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My fish is currently living in my dorm in a one gallon tank. I graduate from high school on June first. My plan is to upgrade him to a five gallon but I'm going to need some advice.

1. Am I better off just getting a five gallon glass tank or a kit? or does it not matter?

2. Filter wise I was thinking a sponge filter to limit current. Is this a good plan for a tank this size? Suggestions welcome. If I do go sponge filter I just need to get the filter and an air pump, correct?

3. Heater suggestions are also welcome.

4. Five gallons is large enough to cycle, correct? Am I better off leaving him in his one gallon longer or doing a fish in cycle? My plan would be to use pure ammonia, where is the best place to get it? Also, I don't have a established tank so what is the best way to seed the tank? Is it worth getting that bacteria in a bottle? I want to get it cycled as quickly as possible to get Dahli out of his little tank but I don't want to waste money. Also I'll need a test kit. I know strips are bad. What would you say is the best bang for your buck so to speak?

5. Substrate wise. Currently I don't have any in there. I love how easy this is to clean. However, I think putting some in would help with the cycle. Also in case I want to add live plants. What's better gravel or sand. I like the way sand looks more but what's easier to clean. I know that sand needs to get mixed up occasionally. What would you recommend for a beginner?

6. Live plants. I don't really want a huge hassle. The lake I used to swim in had a huge lake weed problem and it was slimey and used to wrap around your feet and just generally freak me out. So I was kind of like no live plants. But looking at pictures I love the natural tank look. Also, my guy is pretty timid and likes to swim by the plastic plants and I think he would love some live plants. I already looked through the easy to care plants but I would like some suggestions. Looking at that thread I love the way the onion plant looks but I'm not sure that's a great choice for me. I was thinking moss balls as those seem easy but what else? I want to provide Dahli with a decent amount of cover.

As a beginner whose never had anything bigger than a one gallon kritter keeper (what Dahli is in now and the three goldfish I won at a carnival when I was eight that I had for three years before I left them in the care of my friend who forgot to feed them while I was away. yes I'm still holding that grudge) Am I better off nixing the live plants? If not what would you recommend and what requirements would these plants need? (lighting, fertilizer, etc.)


7. tank mates? I'm thinking no. If I had a ten gallon maybe but I don't think I'd have room for one. But if I do plant the tank I figured it would be good to maybe have some algae eaters. I love the idea of some of the like tank cleaning fish, but tank size. So snails or shrimp perhaps? I don't want to add a huge bio load because if possibly I'd like to keep down the number of water changes.

I know this is really long but I want to be well prepared. It's like two months until anything is going to happen but I want to be prepared going in. I've been stalking this forum since I got Dahli a few weeks ago. Like spending four hours a day checking it. Any tips or suggestions on things not listed are loved.

Basically, tell me all your secrets.
 

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Woah there that's a lot of questions, I'll try my best to answer them!

1) Really depends, calculate the cost yourself, getting a five gallon itself you'll need a filter, a hood/lid, lights for the hood etc. But with the kit you'll get little goodies, personally I'd get the kit but it's up to you. Really I got a 10 gallon kit, I changed the bulbs and the upgraded the filter. Where as just getting just the tank you can choose the filter you want, and get the lights you want, etc.

2) I do not know much about sponge filters but I'd get a three stage filter, with the whole biological, chemical and mechanical thing. Because sponge filters are mechanical filters I believe.

3) 50w Elite Submersible Pre-Set heater. I love the Elite brand heaters. Grab a thermometer too!

4) I would say do a fish-less cycle with pure ammonia if he's fine in the 1g bowl I wouldn't move him and do a fish-in cycle. Bacteria in a bottle scheme, they don't work, don't waste your money on them. Have a friend with a healthy established tank? Grab their filter media, or some of their substrate or tank water. That's the fastest way to seed your tank and quicken your cycling process. Also get a liquid testing kit those work the best, ammonia, nitrIte, and nitrAtes is a must.

5) Gravel or sand either is fine. If you want shrimps as tank mates I reccomend fine grain gravel or sand. If you're more plant orientated try NPT, 2 ~ 3 inches of organic potting soil and one inch of sand on top, helps plants grow like mad.

6) Easy live plants are: Hornwort, Camboda, Anarchis, Java Fern, Anubias, uh any type of moss, and marimo moss balls. If he likes hiding spots give him like a mug or cup to hide in, a little cave something like that. Live plants can be quite easy, pick up some 6500k bulbs best bulbs for plant growth. Also get either liquid fertilizers or root tabs, or both.

7) Shrimps or snails! Either one, I suggest a Nerite snail, or some shrimps. Ghost shrimps are inexpensive and disposable, they're good bottom feeders and a cleanup crew. Snails eat some types of algae, you need some algae wafers for them. Either one is fine, I like shrimps more.

Hope that helps.
 

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1. Am I better off just getting a five gallon glass tank or a kit? or does it not matter? I personally prefer glass, but the kits are fine. Plenty of people here use them. Glass just seem safer with heaters but you can get heaters for plastic tanks.

2. Filter wise I was thinking a sponge filter to limit current. Is this a good plan for a tank this size? Suggestions welcome. If I do go sponge filter I just need to get the filter and an air pump, correct? Sponge filters are perfect! I have one in my my 6.5g and it does the job. I have the hagen stingray 5. Usually you won't need an air pump.

