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Got a few questions, there will be plenty more to come but these for now :P

Firstly, maybe a silly question but can I use a betta to cycle a tank? Info I was reading said to use 'hardy' fish but also fish you plan to keep in there long term. With regards to the long term thing, why? And are bettas 'hardy'?

The tank I'm getting is second hand, any tips on cleaning it to prepare it before hand? I think its not a good idea to use nasty chemicals because they can leave trace amounts but then... what if something the previous owner had in it was sick or...

Also it comes with some gravel, should I chuck that out?

I want to know what plants are good, read somewhere that 'true' aquatic plants like java moss are good. Ok so java moss, check. What else?

Where can I buy indian almond leaves? do fish other than bettas in the tank mind them?

Also wondering what other fish are good to keep with bettas? I've read that some species will nibble their fins so need to be careful.

and another silly question, what is best to feed adult bettas? lol have read plenty about how essential it is to feed fry live food but not much regarding adults...

Ok so that turned into more than a few :blush:

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Itd say to choose cycling-fish (lol) for the long term, unless you plan to re-sell them.. I think it just means dont kill them cause thats mean.. :P

You can use a betta to cycle a tank, depends how big it is. Like if you had a 200l compared to a 30l, youll need more fish :P

Plants, if your a beginner, like meee, I recommend ambulias and java fern, I havent managed to kill them yet :P

Others can give you better advice on how to clean your tank and gravel.. some sort of bleach solution is good :)

I bought my IAL off ebay a while ago, though you should make sure that they can ship to Aus before you buy :)

Feeding adult bettas, I feed mine a mix of live grindal worms, FD blackworms, betta pellets and when I have it frozen bloodworms .. not all at once, I alternate every few days and skip a day each week :)

Compatible fish, theres a lot really.. best to do a google search, I can definitely say NO to angels, some gourami, tiger barbs and neon tetras and in most cases, guppies.. its really best to do research on what you want, and again it comes down to how big your tank is :P

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I can answer a few of your questions:

a) Cycling a tank. A long term inhabitant is suggested because what would you do with the fish otherwise after the tank was cycled. I believe there is no need for cycling anyway these days (now DONT panic). You can buy a bottle of Seachem stability, dose the tank at 5ml per 40 litres and immediately add the fish (of course you also need to add Prime or some other similar product to remove chlorine, ammonia etc etc). I have used this approach with numerous fish and it works wonders. Just you are supposed to keep dosage up for 7 days for most effective results.

B) Cleaning the tank. I would scrub the tank out with Hibitane ( a medical based disinfectant) available from the local chemist. Then wash it out liberally with lots of water (remember we are going to Stage 2 restrictions)

c) Gravel. Yes I would discard it as so many nooks and crannies in the gravel where any residual nasties could hide.

d) Plants. I would use java fern or anubias as good plants. Perhaps you might like to also consider crypts or bolbitis as alternative plants

Sorry I cannot answer the other questions - I presume you mean Betta splendens rather than the wild Betta species. The wild Betta species will eat about anything that is offered to them

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Most of the tanks I have bought have been second hand. Usually they have been dry for quite a while, so I give it a good wipe down and swish with the hose at the same time. If you were concerned about the previous inhabitants being sick, or being a diseased tank I would try and leave it in the sun for a few hours.. I dont like to use harsh chemicals. Again give the gravel a good wash.

Plants - I mean to some extent it depends on the inhabitants, if you want it as a breeding or community tank, size etc. At the moment in my community tank I use Anubias, Java fern, java moss, sword varieties. - Elodea even, though I have to admit i'm not a fan. Most pet shops will sell plants so best bet would be to pop down there and see what they have. It may even be a case of replacing a few plants after a few weeks. You will usually need a light, unless the tank is in sunlight at some part of the day. The other alternative is you can buy plants online.

I would imagine the only place that would sell indian almond leaves would be pet shops, unless someone is selling them on the AusAqua classifieds. In Cairns I have almond leaves everywhere. I don't know much about Melbourne, but I would imagine they have them there too...by the beach. Just google it you may recognise them

Bettas are usually quite solitary fish, in saying that I have all me wee ones in the community tank with discus, dwarf gouramis, clown loaches etc. Tetras tend to be fin nippers.

