I was looking at the wisteria but it seems like it will overcrowd the tank pretty quickly, it is just a small 3 gallon after all.
Tank is home! Cleaned up the outside (it was covered in dust and cobwebs). The fluorescent light still works. Haven't tested the pump yet, that will wait until tomorrow when I'v cleaned off the calcium deposits with some vinegar, and rinsed out the old gravel several times.
Heater looks like it will just barely fit standing perfectly vertical if I dig out a hole in the gravel for it. Can't go in at a diagonal because it would hit the intake tube for the filter and biowheel.
OK just got some advice from the aquatic plant forum
According to them if I get a Betta and a plant together I won't need to cycle the tank. The reason being is plants prefer to absorb ammonium directly. Ammonium is what is produced by fish waste in slightly acidic water (which the water here is, more on that in a second). The plant should be able to absorb the entire amount of ammonium a betta will produce, and if it doesn't should absorb enough until beneficial bacteria take hold to use up the rest.
Also just got a whole lot of information about the water. Luckily the water source here is neighborhood owned and controlled, that means all of the houses have access to reports on the water quality. I found that the water is chlorinated (state mandate) so I will need to de-chlorify the water.
Lead and copper are both extremely low. (<.005 mg/l) Sodium is 10 mg/l and hardness is 33 mg/l.
Everything else was insignificant or not detected.
Hardness is the only thing I have a question about (water wise), is the hardness level ok for a betta? I'm not sure on that
And one final question not related to the previous stuff at all: are unused sealed filters from 2001 ok to use? The only problem I see is the activated carbon losing its potency with time, not sure how big of a deal that is.
-I would hold off on that Live test kit thingy... first of all it doesn't test nitrite and nitrate and secondly those hang-on testers tend to be inaccurate and gimmicky. I would swipe one of those API Freshwater Master Test kits... by far the most bang for your buck. Plus it has everything you need: pH, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite.
-As far as the whole plant-cycling-the-tank thing goes, I think it would be prudent to keep a close eye on your water stats via the test kit to make sure the plant can handle all the ammonia. I suggest testing ammonia, nitrite, nitrate once a day and jotting down the results so that you can see if your tank is cycling.
-Water stats look fine. I only compute hardness in GH or KH lol but I don't think it will be an issue and if you desire to soften the water you can easily do so with a Brita Pitcher before adding it to the tank. Filtering enough water for a 3g should not be a big stretch considering you might only be changing about 1g per week. It will also remove some metals and such from the water.
-The filters form 2001 should be fine. Carbon loses its potency within about 6 days of running in the filter because it just 'gets full' of the compounds it absorbs. After that it basically becomes a bacteria breeding ground. It doesn't have spectacular surface area compared to, say, ceramic cylinders but for your purposes it will be more than sufficient. So since it loses its potency after a week, there is really no need to change it as per the manufacturer's instructions. IMHO it is more of a money-grab to get people purchasing (relatively expensive, I might add) carbon filters on a monthly basis. Realistically you only need to replace it when it is falling apart.
Hope that helps!
Last edited by kelly528; 12-14-2009 at 12:21 PM.
Off to go get some distilled water to rinse out the old gravel after I rinse it with vinegar (hopefully the vinegar will be enough to kill any mold or things that might have stuck around while it was in storage)
Scratch that. Decided after inspecting the gravel that was in the tank that it would be best to start with all new gravel. The old gravel had a lot of algae caked on it, and I figured it would be safest to just get new gravel. Plus my girlfriends mom mentioned she had some aquarium gravel that she purchased for a project and then decided not to use.
Well the gravel wasn't a score. It had been stored outside in a less than perfectly sealed jar, and was less than what I needed to cover the bottom of the tank. Off to petsmart again I guess
Master Kit of test strips for Ammonia, Nitrates, Nitrites, and Ph (alkalinity too)
1 bottle Tetra AquaSafe for dechlorifying
1 Hagen Elite Heater, 25watt
1 new bio-wheel for my tank
1 bottle Wardley Advanced Betta food
1 bottle freeze dried blood worms
Off to go find some gravel, I want to give the heater 12 hours to stabilize. I wonder if the local CVS or Safeway would have aquarium gravel?
-No strips, they're not too accurate and actually cost more per test than liquid test kits.
-You may not find gravel at safeway but petsmart should have some.
I know that the strips aren't optimal but we're reaching our total alloted funds for this (living on minimum wage isn't fun). Hopefully Santa will bring a master kit, but if not I'm sure I'll get some gift certificates to amazon I can use to order one.