3. Heater suggestions are also welcome.

4. Five gallons is large enough to cycle, correct? Yep! Am I better off leaving him in his one gallon longer or doing a fish in cycle? If you're happy to keep him in there for an aditional 4-6 weeks then he'll be fine staying in his 1gal plus it will safe on the stress of ammonia and nitrite spikes. My plan would be to use pure ammonia, where is the best place to get it? I think you can find it in most home depots or similar. Also, I don't have a established tank so what is the best way to seed the tank? Is there anyone who can donate you some? Is it worth getting that bacteria in a bottle? I use it in addition to seeding media but I don't think it really makes that much of a difference. I want to get it cycled as quickly as possible to get Dahli out of his little tank but I don't want to waste money. Also I'll need a test kit. I know strips are bad. What would you say is the best bang for your buck so to speak? You can pick up kits that test for everything for about £20 here, or you can take water samples to most fish stores and they will test for free!

5. Substrate wise. Currently I don't have any in there. I love how easy this is to clean. However, I think putting some in would help with the cycle. Also in case I want to add live plants. What's better gravel or sand. I like the way sand looks more but what's easier to clean. I know that sand needs to get mixed up occasionally. What would you recommend for a beginner? Aquatic sand is expensive but better for the "natural look" but regular gravel from a pet store is fine. Just make sure you rinse any substrate thoroughly before putting it in your tank. Some people do like the bare bottom look.

6. Live plants. I don't really want a huge hassle. The lake I used to swim in had a huge lake weed problem and it was slimey and used to wrap around your feet and just generally freak me out. So I was kind of like no live plants. But looking at pictures I love the natural tank look. Also, my guy is pretty timid and likes to swim by the plastic plants and I think he would love some live plants. I already looked through the easy to care plants but I would like some suggestions. Looking at that thread I love the way the onion plant looks but I'm not sure that's a great choice for me. I was thinking moss balls as those seem easy but what else? I want to provide Dahli with a decent amount of cover. I like Anacharis, its really easy and grows quickly and doesn't require much care at all, just a trim once a week. I used fertiliser once. Didn't make a hell of a lot of difference. Moss balls are perfect! Bettas love em!

As a beginner whose never had anything bigger than a one gallon kritter keeper (what Dahli is in now and the three goldfish I won at a carnival when I was eight that I had for three years before I left them in the care of my friend who forgot to feed them while I was away. yes I'm still holding that grudge) Am I better off nixing the live plants? If not what would you recommend and what requirements would these plants need? (lighting, fertilizer, etc.)


7. tank mates? I'm thinking no. If I had a ten gallon maybe but I don't think I'd have room for one. But if I do plant the tank I figured it would be good to maybe have some algae eaters. I love the idea of some of the like tank cleaning fish, but tank size. So snails or shrimp perhaps? I don't want to add a huge bio load because if possibly I'd like to keep down the number of water changes. Shrimp are what I am planning on having with my Ky. They have a fairly low bio load so won't make a lot of difference and they really are excellent little cleaners and will eat waste food, plant matter and algae. Red cherry are very cute and I love Ghost shrimp.

Hope I helped :)
 

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You've been given great advice by Micho and Sheldon. I just wanted to say something that is potentially irrelevant - stop holding the grudge about the goldfish. :p They wouldn't have lived long in your one gallon anyway, and to keep them healthy you'd have needed a 360+ gallon tank with an amazing filter.
 

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Yeah, I can't really add much either, hahaha.
I do have to warn you that some of the cheaper gravels in the pet store can cause spikes in pH, so sand may be a better option for you :)
 

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Just want to add something I forgot. Shrimp are risky because they get eaten! But if you do have live plants make sure you have plenty and possibly some leaf litter, ial and oak leaves etc for cover for the shrimp. :)
 

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2. Sponge filters are perfect! I have one in my my 6.5g and it does the job. I have the hagen stingray 5. Usually you won't need an air pump.
I also like sponge filters! Very good and they don't disturb the water as much.

Though, you will need an air pump. Otherwise there is no flow, just a sponge sitting in a tank. :p

I also suggest using an airstone with it. Just a cheap one will do. It makes the bubbles smaller, so you can have more flow with less surface disturbance. The airstone will go inside the sponge filter itself. Feel free to ask me if you want more on this. I had to google it myself before I got it right. ;)
 

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I think you've already been given a lot of good advice :)

I'll just say that the whole live vs. fake plant thing is really up to the individual. One thing for sure is that if you go with fake, use silk over plastic as it is much easier on the fins. For a beginner, I'd probably say to try just getting your tank up and established without the live plants at first, simply because they introduce a whole new level of complication to the mix. Although I've never had them, I've heard that moss balls are pretty much the simplest plant to grow if you do want to go with something live to see how you like it.

As for cycling, if it is reasonably warm in his bowl I would leave him there and do a fishless cycle. The ammonia levels generated by a cycling tank can really do a number on your fish.

Good luck and post some pics when you're done! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow guys, thanks for all the help. I want to get this set up asap. Unfortunately there is no way I could hide a five gallon in my room. Tomorrow I think I'm going to venture down town to a fish store I read about and look into getting some stuff. I really appreciate all the help.
 
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