I feed my adult bettas a mixture of frozen bloodworm (you can buy these in packets), beef heart and sometimes dried colour enhancer food.

I find bettas are pretty hardy, as long as their water is kept between 26-28c and clean.

Hope that information has been at least a little helpful :)

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I don't have experience in all you've asked, but i'll try to answer them to be the best of my knowledge

Question 1: can I use a betta to cycle a tank?

I think you can, but you have to keep up the water changes make sure that the ammonia doesn't do any lasting damage. I think bettas are quite hardy, but I don't know if they're the best fish to cycle with.

Question 2: The tank I'm getting is second hand, any tips on cleaning it to prepare it before hand?

I think the most common way is use diluted bleach and put it in the sun to get the bleach off. If the tank is small, I use hot water (be careful though, not too hot coz it can crack the glass)

Question 3: Also it comes with some gravel, should I chuck that out?

I boil all my second hand aquarium decorations, or gravel or anything that doesn't change shape or chemical composition in heat and fits in a pot.

Questions 4: I want to know what plants are good, read somewhere that 'true' aquatic plants like java moss are good. Ok so java moss, check. What else?

I know some hardy plants that needs low to medium light are:

- Java moss (as you mentioned)

- Java fern

- anubis

I also have water sprite in my tank

Question 5: Where can I buy indian almond leaves? do fish other than bettas in the tank mind them?

You can purchase IAL on the forum. Other fishes might mind them it all depends if the fish prefer soft or hard water. Soft water, I think it should be ok (correct me if i'm wrong), but definitely not hard water fish.

Question 6: Also wondering what other fish are good to keep with bettas? I've read that some species will nibble their fins so need to be careful.

I don't know about other people I keep corydoras, bristlenose and platy (she was a spur of the moment thing) with my betta fish. I think you need to keep fish without long flowing tails and swim relatively fast. I had a friend that kept a ballon molly with a betta fish, it didn't end well. She had to get another tank for put the betta fish..

Question 7: what is best to feed adult bettas?

I feed two types dried pellets (one type specially made for bettas and other one called "spectrum" that is high in protein), freeze dried blackworms, frozen bloodworm, mosquito larvae, grindalworm and whiteworm. They also nibble at the zucchini I put in for the bristlenoses, I think that helps their with digestion.

I hope I answered all your questions. Good luck with your tank

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You can get IAL from Jodi Or from Jeff They lower the PH i think so other fish wont mind them if they dont mind low ph.

Corydora's and bristlenose's are both good with bettas in my experiance, guppies i find dont work at all.

plants Java fern, watersprite (my girls LOVE sitting among this) Anubia's and Subwassertang (best plant ever lol) They are all low light so as long as there is Some sort of light they will be ok, unlike other plants that require heaps of fancy stuff.

i feed my adults Frezedried blackworm, Pellets, Flakes & very rarely frozen bloodworm

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I haven't read the other replies as I'm short on time so sorry if I repeat anything.

I believe reading somewhere that this was a larger tank? 30 inch or so? If that's the case, you're gonna need a powerful filter, which does not mix well with a long finned Betta. I would never, ever, ever use a long finned Betta in a community tank (again). They get their fins nipped, their fins get torn up from the current/filter.

I wouldn't use a Betta to cycle a tank. It wouldn't even be close to enough to cycle a tank of this size anyway. You need something like Platys or Guppies to cycle a tank.

No need to clean it if it's been sitting out dry for a few days/week+. Gravel I would most likely toss or wash very thoroughly.

Do your research before buying plants, many places will sell non-aquatic plants and outright lie to you about whether or not they are truely aquatic. Goods plants are your Anubias, Java fern, Java moss (only when tied to rock/driftwood I hate it otherwise as it gets caught in everything), some Crypts, Bacopa, Ambulia, Water sprite, Hornwort, Wisteria and Hygro. Anything red is going to be harder to grow as it requires high lighting. The majority of the plants I listed are low light and some are slow growing. You're better off with your fast growing stem plants to start out with. Hygro (most varieties) is good for this. Ambulia, Wisteria and Bacopa too.

