03-02-2010, 12:41 AM
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Ok, so I'm in the middle of my own cycling problems right now (partly because I used too many chems early on), so I may not be the right person to listen to, but here's what I think...
You should only need some water condtioner to treat water prior to putting it in the tank to remove chlorines and ammonia. SeaChem's Prime is a popular choice. You probably will want a water test kit - most brands sell 'Master' kits which include all the basic tests for $20-30.
Unless you plan on spending a month or two cycling w/o any fish (google 'fishless cycle'), start with the 1 betta and change ~1 gallon of water every 5-7 days (assuming a 5 gallon tank and that you're getting a filter). If you're not going to filter, you probably have to change more like 2 gallons every 2-3 days. Bettas are relatively hardy and, IMO, can handle a cycle. After you're testing positive for Nitrates in a month or so, you may be able to add a couple more small fish.
For a filter, a small bubble filter or sponge filter should be fine (<$10), but either will need a small air pump (unless you're looking at one of the kits with the filter built into the cover?). Pumps can be cheap, too, but in a bedroom, the cheap ones may be loud. Just something to think about.