I guess that was the main concern, also evaporation. My glass cover is always covered underneath with evaporated water, without it I would lose a lot. I'm sure there is a way to cut glass, I could look into that.
To be honest, 'cycling' scares me! I skimmed over a FAQ on here about it and it made no sense, but i'll give it a proper read in the morning. If you think that's the best approach i'll trust you :) Basically I want to minimize water/cost/time, in that order.
Cycling is very easy :) I know how you feel though, it seems very overwhelming at first when you are reading all that stuff about the biology and water chemistry and parameters, but once you take the step or two to get started, it is basically just waiting. Once it is cycled, you'll only have to do a water change once a week (because the nitrAtes are the least lethal to fish and they build up slowest) or maybe less if you also have many plants in there. Also, you don't have to ever worry about 100% water changes or scrubbing anthing down (seeing as that would be scrubbing the good bacteria off)
1) set up tank and introduce your constant source of ammonia (your fish)
2) Do daily water checks with your tester on the ammonia, nitrItes, and nitrAtes. It is a good idea to log them so you can watch the patterns.
3)If you see the ammonia or nitrItes get over 0.25 ppms of ammonia or nitrItes, do a 50% water change this may be daily (or not depending on how many plants yo have), but chances are it'll be around once a week.
4) continue this until you notice that the ammonia is 0, the nitrItes are 0, and you have had nitrAtes 3-10 ppm for several days without water changes.
5) you're done
All you have to remember is not to scrub the tank and to monitor your water params before you do your weekly water change to make sure your tank is stable.
Sorry I didn't see this, but anyways, I'm in Eltham so only like fifteen - twenty minutes drive from you!
I sometimes buy my plants from this place called Water World in Bulleen, but there's a nice big aquarium down at Coburg as well with lots of nice tanks, plants and bettas! But this place online http://www.livefish.com.au have a nice selection of plants. All my anubias and java fern from there have gone great, even with my crappy care, and there's not as much as a mark-up on prices as there is with LFS. Just forgot to add, some of those plants are listed as aquatic when they are not, but if you stick to the basics, anubias, java fern, stems etc. it should be fine.
I buy most of my supplies from http://www.aquariumproductswholesale.com, and even though can be a bit slow, they have a really good range and the best rimless tanks. There's also Pet Barn out at Plenty Valley near Epping, and they have a pretty good range of fish care products, filtration etc. and are a bit cheaper than the LFS.
I would suggest picking up a bottle of Seachem Prime, it's the best water conditioner I've found. It detoxifies ammonia and nitrite for 24 hours, and you only need like a couple of drops of it for a tank so small.
Welcome to the forum. That's a great tank.
For your tank you could try some anubias ties to some driftwood. I started out with that and an amazon sword and they haven't died yet (which for me is nothing short of a miracle.) I do add some liquid aquarium safe fertilizer once a week and my fish loves it.
A great plant for getting rid of ammonia and other chemical fish wastes would be anacharis. It grows like a weed (I guess it techinically is one), can be floating or planted, and is really cheap and easy to get.
JKfish, that was an amazing post! Helped me out lots. Every new betta owner should read that if they are interested in cycling. I will buy that test kit, I found it for about $50 in Australia. It says it lasts 800 uses I think, that's pretty decent. I love the idea of only changing water once a week, that's perfect.
LittleBettaFish, perfect! I didn't know those places existed. I have been going to 'Aquariums & Reptiles' in Bundoora and an aquarium in Diamond Valley but I will check those out. I've heard good things about duckweed, and I like the look of anubia and java fern, so i'll try get my hands on some of that.
I've found that seachem prime in the store I will be buying my red sea filter from, so that works perfectly, cheers!
UrsMyrick, I just put a piece of driftwood in the tank today after my first 50% water change! Good to hear I can use it with some plants too.
Here is a picture of the tank after it's first renovation and water change :)
^_^ thank you. My little nutshell doesn't go too into detail, and some of the directions change according to what source of ammonia you are using, and I am leaving out the reasons and how things happen, but it does show that cycling is easier than it seems. You'll probably want to still read those articles, because they give more details.
Holy cow, that's expensive! Where are you buying it from? Most petstores overprice their api water test kits. I suggest checking out walmart.com, or sear.com . I'm not sure if the cost of importing is what makes it so high and if that is really the cheapest you can find it or not, but if you look you might find it for less.
Oh, and your tank is beautiful. :)
oh, and I forgot to add in my little cycling nut shell:
Note, the filter must always be running so the circulation of water can keep your colony of benificial bacteria alive.
Also note that once your tank is cycled, you still have to do a water change once a week, but the ammount of water depends on the tank size, ammount of fishies you have in there, and your live plants.
I think lids are better for bettas...you should have one because there's always a chance that he'll jump. Also bettas don't need that much air, some people have had bettas live two weeks in their shipping bags and still had air.
If you ever need to change over the filter media, only swap out about a third of your original media to replace it. Whatever sponge is left over will seed the new replacement sponge. Just make sure to test the ammonia and nitrite levels for a few days after to make sure everything is alright.
Never swap out all the media at once since this will throw your tank into a mini-cycle. I use fluval filter sponge and it's been three years in my goldfish tank, and I only just gave it a swish in some tank water before and it's as good as new. So they last a fair while.