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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys! :)
This is going to seem like a really long post but I would so so appreciate any advice and I promise I'll try to keep it brief(ish)!

So I was recently given two Betta fish by surprise, one male and one (small) female. I've always been really interested in Bettas but unsure of how I feel about supporting the conditions they are kept in at the petstore by purchasing one. Anyway, while I already love them, I was really not prepared for them and I was reading that keeping them together could be very stressful. So, I bought two tanks but am only able to have one 5 gallon(m) and one 2.6 gallon(f) (for dorm regulation reasons); they are both filtered and heated but I didn't have time to cycle them since I set everything up in a bit of a panic. I currently feed them freeze dried bloodworms and pellets.

My first question is about the 2.6 gallon tank - I have been reading online that 5 gallons is the general minimum, and while I wish I could provide this or more for both of them, I'm really not able to and am looking for any advice on a solution. I think giving her back to the pet store, she would be worse off and I've grown a bit attached so hopefully the solution can mean keeping her, but I'm open to whatever would be best for both fish.

I was also wondering about cycling. I've been reading a lot and while I have a basic understanding, I'm a little unsure of whether it is possible or even recommended in a 2.6 g tank, and while I've read that a 5 g tank can be cycled and stable, both fish are already in their respective tanks so is it too late to cycle fish-in-tank without possibly harming them? And if I end up not cycling (or either way really), how often should I do XX% water changes?

Finally, there seems to be a very slight amount of yellow algae(?) on a decorative piece in the 5 g tank. For about two days, all of the water was a strange yellow tint so I lowered the amount of time I left on the light and it just completely cleared. I'm so confused! I bought test strips but matching the colors feels a bit unreliable so I just want to make sure the water quality is healthy.

If you've made it this far, I truly appreciate it; any suggestions on anything are welcome. Just a note though - reading online, I've found that Betta forums can have a lot of passionate carers and while I am completely in sync with this sentiment, there are some things I just won't be able to provide for them right now (mainly a bigger tank) so while I welcome any criticism that would be helpful to the bettas, please keep in mind I'm trying to do the best I can!

Thanks!!
 

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Welcome to the forum, and congrats on your new little friends. I think the one thing you'll find in common for all fish is that they require clean warm water and you've got set ups that will allow your fish exactly that. A well cared for 2.5 gallon can be a great home for a betta (I have one in a similar set up who is plenty active). You just have to be aware that the 2.5 will require a bit more attention to water quality than the 5 gallon, as toxins concentrate more quickly in smaller water quantities.

For a filtered 2.5 you'll probably want to do 2 50% water changes weekly, for the 5 gallon you could go with just a once weekly 50% cleaning. You have test strips so I'd go ahead and test the tanks every few days at first and change water any time ammonia shows at .25. If you don't have Prime its a relatively cheap conditioner that can bind to ammonia and keep it from harming for fish for about 24 hours.

For cycling I'd suggest Stability by Seachem. It's biological bacteria in a bottle. Cycling can take more than a month, but it had my 5 gallon cycled in 2 weeks. There are other additives as well so do a little research, but it really took the stress out of cycling for me, and its not very expensive. Some people have cycled 2.5 gallon tanks, other's haven't you'll get different opinions on it, but it's good to try. You'll have the best chance with a sponge filter and live plants as that increases the surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow. Plants also help maintain water quality with the added bonus of being fun betta hide outs.

As far as the ornament, I'd give it a week or so before you worry too much. New tanks go through an odd beginner phase where you'll see blooms of different things that live in your water and are utilizing the new food source provided by fish. Generally they go away on their own. I'd just rinse it under hot water a few times and give it a good scrub.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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+1 ^^

You can do a "fish-in" cycle. I image 90% of the people on this forum cycle that way. Here is a tutorial that will help make life easier:

http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=555434

As far as "minimum" tank size? That's just a matter of opinion. There's no research I can find that supports any "minimum" premise. A 2.5 is fine as Fin Fancier notes. As long as fish are kept in clean, warm water that's the most important thing we can do for them.

Once cycled, both my 2.5 and 5.5 tanks required no more than one 25% water change per week to maintain parameters.

Welcome to the Forum! :wave:
 

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Hey! Welcome to the addictive world of Bettas!

2.6 gallons is a good size for bettas, I have 5 of my 8 boys in 2.5 gallon tanks, soon to be 7 (as I'm dividing my 5 gallon in a month). With a proper water change schedule the fish should be fine in the 2.5g tank. It is recommended that you cycle the tanks, but if you are religious about doing the necessary water changes then you can get away without. I don't personally cycle my tanks I just do the required water changes every week (mainly because of the time frames in which the fish are in the tank straight, as they move to the dorms with me as well).

By all means though, if you want to cycle, cycle, it's better for the fish. I'm actually debating trying to cycle my 5 gallon. I just have to wait until I get to school as one of my roommates has a master kit that I can borrow once I hit the nitrite stage (I have the ammonia test kit already). And that is if i have enough outlets to keep the filter in the tank.

As Fin Fancier said, with any new tank you'll have a phase where things will pop up. I had phases in each tank where this weird slimy film stuff would accumulate on the decorations. And right now I'm going through an algae bloom in most of my tanks that I'm waging war against.
 

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You're doing great with your fish! Doing research and asking questions is a great way to do the best you can for them. Everyone else has already given the advice I have, so I'll leave it at that.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you guys so much for all of the help and information, I didn't expect so many replies! Really appreciate it :) I am now trying to cycle the 5 gallon but I am holding off on cycling the 2.6 until I know more. Also, the yellow algae is gone and has not come back, thankfully!
 

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Welcome to the forum!:wave:

As Russell said, it is a matter of opinion, most opinions will tell you that 2.5 is the minimum. Hope you have a great fish experience!!!
Yeah, I would get some bacteria in a bottle product, such as: Tetra Safe Start, Nutrafin Cycle, Seachem stability, MarineLand Bacteria... It is not the perfect solution, but will make the process go a bit faster.
 

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We'd love to see some pictures of your bettas! Just a suggestion so you don't make the same mistake I did. If you are going with artificial plants , buy the silk plants right from the beginning. We started with cheaper, plastic plants which ended up ripping the fish's fins. We had to go out and buy new plants and get rid of the others. Twice the cost and twice the headache! Of course, if you are going with real plants, you can just ignore what I've just written...
 
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