any more fish until your tank is cycled or you have growing plants. What was your original question?
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:17 PM   #3 
ashleylyn
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Hi there and welcome!

Do you have a heater for your new boy? It sounds like you're going to give him a great home, but a heater is essential for bettas to thrive as they are tropical fish. :)

As for plants, my anacharis and wisteria grow like weeds in a low-light aquarium, so I'd highly recommend them.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:23 PM   #4 
HLewis1990
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Originally Posted by marshallsea View Post
Adding enough live plants can keep you from needing to worry about the cycle. My favorite plant is Anachris as it's fast growing, it can be planted or floated. Floating them is easier and gives your Betta shade and things to play with. You need a bulb rated at 6500k and a bottle of Seachem Flourish fertilizer. Fast plants remove waste from the water fast. Add as many fast plants as you can. Get a water test kit and change half of the water when you see ammonia. Don't add any more fish until your tank is cycled or you have growing plants. What was your original question?

I think my biggest question concerns cycling.

What goals am I trying to reach by cycling?
How often should I test? Change water, etc?
Does fertilizing plants affect the cycling process at all?
How do I admisiter fertilizer (assuming I take Neptune out?)
Finally, are there any plants that do not require fertilizer?

Thanks for your reply. It seems that for every answer I get, I have ten more questions that follow it!
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:25 PM   #5 
HLewis1990
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Originally Posted by ashleylyn View Post
Hi there and welcome!

Do you have a heater for your new boy? It sounds like you're going to give him a great home, but a heater is essential for bettas to thrive as they are tropical fish. :)

As for plants, my anacharis and wisteria grow like weeds in a low-light aquarium, so I'd highly recommend them.
Sorry for the double post.

I do not have a heater yet, and am not sure if I need one considering the warmer temp of my apt. As it stands now, the water is at 84 which to my understanding it a little too warm. Hopefully overnight it cools a bit... Am i wrong about the heater? What kind of care or steps are needed to install wisteria and anacharis? I'll do my own research but am curious as to the first hand knowledge you might share.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:33 PM   #6 
marshallsea
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Originally Posted by HLewis1990 View Post
I think my biggest question concerns cycling.

What goals am I trying to reach by cycling?
How often should I test? Change water, etc?
Does fertilizing plants affect the cycling process at all?
How do I admisiter fertilizer (assuming I take Neptune out?)
Finally, are there any plants that do not require fertilizer?

Thanks for your reply. It seems that for every answer I get, I have ten more questions that follow it!
Ferts don't affect the cycle. Administer ferts according to label . It's just pouring in the correct amount. Plants can grow without ferts if you have enough fish to create enough ferts for the plants, which you don't. Don't take your fish out, very stressful on him. Cycling- Fish create ammonia which kills fish. Eventually a bacteria grows that consumes ammonia and turns it into nitrites which kills fish. Eventually a bacteria grows that converts nitrites into nitrates which fish can handle in small amounts. You keep nitrates low by doing water changes. This process will probably take you 8 weeks. Or you can get fast plants, Anachris and Wisteria are super easy. Change water when you have ammonia or nitrites, or high nitrates.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:37 PM   #7 
marshallsea
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Originally Posted by HLewis1990 View Post
Sorry for the double post.

I do not have a heater yet, and am not sure if I need one considering the warmer temp of my apt. As it stands now, the water is at 84 which to my understanding it a little too warm. Hopefully overnight it cools a bit... Am i wrong about the heater? What kind of care or steps are needed to install wisteria and anacharis? I'll do my own research but am curious as to the first hand knowledge you might share.
Drop the plants in your tank and let them float or stick them in the gravel. Give them 6500k light and pour in ferts.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:38 PM   #8 
HLewis1990
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Originally Posted by marshallsea View Post
Ferts don't affect the cycle. Administer ferts according to label . It's just pouring in the correct amount. Plants can grow without ferts if you have enough fish to create enough ferts for the plants, which you don't. Don't take your fish out, very stressful on him. Cycling- Fish create ammonia which kills fish. Eventually a bacteria grows that consumes ammonia and turns it into nitrites which kills fish. Eventually a bacteria grows that converts nitrites into nitrates which fish can handle in small amounts. You keep nitrates low by doing water changes. This process will probably take you 8 weeks. Or you can get fast plants, Anachris and Wisteria are super easy. Change water when you have ammonia or nitrites, or high nitrates.
Very cool! So my next steps should be...

Plant anachris and wisteria with fertilizer
Begin testing for Ammonia--if it is within a certain criteria, perform a water change. How big of a water change should I perform?
In 8 weeks my tank should have cycled enough to support additional fish. When do I know that my cycle is complete?

I appreciate your patience! This has been very helpful!
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:38 PM   #9 
marshallsea
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Originally Posted by ashleylyn View Post
Hi there and welcome!

Do you have a heater for your new boy? It sounds like you're going to give him a great home, but a heater is essential for bettas to thrive as they are tropical fish. :)

As for plants, my anacharis and wisteria grow like weeds in a low-light aquarium, so I'd highly recommend them.
My 2 favorite plants, also.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:42 PM   #10 
marshallsea
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Originally Posted by HLewis1990 View Post
Very cool! So my next steps should be...

Plant anachris and wisteria with fertilizer
Begin testing for Ammonia--if it is within a certain criteria, perform a water change. How big of a water change should I perform?
In 8 weeks my tank should have cycled enough to support additional fish. When do I know that my cycle is complete?

I appreciate your patience! This has been very helpful!
Your cycle is only complete when your ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0, and you have any amount of nitrates, usually 5-10ppm. Change 50% water with conditioner any time you have ammonia or nitrites or nitrates over 10-20ppm.
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