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Old 02-09-2012, 05:02 AM   #1 
NightFury
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New tank cycling confusion

Hi...I am a newbie to the world of the Betta. Last week I went to the local pet store to pick up some crickets for our pet scorpion and walked out the proud owner of a beautiful crown tail Betta. I was sold a small 3ltr (.75gallon) tank and told that I would not need a heater or a filter. The tank was a Marina Betta kit and was very decorative but I soon discovered very unpractical. I was assured that bettas are very hardy and can survive in a puddle! I started doing research on them (which I obviously should have done first...I am not usually so impulsive when it comes to pets) and very quickly went back to the store (the only one in town) and purchased a bigger 10ltr - 2.5gallon tank, a Marina brand i25 mechanical and chemical internal filter and a Marina submersible heater that automatically shuts off at 26 degrees celcius (78F). I put down a gravel substrate and placed in a silk plant and a fake log that has hollows for him to hide in. I feed him frozen bloodworms as he would not eat the pellets or the flakes that the store sold me. He would eat a kilo of bloodworms if I would let him!
My main question is regarding the cycling of the tank. I have done so much research but the more I read the more confused I am getting. Should I be cycling my new tank (unfortunately I will have to do the fish-in method which had I done my research first would not be the way I would prefer). Some say yes to cycling some say no. How often should I perform water changes and how much water should I be taking out each time. My filter claims to remove toxic ammonia.
Please help....Oh BTW I am already aware that I have shortened my poor Bettas life by not cycling the tank first for which I am very sorry
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:12 AM   #2 
AcrimoniousArbiter
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Most suggest that cycling is only practical on 5 gallons or more. It can be done on a 2.5 gallon tank, but it's harder since there is less surface area for the beneficial bacteria to grow. I'd say just keep up with water changes, etc. As for eating, bloodworms don't have much dietary value and should be treated as "special snacks." I've heard that soaking the pellets in some garlic stuff helps. Not too sure about that though, since Cobalt ALWAYS wants more pellets -.-

It's awesome that you researched what he needs and got him better accommodations, good luck with your new friend!

Last edited by AcrimoniousArbiter; 02-09-2012 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:38 AM   #3 
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It's great to hear that you upgraded his tank. Not only with a bigger tank will you not have to do as much work to keep up with the water changes, but he will also have more room to swim and will thank you greatly I'm sure :P

The heater was also a great choice too! As for food, mine wouldn't eat the pellets, but he doesn't pass up flakes or bloodworms. The bloodworms are only a treat for him though, because as others have said, they are not a real nutritious meal for them. It's basically like eating chips every single day in human terms. Perhaps since he's newer to his tank, he doesn't want to eat. I'm not really sure exactly how to accommodate a picky betta, but I know there are ways to trick him into eating the food. Some also suggest different brands of pellets or flakes with different ingredients that make the food appetizing.

With the cycling, don't fret about it as much since you have a smaller tank. Larger tanks are required to go through cycling. It makes it easier on the fish if you seed it with other rocks from an already established tank. The bacteria would already be on the rocks and working to break down the wastes in the water. Instead, you will just need to make sure you keep up on water changes.
I'd invest in a test kit, they are a little pricey, but I'd definitely go with the test kit with drops. There are ones with paper strips, but you get a more accurate reading with a test kit involving drops. I do believe I have the API Fresh Water Master Test Kit. It was a little expensive, but I don't think I could live without it. This way, you can see the amount of ammonia in the water ,the PH, the nitrates, and the nitrites. The test kit book also explains in very easy terms what each of those do to a tank and how to read your results as well as how to fix your problems. Most of the time, water changes do the trick in trying to resolve water issues.

