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I "rescued" a male crown tail last Friday, 8/15. I have him all set up and cozy in a 5.5g heated tank. It is unfiltered, he has no tank mates and he seems to be doing well. I recently ordered a Whisper 10i filter that should be arriving in a day or two. I won't be installing it right away. My question is: how would you go about adding a filter to a tank that a fish is already living in? I don't want to kill him. I know that you are supposed to cycle a tank before you ever get any fish, but he wasn't planned, I got him because he wasn't doing well in his cup in comparison with the other bettas (which is saying something, they never do well in those cups) but he seems to be doing a lot better. If I need to, I will buy another tank of the same size or maybe slightly larger and cycle it, and later move him into that tank. But I would really prefer to put it into this one, so if anyone can help me out that would be great.
Another question: If he doesn't seem to be doing well with the current, is it safe to remove the already established filter?
 

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I used that same filter on a 5 gallon once and the current was way, way too much for my betta. I even bought a sponge filter to place over the intake and packed the filter with various types of media to dampen the flow- no luck. In the end, I ended up going with a simple sponge filter which is quite cheap on Amazon and does its job well.

As for cycling: If you have another tank in the house, just take some filter media from the other tank and add it to the 5 gallon. LFS would probably sell you some in a pinch, so there's always that. Last but not least, Tetra makes a product called Tetra SafeStart. This stuff is amazing, able to cycle small tanks literally over night. Most bottled bacteria is a gimmick, but this stuff actually works as advertised.
 

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Just add the filter and put it to the lowest setting, add some sort of QuickStart and do a fish-in cycle (test the water every day and do a 25% water change every time ammonia hits .25ppm)
 
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