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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a betta i got him today and i just got him into his new tank. It the aqueon 2.5 mini bow. it has a filter and a heater.

i plan on doing 20-50% water changes once a week. is this okay?

how often (if ever) should i clean the tank, like take out the fish rinse out the gravel and such?

also, i did not cycle my tank, i dont know anything about the nitrogen cycle in a betta tank and the more i read the more confused i get. My understanding is that in a tank less that 5 gallons it is hard to establish a proper cycle. so in a tank smaller than 5 gallons you should just preform water changes more often so the ammonium and nitrate levels dont get to high? am i correct?

I also read you should preform water changes more often the first few weeks until the nitrite (or nitrate? ) levels go down? so should i do mini water changes twice a week for the first 3 or so weeks?

also should i get a mini gravel vacuum thing for when i do 20-50% water changes? how do you use them?

Also any other tips/ advise?

im new to this and want to make sure everything im doing is okay haha.

thanks.
 

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ok. first cycling isn't that hard. You get the API freshwater master test kit. You test the water every single day and when the ammonia or nitrite reading is between .25ppm-.50ppm you do a 50% water change. Eventually beneficial bacteria will grow and you'll notice that both ammonia and nitrite will be zero. This means your tank is cycled. You should also get a bottled bacteria, like Tetra SafeStart to kickstart you cycle. I have the same tank as you (I have 3 of them actually) and all of them hold steady cycles. The cycle goes ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. The bacteria turns the ammonia into nitrite and then into nitrate. Nitrate is much less harmful.

If you aren't planning to cycle your tank you NEED to do one 50% and one 100% water change every week with a 2.5 gallon tank. So the water changes you were planning on doing would not be enough.

If you do cycle your tank then you need to do two 50% water changes every week.

you do not need to do more water changes during the first couple of weeks.

Yes you should get a gravel vac. There are many videos on youtube about how to use them. It depends what brand you get. I recommend one that comes with a ball or something similar to get it started.

When you do 100% water changes, you HAVE to acclimate your fish afterward. This requires you floating his cup in the water until it reaches the same temperature as the tank water. Then every 10 minutes remove some of the water from the cup and replace it with tank water. Do this for 30-45 minutes. Then use a net to remove him from the cup and release him into the tank. If you do not have a net then dump as much of the water out of the cup as you can and release him into the tank that way.

You should be cleaning the tank once a week. If you cycle it the you use the gravel vac to clean the gravel once a week and also take a sponge and wipe down the sides. Get a new sponge and ONLY use it for cleaning tanks and never wash it with soap.
 

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http://www.petsmart.com/fish/aquarium-maintenance/top-fin-aquarium-gravel-vacuum-zid36-16747/cat-36-catid-300018?var_id=36-16747&_t=pfm%3Dcategory

This is the gravel siphon I like. You only need the small one and its pretty cheap. And I love the pump. I hate trying to suck on the end to start it and its so much easier to squeeze the pump to start it compared to the shaking self start ones (especially in a smaller tank with a curious betta).

They are pretty self explanatory. Put it together, get yourself a bucket with a handle, littler end in the bucket, bigger end in the tank. Give the pump a couple of squeezes until the water starts flowing. Then you just move it around in the gravel so it picks up any waste.

Im not sure how strong the mini bow filters are. How is the flow on it? And do you know how to make a filter baffle if it is too strong?
 

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the Minibow filter (if you're talking Aqueon) is pretty strong. Which is the reason my tanks aren't filtered. But I have the same size tank and what you want to do with a unfiltered 2.5g is a 100% a week and a 50% a week. I do more than that just because I'm paranoid, I do a 100% a week and two 50% changes each week as well
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ok. first cycling isn't that hard. You get the API freshwater master test kit. You test the water every single day and when the ammonia or nitrite reading is between .25ppm-.50ppm you do a 50% water change. Eventually beneficial bacteria will grow and you'll notice that both ammonia and nitrite will be zero. This means your tank is cycled. You should also get a bottled bacteria, like Tetra SafeStart to kickstart you cycle. I have the same tank as you (I have 3 of them actually) and all of them hold steady cycles. The cycle goes ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. The bacteria turns the ammonia into nitrite and then into nitrate. Nitrate is much less harmful.

If you aren't planning to cycle your tank you NEED to do one 50% and one 100% water change every week with a 2.5 gallon tank. So the water changes you were planning on doing would not be enough.

If you do cycle your tank then you need to do two 50% water changes every week.

you do not need to do more water changes during the first couple of weeks.

Yes you should get a gravel vac. There are many videos on youtube about how to use them. It depends what brand you get. I recommend one that comes with a ball or something similar to get it started.

When you do 100% water changes, you HAVE to acclimate your fish afterward. This requires you floating his cup in the water until it reaches the same temperature as the tank water. Then every 10 minutes remove some of the water from the cup and replace it with tank water. Do this for 30-45 minutes. Then use a net to remove him from the cup and release him into the tank. If you do not have a net then dump as much of the water out of the cup as you can and release him into the tank that way.