Good Luck with your new friend and your new tank :) People on this forum know their stuff, so you're definitely in good hands!
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:31 PM   #4 
NightFury
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Thanks for your responses. The pet shop assured me that the bloodworms would make a suitable food...but then again they also told me that I would not need a filter or a heater! I will try the pellets again...
As to the water changes that is where I am most confused. How much should I be taking out of the tank and how often??????
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:01 PM   #5 
AcrimoniousArbiter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightFury View Post
Thanks for your responses. The pet shop assured me that the bloodworms would make a suitable food...but then again they also told me that I would not need a filter or a heater! I will try the pellets again...
As to the water changes that is where I am most confused. How much should I be taking out of the tank and how often??????
I'd say go for 1 50% and 1 100% a week. If you are uncertain, test the water parameters.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:07 PM   #6 
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One trick for feeding pellets is presoaking them all the way through in garlic juice, then gently squeezing them before placing them in the tank. This will make them sink slowly, and the movement will probably trigger a response and at the very least make your new boy want to investigate, but more probably he will want to eat it. What sort of betta pellets are you feeding him?

As for water changes, I agree one 50% and one 100% water change. With the 100%, scrub down the decor and gravel in hot water. When you add water back in after dechlorinating it, be sure to make sure it is relatively close to the proper temperature.

As for the heater, keep an eye on it. Some of the non adjustable ones can be slightly faulty, so you might want to buy a little glass thermometer (1 dollar or maybe two) so that you know what temperature his tank is really at.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:38 PM   #7 
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I have to say, at least you got him a proper tank and researched.

I agree what has been said, cycling a 2.5 isn't impossible but to get a steady cycle it is hard.

What pellets do you have? I got New Life Spectrum betta pellets, it will literally last the bettas life and still have some left over. It is also very nutritional. When picking out new pellets ALWAYS look at the ingredients, if the first ingredient is meat related: fish meal, herring, or any other meaty thing. Sometimes it is the actual pellets or he is just new to the tank. For feeding I would say maybe 1 or 2 days with bloodworms a week. 1 bloodworm per feeding. It is recommended to feed twice a day, and skip a meal once a week, if you want though.

I found out, doing 100%s in a 2.5 is so much easier with no rocks, it is just something that adds decoration though.

I hope everything works out. Oh and don't think I listed all that to say your new or anything, but on some sites I have seen people that tell others to feed a couple pellets some a couple times a week. I just want your betta the happiest so you can see his personality.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:41 PM   #8 
a123andpoof
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I wouldn't bother with the cycle in such a small tank just do 1 25 - 50% and 1 100% water change each week. I don't think it will shorten his lifespan, the fish in my tank is 2 and doing great!
Once he gets in the warm water he may start to eat. Also it can take them weeks sometimes. My one guy went almost two weeks before eating. Put a pellet in the water for maybe ten minutes then take it out don't feed him anything else. He won't starve so don't worry about that. Just keep feeding him pellets each day. He should eventually start eating them. This may sound kind of mean, but you don't want him to get sick from food that's not good for him either.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:51 PM   #9 
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I agree with a123andpoof, it isn't that mean as they can actually survive I think like 2+ weeks. Once he gets hungry he will start taking the pellets.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:38 PM   #10 
NightFury
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Thank you so very much to those who have offered advice...I will draw on your wisdom and knowledge. I now feel so much more confident about what to do with water changes.
Quote:
As for the heater, keep an eye on it. Some of the non adjustable ones can be slightly faulty, so you might want to buy a little glass thermometer (1 dollar or maybe two) so that you know what temperature his tank is really at.
I have been keeping a close eye on the tank temp (i have purchased a small temp guage as well). The heater has been turning on but the temp seems to be only reaching 24 degrees (75F). I placed the heater on the same side of the tank as the filter as I thought that would distibute the heat more evenly. I am concerned as it is the end of summer where I live and the winters here get very cold by Aussie standards. I am worried that the heater will not be able to cope with the reduced air temperatures. Has anyone had much experience with the thermostat type heater that automatically shuts off at 26degrees (78F) What would be the best heater to use?
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