A year ago last summer, my daughter came home from VBS with a goldfish. WONDERFUL.
Wanting to do the right thing and not just stick it in a bowl, I went out and bought a 3 gallon Eclipse tank kit, water conditioner, tank decorations, etc. The tank has two filters, one media and one biological. I claimed naming rights and dubbed him Sushi.
I did everything wrong at first. But Sushi lasted longer than I thought he might--he finally succumbed on Mother's Day, despite all my best efforts to save him (I know they can and should live much longer than that). I cleaned out the tank with water and little bit of bleach and put it away, promising the kids that at some point we'd get another fish.
Well, "some point" has nearly arrived. I've learned some since getting Sushi, and am trying to do things correctly this time. Today I got the tank out and cleaned it (no soap). One questionable thing I did is use river rock gravel instead of dedicated aquarium gravel. It was new rock straight out of a bag I bought a week or two ago for another purpose, not picked up from the ground. I rinsed it very well several times before putting it in the tank. I filled the tank with conditioned water and put in the little plastic plant and bridge decoration/hiding spot that I had. I had a new media filter still in the package so I popped that in. I still had the old bio filter and put that back in. My intent is to let it run for a few days then go get a test kit of some sort. Once the levels are okay I'll get a betta.
Now for my questions. :)
Is it okay to reuse the biofilter? It's been sitting in the garage since last May (in the clean and dry tank, not out in the open).
The water has been in the tank for a couple of hours now, and it's starting to stink. It's a very sulfury smell--not very strong, but definitely present if I smell it closely. Is this normal? It's also still kind of cloudy.
Should I get a live plant or two with an aquarium this small, or just stick with fake?
I live in Florida. We keep the thermostat around 80 when the a/c is running. I'd guess the coolest the house gets is maybe low 70s, and that's only for a few weeks in the dead of winter. I don't need a heater, do I? I do remember with Sushi that the light in the tank lid seemed to be quite hot. I wondered if that was harming Sushi, so I unplugged it. Should I use the light with a betta, assuming they like warm water anyway? I suppose a thermometer is in order.
I'd like to keep this reasonably low-maintenance. I know with a small tank I'm going to have to do weekly water changes and such, but is there anything I can do to help keep things clean? Meaning snails, or some kind of plant, or another "cleaning" kind of fish that could live happily with a betta in a 3-gallon tank (I know, it's a lot to ask). I had a lot of problems with algae with Sushi and would prefer not to go down that road again.
Thanks so much. I'm so glad to have discovered this place! I've been searching the web and finding either confusing or conflicting information (or just sales pitches). I've already learned a lot from this board!