2.5 gallon betta tank

kinezumi89

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2.5 gallon planted shrimp tank

I've been dying to buy another betta, but I can't guarantee that the male betta (Admiral Ackbar) currently living in the mostly-empty 55 gallon will behave himself once we add more fish, so I'm guessing he'll have to move back to the 10 gallon soon. I've been looking at small tanks, but having to buy a tank and a filter or a set that comes with both is usually more money than I'm willing to spend. (I don't currently have a job, so I don't have a lot of room for fish finances in my budget).

HOWEVER yesterday I was at PetCo (I've never actually been, mostly because of the horror stories I've heard) and I saw a 2.5 gallon tank with a filter on sale...for $10!! You bet I snatched that right up. I was already planning to buy a few platys for our 55 gallon (who are currently quarantining as in the 10 gallon) and I didn't want to hassle with too many fish. (We live in Chicago, but do our fish shopping in the suburbs.) Also, the PetCo bettas, while not horrifying, none really called to me, so I wanted to wait until I found the most awesomest betta ever. (Also we had to set up the 10 gallon again, move the platys in, and do a water change on the 55 gallon, so that would be a lot of fish-tank-setting-up if I did the 2.5 gallon tank too.)

Plus, there's this guy I saw at a PetSmart and I reallyyy want to get him. Unfortunately I doubt he'll still be there by Tuesday when I go back (saw him on Friday night), especially since he was sitting right in the front. I can hope, though...
 

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kinezumi89

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Here's a quick picture, though the tank is a little empty at the moment! There's also a "moonlight" setting, which is kind of fun.
 

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kinezumi89

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I'm still not sure why it was on clearance. Couldn't sell, I guess? Works for me!
 

Donnerjay

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Guess what? I was at PetCo today, and guess what I found for $9.98? SCORE! arty0049:

Yep, I got the same 2.5 gallon you have. And I picked up a pack of the filters (since the guy said they would probably discontinue those also) for $3.99.

I might set it up tonight as a QT tank for some swordtails that I'm hoping to get tomorrow! ;D
 
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kinezumi89

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Ooh I'll have to get some filters when I'm out tomorrow then. Mine's already set up on my desk, waiting for a betta to call it home
 

soltarianknight

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The tank needs more cover, a cave and som top cover, its too expsosed. Also heater of course. As far as cycling, which are you doing? A cycle in a 2.5 is not reccomended to much, they are unstable and tend to crash with the slightest of ease, I mean slightest. Theres also the 100% clean out twice a week option, reccomended.
 
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kinezumi89

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It already has a heater. I have a little cave, I can move it over but I wanted to make sure there was plenty of space to swim around since it's only 2.5 gallons. I wasn't going to do anything to cycle since it's so small, just do very frequent water changes.
 

soltarianknight

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Then remove the filter, or take out the media. It will initiate the cycle. You don't want that happening. As far as frequency goes you should only need 2-3 100% clean outs a week.
 

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soltarianknight said:
Then remove the filter, or take out the media. It will initiate the cycle. You don't want that happening. As far as frequency goes you should only need 2-3 100% clean outs a week.
Say again? ???

Are you saying to have NO filtration in the 2.5? Clarify please!!
 

soltarianknight

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Yes. if the tank isn't being cycled, NO filtration. That's how it works. The filters ONLY purpose is to provide a surface for bacteria to grow and to funnel water into that bacteria for the nitrogen cycle. If you are changing the water out the ammonia doesn't have a chance to build to anything readable.
 

Lucy

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Personally, I'd go ahead and get it cycled first and do weekly changes.
Of course there is more than one way of handling a small tank.
 

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soltarianknight said:
Yes. if the tank isn't being cycled, NO filtration. That's how it works. The filters ONLY purpose is to provide a surface for bacteria to grow and to funnel water into that bacteria for the nitrogen cycle. If you are changing the water out the ammonia doesn't have a chance to build to anything readable.
I would also add that to some degree, filters also pick up smaller particles and debris that run around tanks. Now this obviously isn't true of all filters, especially tiny ones, and with large chunks the best method is gravel vacuuming. Filters also provide surface agitation to keep the lovely scum off the surface. Yeah, that stuff is the bane of my existence at the moment. Especially in a dead zone of the unfiltered half of my ten gal.


