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Old 05-21-2011, 12:11 PM   #1 
Sandrilene
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Cycling? New to aquariums.

I am considering getting a betta and read the article you have on their care and several about cycling and i understand you do this before you put fish in the tank but was wondering if that is the only time you do it? or when you are supose to and under which circumstances. like each time you change the water or is it each time you change the filter or both? how much time per month should i expect to dedicate to cleaning a 2.5 gal aquarium with a filter (and heater)? I really love how the fish look and everything i have read about them so far but i want to be realistic and make sure i have the time to properly care for one before I buy. assuming i don`t overfeed and make the water gross fast how often should i expect to clean the aquarium per month and how long does that typically take? can someone walk me through the process or link me to a page that gives me this information? if i went the live plant route for filtration how many plants would i need for an aquarium that size and how often would cleaning typically be necessary in that case? its confusing trying to learn this stuff and deciding what will work. any help would be great.
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Old 05-21-2011, 01:03 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Welcome to the forum....

In a 2.5gal filtered tank....water changes of twice weekly...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include substrate cleaning by vacuum or stir and dip method...to maintain water quality......for 1 Betta and a few shrimp and/or snails......not big enough for any other fish species along with the Betta....

The tank will establish the nitrogen cycle, however, in smaller tank you don't have the surface area to maintain a stable cycle due to not enough of the beneficial bacteria.

You can safely cycle the tank with the Betta provided that you are willing and able to make the needed water changes...as posted above...twice weekly for the life of the tank regardless of nitrogen cycle stage in smaller tanks.....

Filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water with a water change a couple of times a month to maintain good water flow...unless you plan to use carbon (not needed) you only need to change out the filter media a couple of times a year at most.....if you plan on carbon use-change per package direction....as long as you keep up with the twice weekly water change in a small tank...all should be fine......this is different in larger tanks (10gal+) and changing the filter media could impact the nitrogen cycle and you could get ammonia spikes...but an extra water change will take care of that......

Live plants can change water change needs....but this also depends on the number and species of plants used....one or two usually will not make much difference when it comes to water quality....
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:59 AM   #3 
Sakura8
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Sandrilene, I just want to say bless you for doing research before buying a betta, not after. :) Too many bettas go to homes where people didn't research how to care for them.

Water changes don't take too long, especially for a 2.5g. You siphon water out into a bucket using a gravel vacuum or a piece of air hose. You can fill the bucket using tap water but you have to condition it with water conditioner like Seachem Prime or API Stress Coat. This gets rid of the chlorine and chloramides. You also have to make sure the water is roughly the same temperature as the water in the tank. You can pour the water directly in from the bucket or, if you find that too heavy, use a large bowl or cup to dip and pour it in. That takes longer but it's better on the back. Stir it around a bit to dissipate the gas bubbles and you're done. By the way, when you need to vacuum the gravel, you can do that when you change the water. It takes me about a half hour to do a 50% water change on a 10g tank, so for a 2.5g, it should go by pretty quickly. You may not even want to bother with siphon hose and just dip the water out using a pitcher.

There are water changing tools like the Python and the Aqueon Water Changer that hook up to your sink so that the water is siphoned out directly into the sink and then you flip a little switch and clean water goes directly from the faucet into the tank. Obviously, this goes a lot faster than the ol' hose and bucket method. Just be sure you remember to put water conditioner in while the tank is filling.

Basically what oldfishlady was saying is the smaller the tank, the more often you have to change the water because smaller tanks don't really establish biofilters well. But although you have to change the water more often, the volume of water to be changed is pretty small.

If you can find it, I highly reccommend the book Aquarium Care of Bettas by David Boruchowitz. This book walks you through keeping bettas in smaller tanks.

I hope this helps you.
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:16 AM   #4 
ollief9
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I'm so glad you did your research!!! I learnt the hard way. Percy started off in a vase. *Shudder*. Then I noticed he was looking much more miserable than he did at the fish store in which he was housed in a large tank with some Platies.

2.5 gallons, in my opinion, is the BARE minimum you can keep Bettas in. I know this is disagreeing with a lot of users on the forum, and I'm not trying to start any arguments, but it would be so great if you got a 5 gallon!
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:35 PM   #5 
kumi
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Hi. I have a 2.5 gallon tank. Once you get in a routine, doing the water changes doesn't take long at all. 10 minutes perhaps. I'll time my next one and let you know!

