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Saphire caught my eye as a BEAUTIFUL halfmoon Betta at the petsore, so I got him right away with water conditioner and food (3 days ago). He is my first fish, and I fell for the low maintenance myth. I got home and did some research so I put him in the largest vessel I could find in my house which is a gallon vase. I overfed him at first, but have learned that just a few pellets are enough. I'm going to the store today and I'm buying a 5 gallon tank with lights filter and real plants. I'm also getting a gravel vacuum so I can do better water changes for him and just do 50% every other day. Should I leave Saphire in his bowl until I can cycle the tank? (which I've never done before so it will probably take me a while.) Or should I move him straight into the tank and do a fish-in cycle? Which is better since I already have Saphire and I want to keep him healthy and happy?
 

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I never cycle my tanks and I have never had a problem. I would buy a 5 gallon tank with a filter and if you don't have a heater already, that would be good. I they like temperatures of 78-80 generally, but make sure it is at least 70 degrees F. Also feed him 3 pellets everyday (skip a day in the week if you want it helps digestion). A really good brand of food is new life spectrum too. Water changes with a gravel vacuum you need to do a 50% water change once a week. Make sure you use water conditioner to make the tap water safe for fish. Good luck :)
 

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I'm currently trying to cycle with fish in. I bought Tetra Safe Start. It seems to be doing well. My ammonia and nitrites are at zero and my nitrates are around 5 or .5? I can't remember what my water test thing shows. Def snag a heater as well. My stubborn boy won't eat new life spectrum but loves Omega One. I think I got it from Petsmart.
 

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Yes, you can leave your betta in the bowl while you cycle, doing plenty of water changes every other day. Fish-out cycle can be safer, but only if the fish is getting plenty of water changes in his current container. Cycling the tank isn't always necessary with bettas, but it's a good idea, and helps prevent fin rot from ammonia build up. While he's in is bowl, you don't actually need a heater then, unless you live in a hot place, where temperature fluctuations are pretty major. You need a heater and a thermometer for is cycled home. That is very important. And filter's aren't needed for success, but if you aren't ready do do the number of water changes that that set-up requires, that it's not a possibility, get a filter. And if it's not to lat, and you haven't gone to the store yet, DON'T GO NEAR THE BETTA TANKS! That is, unless you ant to get another betta against your better judgement. You may think that that's crazy, but that's what everyone here first thought. Now many of us have do do shopping for supplies online, just to avoid temptation.
For food- most betta pellets are okay, just make sure it doesn't have a plant product in the first few ingredients. And if you can, buy some of the betta treats like freeze dried blood worms, or shrimp. Some members here have had problems with those when fed too often, so only buy as a treat. Frozen is generally viewed as safer, but you do have to freeze them, which is a bit of a complication.

Tanks- just get standard 5 gallon if you can, but if you see one of those sets, check how much it would cost if you brought everything on it's one. And often, they don't come with heater. And they do have the disadvantage that if a part like the light breaks down, it's hard or impossible to find a replacement without buying a new kit. Just a warning that I have heard, and passed on.

Plants and decor- Check the dangerous ornaments list for ornaments you shouldn't buy, and for you best bet, buy only silk plants. You can also get a cave, buy make sure that your betta can't get stuck.

Jumping- bettas jump. Make sure that you have a lid in your tank, or your fish could jump out and die. Cling wrap is often used temporarily on smaller tanks, with some holes punched in the provide air.

Good luck! And we need pictures of your betta and set-up!
 

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Saphire caught my eye as a BEAUTIFUL halfmoon Betta at the petsore, so I got him right away with water conditioner and food (3 days ago). He is my first fish, and I fell for the low maintenance myth. I got home and did some research so I put him in the largest vessel I could find in my house which is a gallon vase. I overfed him at first, but have learned that just a few pellets are enough. I'm going to the store today and I'm buying a 5 gallon tank with lights filter and real plants. I'm also getting a gravel vacuum so I can do better water changes for him and just do 50% every other day. Should I leave Saphire in his bowl until I can cycle the tank? (which I've never done before so it will probably take me a while.) Or should I move him straight into the tank and do a fish-in cycle? Which is better since I already have Saphire and I want to keep him healthy and happy?
I'm so happy to hear that you have done your research and are committed to giving Saphire a good home :-D.

