Help Cycling 2.5 Gal Betta Tank

sevenfish

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HI Everyone,

tl;dr Is it really necessary to cycle a 2.5 gallon Betta tank? is this still necessary if all the levels are already fine?


This is my first post on this forum but I have been lurking and found a bunch of helpful information about aquarium keeping. This particular question, I couldn't find an answer to, though.

My sister bought a Betta on impulse and keeps it in a tiny 0.5gal container with gravel and nothing else. It does nothing all day but sit still at the bottom. I felt too guilty so I took it upon myself (with her permission) to give the little Betta a somewhat better life.
The Betta has been living in the fish bowl for a couple months now and I'm kind of antsy to get it out of there and into a warmer and better container -- which brings me to cycling.

I have set up this new tank by washing the gravel in warm water, filling the tank with it, dechloronating the water, put in all the decorations, put in the heater the thermometer and the filter. Lastly I poured in the water and got everything plugged in and running.
I tested the ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, and pH and everything looked good.

I've read that I am supposed to cycle it for something like 20 days, but since the chemicals in the water are already at good levels do I really need to?

Many thanks for any advice!
 

BettaBliss

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That's very sweet of you to take on the fish! What are the water test results?
 

clk89

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What exactly are the parameters? Since this is a new tank it would be pretty impossible for it to be cycled. You have to have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 20PPM or below nitrates.
 
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sevenfish

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From what I could tell from the color chart, ammonia was 0, nitrates 0 and nitrites 0. Is this realistic? I'm pretty sure I followed all the instructions
 

clk89

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sevenfish said:
From what I could tell from the color chart, ammonia was 0, nitrates 0 and nitrites 0. Is this realistic? I'm pretty sure I followed all the instructions
Then you probably aren't cycled, since this is a new tank you shouldn't have nitrates until cycled like I said above. You need to cycle the tank still.
 

CraniumRex

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Sevenfish, you'll probably see ammonia first, then nitrites, then nitrates last. With brand new dechlorinated water, you would expect to get those readings of 0 0 0.

Once your betta starts pooping in the water, or uneaten food decomposes, you will see ammonia readings. In a tank that small (but bigger than he had, so kind of you!) it should be very quick. You will need to change his water out - at least part of it, to keep the ammonia from burning him. It attracts the kind of bacteria that will eat ammonia and turn it into nitrites. When you get nitrite readings, that is how you know you have that good kind of bacteria. Don't clean his filter or overclean his gravel at any time during cycling - this is where the good bacteria lives. Cleaning with plain tap water will kill the good bacteria, so if the filter looks icky, just swish it around in any tank water you take out for water changes.

That should get you started, anyway - I'm not a pro at this - I'm very new, but that is what happened in my 5 gallon tank to start. There is much more to it, but this is a start. There are lots of resources here about the nitrogen cycle. It seems confusing I know, but read up on it.

One note - if you can find him live plants they will help him so much. Try elodea (known as anacharis, too) you can just float it in the water. It helps to clean the water and the fishes just LOVE it. Super easy and needs no special light.

Wonderful thing you are doing giving the guy a better home.

EDIT - sorry, I re-read your post and I think what you were asking is if you can put the betta in the new tank. Unless you are going to try to cycle it fishless, I think you can put him in. You will need to do partial water changes probably every day. I'm not even sure a tank that size will cycle -- I started my betta in a 3.5 gallon and read that it's much easier to cycle the larger the water volume, so that's why I changed him to a 5 gallon.
 

Bek

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Since you already have him maybe safestart would be a good investment?
He's already in an uncycled (safe guess?) bowl right now so I don't think moving him to his home-to-be would hurt.
Ive heard good things about safestart (not all bacteria additives are the same)
Just an idea
 

CraniumRex

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Bek from what I've read, I agree. He's safer in 2.5 gallons than in a bowl - Sevenfish, not sure how often your sister was changing the water, but I would bet you'd see a much happier betta very quickly.

Since he is moving from an unheated bowl into a heated tank (what temp do you have him at?) better to acclimate him first. If you can find the cup he was bought in, or a very clean soap free container, heck even a clear new plastic baggie, float him in the tank so he can get used to the warmer water. Float him there for a good 15 minutes or longer, if you have an open container you can add a tablespoon of new tank water a bit at a time every 5 minutes. Then release him into the new tank.

Try not to overfeed him and I do suggest Prime as dechlorinator because it will detoxify the ammonia in his tank for 24-48 hours. VERY hard to measure out because it is so concentrated.

I personally used Seachem Stability in the second tank I got and did a fish in cycle with that - I was cycled in a week but others have not always had those results. Bek's suggestion of Safestart I have heard great things about. But again, I hope someone more experienced will come along and let you know if it's even possible to cycle a 2.5 gallon. You may end up just having to do small partial water changes to keep the toxins down.

Good luck!
 

BettaBliss

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I also agree that moving him to the new tank would be best since he is in a small bowl right now. It would be best to do daily 50% water changes until the tank is cycled. Tetra Safe Start or Seachem Stability are bottled beneficial bacteria that can be used for a fish-in cycle. I have not used either, but I have heard that both are very good.
It is possible to cycle a 2.5 gallon tank. It can be hard, but it is possible and recommended.
 

Bek

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I think I read somewhere that prime kills the good bacteria in safestart. Theres a way to use both, I think you just have to add safestart a day after you declorinate with prime. Ill try and find where I read that just to check if I'm remembering it correctly.
Edit: don't know why how I got to reading threads from 2010.... but heres where my second-hand info came from if you happen to be interested in using prime/ tss
[ Question - Question regarding prime and tetra safe start ]
 

Lunnapr11

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For my Betta (< 5g) tanks I usually just use a little bit of API Quick Start and API Stress Zyme. Never had any issues. Good luck and good job rescuing the little guy. Did you name him yet?!
 

CraniumRex

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Bek you have a great memory. I'm sorry to say I read that thread too and forgot about it. My excuse is I can't find Safestart in Canada.... :shy:
 

Bek

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CraniumRex said:
Bek you have a great memory. I'm sorry to say I read that thread too and forgot about it. My excuse is I can't find Safestart in Canada.... :shy:
Haha well I'm like a month into this hobby, barely.
I got really excited that I recalled useful information, though its probably not memory so much as fresh information.
 

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