You could also use this - it is one of the only products that actually helps with the cycling process. I haven't used it, but the reviews I have read, it has actually worked unlike other similar products. And it comes with a small dropper bottle of ammonia so you wouldn't have to worry about getting it all over the place. I personally would rather use this than shrimp. I cycled a tank with pure ammonia and it worked quite well.
So basically the good bacteria seeds itself in your filter and it will destroy ammonia so your tank doesn't have the be changed as much AND you should not wash your gravel or plants etc... because it kills the good bacteria-or no?
When I do water changes a scrub down the tank with just hot water (meaning gravel, plants, sides of tanks etc) really good. Is this a no-no after cycling?
My plastic plants get slimey even after a couple days, why is that?
If your tank is cycled, you cannot empty your tank 100% and scrub everything down with hot water. That kills the good bacteria that breaks down your ammonia.
When your tank is cycled, depending on the size of it, you only need to empty a % of the water, not all of it. i.e. in my 10 gallon, I do about a 30%-50% change once a week. In my 3 gallon, I do an 80-90% change, but don't wash anything out. You need to vacuum the gravel when you do water changes to get debris and such out.
Mizzle: from what I've heard, smaller tanks are known to cycle quicker than larger tanks, and I haven't heard of many people having trouble with 5 gallon tanks.
I wasn't aware that you were worried about any kind of time frame here. I was referring to a 5 gallon tank being more difficult to care for than a larger tank and maintaining your tanks CYCLE is more difficult in a 5 gallon tank. Also, I've heard of many people having trouble with 5 gallon tanks.
I guess all I'm trying to say is that I don't see the purpose in trying to cycle a 5 gallon container for your betta.
Well, I have three betta right now and my goal is to find a way to house them all at the level of care they need (this means a real heater -they cost 25-35 dollars each)
Right now i have one betta in a 3 gallon with a stealth heater, and two in 1.5 gallons with just the hydor 7.5 heaters.
My issues are time and money, I would like to have to do less water changes (I am doing 100 every 2 days on the 1.5s and 100 every 3 days on the 3 gallon)
Also I have the heater that is good for up to 8 gallons already(the stealth).
I do not want to house them all together as the bettas in the smaller tanks may have health issues and I don't want to contaminate my first fish.
SO, I was thinking if I got and split a five gallon the two newer fish could share a critter keeper and a real heater, and if it was cycled I could do less water changes.
I don't trust the cheaper heaters.
Any ideas on this are welcome.
Thanks for the help with the cycling!
Mizzle: for me, time isn't that much of an issue, just wanted to throw that out there. And, yeah, you have a point. I'm thinking though, that with a 5 gallon tank, even if there are potential problems with keeping your tank cycled, it can't hurt to try once to see how it works out.
SJones: Maybe if you could get some media from an already cycled tank, you'll be able to introduce the good bacteria, which should help the colony flourish.
Now I am kicking myself for throwing out the old fish tank someone gave me recently.... but it was in poor shape, maybe had "scary" bacteria, who knows?
On a side note I had another horrible experience at petsmart today.
Anyone who wants to buy/"rescue" a DT white betta with amazing patchwork blood vessels(think nitemare before christmas), or another beautiful white DT OR an amazing lime greenish metallic SD through my horrible petsmart pm me, I'll ship :(, I just can't get anymore.
Well, you could go to a petstore near you and ask for one of their used filter cartridges, or some used gravel or something. Whatever you get, I'm pretty sure you have to keep it wet/submerged in water to keep the bacteria alive.
:( I wish I could rescue one, but there's no way my mom would let me get another betta, especially a sick one. But, they sound beautiful, and I'm sure someone'll want to resuce them