A 5 gallon tank is a great size! Here is my suggestion: place Saphire and his new heater in the new 5 gallon tank right away. I'd leave the bottom bare for now, as it will be easier to keep clean while the tank is uncycled. For my uncycled QT tank, I do 2 75% water changes and 1 100% water change weekly, but others do 1 50% and 1 100% weekly with no issue. It depends on your fish and your situation, which brings me to another point: get a good liquid test kit! This is essential to keeping you water quality healthy, and will help you immensely during the cycling process.

Now, notice I said to only put Saphire and the new heater in the 5 gallon, not the filter. This is because you can cycle the filter separately in a food-safe container/bucket (rubbermaid bins work) filled with water and added ammonia. Since beneficial bacteria are adherent (they do not float in the water column) once your bucket cycles you will have enough bacteria in the filter to just transfer the filter to the 5 gallon tank for an instant cycle. This approach is helpful for several reasons:

1) Saphire can enjoy his new tank and heater while his filter cycles, without being exposed to harmful levels of ammonia and nitrite. This is also a LOT less stressful for you, as you can just do regular water changes on the 5 gallon and essentially do nothing with the bucket holding the filter (just add ammonia and wait, testing periodically).

2) You will not have to do as many water changes on the 5 gallon as you would if you left him in the 1 gallon while the tank cycles. This reduces stress - for both of you!

I hope this helps, and have a great time picking out Saphire's new home (I recommend just a regular rectangular tank since they are cheaper and more customizable than any kits) and decorations!
 

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I'm so happy to hear that you have done your research and are committed to giving Saphire a good home :-D.

A 5 gallon tank is a great size! Here is my suggestion: place Saphire and his new heater in the new 5 gallon tank right away. I'd leave the bottom bare for now, as it will be easier to keep clean while the tank is uncycled. For my uncycled QT tank, I do 2 75% water changes and 1 100% water change weekly, but others do 1 50% and 1 100% weekly with no issue. It depends on your fish and your situation, which brings me to another point: get a good liquid test kit! This is essential to keeping you water quality healthy, and will help you immensely during the cycling process.

Now, notice I said to only put Saphire and the new heater in the 5 gallon, not the filter. This is because you can cycle the filter separately in a food-safe container/bucket (rubbermaid bins work) filled with water and added ammonia. Since beneficial bacteria are adherent (they do not float in the water column) once your bucket cycles you will have enough bacteria in the filter to just transfer the filter to the 5 gallon tank for an instant cycle. This approach is helpful for several reasons:

1) Saphire can enjoy his new tank and heater while his filter cycles, without being exposed to harmful levels of ammonia and nitrite. This is also a LOT less stressful for you, as you can just do regular water changes on the 5 gallon and essentially do nothing with the bucket holding the filter (just add ammonia and wait, testing periodically).

2) You will not have to do as many water changes on the 5 gallon as you would if you left him in the 1 gallon while the tank cycles. This reduces stress - for both of you!

I hope this helps, and have a great time picking out Saphire's new home (I recommend just a regular rectangular tank since they are cheaper and more customizable than any kits) and decorations!

+1 to all of this. Get him out of the gallon vase immediately. Especially since bettas need a heater. A heater is more important than a filter in my opinion. Heater is required, a filter is very highly recommended.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thank you all for the great advice!

Kim or VivianKJean, I found a small heater designed for bowls that I will use for Saphire's vase until I get the tank cycled. Would that keep him happy in the bowl? Since I'm planning on adding live plants, would the bucket trick still work to cycle the filter? or do I need to cycle the tank with the plants before adding fish?

Also, I love neon tetras, and learned that they can be goo tank mates for betta, so I think I'm gonna get a 10g tank instead. Which fish should I add to the tank first? Saphire (my male betta) or a school of tetras?

I'm so glad I found this forum. Without it Saphire would have been super unhappy since I just went off what the petstore people told me at first.
 

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I would move your betta to the new tank ASAP though. Did you get a thermometer for the bowl? that is the only way to see if the heater is working properly. Personally, I dislike the heaters designed for bowls because they are preset and you cannot control the temperature.

