Would like some advice please.

Rosemarie

New member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
I recently asked for advice on caring for two baby snails which came with the aquatic plant I bought for my water garden.It wasn't my intention to have an aquarium...but here we are, I changed my mind.
I bought a 5 gallon tank, it's heated to 29 degrees, and is now 'cycling' (not sure what that is but following advice). I read that Betta fish are loners so will be quite happy in a small tank. I've been reading all I can on the internet, but the advice is confusing. One site said that Betta are fine with shrimp, another site said they would eat the shrimp. Which is correct? I think shrimp are needed to keep things clean, and they seem entertaining so I'm planning to get some. If Betta are not suitable, is there another fish which I could get, which don't eat shrimp?
Thank you.
 

LittleGoldSnail

Crazy fish lady
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
I recently asked for advice on caring for two baby snails which came with the aquatic plant I bought for my water garden.It wasn't my intention to have an aquarium...but here we are, I changed my mind.
I bought a 5 gallon tank, it's heated to 29 degrees, and is now 'cycling' (not sure what that is but following advice). I read that Betta fish are loners so will be quite happy in a small tank. I've been reading all I can on the internet, but the advice is confusing. One site said that Betta are fine with shrimp, another site said they would eat the shrimp. Which is correct? I think shrimp are needed to keep things clean, and they seem entertaining so I'm planning to get some. If Betta are not suitable, is there another fish which I could get, which don't eat shrimp?
Thank you.
The thing with Bettas, is each individual has a different personality. Some bettas will be fine with shrimp, some won’t. Some bettas will even be fine with other fish, others won’t. Bettas vary in aggression a lot. I have one betta who is best friends with a young ADF (African dwarf frog), my other betta would even eat a snails though.

Basically, it’s hit or miss having tank mates with bettas, some bettas will be okay with it, some won’t.

Regarding cycling, it’s actually simpler then it sounds. Fish make waste (aka poop), waste decomposes and makes ammonia, ammonia is very toxic to fish and can kill them if it builds up.
The process of cycling an aquarium is growing a healthy colony of bacteria that eats ammonia and through a little process called nitrification eventually converts it to nitrates instead of ammonia. Nitrates are much less toxic to fish and can easily be removed with a small water change every week.

In regards to how to grow this lovely bacteria, you simply dose the aquarium with ammonia so the bacteria has food, then test the water regularly to see when the ammonia begins going down and nitrates start appearing on the test kit.

I would very much recommend getting a bottle of Dr. Tim’s bottled ammonium chloride and an API master test kit. If you want to speed up the cycle, you can even pick up a bottle of bacteria starter at petco (tetra safe start or fluval bio booster have been my favorites in the past). This will seed the aquarium with bacteria so the bacteria just needs settle and get established for the tank to be safe for fish (which shouldn’t take more then a week or two if it was a good source of bacteria).
 
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LittleGoldSnail

Crazy fish lady
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Secondly, if you are setting up a small betta tank, I would super recommend you go planted. Nothing fancy, but if you toss in a couple anubias nana plants and a few marimo moss ball, it will make your betta (or whatever fish you end up choosing) much more comfortable, and will actually help keep the tank cleaner!

moss balls and anubias don’t need fancy lights or fertilizers or anything and are almost impossible to kill. Fake plants are very bad for fish (especially plastic ones and especially for bettas), they can tear their fins easily.

I only do live plants and real rocks and wood in my tank and it’s really nice and natural and the fish are happy, and no more fin tearing.

Another possibility in a tank like that would be sparkling gouramis. Sparkling gouramis are very cute and really pretty, the do well in small planted aquariums (you could have a trio in a 5 gallon), they are also much less aggressive and should be fine with shrimp and snails and such. You could even add a few little lambchop rasboras or something if you wanted.

I hope all this helped!
 
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Rosemarie

New member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Original Poster
Thanks very much. Yes, I read that plastic plants create toxins in a tank so I added three live ones and silicone mock-anemones which glow in the dark. I also put in a coconut as a cave. The coconut was originally for a hamster. When the hamster died, I kept everything. It just shows how you can find a use for something!
The water was very cloudy for a couple of days but has cleared now. I have added Tetra aqua safe. I need to wait another 10 days and then I'll get a testing kit.
Thanks a lot for your advice. I'll let you know what I decide to get and try to put up a picture.
 