No doubt someone has answered the IAL question already.

Going along with the first thing I said, if you're talking about a long fin Betta.. Nothing except maybe Cories, Bristlenose, Platys and Swordtails, etc. If it's a short fin, basically anything that's non-aggressive.

Diet, varied. Look at the ingredients and avoid anything with 'filler' as the first ingredient. You want fish meal, shrimp meal, krill meal, etc aka MEAT as the first ingredient. High in protein as well. That said, mine pick at just about everything. Cichlid pellets, algae pellets, etc. I also feed frozen bloodworm, live blackworm and grindal worms.

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Woah, mass amounts of info! I should be able to write my thesis from this lot :P lol thanks guys! Answers have led to more questions! :P You gotta love me :D sooo...

I believe reading somewhere that this was a larger tank? 30 inch or so? If that's the case, you're gonna need a powerful filter, which does not mix well with a long finned Betta.

Yeah its 77cm width, 31 height. So you're saying you can't keep a betta in a big tank? But what happens with say 2 foot or more tanks that are divided up to house 2 or 3 boys? Other than find damage with by filter, is there any other reason you wouldn't keep a betta in a community tank?

MelbBill, yes I'm talking about splendens :)

Delyall you said I'd need more fish to cycle it if its a big tank, so could I cycle with a betta AND some others? I'm sensing some disagreement in this and other questions. This is an important one cos really don't want to kill a my brand new very first betta! So how many people here have used a betta to cycle a tank? and how many to cycle a BIG tank?

Can I get the live foods from a pet store? Or the 'were' live foods I should say :P bewarebrunette mentioned frozen bloodworm being in packets so yes? Or is it only that?

bewarebrunette, by solitary fish you think they actually prefer being alone? and giving them some company is just us projecting our desires on them? :P

How much light do plants need? I read 13-14 hours per day of a tank light and that sunlight encourages algae so best if the tank is in a dark place. Agree?

With washing gravel, someone suggested bleach, its not at all a porous material? in which case it could easily absorb chemicals...

AND.... I'm just gunna chuck another in here for your enjoyment :D I'm aware that plastic plants can damage fins, what about ornaments?

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*Is in a question answering mood* :P

Id go with what Yan said, get some guppies or something (cories are awesome!) to cycle the tank, forget about using the betta.. the betta would be happier in a 10-20l tank of his own :blush: The reason you wouldnt keep a betta in a community tank (though many do with great success!) is because of fin nippers, strong currents from the filter you need for a large tank and compatibility issues.. you want a betta in your community tank, that cuts out a large chunk of other fish you can get :blush:

I got my grindal worm culture from fighters4u and my FD blackworms from http://blackworms.com.au/ .. yes you can buy frozen bloodworms at any decent pet store, fish stores might also have brine shrimp live or frozen which you can fed to your bettas :)

13-14hrs a day for light is way overkill, unless you want a mass of algae.. I keep mine on for less than that and I still get algae problems.. with the plants Yan said, you really dont need much light.. tank away from windows = yes, it prevents temp fluctuations and some algae :) Im definitely no expert on lights, so hopefully someone else can help you :)

Ive had no issues with ornaments and damaged fins.. just make sure there are no sharp pointy bits on it or inside it (if its one the fish swim through)

Can you tell me how many litres your tank is? Good luck setting it up :D We expect pics when youve finished :D

Edited by delyall
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I have no idea how many litres! :P it wasn't advertised and i haven't even seen it yet, ahead of myself as usual :P

I'm still not satisfied on the betta topic. Community tank is just an idea, initial plan was to divide it. Have seen some pics of divided tanks on here and me likes :D So how does the filter issue work with that?

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The reason no Betta in a big community tank is because of strong filter current, fin nippers.. you generally have bigger fish in a bigger tank. Bigger fish are usually the more aggressive ones which don't mix with the smaller, less aggressive Betta. Now if you're gonna go for a Giant, that might change some things but I still wouldn't recommend a long fin because his fins would just be shredded in the current.

