I just brought home a lil' Betta buddy yesterday. I've never owned a fish before, so I spent the entire day researching it (probably should have spent longer than a day, haha). I kept coming across somewhat contradicting/confusing information which I'm hoping I can clear up, here I got a 10 gal tank, a few Anacharis bunches (I'd like to get some Java moss when I can find it), a filter, gravel, and water conditioner. I'll be getting a heater tomorrow. 1. What is cycling? Was I supposed to do that? This is the most confusing thing to me, and now I'm worried about my fish. I had read an entire lengthy guide on how to set up a Betta fish tank, and then how to introduce the fish to the tank and put him in it...it never mentioned anything about cycling the tank. Yet other guides on setting up generic fish tanks kept stressing how important cycling is, and then I started reading about some sources saying Betta's should have their tank cycled. 2. Do I need a siphon? Or can I just scoop the water out with a cup when I do a weekly cleaning? I know siphons aren't expensive or anything, but they do take up room in my small apartment, and if I could just use a cup to change the water I'd rather do that for now. 3. Speaking of weekly cleaning... As I understand it, for a 10 gal tank I should remove about 25% of the water, add fresh water the same temperature as the tank water, then add conditioner. Should I condition the fresh water before adding it? Should I add conditioner for 10 gals or only for the amount of water that I'm adding back into the tank? 4. How should I go about adding the heater? I know it would have been ideal to get the heater going before adding the fish, but the pet store had a very poor selection of heaters so I decided it would be better to order one. Can I just put it in, turn it on, and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get too hot? Is there any risk of shocking my fish with temp change? 5. How much should I feed him? So far I've been feeding him 3-5 pellets twice a day. The package says 5-10 pellets 2-3 times daily. but that seems excessive to me. I've read somewhere that it's good to give your Betta one "fasting day" a week so they don't get constipated...is that a good practice? Is it necessary to give him a variety of food? 6. Best ways to engage and entertain him? I only have a few plants in his tank right now. Eventually I think I'd like to get him a leaf hammock, some more plants, and maybe some smooth rocks. Are there any DIY Betta toys I can give him right now? Any ways I can play with him? I got some sort of volcanic rock thing, but when I got home with it I started thinking it may be too sharp to put in the tank. How do you know if something is too rough for a Betta? Finally, any other risks I should be aware of? I'm so paranoid of losing my new friend too early. He's so pretty and I love him so much, I didn't think I could become so fond of a fish! I'm worried I may be missing some important info or something. Any tips or advice are welcome! Thanks!