In the smaller tanks I have found the stir and dip method to work better-but they do sell small vacuums or hydrocleaners...google for some pic.....
Since you are new to the hobby.....I would recommend that you get a cleaning bucket-I use an old 1gal plastic ice cream bucket-but you can buy small buckets too....label the bucket and all the fish supplies.."Fish only" and only use on the aquarium.....you need a bucket, net, chopstick or wooden spoon, dechlorinator, small plastic cup, vacuum (optional)....and keep all of this in the bucket to keep organized...seems like I am forgetting something...lol....I am sure other will chime in on what they like to use too(lots of ways to do this-its finding what works best for you and what you have on hand)...also, if you bought the Betta in one of those small temporary cups with a lid...keep this...it is great to have on hand if you ever need a QT or if you need to make 100% water changes or for traveling.....
To do the stir and dip method-without live plants:
*Wash hands before and after working on the tank
*Unplug both the heater and filter
*Using the chopsticks or wooden spoon-give the gravel a slight stir to bring the mulm/debris up into the water column and dip half the water out of the tank-careful not to injure the Betta
*If needed-remove the filter media and give it a swish/rinse in the bucket of dirty tank water to remove large pieces of gunk-you want the filter media to look dirty-this is good bacteria
*Re-fill the tank with like temp dechlorinated water-be sure and let the water run at the tap for a second to clear the lines-adjust the temp and check with a thermometer to equalize temp to match the tank water temp
*Dose the dechlorinator for the full volume of the tank-even with the partial water changes
*Prime the filter and plug it back in-the water should clear within an hour-if not-you are either over feeding or missed a water change at one point.
*Plug the heater back in and monitor the temp for an hour
*Wipe off the outside of the tank with a dry paper towel
Enjoy....and welcome to the wonderful world of Betta keeping.....its a great hobby to be a part of......
Last edited by Oldfishlady; 11-28-2011 at 04:04 PM.