Sent from my iPod touch using Tapatalk
 
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kinezumi89

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Huh. Well isn't this confusing. I, too, like the filter for picking up chunks and agitating the surface of the water, but I was planning on doing frequent water changes.

If I did want to cycle the tank, how would I do it besides TSS? (It's a little to pricey for my tastes.) Are there any small fish I could use to cycle it, then possibly add them to the 55 gallon? I'm not sure what would be capable of thriving in such a small tank. I'd suggest a few tetras, but I know they're not very hardy.

If I decide to not cycle it, is there any way I can filter the water without creating a cycle? Or will bacteria live in any media? At this point it's seeming like it would be easier to just do biweekly water changes, rather than pay $15 for TSS or buy a cycle-fish and then have to incorporate it into the 55 gallon community.
 

soltarianknight

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Just clean off the media every water change and don't put the actual sponge(wirey whit/black thing) in there. Just put in a little pad. That way its just filtering off the crud in the tank, though a bubbler can cause agitation too. Another problem with filters in that small of a tank is that they can cause too heavy a current for the fish.
 
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kinezumi89

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I have small white sponge-type pad things, I can use one of those and just cover the intake vents (since the actual filter is pretty tall). Fortunately the filter causes only a slight ripple on the top of the tank.

Edit: Question, though...what is the difference between using the filter media that is in the filter versus putting a different pad in? I figured the bacteria will cling to any surface, since I know they live in the substrate and on the walls, to a certain extent. What would happen if I left the filter in as is, and also did frequent water changes?
 
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kinezumi89

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Out of curiosity, are there any fish other than bettas that would do well in a 2.5 gallon?
 

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No, 2.5 gallons is too small for any fish, really.

Why can't you divide your 10 gallon tank for the two bettas?
 
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kinezumi89

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Well, the rule of thumb I've read around here is that 2.5 is the minimum volume for bettas. As for dividing the tank, I could but it seems that would be stressful if they're flaring at each other all the time.
 

LyndaB

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Loads of people who keep multiple bettas do so in divided tanks. Your bettas would be much happier with 5 gallons each than 2.5 gallons.

Personally, I never recommend anything less than 5 gallons for a male betta, they need the room to display their finnage.
 
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kinezumi89

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I wish I could have a planted tank! I figure I should tackle one thing at a time, though. How many gallons is that?
 

soltarianknight

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10. And its not reallllly planted, I tossed in java fern and it did that on its own . I JUST installed lights and now I have apontagen and ludwiga in there, but not much.
 
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kinezumi89

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In that case each fish only has 3.33 gallons, which isn't too far off from 2.5...
 

soltarianknight

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Its still more then 2.5 exscuse me. Not to mention its cycled and stable. The diffrence bewteen the room in a 2.5 and a 3.3 divided section is still much bigger. And when it was only in half it was 5gals each.
 
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kinezumi89

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To be honest, I think it's partially a matter of opinion. I've seen plenty of posts on here even with people saying 2.5 is the minimum. If you google "betta minimum tank size" you'll get everything from one liter to 12 gallons. I haven't bought a fish yet (such a sad, empty tank on my desk) and I'm giving it plenty of thought. I would house another fish in there if there was one that would be happy. People have talked about shrimp tanks, but at $10 for a single cherry shrimp, I'm not sure I have the finances to stock a shrimp tank. (Plus I'm not sure about the minimum volume requirements.)
 

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You could easily do a group of red cherry shrimp in there (and if there char gins $10 for RCS they should be shot, usually you can get them at $1 ea or about there). I think a 2.5 would be ok for a beta, yes they always want more room, I forget how large their territory is in the natural environment but it is bigger than a lot of tanks people use.

As for the cycle if you do a search for fish less cycle you will get a few diff ways to cycle the tank without using fish.
 
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kinezumi89

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I'd like to use TSS, but the smallest bottle I can find is for 30 gallons. I'd use a fraction of it, and I'm pretty sure once you open it, it only lasts for so long. I'll look and see if I can order a smaller bottle from somewhere (even for 10 gallons would be better).

