I just purchased a 2.5 Mini Bow sans hood and filter but with gravel, hidespot and plants at Goodwill for $7. I know I will need a heater, filter, and a cover of some sort for a betta.
1) What is the best way to clean it? I'm looking for cleaning materials (vinegar and salt, clorox, etc) as wells as how many times to clean it. I'm going to let it stand for 2 weeks for bacteria genocide.
2) What do you guys think of the betta plants sold in packs of 3 bulbs at pet stores? There are too many plants and they're all plastic, which I read can damage the fins.
3) What heater do you recommend? I've read mixed reviews on the hydori mini heater.
4) What filter do you recommend?
5) Though it would likely be too much for the tank, what are your thoughts on the meters that give pH and nitrate concentration? (the ones that resemble thermometers but don't read temperature)
6) Thoughts on lids would be nice! I don't want my future friend to jump out. Might floating plants deter leaping or would that take so many as to disrupt the O2 diffusion and fish's ability to reach the surface to breath?
7) What is cycling? Sometimes, I read articles about cycling and it sounds like just setting up the tank and running the filter for 24 hours and sometimes I read that one should add bacteria before doing. I'll re-read the beginner's guide to cycling, but a "nutshell definition" would be nice!
Thanks! Any and all advice is appreciated!