I definitely *will* cycle it, but there will be very many melodramatics and heavy sighs and complaints from the 'rents. Nothing out of the ordinary ^__^" it's better to do an "imaginary" cycle then to risk killing my bud. We're going to Big Al's fish place thing so I'll just get a master kit or something of the sort.
I'll do my best, but if I get one at all I really can't complain >__> strips are really annoying, but I'll just taunt them with the thought of driving to petsmart every other day to get the water checked lol
If you can't get a test kit, I wouldn't worry too much over it. As soon as you put the filter in, it will begin to cycle anyway. The solution? Daily 25% water changes. It will slow the cycle down but it will also keep the water safe enough for your betta. If you can get a test kit, great, but don't kill yourself over it. If you can get a good water conditioner like Prime that detoxifies ammonia, it will be fine. Bettas are hardy. I'm not saying it's fine to deliberately expose them to high concentrations of ammonia, but they will quite happily deal with a cycle in a 10 gallon tank with daily water changes. :)
I would prioritise getting a heater over a test kit. Lamps are all well and good, but there are two problems:
- you can't control how much heat they are giving off, so you could cook your betta
- you have to turn them off at night to allow your betta to rest. Leaving the light on will exhaust it.
A 50 watt heater is a much more important purchase than a test kit, if you have to choose between them. :)
I can afford to cycle without the fish in, which would probably be best because I definitely can't guarantee that I could have time to do the daily 25% change. I might be able to get a heater, hopefully soon, but my best bet is Christmas, which is not exactly great. I'll monitor the heat best I can at the moment, and get a thermometer.
A heater shouldn't be too big of a deal, though. I'm just worried that I don't have enough decorations for the poor little guy, considering the two plants he has now required a little pleading. I'll probably just take one or two of the plants from the 20 gal that my brother has, and that'll probably help with the cycling.
Will a Betta put enough ammonia in the water to cycle a 10 gallon within a reasonable amount of time? If I were in this situation, I would try to get a heater(and a floating thermometer, they're like $2) and some sort of test kit for that 10 gallon, get it up to temperature and put him in it. Keep an eye on the ammonia levels and just do small water changes if there's measurable ammonia in the tank. If I'm wrong and it does start to cycle, you'll start seeing nitrite and then nitrates on your test kit, at which point you'll just want to make sure the nitrites don't get too high.
I keep my bettas in 3 gallon kritter keepers and they really only need a good percentage water change every week, so I can't imagine you'll really need to do a ton of water changes in a 10 gallon. If you ever want to add tank mates, like Corydoras, you'll definitely want to complete a cycle before introducing them.
Now that I think about it, I probably won't be able to even set up the 10 gal until Christmas. We barely have enough substrate for his bowl as it is, so I need to get the supplies *before* I can consider cycling. I'll keep you guys updated, but for the time being he's stuck in his bowl :c He's a WalMart rescue, so he's doing a lot better. He was pale when I got him, but he's purple and blue now :D he'll be fine for a while, at least.