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Old 08-30-2011, 01:14 PM   #11 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Bristol, England
The Elite Mini 25 Watt heater is the best for smaller tanks (no more than 8 gallons), it's cheap and very reliable.

Other than that.. everyone else has explained it all...
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:20 PM   #12 
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Good luck on your set up and fishie!! Can't wait to see him!
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:29 PM   #13 
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sorry for the overflow of information/suggestions, I didn't realize how much I actually typed out... I hope it wasn't information over load for you, I am glad to see you have the what you need
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:14 PM   #14 
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Currently based in NJ
To be honest, I sort of skimmed over the others' help they gave you. Sorry if I repeat anything... but let it be reinforcement on others' information. :D
I couldn't help but notice you pushed algae eaters out of the way, though I used to have a few that don't get any bigger than an inch or two. (I believe size depends on gender.)

While shimp are great for algae, they don't keep the glass clean of it. Snails are an option, but sometimes they get lazy or the algae grows too fast for them that they need help. Other snails just bury themselves most of the time... good for gravel, but not so much for the walls. (I have a Hair Nerite that does this.)
The algae eater I thought of is an Otocinclus. Tigershark (what I named mine) mixed pretty well with the betta fish when I first got him... they're tropical, so I don't see why they can't mix. He kept the walls clean and clear of brown and green algae, though here's a warning: if you do get one, don't let him suck the scales off your fish. >__> My granpa also had one with his fish and he ran out of algae wafers... so the poor fish didn't have food and in his starvation decided to "clean" the fish off. Maybe it was that specific Oto, but just in case...

Another thing... plant really help with keeping ammonia at bay. Water changes are still done, but it helps keep the water in good condition even if you happen to accidentally miss a day or two of water changes. It depends on how many plants you do put in...
As many as I have in my 10g tank, I shouldn't have to do but one 50% water change bi-weekly, but I always do it every Monday because... well, I feel better for one, and two, I find that my particular plants thrive better that way.

Edit: Ghost shrimp... I don't know how many is too much, to be honest. (I have an Amano shrimp in my 5 gallon.) But they're very good jumpers... I had about 4 in my 10 gallon to help clean up a few plants. So while it's good you have a lid, make sure it's on all the way. :P

Last edited by BlakbirdxGyarados; 08-30-2011 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:07 PM   #15 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Grant, Nebraska

1 shrimp per gallon is like an unofficial standard.

Keep in mind if your water condition are good to perfect shrimp will reproduce fast.. and shrimp Molt, and most people new to them think its a dead shrimp..

Ghost shrimp are hard to keep track of so you may get 5 and never see them till theres 30 of them...

Shrimp are good cleaners for algae on plants and decor, but if you shop around there are some species that are omnivores and will eat algae and left over food on the bottom...

I have these

You can have 2 per gallon just need to keep an eye on water conditions
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:37 PM   #16 
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Everybody seems to mostly gloss over the subject of siphoning. Hard to find a detailed how-to here or anywhere else. And everybody has their own techniques with tips and tricks.

For me, it's less important to match the siphon to the tank size and more important to match it to the gravel/sand size. Too little power leaves the poop and food bits you're trying to siphon out. Too much power means you suck up the gravel until the siphon clogs. (Pinch the siphon tube and the gravel falls out; then go again. Gets to be a pain after a while.) Too much power can be dangerous to curious Betta. (Don't ask me how I know.)

I, and many of us, have experimented with different size tubing and pickup heads. The tubing size determines the volume per minute. The pickup head size determines the sucking power. You want just enough power to jostle the gravel around and loosen it up without sucking it into the siphon tube.

What works for me and my size gravel (less than 1/4 inch) is a 5/16 ID tube inserted through the bottom of a 1-inch diameter pill bottle. This size is about right to vacuum MY gravel and to change water on a 5 gal tank; not to slow, not too fast. And the suction is safe for my fish.

Learn to suck siphon; less stress on the fish.

1) Put the pickup near the bottom.

2) Leave a long enough piece of tube to sag below the tank.

3) Gently suck (kind of a reverse puff) on the tube from above tank level until the it's mostly full of water, without sucking the water into your mouth.(Practice,practice).

4) Put your finger over the output end tube, then put the output end of the tube into you wastewater bucket, which should be below tank level.. After a little practice you'll get the siphon going first try every time and never spill a drop.

5) Stir the gravel around gently with the pickup end and watch the debris get sucked into the tube. Keep it away from your curious fish.

For simple water changes without vacuuming the gravel, it's fine (if somewhat tedious and messy) to just dip the water out with a cup.

Pouring fresh, conditioned water into the tank takes a little patience to avoid stirring up the bottom, knocking over plants and things, getting those annoying tiny bubbles all over everything and scaring the fish. I put my (clean) hand down into the tank and pour the water over it without splashing . Some people pour into a clean bowl on the bottom. I finish filling the last couple of quarts by pouring slowly over the rim and let my fish play in the waterfall. Crazy Betta, I know, I know.

Other people have other methods and refinements. I'd like to see a thread devoted to this subject.
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:48 PM   #17 
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Location: Florida
Thanks for all the help! I really appreciate all the information.

My mom said we could probably get the tank soon, and by the time it's cycled, I might be able to get my Betta around my birthday. (I'm guessing a month or less is how long it takes to cycle?)

I had never even heard of the Otocinclus.
I googled pictures of it and it's really cute.
So, it would be okay to have one of those with a Betta in a five gallon?

Thanks for the help on changing the water. If I run into any problems when it's time to actually change it, my mom might know how to help as she has had a fish tank before.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:56 PM   #18 
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Currently based in NJ
To be honest I don't see the problem with a Thai fish and Oto in a five gallon. As long as water changes are done in a timely matter, of course... I think people already said this, but using test strips for a while after you get your fish in with the system, you can eventually gauge how often and how much you should change the water.

I never heard of the Otocinclus (Otocincli?) myself until I really payed attention at my local pet store. Seems like the only ones the chain stores have are those giant ones (maybe that's just where I live and the stores I've been to elsewhere), but it's possible I just didn't see them because they're so small.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:50 AM   #19 
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So, I've realized that the five gallon tank I found was a complete rip-off.
But there is a ten gallon at Petsmart that comes with a lot of things.
Can anyone tell me if everything it comes with sounds good?

Also, what kind of tank mates would be good for a ten gallon?
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:19 AM   #20 
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That should be a good tank. I had the 20gal size of that same kit and really liked it.
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