My baby Kyorbit died, and it was EXTREMELY suddenly (died within 10 hours of symptoms...enough for me to guess tuberculosis or depression). After a lot of crying, the ritualistic flushing, and shaking off some trauma, I decided I'd like to start the process of getting a new Betta sometime soon. The problem is cycling the water. I have a ten gallon tank equipped with a light, filter, 50 watt heater, and a thermometer to make sure it stays at 76-77 degrees. I already know cycling will be difficult because I cannot afford the water testing kits (they run about 35-60 dollars here, and I just can't afford it). I could always try a fish-in cycle but after Kyorbit's death the mere idea of risking another betta's health terrifies me. I'm not sure what to do...
Also, if it WAS tuberculosis, how can I clean it all up? There's no WAY I could buy new decorations, gravel, tank, etc...I spent over 150 dollars on Kyorbit and I am very poor ;_;
:( I'm sorry you lost your fish. Fill your tank up with water (make sure your tank has everything in it, add bleach, stick the filter in, and let it run for about a day. Rinse well with hot water, and then you've got a clean tank. You could cycle with a piece of shrimp, and after about a month of waiting, take it to a LFS and see what your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are, chances are it'll be cycled.
I'm sorry you lost your lil guy. Sometimes there are internal problems you don't know about when you get them. That's what happened with the one betta I got 2 years ago. He looked healthy, active, and had good color. But he just died and the water tested perfect. He was very small too.... so it left us thinking he had internal issues from the get go. Maybe that is what happened with yours.
Or, if you have a friend with a tank (a healthy tank that is); have them fill up a empty bottle, something that contained spring water, with some of the gunk from their gravel of their tank. The dirt and fish poop etc. And a small bit of gravel. This will also help to kick start your tank.
I did the stress zyme for starting my tank, and then gave my friend 3 bottles of water/gravel from my tank. I know my tank is in good condition because Im also working on it. That trimmed about 2-3 weeks off his actual waiting period, and he was able to slowly adding fish over a 1 week period, we didnt want to shock the tank (but these were 30gallon tanks vs your 10).