Ok so there is this long story behind a 20 gallon tank I used to have, and to make a long story short, my dad claimed it for his Oscar, then when he moved Oscar to a 25 gallon Oscar died. Sooo... the 20 gallon is MINE! He gave it to me for free (because technically it was mine in the first place LOL, I had a ball python in it)PLUS a heater and 2 filters! All I need now is dividers, some more decor, and a top! I'm sooooo happy, I'm going to cycle it over Christmas break so when I bring them back up to my dorm they will be all nice and happy in 5 gallons a piece!
So now my questions are these: Divide first then cycle? Or cycle it then make dividers? Fishless or with the fish in there? And how in the world do you move a 20g without messing up the bacteria that are established? Will adding the substrate that is in my 1 gallons make the cycle go faster, and my fish will just go bare bottom tanks for a while?
And if I don't cycle, how much upkeep would that require? Like, how often and what percentage water changes, gravel vac, etc.
Also, the 2 filters are for 5-15 gallons a piece. Should I use both of them? Or just one? My dad told me that the heater kept Oscar's tank at a steady 80 degrees fahrenheit (sp?) Will that be too warm for them or just perfect?
Sorry for all the questions, this will be my first official TANK ever! My one gallons don't count to me, they're totally different in upkeep.