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Old 01-02-2010, 04:15 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Talking water testing kits/stips, and other cycling/setup questions

Hi everyone,

I'm completely new to the fish world. Quite a few weeks ago I was at a pet store buying supplies for my cats, and it broke my heart to see all these lethargic Betta fishes in tiny plastic containers, which led me to the idea of getting one of my own. I asked an employee about their care and needs, and she said nothing much needed to be done. I didn't take her word for it, so didn't buy a fish right away. Instead I went home and researched the topic for weeks.

I think my shopping list for setting up and cycling my aquarium is ready, except for the water testing equipment. I just can't narrow it down to the most accurate yet convenient kit being the best value. It seems to me that when starting up one may require a lot of testing. I thought maybe I could get a recommendation from you out there with experience.
The one thing I've come across that seems very useful and convenient is the Seachem Ammonia Alert. Then for the rest, is it better to get strips that check everything at once or individual parameters? What brands give the best yet easiest readings?

I have to say that I'm very excited about starting up but a little nervous about cycling the water and getting it exactly right. I know I want fishless cycling; I'm absolutely not going to sacrifice "starter" fishes to establish my tank. Is it wise to use the shrimp method? Although I am thinking to try out first with Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Stress Zyme, despite the fact that these starter products have mixed reviews.

Please feel free to comment and suggest on the following:

I will have a 2.5-gallon Aqueon mini-bow aquarium. I'll use the filter that comes with it and add an Hydor mini heater. In the tank there will also be a small thermometer on a suction cup, glass rocks/gems gravel, and a ruin ornament as a hiding/fun place.

For maintenance I'll use some Ultrafin Aqua Plus Conditioner, and/or Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Splendid Betta Complete Water Conditioner.

For food, I was thinking of alternating or seeing what my future fish would like best between HBH Betta ColorBright Flake Food, TetraBetta Floating Mini Pellets,and/or San Francisco Bay Brand Betta Food Freeze Dried Bloodworms.

As for THE Betta fish, I'm leaning towards a Veiltail or Crowntail male. I like the butterfly color patterns a lot, especially those in blue-green and black.
I saw some wonderful Bettas online at, although I am a little scared of the stress the shipping process would inflict on my future little guy. But I guess these days buying online is a common practice?? What other websites do you recommend.

Well, thanks a lot for putting up with this very long post!!! I look forward to hearing your advice!


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Old 01-02-2010, 04:47 PM   #2 
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: West Virginia
I personally like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. I find it to be one of the most accurate. as for the tank, I think you are pretty much set. I would make sure the ruins ornament has no sharp edges. You may want to get a silk plant for it too for him/her. MOST (but not all) bettas like pellets. Some will eat flake food, but I haven't seen many. The FD bloodworms should be fed as a treat once or twice a week (which I think you knew already). Many people use Aquabid with no problems...I personally have never used it though. Good luck!
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Old 01-02-2010, 10:06 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Savannah, GA
The shrimp method is ok but the ammonia method is cleaner.. putting food in the tank can cause dangerous bacteria IMO.

It can be safe to do a fish in cycle but you have to be dedicated to doing daily water changes... but since you want to do a fishless cycle and you don't have your fish yet I think a fishless cycle could be fine. I can't really help though... I prefer fish in safe cycles... to me they're more natural.

API master is probably the best test kit for the money. definitely don't get the strips.
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cycling, water testing

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