LittleGoldSnail

Crazy fish lady
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Thanks very much. Yes, I read that plastic plants create toxins in a tank so I added three live ones and silicone mock-anemones which glow in the dark. I also put in a coconut as a cave. The coconut was originally for a hamster. When the hamster died, I kept everything. It just shows how you can find a use for something!
The water was very cloudy for a couple of days but has cleared now. I have added Tetra aqua safe. I need to wait another 10 days and then I'll get a testing kit.
Thanks a lot for your advice. I'll let you know what I decide to get and try to put up a picture.
What type of substrate do you have?

Most pet stores get people to buy gravel, but IMO, sand is much easier to take care of and grows plants better. It also looks more natural in my opinion. I use pool filter sand in my tanks and it looks amazing and plants love it. The green plants and light colored sand compliment each other. It’s also cheaper (I can get a 50lb bag of pool filter sand for $12) Just a tip. If you end up getting shrimp, then I would recommend the sand, they will probably like it better.


Also, cloudiness in an immature aquarium is normal. It’s probably a bacterial bloom. It’s should eventually go away, but if it bothers you, you can do a 50% waterchange and clear it up a little.

My second tip, custom filter media! It’s so much better.

There are three stages of filtering, mechanical, chemical and bio. Your bio-media is where you want your good bacteria to grow, that should never be replaced (just rinse it in a little old tank water). Typically the bio-media will be a very porous surface to create lots of surface area for bacteria. Most people use ceramic rings or crushed lava rock or something.

Chemical filtration is honestly not needed unless you are removing medication from the water. It’s actually healthier for the tank if you just take out the active carbon that comes with most filters and toss it or save it for a time when it’s actually needed (which is a rare scenario).

Mechanical filtration/water polishing is what you will see in the tank. That is removing large debris and particles from the tank. You can accomplish with some pollyfill and/or a chunk or sponge.

ideally, a filter will first have some corse sponge, and some pollyfill or finer sponge, then a bag of lava rock, ceramic rings, bio-balls or whatever bio media you choose.

and as a surprise to most people, you don’t actually need to replace any of this except maybe pollyfill or finer sponges. After normal 30-50% waterchange, simply rinse any dirty or gunked up media in the bucket of tank water then put it back in the filter. This will preserve your bacteria colony and keep the tank healthy.

Most filter companies will tell you that you need to replace these lame little cartridges all the time, but they just want your money honestly. If you don’t want waste money on your filter, then just go to a nearest home and garden store (like Lowe’s or something) and get a little bag of lava rock, and buy a roll of chemical free filter sponge on amazon and you’ll be set for a long time with a healthier, cheaper and more natural and efficient filter setup.

Also on the topic of filters, if you have an exposed intake on your filter, then simply cover it with some pantyhose to keep young fish, snails or shrimp from getting sucked in and injured.

However, most of these filter tips can be ignored if you get a sponge filter. But if you have a HOB (hang on back) or an internal waterfall filter (like a tetra whisper), then this will probably be very useful.
 

LittleGoldSnail

Crazy fish lady
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
One other thing, if you want natural planted aquarium inspiration or are interested in walstad aquariums, check out Foo the Flowerhorn on YouTube. He has lots of good content on walstad tanks and even has a series on a heavily planted 5 gallon stocked with sparkling gouramis and shrimp.
 

Rosemarie

New member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Original Poster
Thanks a lot for all of that. This is all new stuff for me so I really appreciate your help. The filter is a sponge one and it's nice to know that it doesn't really need to be replaced as often as they say. The substrate is one I bought with the plants...I've thrown the bag away so can't tell you the name. I put a layer on the bottom and then coloured gravel on top. Good tip about the panty hose!
By the way, the snails are doing well. I might get nerite snails for the new tank.
 

PhoenixKoi

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2021
I was gonna help with this thread but overnight it seems like LittleGoldSnail and LeonPets has it covered.
 

Rosemarie

New member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Original Poster
A quick update, if anyone is interested. Yesterday I bought 6 neon tetras. At the moment, I'm hovering over them like a new mother, hoping everything meets with their approval.
 

LittleGoldSnail

Crazy fish lady
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
A quick update, if anyone is interested. Yesterday I bought 6 neon tetras. At the moment, I'm hovering over them like a new mother, hoping everything meets with their approval.
Cool! Do you have pictures? I love tetras.


What are the water perimeters?

I would really recommend some stress coat when adding new fish, it will lower stress levels and help them settle in.


On a side note, I would be careful and attentive with neon tetras. It’s probably going to be okay, but I usually recommend cardinal tetras instead. Neon tetras are mass bred and prone to a lot more diseases then cardinals. Neon tetras also tend to be a little more picky about their environment and more tedious to take care of.
 


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