I am aware of the "sprinkle food in" and the "sprinkle pure ammonia in" methods, not sure if there are any else.

When discussing a fish's natural territory, I'm not sure anyone can really mimic that If you consider a fish who can swim about most of the Amazon, even and 800 gallon tank pales in comparison.
 

pirahnah3

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There are a few other methods for cycling, i.e. putting a shrimp in a stocking and leaving it in the tank as the ammonia source.

They do make a smaller bottle of TSS but it usually isn't much cheaper than the big bottle. With TSS I have heard of people trying to split it between tanks but on the label it does say to add the whole bottle.

Sol, why can't you ship us shrimp lol
 

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Yeah... lol, no bettas have a territory of around 1 meter in circumfrence generaly, that's wilds, they are much more tame and tolerant, I can imagine our overly aggressive domestics require MUCH more space. also....bettas are from thailand.

I still think its a bad idea to cycle that small, as any pro breeder and they will tell you the same.
 
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kinezumi89

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I was definitely not implying bettas come from the Amazon (I was thinking of cichlids actually, though feel free to say cichlids don't come from South America, haha), I was just using an example. If they're called "Siamese Fighting Fish," I would assume they come from at least somewhere in/near Asia.

That's surprising they don't use much space in the wild, though.

And yes, please do send me some shrimp! I would love to have a bunch of little red shrimp scurrying about the tank, if only it didn't cost an arm and a leg. Ghost shrimp are about $0.33 here.
 

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Shrimp cycling is stinky.

I have heard that placing some flake food in a net/pantyhose bag in the tank facilitates cycling, and the food is corralled in the bag so that facilitates cleanup.
 
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kinezumi89

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I forgot to mention, I have heard of the "toss a chunk of fish or shrimp" in the tank method as well.

I'll have to see how much smaller bottles of TSS are before I make a decision. I've toyed with the idea of getting a hardy fish with which to cycle, but then I would have an extra fish once the tank was ready. Are shrimp hardy enough to cycle a tank? (I've never put them in an uncycled tank before.)
 

pirahnah3

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most likely with such a light bio load your tank would never actually cycle.

Actually looking at that tank, I would take and do it up heavily planted and keep it an unfiltered tank and let it go from there.
 
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kinezumi89

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Hmm I've never actually done a planted tank. Are there any plants that would grow well under LEDs? And you're not implying JUST plants, right? If only I could find affordable cherry shrimp, I think a planted cherry shrimp tank would be fun...
 

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Planted tanks can be very easy or very complex, depends on how you start. LED's are still a bit new in the plant environment and have not been fully proven. That being said I think that you could mess with some easy low light plants and go from there.

Plants also have the added benefit of nitrate uptake thus making tank maint a lot easier.
 

soltarianknight

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Yeah but you won't have much nitrate in a uncycled tank . The issue is as you said, the cycle either doesn't take at all or crashes spotainiously. So you can plant it, don't get me wrong there, fertz are friends. However you just need to clean it out more often, and with a tank of that size, its pretty worth it. Even cycled you'll be doing 60-75% a week to remove the nitrate build up.
 
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kinezumi89

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Once a week is no problem, I was planning to do at least twice a week anyway. So..I'm a bit confused. Plants - yay or nay? I know that there won't really be nitrates since the tank won't be cycled. At that point, would they be more for show rather than helping keep the tank healthy? Also, when you said 60-75% weekly water changes, was that assuming a shrimp tank, or a betta?
 

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Look, if its uncycled you MUST do 100% 2-3 times a week. Parshil will not remove all amonia. If its cycled then yes 60-75% a week. Remember this is a very small volume of water, so their bioload impact on it is much much larger.
 
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kinezumi89

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Well I've decided to do a planted shrimp tank instead, and yesterday I bought the plants and got them all situated. I bought:

2 dwarf sag
1 hornwort
1 banana plant
1 corkscrew val

Aaaaand in the bunch of hornwort, somehow a narrow-leaf anacharis got stuck in! Free plant!

