Betta Ready?

BettyRocker13

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I was given a 5.5 gal tank years ago and a I finally decided to set it up a couple months ago. I didnt do anything but research for a month because planted tanks had always interested me but I didn't know where to start. After a few trips to PetSmart for price checking, because they are unfortunately the only pet store for miles, I began setting it up in early April. The tank was a some kind of starter kit, so it came with an air pump, filter hood with small LED Strip and thermometer. Long story short, after lots of trial and error here's what I have:

5.5 gal tank
Seachem Flourite substrate
Cascade 20 HOB filter
Tetra HT10 heater
1 Artificial rock hideout

Plants:
Dwarf hair grass
Anubias Nana
Amazon sword
Bucephelandra
Telanthera cardinallis
Twisted Vallisneria

Growing up we always had bettas and after my recent research I'm ashamed of the way we kept them. Knowing what I know now, I'm kind of obsessing over water parameters. We have Very soft well water where I live.

So far I've used:

Tetra aquasafe plus
API leaf Zone
Seachem Equilibrium
Topfin pH increase ( prior to using equilibrium. PetSmart staff said just raise your pH, it mimicks gh increase. Still dont know why I took their advice...)

I have yet to do today's pwc but currently my parameters are:

Temp- 78
pH- 7
Gh- 180ppm
Kh- 60ppm
NO2- .5
NO3- 40

No measurement for ammonia right now because I bought the stupid test strips that don't test for ammonia. But I used some shrimp pellets to start the cycle so I'm sure ammonia is present.

I'd like some opinions on how far away I am from being able to add a betta and what I might need to do to get to that point. Right now I have 2 snails and 2 ghost shrimp, one of which just hatched (or birthed? Idk) some babies yesterday. I do have something over the filter intake so I don't suck them up in there. So far every body in the tank seems happy, just want to make sure I have it right for a betta
 

RainBetta

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You are a great fish owner! You are definitely ready! IMO though it's risky to have GS and a betta. Mine choked on a GS and died.
 

WanhiBetta

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You need to wait before your cycle is completely over before adding the betta. That means no ammonia or nitrite, and less than 40 ppm nitrate. Also, don't mess with the pH, it can be very dangerous, the fish will adapt to your normal pH. Keep putting a little amount of ammonia every day to keep your cycle going!
 

leftswerve

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With such a small tank and a huge plant load, it's going to be difficult to tell when you've cycled without an ammonia test or at the very least, watching your nitrates elevate over time (lots of time), then be removed, then elevate again.
 

Caleb Smith

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In a 5 gallon, I wouldnt add more than a single snail and the shrimp. Also, the Cascade 20 gallon may be too high flow for that size tank and may stress the Betta. Lastly, you will need for the Nitrite to come down before your tank is betta safe. The shrimp pellets may not be a strong/consistent source of Ammonia and I would consider using storebought pure ammonia to add.
 
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BettyRocker13

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I just ordered an API ammonia test kit as the PetSmart near me has been hit or miss with most things so far. I had foolishly purchased the pH increase because my pH was bouncing all over the place and I didn't know why. When I realized what it was I was hoping PetSmart would have equilibrium but they don't stock it. Since adding the equilibrium my pH has stabilized and I haven't touched the pH increase.
 
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BettyRocker13

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Update! I added some crushed coral and have been monitoring the params closely. I also took a chance on a small bottle of top fin readistart nitrifying bacteria starter. Either I got lucky and got some living bacteria in the readistart or my tank just finally cycled itself since setting up on 4/11 because since adding the crushed coral & readistart my levels have stopped bouncing around and everything has stabilized.

My current pH test kit shows that it's leveled/maxed out at 7.6 (high range pH test kit coming in the mail Monday to get an accurate reading)

Heater is holding temp at 78 with 0 fluctuations.

GH test maxes out at 180ppm and has been consistently reading at 180ppm.

KH has stabilized at 60ppm.

Ammonia tests show a steady 0ppm

Nitrite shows a steady 0ppm

Nitrate has stayed at or below 20ppm

So... How about now? Now am I Betta ready?
 
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