Personally, I think you should do a fish-in cycle. I did it will ALL of my fish and had zero problems. this way you can get your betta out of that small bowl sooner. You can add live plants for a fish-in cycle and cycle with them in.

You should add the betta first since some bettas cannot have tank mates period. it depends on your bettas personality.
 

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I'm with Vivian. I would do a fish in cycle. I did it with my boy in my 5.5, girl in 3 and just added 2 boys in my divided 10gal which is going to be a fish in cycle. They are all healthy and enjoying their heated/filtered/planted tanks. I do partial water changes every week. My fish are happy and healthy.
 

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Thank you all for the great advice!

Kim or VivianKJean, I found a small heater designed for bowls that I will use for Saphire's vase until I get the tank cycled. Would that keep him happy in the bowl? Since I'm planning on adding live plants, would the bucket trick still work to cycle the filter? or do I need to cycle the tank with the plants before adding fish?

Also, I love neon tetras, and learned that they can be goo tank mates for betta, so I think I'm gonna get a 10g tank instead. Which fish should I add to the tank first? Saphire (my male betta) or a school of tetras?

I'm so glad I found this forum. Without it Saphire would have been super unhappy since I just went off what the petstore people told me at first.
Well, if you are getting a 10 gallon anyway, you could just keep him in the heated, uncycled 5 gallon, set up the 10 gallon with your plants and filter and do a fishless cycle, then add the betta once the cycle completes.

If for some reason this isn't possible, you can still use the bucket trick and just wait to plant the tank until after the cycle is complete - this won't affect your cycle at all (and the only reason that I recommend waiting is because if you want to keep the 5 gallon nice and clean while the filter cycles on the bucket, it will be much easier without substrate and planted plants). I'm not really a proponent of fish-in cycles because I just can't deal with my fish being exposed to ammonia, so to keep my own sanity, I go fishless!
 

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cycling is good for your fish because it allows beneficial bacteria to grow, which turns ammonia into nitrite into nitrate (which is less harmful for your fish).
 

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Bettas can easily survive a cycle if you just do decent water changes. I've had one poor betta who has been through 3 different cycles in 6 months! He's a trooper, but he's still with us and still quite healthy. I've found fish-in-cycling to be far less stressful on myself, and as long ammonia is kept low (and nitrites and nitrates later on) the fish seem none the worse for the wear.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the advice everyone! I'm working to get my tank set up before the weekend and I will post some pics once its set-up.

Should I let it run for 24hrs before transferring Saphire to his new home? I will also test the water and do a 50% water change before moving him over if I need to, unless that will mess with the cycle.

-MrsS
 

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is, unless you ant to get another betta against your better judgement. You may think that that's crazy, but that's what everyone here first thought. Now many of us have do do shopping for supplies online, just to avoid temptation.


LOLOL Pippin. Maybe you don't know about Aquabid? Online? There's MAJOR betta temptation there. You don't have to go to a store! hehe
Ask my twelve boys who all came from there. Wait....13 boys....just found a beautiful green MG there.
 

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I'm with Kim on this one for cycling. I just cycled my 10g in 12 days with some ammonia and Tetra SafeStart and did nothing but test four times (tested an extra time because I accidentally overdosed the ammonia). Didn't even bother with the heater in the tank, it stayed between 75 and 79 degrees.

Didn't have to worry about water changes for ammonia or nitrite spikes, just sat back and watched the bacteria roll in.
 

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I'm with Kim on this one for cycling. I just cycled my 10g in 12 days with some ammonia and Tetra SafeStart and did nothing but test four times (tested an extra time because I accidentally overdosed the ammonia). Didn't even bother with the heater in the tank, it stayed between 75 and 79 degrees.

Didn't have to worry about water changes for ammonia or nitrite spikes, just sat back and watched the bacteria roll in.
Exactly - it's completely effortless ;-).
 

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Be careful about the tetras...some types are fin nippers, and wouldn't be good with a betta. Our first betta (won at a wedding) we did put in our 30 gallon tank with platties. He did great in there, no problems.
 

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Be careful about the tetras...some types are fin nippers, and wouldn't be good with a betta. Our first betta (won at a wedding) we did put in our 30 gallon tank with platties. He did great in there, no problems.
They weren't talking about fish. They were talking about Tetra SafeStart which is a bottled bacteria used for kick starting cycles.
 
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