I got Miracle-Gro garden soil, filled the tank roughly 1.5-2" (probably a little more than is necessary, but I didn't want to not put enough). Planted the plants (except the banana plant), covered with about 0.75" of black gravel, and nestled the banana plant in the gravel. I poured water over a plate, but the water still turned all murky. So I turned the filter on, hoping it would catch a lot of the particulate. The first picture is of right after I finished....and the second is from this morning! The filter totally made it worse, I guess by stirring things up, but I wouldn't think it could stir the dirt up that much if it was covered in gravel. I have since turned the filter off, of course, and I'm letting the dirt settle to the bottom.

So I guess I won't be able to have a filter in this tank, ever?

We plan to get some red cherry shrimp, and maybe some ghost shrimp next weekend, after the plants have settled in a bit.

Edit: I suppose I should add the pictures...
 

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I removed the filter, and did a few successive water changes, so the water is much clearer. I noticed a few spots where the dirt somehow poked through, so I'll have to cover that up with more gravel. I've picked out a total of 8 of those snails...does anyone know exactly what kind they are? I hope I got them all, but I don't know how small they are initially; if they're microscopic as babies then I'm sure I didn't get them all...and maybe will need to invest in some assassin snails!

The bunch of hornwort was waaay too big and was totally blocking out the light for the other plants, so I took some sections and put a bit in each tank. Hopefully it will help with the nitrates, though I don't know how much you need for it to make a noticeable difference.

I plan to pick up a half dozen ghost shrimp tomorrow; partially because the algae is already growing after only one day, and also because I'll only be buying 12 RCS, and that doesn't seem like very many shrimp (though I hear they breed prolifically). I emailed a guy who put up an ad in a town near me, so hopefully I can pick them up this weekend.
 

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kinezumi89

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I wish I could put up a few pictures, but unfortunately my internet is out (curse you, AT&T) and might not be on for a week. But I'd just like to say, I love my little shrimpies! They're so adorable, which I didn't think I'd say about crunchy things (generally I don't like crunchy things, or things that make loud bug-type noises). I love watching them flutter around the tank, and I especially love to see them climbing on the plants! I don't know why. But I have tons of shrimp-on-plants pictures :3 I hope to get some more dwarf sag soon so I can make it a bit more lush.

Unfortunately, I'm having ammonia problems. Initially it was because I dropped in a few bits of an algae wafer (don't want them to be hungry!), but it still climbs past 0.25 after only one day. I'm doing water changes, but hopefully things will settle down soon.
 
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kinezumi89

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I did, but it made the water a muddy mess! I made a thread in the plants forum, and there's pictures. I guess some of the dirt poked through the gravel. Maybe put some more down, and put the filter back in? It's all brown, so I know it did something.

But isn't the tank too small to cycle? Also, where is all the ammonia coming from? They're so tiny! Plus, I'm still confused as to how plants make it so I eventually won't have to do water changes, if the tank won't cycle...there wouldn't be nitrates anyway. But I know people have planted bowls and just top the water off.
 

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They do cycle. Size has nothing to do with that. The bacteria will colonize the gravel bed. You have a smaller biolode so you don't need a huge colony. Do you have any Naja, aka guppy grass? Great plant to have! grows fast!
 
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kinezumi89

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Unfortunately they didn't have any, but I did get some hornwort so they'd have a floating plant to hang on. If I happen to win ZeeZ's RAOK contest this time, I think he has Najas grass as a choice
 
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kinezumi89

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I tested the water again today (been doing it everyday) but I decided to do everything rather than just ammonia. I was very surprised to see nitrates! I guess it is cycling.

I did a 75% water change, and while the water was low I put another layer of gravel in, to hopefully prevent any further dirt seepage, and put the filter back in. Looks alright now, but we'll know for sure in the morning, when the water will be either clear or brown.

The plants are growing well; noticeable growth in the corkscrew Val, and the new growth on the free anacharis is denser, which is nice. The dwarf sag and the banana plants look about the same.

Hopefully my shrimpies are happy! I saw one swimming around with a plant stem today and it was pretty adorable.
 

Cichlidnut

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One time I put some seaweed in my tank that has shrimp. One of the shrimp swam up, grabbed a piece and hauled down to the bottom.

Shrimp are pretty great ;D
 

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