A divided 2ft tank is just that. It's divided, the current isn't ripping through the dividers there, it has to be slowed down and controlled to get it to reach all the sections, via something like a spray bar. You don't have a canister filter on a 2ft (well you CAN.. doesn't mean you need it) where as I would (and do) have a canister on a tank similarly sized to yours.

The thing about cycling a tank that size with a Betta is, it means you're going to have to introduce fish 1 by 1 if you only cycle with a Betta (I wouldn't risk a Betta by using it to cycle a tank anyway). A betta does not produce that much waste (aka ammonia) and you would need 20 of them just to build up a decent amount of good ammonia-eating bacteria in your filter. You need larger numbers of hardier fish.. like guppies and platys. Anything that is CHEAP and hardy. Unless you're going to sell/cull it once the tank cycle is done, also get something that's still 'pretty'.

Frozen foods you can buy from your LFS/ some pet stores.

13-14 hours is gonna be an algae festival. 8 is fine, 10 you're likely going to see algae growth. Definitely do not place it near a window.

If you're going to have delicate finned critters in your tank, run a pantyhose (that you no longer want!!) over ornaments, plastic plants and if it rips the panty hose, it will rip your delicate finned critter.. Another reason why Plakats are better than long fins, they just don't seem to get caught up in stuff.

Go to google and type in Aquarium Calculator to get the approx litres, keeping in mind it's going to be far less once the gravel, ornaments, whatever else goes in. You need length, height and depth in CM or inches.

Filter for a community tank.. well you could individually filter them using sponge or small internal filters. You could build a false back onto the tank and build a huge filter in the back compartment. You could have an internal filter in one end with a spray bar (or hose) that reaches into all other divisions, and the same in the opposite end for maximum effect. You could run it off an undergravel filter if you don't plan on plants.

Oh boy, didn't realize how long I spent typing that, gotta go to work!

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If you're going to have delicate finned critters in your tank, run a pantyhose (that you no longer want!!) over ornaments, plastic plants and if it rips the panty hose, it will rip your delicate finned critter..

Brilliant idea! :D cheers :)

Getting a wee bit too technical on the filter topic for me right atm so I think I'd better be quiet on this thread until I actually get going. Don't get too excited though, I'll be back :D

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Sorry for all the questions :P Last time I had fish I was about 9 years old and they kept dieing on me so I gave up and am rather freaked by the prospect! Also I've lived with some people who have had fish with little success and looking back I've realised they were given all the wrong advice and sold the wrong stuff by LFS so am inclined to trust opinions on here a little more.

Anyways, going to divide my tank in three I think. There was a thread on here ages ago about DIY dividers using binder thingys from stationary and some kind of semi transpearant plastic stuff. I cannot find the thread! have looked everywhere. Anyone know? Cos I don't know how to do it off the top of my head... was hoping to head to bunnings tomorrow to grab what i need.

I did have one question though with that setup, if you want to lift the dividers so that the boys can see each other for a bit I'm not sure how you can do it so that you can have a divider that they can see through but not swim through? Glass with something non see through also is the obvious answer but i cant see myself cutting glass!

Also wondering if anyone can recommend a water conditioner? and I think thats all i need initially right, water conditioner, bit of driftwood, ph testing kit, let it sit a few days and pop in some cycling fish keeping an eye on ph and doing small daily water changes?

Last but not least, spot i want to stick my tank is next to a window, however no sun comes through it as wrong side of house, pretty dark but i noticed it does get some filtered light, is this ok?

Any answers appreciated. Cheers.

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With is being next to a window, light is bad, yes.. but especially in Melb, it can get veeeery cold, and with the tank being next to the window, it can cause the temp to drop a bit in the tank until the heater kicks in and heats it up again... aka. temp fluctuations = bad

As for diy dividers, dont go to bunnings, go to an officeworks and spotlight :P Get the book binder hold-y thingys from there, they look like this - and come in a pack of 5 and then spotlight for either hard-ish plastic sheets Im not sure what theyre used for.. but its in the scrapbook-needle work section or you can get some plastic mesh used for cross-stitching for better waterflow :)

Rather than have the boys be able to see eachother, I just let em play with a mirror for a little while each day :)

You can see how I divided my old 2ft tank here - http://ausaqua.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=9841&view=findpost&p=104668

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