You should be cleaning the tank once a week. If you cycle it the you use the gravel vac to clean the gravel once a week and also take a sponge and wipe down the sides. Get a new sponge and ONLY use it for cleaning tanks and never wash it with soap.
ok thanks! the information i get on the internet is all so different, every site says something different. do you know of a cheaper kit i can get? the kit cost only a few dollars less than the tank... , ive already spent a lot aha, but if i need it i will buy it. so the tank will pretty much cycle itself? so if i cycle my tank then i never would do a 100% water change? i would just do 50% changes and use the gravel vacuum?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
http://www.petsmart.com/fish/aquarium-maintenance/top-fin-aquarium-gravel-vacuum-zid36-16747/cat-36-catid-300018?var_id=36-16747&_t=pfm%3Dcategory

This is the gravel siphon I like. You only need the small one and its pretty cheap. And I love the pump. I hate trying to suck on the end to start it and its so much easier to squeeze the pump to start it compared to the shaking self start ones (especially in a smaller tank with a curious betta).

They are pretty self explanatory. Put it together, get yourself a bucket with a handle, littler end in the bucket, bigger end in the tank. Give the pump a couple of squeezes until the water starts flowing. Then you just move it around in the gravel so it picks up any waste.

Im not sure how strong the mini bow filters are. How is the flow on it? And do you know how to make a filter baffle if it is too strong?
The filter does not seem too strong, if cosmo swims up by the current he gets pushed back but if he is anywhere else in the tank it doesn't seem to bother him.. im not too sure haha im still pretty new at this, he's only been in his tank for about 4 hours. it might be a good idea to slow down the filter a bit so it doesn't push him around if he swims up.

no im not sure how to make a filter baffle.?
 

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The filter on that tank is strong. Just get some sponge (Not from a kitchen or bathroom sponge, I've used the stuff inside a new jewelry gift box before), and wrap that over the output of the filter, and rubber band it on. That's what I used to baffle the filter in my minibow before I switched out the filter (I wanted less light blocked because I use live plants, but if you don't the filter IS totally fine)

The testing kit is expensive. It's not 100% necessary to have to cycle the tank, but it does help you know where you are at and when you are done. If you can't afford it right now, just keep up the water changes to 2 50% changes a week. This is what I did when I cycled my minibow. (I had the kit, but i discovered 1 betta produces enough ammonia in the minibow to require 2 50% changes)
Keep up the water changes and it will eventually cycle itself. Without the kit though, there is no way to test this other than running some water to the pet store and have them check it and tell you precisely what the numbers are.
What kind of tail does cosmo have? is that him in your avatar pic? If so, he is a beautiful boy, but he has a LOT of fins and I can guarantee that the minibow filter is going to stress him a bit. You are definitely going to need the sponge over the outflow.
 

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Not sure the best baffle for that tank but im sure Vivian or BettaStarter could help with that one.

Liquid Test Kits are expensive but they last forever. I'm finally running out of a couple of the liquids but i've fully cycled one tank and am working on a second and i've had my kit about a year. And thats pretty good considering I test every day while cycling and do 1-2 weekly tests on the cycled tank.

I dont really use the pH tests much to be honest. I mostly do just ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. You can find some of those separate at certain stores (its hit or miss in the stores around me. I think my petco only had ammonia. but the lfs nearby had all of them) but they arent the cheapest either. Not sure how much the master test kit is around you but maybe if you can't afford the whole kit you could buy at least those 3 separate depending on price.

They would look like this in the store as separate boxes:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+4345+13524&pcatid=13524

Though in the long run its probably easier(and cheaper once you add up all the tests) to just get the whole kit and have all the tests on hand if you need them.


I've only done a 100% water change once since my tank cycled and that was when I thought something harmful got into my tank. Otherwise I just do percent changes on my tanks.
 

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The filter on that tank is strong. Just get some sponge (Not from a kitchen or bathroom sponge, I've used the stuff inside a new jewelry gift box before), and wrap that over the output of the filter, and rubber band it on. That's what I used to baffle the filter in my minibow before I switched out the filter (I wanted less light blocked because I use live plants, but if you don't the filter IS totally fine)

The testing kit is expensive. It's not 100% necessary to have to cycle the tank, but it does help you know where you are at and when you are done. If you can't afford it right now, just keep up the water changes to 2 50% changes a week. This is what I did when I cycled my minibow. (I had the kit, but i discovered 1 betta produces enough ammonia in the minibow to require 2 50% changes)
Keep up the water changes and it will eventually cycle itself. Without the kit though, there is no way to test this other than running some water to the pet store and have them check it and tell you precisely what the numbers are.
What kind of tail does cosmo have? is that him in your avatar pic? If so, he is a beautiful boy, but he has a LOT of fins and I can guarantee that the minibow filter is going to stress him a bit. You are definitely going to need the sponge over the outflow.
Not sure I would trust the pet store tests. The petco near me only uses the strip tests. I used the same exact ones before I got a test kit and they were off by quite a bit. Unless the pet stores by you do actual tests.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Okay! thank you! and yes thats him in my profile !

and i think the filter might be a bit strong for him because he seems to always sit under it or behind it. :/ ill try to find something to baffle the filter today, but he seems to being alright.

and thanks ill do 2 50% water changes a week and just bring the water down to the petstore in a few weeks to see if the tank is cycled!

until i can find something to baffle the filter, should i unplug the filter or just leave it on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thank you! ! the individual tests are a bit cheaper , maybe ill see if i can find them at petsmart, although im not sure when ill have time to run down to the store again aha! hopefully within the next week
 
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