My process is I cup Ghost in the cup he came in from Petsmart. Then I use my gravel filter syphon thing and syphon all the water out into a bucket in which I place his plant and his filter. Then if I am doing a complete cleanup I take all the gravel and puor into a colander same with the marbles I have in my tank alsI then take a paer towel and clean off any algae that may be on the tank, I then rinse, rinse and rinse the tank with hot, hot water. Then I take some white vinegar and pour it over the gravel and marbles, I then rinse, rinse, rinse alot, in as hot of water as I can stand while I stir the gravel and marbles up.
Then I put the aquarium tank back on it's table. Place gravel and marbles back in the tank. Place plant back in it's corner. Then I place a smallish plate on the bottom of the tank, This help to keep the water from moving the gravel , marbles and plant. I then fill with my preconditioned water...I use Seachem Prime. I fill to about one inch from top of tank I then take the bio bag from my filter and swish it aeound in the water I removed from the tank and then I place back in filter then put the filter back into tank also the heater. Then I float Ghost for maybe a half hour or so in his cup in the cleaned tank, then release him, The happy part for him, He hates his cup.
You might try Petco as sometimes they have these fabulous tank sales last week they price them at if I remember it right $1 pergallon. Also Petsmart has some less expensive Top Fin tanks. I got a ten gallon tank there not to long ago for like $25 and came with hood and filter.....Check Craig's list too and Free Cylce
My bettas each happily live in 2.5 gallons. The minibow tank is what I use... it comes with a filter!
Its been record-breaking heat this summer (where I live, its been the hottest summer we've ever had!!) I can't keep the light on because it overheats the tank, and I don't need a heater either.
Make sure to buy a thermometer. Don't feed your fish too much... mine get flakes in the morning and three pellets at night.
I clean my tanks 50% each week and 100% every month. When I'm cleaning their tanks, I put them in 1/2 gallons. XD