First time cycling, help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by bettaaddict14, Jul 3, 2016.

  1. bettaaddict14New MemberMember

    I had a betta tank a few years back, and since I was even more new to the world of tanks than I am now, I stuck with an unplanted tank with gravel and bought decor. After he passed, I helped a friend with her established planted betta tank for several months. I feel ready to dive back in, but this will be my first time cycling a tank on my own. I know the steps, but I still don't understand the timeline- how long do I wait between setting up the tank and planting plants, and between planting plants and adding fish? What are the signs that I am ready to move between steps? I know that I need to wait for my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate to balance, but do the plants go in before or after this happens? If I plant the plants after things level out, when do I know I'm ready to add my fish?

    Also, any recommendations for plants that bettas are known to like? (Don't worry, I have grown aquatic plants before, I'm not jumping into that blind)
  2. Mwh7

    Mwh7Valued MemberMember

    You can cycle your tank with the plants in it. I would wait to add fish until you're completely sure your tank is cycled. When it is cycled, I would add only a few fish at a time, no more than 5. Wait a week between each time you add a group of fish to ensure that your bb colony is keeping up with the bioload from the new fish.
    For the plants that bettas like, I have no idea. But anubias nana and marimo moss balls are constantly sold as "betta buddies". I'm not sure bettas prefer a plant. Amazon sword or java fern might be nice.
  3. WeepingShadesOfIndigo

    WeepingShadesOfIndigoValued MemberMember

  4. OP

    bettaaddict14New MemberMember

    Thank you so much, your replies clear up a ton! So, do the chemical spikes of ammonia and nitrite not hurt the plants? Is it really okay to have them in the tank throughout the entire process? Also, would plant fertilizers throw off the chemicals and mess with the process at all?
  5. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, welcome to fishlore :;hi2

    Plants are just fine to have while cycling. What size tank is this for your betta?

    For a small tank and one betta I'd almost recommend fish in cycling with TSS+ (Tetra Safe Start Plus). You setup your tank, add in your water conditioner (I highly recommend Seachem Prime), run and heat, wait 24 hours then add in both your betta and a bottle of TSS+. Do nothing for two weeks other than water top offs with a bucket of water you've set aside that is already conditioned.

    If you'd rather do it fish-less you can use pure ammonia that you can buy at ace hardware. The only ingredients in it need to be ammonia and water or it won't work. Dose to 1.0 ammonia for the betta, add in the same bottle of TSS+ and wait for ammonia to drop to 0 before re-dosing.

    I'd pick up the API Master Liquid test kit also. It will make cycling and keeping your betta or any other fish much easier.
    Let us know which way you'd rather proceed and we can help you out.

    I have had Java ferns super glued to my (fake) driftwood, moss balls, anubias etc. Bettas like lots of hiding places and like to rest on plants so the more the better. They also like to rest on floating plants. You can buy a pothos, wash the dirt off the roots really well and put the roots and some of the plant in the tank. It will switch over a few weeks from taking nutrients from dirt to the water column. The leaves make a great resting place for bettas :)

    I also have bought a betta log and tied a Marino moss ball that I split apart to the top of it with nylon thread.
  6. OP

    bettaaddict14New MemberMember

    I am planning to have a minimum of a 5.5 gallon, but I'm hoping to find a 10 gallon that I like. I'm not sure that I'm comfortable doing a fish in cycling, since I'm new to cycling in general, I don't want anything to go wrong and harm my fish. I do plan on doing a fish-less cycle, I prefer to not take any chances. Any recommendations for filters that work well with small tanks, cycle well, and aren't too forceful for bettas? Thank you for all of the brand recommendations, that's another thing I've been clueless as to which brands are reliable and which aren't. I do plan on having some Java fern, and I'm also looking into Amazon sword, lilaeopsis, anubias nana, and Java moss, but only time will tell what I will end up with. I know that bettas don't mind heavily planted tanks, so that's the general direction I'm going towards. I'm thinking of maybe doing an underwater bonsai with Java moss and a small piece of driftwood?
  7. Mwh7

    Mwh7Valued MemberMember

    Tetra tends to have filters that aren't very "forceful". The whisper series in particular seems to have done the best for my betta. as CindiL mentioned, if you're getting a five gallon, I agree that you should cycle with the betta in the tank. Sometimes tanks smaller than 10 gallons have a hard time cycling. Your betta should really be fine if you follow the steps that CindiL outlined, using the Tetra Safe Start religiously. As for your question on reliable brands, there isn't one sole brand that's reliable. It's more like products from each brand that are good. It also depends a lot on personal preferences in some cases.
    The underwater bonsai replica would be cool! It would give the Betta cool little canopies to rest on :)
  8. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    If you end up with a filter that's a little too forceful you can always aim the outflow towards the glass wall of the tank to break it up.

    Aqueon also makes a small internal filter that's nice for small tanks. It is Quiet Flow AT15. It has an adjustable flow rate and also a head that you can swivel to determine where the outflow goes.

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