What kind of temperature gauge is the best for a 5 gallon tank?

Birbfish

I'm fairly new to the aquarium hobby and I have only ever had one fish, a Betta named Griffin. Griffin has lived in a 3.5 gallon tank for basically his whole life (aside from the teeny bucket at the pet store) and I've decided to get a 5 gallon tank for him. Right now the way I clean his tank is very energy-draining for me and makes Griffin and I very stressed. I often find myself looking at tons of tank cleaning videos and I get so many questions. To start with the list (heh..) of questions I have here's the most important one (to me):
What kind of temperature guage is the best for a 5 gallon tank? When I went to the pet store to get the tank ornaments and such I forgot that I didn't have a temperature gauge. So while I was there I just chose the cheapest one I saw. Yeah I know that's not the best choice but I didn't think it would make a difference, well it did. The last time I cleaned his tank I was very stressed because I had left him out in the tiny bucket that wasn't heated or filtered and had old tank water for about 3 hours, this was all because the temperature guage wasn't updating, it had been at the right temp. for about 1 1/2 hours and I didn't know.

2nd question
What kind of filter is best (and cheap) for a betta in a 5 gallon tank? I often avoid the task of cleaning his tank due to several reasons, 1 is how much the filter cartridges cost, I have the default top fin enchant filter that came with the tank, I have to buy the tank cartridges every month and they cost $10 per pack (one pack being 2 cartridges, 2 cartridges are needed for one filter change) that means I have to spend $10 every month and stress about how long it'll take for them to get to my house. I don't have an official job yet (I babysit and that gives me the amount I need for certain fish care things and gifts and certain items etc.) which means buying only one pack capable of changing the filter only one time is not my first choice.

3rd question
What is a fast and easy way to clean a 5 gallon tank? It usually takes me up to 4 hours to clean Griffins 3.5 gallon tank which I'm pretty sure is not ideal. I have watched many videos on tank cleaning most of which have different ways of cleaning a tank. I have seen the least time consuming one but in the video, the person dechlorinates and heats in a bucket but they only do half the water and gravel vacuum the rest... How are they not stressing out the fish while they pour the water in? How do they make sure the water is the same temp. as the rest in the tank? How much dechlorination (see this is me stressing about how I don't want my fish to die.) solution do they put in the bucket to make sure it's not too much overall? I need help!
(there will probably be more questions from me in this thread, be prepared )
 

DuaneV

Any thermometer is fine.

A sponge filter is cheapest and easiest. You do NOT want to replace filter cartridges, that's where you're beneficial bacteria (aka cycle) live and throwing those away just takes away your cycle and costs you money.

In 3.5 hours I can "clean" all my 15 tanks, including my 220. This is something people either WAY overdo or don't do enough. "Cleaning" a tank should be as simple as sticking a hose in the tank to siphon out water. Use it to vacuum any junk off the bottom. Once you've emptied 50% of the tank, dump it, get your tap water a similar temp and fill a gallon jug, add Prime to the tank and pour the new water in. Simple as that. HEAVY cleaning is a no no and not needed. Once a month/every other month take your filter media and once youve removed 50% of the water, swish the media around in the used tank water before dumping it out. Put the media back in, done. Once in a while you'll need to do a heavier cleaning, i.e., hard water stains, etc., but a sponge and a razor blade are your friend. I do that about every 6 months.
 

jkkgron2

#3, since it is just a 5 gallon I usually just have a special fish tank only container that I use to scoop out water. Then I just grab a Bucket that I know the amount of gallons it holds and I usually just follow the directions on the dechlorinater‘s bottle once the bucket is filled up and like if it’s a 5 gallon bucket and The bottle doesn’t dose 5 gallon but doses 10 gallon then I just follow the dosage for the 10 gallon amount (plus, it helps incase there is a little more chlorine than normal). After that, I just pour in the dechlorinated water wherever The fish isn’t and I’m done (I also do monthly gravel vacuuming)
 

Birbfish

Thanks for the advice! Another question, I sort of know what media is but I'm not sure what kind to put in and where to place it in the tank. Also I always make sure to bob the bucket with Griffin in it (by bucket I mean the tiny ones that you get at the pet store) and add more and more water to the bucket each 5 minutes, is that a bad practice and should I still be doing it or should I just pop him in the tank when I'm done cleaning it?
 

Inner10

I don't take the fish out, I just scrape the sides and vac the gravel with a syphon hose, then top up the water. I never really change more than half the water in even the smallest of tanks.

All these filters with disposable cartridges are kinda **** most you can swish out the filter in some aquarium water and keep using it, or pack them with your own blend of media. If that doesn't work then you can build a DIY filter for peanuts.

That being said if I needed a cheap commercial filter it would be a sponge, they are ugly but work well, super simple, super cheap, last a long time.

Thanks for the advice! Another question, I sort of know what media is but I'm not sure what kind to put in and where to place it in the tank. Also I always make sure to bob the bucket with Griffin in it (by bucket I mean the tiny ones that you get at the pet store) and add more and more water to the bucket each 5 minutes, is that a bad practice and should I still be doing it or should I just pop him in the tank when I'm done cleaning it?

If the temp is the same toss him back in.
 

Birbfish

Ah, ok. I don't really care about the ugliness as my fish are not there to be pretty but more to keep me company I guess...? also can I use a meat thermometer to check the two water temperatures or is there something else I should buy? My mom's meat thermometer works pretty well but I'm not sure if I should be sticking that in there even if it's perfectly clean... Is there a certain thermometer that checks automatically?
 

StarGirl

I don't take the fish out, I just scrape the sides and vac the gravel with a syphon hose, then top up the water. I never really change more than half the water in even the smallest of tanks.
This is all you need to do. Should take you 15 minutes max.
 

Birbfish

Alright! Can someone send me a link to some good media? Still not quite sure how or where to put it and what kind to get... ^^;
 

StarGirl

What kind of filter do you have? Its going to depend on that.
 

Birbfish

Well, I haven't gotten the 5 gallon tank yet (I'm waiting until I move which will be next week) but I suppose I should get a sponge filter.
 

StarGirl

Well, I haven't gotten the 5 gallon tank yet (I'm waiting until I move which will be next week) but I suppose I should get a sponge filter.
That would be easiest for a 5g. Just wring it out in the old fish water and you are good to go. You do need a air pump and tubing for a sponge filter remember.
 

Birbfish

I'm gonna need some help on tubing... I have no idea what it is.. ^^;
 

Birbfish

Thank you so much! Are there any videos you know of that could help me along with this whole process?
 

StarGirl

 

Birbfish

Thanks!
 

DuaneV

I prefer this type of sponge filter. I think they look better. You can get them with 1 or 2 sponges. In a smaller tank, 1 sponge is enough.

 

Garnet

I agree with DuaneV. Not only do they look nicer, but I find this time of sponge filter easier to clean, too. You can just pull off the sponges without having to remove the whole thing from the tank.
 

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