I bought a new 5 gallon tank (kit) and a new heater with a thermostat. The filter has been running for 2 days, have added Prime, aquarium bacteria, plants, etc. The water parameters seem okay (my tap water has chloramine added) - at least better than the 2.5 gallon.
When can I put him in there ? Have read stickys and other articles on cycling.......honestly still uncertain. Any info would be appreciated.
I would say its safe to go ahead and put him in. When Atlas upgraded from his 2.5 to a 5.5kit I let it run for 24 hours before putting him in and he was perfectly fine, and still is.
And I just recently got a new female, set up her tank yesterday morning, put her in this afternoon and she is happy and active. As long as your water is treated and you acclimate them or the water they are moving from is the same temp as the new water, they should be just fine.
If you are planning to cycle the tank, I would STRONGLY recommend doing a fishless cycle BEFORE putting him in. This will save him from exposure to toxins (ammonia and nitrite) and will save you the worry of having a fish in the tank while it is cycling.
If you are only planning to have one fish in the 5 gallon and have already added beneficial bacteria, the cycling process should be fairly quick. You should add enough pure ammonia to bring the concentration up to 2 ppm (if you are only planning to have one fish in the tank, otherwise go to 5 ppm), add more beneficial bacteria as per the manufacturer's directions, and wait for ammonia to decrease, nitrite to spike, and finally, for ammonia and nitrite to decrease to 0 ppm and nitrates to be present. Then you just need to do a large water change (without gravel vacuuming) to reduce nitrates and add your fish. Finally, sit back and enjoy a worry-free, cycled tank. In the meantime, just keep up with your water changes on your 2.5 gallon and your betta should be fine waiting for his new home.
Please also understand that I am not trying to contradict anyone else's advice; I simply feel very strongly that this is the easiest and most practical method to cycle a tank without stressing either you or your fish.
okay, but here's my conundrum...unless I use only bottled water, my tap water has ammonia/chloromine per the city. I use Prime and Ammolock, but I always get a liquid test reading of at least .25...I've never had a zero ammonia reading. How do I know if it's cycled ? (I use a mixture of tap and spring). Also, my nitrite/nitrate readings have always been very low.
more questions: do I stop adding Prime while doing this, how much ammonia to use for a 5 gallon tank (to get 2 ppm) and what percentage is a "large" water change. Also, because of the ammonia present in my tap water, what water do I replace it with ?
I believe there is a growing consensus around here that for a single Betta in a 5g and up, the simplicity and ease of a fish-in cycle proves it's worth.
With Prime to detoxify ammonia (and nitrite, to a degree), and optional bottled bacteria, the livestock is not exposed to dangerous conditions. In fact, as long as you don't clean anything (filter, substrate), a filtered tank will cycle automatically with, at most, a few additional water changes.
It's as simple as this:
Change ½ the water whenever ammonia or nitrite rises above 0.50ppm. Dose Prime @ 2-drops/gal of tank size with every water change, and 1-drop/gal daily until cycled. You'll know it's cycled when the ammonia and nitrite both read 0.00ppm and nitrate increases slightly between water changes.
The API ammonia test gives an accurate reading with Prime. Prime "binds" ammonia into a different molecule called "ammonia/Prime complex." This molecule decays over a day or two releasing the ammonia, hence the advice to dose a drop-a-day. Unfortunately, no test that I know of can tell how much of that ammonia is unlocked and how much is locked. So it's best to keep ammonia <0.50ppm by doing large water changes.
A fishless cycle is not noticeably faster nor easier, although there are techniques for helping it along. If you must, it would be better to cycle the filter in a bucket, then install it in the display tank. That way, while he waits, the fish can enjoy the benefits of a large tank which is more forgiving of toxic buildup