Kumi
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:54 AM   #6 
Sandrilene
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I don`t think i could comfortably go above 3 gallons right now. i have back issues and wouldn`t be able to move the aquarium at all if it were bigger then that at least not safely because my center of balance is way off. how much do gravel vacuums cost? i'm thinking about the live plant route i like plants to begin with will have to research them too though. will probably be awhile before i have done enough research to buy my fish. i will ask more questions as i come upon them. if anyone has any recommendations for tank/filter for 2.5 or 3 gal sizes i would welcome them. i don`t want to buy and find out its completely wrong for a betta.
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:26 AM   #7 
kumi
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Several people here have 2.5 mini bow aquariums. Depending on the particular Betta, the current from the filter might be too strong. You can modify the filter by removing othe charcoal from one of the filter cartridges and putting in an aquarium sponge instead--that seems to slow down the flow enough. You can also switch filters. Two small filters that are frequently recommended here are the Red Sea Deco Nano filter and the Whisper 3i. The hagen mini elite 25 watt heater is recommended by a lot of people.

If you decide you want live plants, you would need to switch the light. The Zoo Med Ultra Sun 10 watt compact fluorescent works well (and looks terrific).

I do have live plants and use Eco Complete substrate, but I'm a novice with a live plant tank and cannot give advise at this point.

One suggestion I have is that it makes tanks significantly easier to take care of if they are located near a sink! I have one in the kitchen and another one in my bathroom (happen to have a lot of counter space in there).

Enjoy!

Kumi
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:53 AM   #8 
SilverMagic
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Originally Posted by Sakura8 View Post
Sandrilene, I just want to say bless you for doing research before buying a betta, not after. :) Too many bettas go to homes where people didn't research how to care for them.

Water changes don't take too long, especially for a 2.5g. You siphon water out into a bucket using a gravel vacuum or a piece of air hose. You can fill the bucket using tap water but you have to condition it with water conditioner like Seachem Prime or API Stress Coat. This gets rid of the chlorine and chloramides. You also have to make sure the water is roughly the same temperature as the water in the tank. You can pour the water directly in from the bucket or, if you find that too heavy, use a large bowl or cup to dip and pour it in. That takes longer but it's better on the back. Stir it around a bit to dissipate the gas bubbles and you're done. By the way, when you need to vacuum the gravel, you can do that when you change the water. It takes me about a half hour to do a 50% water change on a 10g tank, so for a 2.5g, it should go by pretty quickly. You may not even want to bother with siphon hose and just dip the water out using a pitcher.

There are water changing tools like the Python and the Aqueon Water Changer that hook up to your sink so that the water is siphoned out directly into the sink and then you flip a little switch and clean water goes directly from the faucet into the tank. Obviously, this goes a lot faster than the ol' hose and bucket method. Just be sure you remember to put water conditioner in while the tank is filling.

Basically what oldfishlady was saying is the smaller the tank, the more often you have to change the water because smaller tanks don't really establish biofilters well. But although you have to change the water more often, the volume of water to be changed is pretty small.

If you can find it, I highly reccommend the book Aquarium Care of Bettas by David Boruchowitz. This book walks you through keeping bettas in smaller tanks.

I hope this helps you.
Yes, get that book. I have that book too, it's great, and I bought it at Petco. He advises 100% water changes, that would be about once a week to a week and a half for your tank but I think 50% water changes twice a week can be just as good as 100% once a week, maybe even better because there is some fresh water coming in more frequently. Whatever you do the importance is water quality. I highly reccommend getting a liquid API ammonia and nitrite test kit so you can monitor water quality and then you will know exactly how often you need to change it.
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Old 05-23-2011, 02:18 PM   #9 
Stardancer
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One suggestion I have is that it makes tanks significantly easier to take care of if they are located near a sink! I have one in the kitchen and another one in my bathroom (happen to have a lot of counter space in there).
AGREE. My little betta tank is now at work, but I used to keep it at home by the kitchen. Our kitchen is open with a big breakfast bar, so the tank sat there, about a foot away from the sink and several inches above it. It was great--I could siphon water out directly into the sink.

Live plants are pretty awesome, but some people have more trouble with them than others. If you decide to go with fake plants, make sure the ones you buy don't have any sharp edges that could catch your betta's skin or fins. The easiest test is to run a pair of pantyhose over your decorations--if the nylon doesn't snag, neither will your fish
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