In a 5g filtered tank you can safely cycle it with the Betta provided that you are dedicated to the needed water changes, don't over feed and remove any uneaten food after feeding.
In a 5g with one betta-without water pram testing kit or active growing live plants-for the first 8 weeks-50% water only changes every 2 days with substrate vacuuming every 7 days with a water change.
Filter media to be swished/rinsed to get the big pieces of gunk off in old tank water with a water change 1-2 times a month and when the water flow slows. You want the filter media to look dirty, this is the good bacteria.
Anytime the Betta is acting off or stops eating make a 50% water only change even if you just did one earlier in the day.
Make sure the water temp is within a couple of degree from new and old water to prevent temp related problems with water changes or top offs.
You need a heater to keep the water temp in the 76-80F area
Use a dechlorinator with any new water added to the fish if you are on city water supply.
Once the tank is cycled-regular water changes of 50% weekly with substrate vacuuming-provided that uneaten food is removed after feeding.
Having a water pram test kit is a good idea and can help during the nitrogen cycle process and fish keeping in general.
I highly recommend a master test kit to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, however, you don't have to have one...but it can help you with the number of water changes during the nitrogen cycle process.
Fishless cycle and you will need a master test kit and an ammonia source to get started.
As far as shrimp and snails-either will be fine-but it is up to the Betta himself on which one he will allow to live with him, very true that they can be shrimp killers/eater...but not all are and then one day they are fine together and the next they are not.......provide lots of good hiding place to help increase the chance for success....
Welcome to the wonderful world of Betta keeping...look forward to hearing more about your new wet-pet and seeing pic when you get him.......
Good luck with tennis......
Last edited by Oldfishlady; 07-26-2010 at 05:58 PM.