Newbie trying to start over the right way
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Newbie trying to start over the right way

This is a discussion on Newbie trying to start over the right way within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> A year ago last summer, my daughter came home from VBS with a goldfish. WONDERFUL. Wanting to do the right thing and not just ...

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Newbie trying to start over the right way
Old 11-10-2009, 05:41 PM   #1
 
Newbie trying to start over the right way

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!

Lisa
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:09 PM   #2
 
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Hello & Welcome to the forum!
Going of this bit by bit with you.... I'd suggest hot water & vinegar (since you previously used bleach on it, don't do that again pls) and let it dry out compleatly..
River rock is not bad, just rinse it out so "clear" water runs through it. The only thing that could be "bad" if you commonly have hard water from your tap and adding this MAY make it even harder.
There's a few test kits available in your pet stores, for best results and accuracy, I strongly suggest chem kits drop test not the strips, such as this, eg. from API.
Another suggestion from my end, while at the store anyway, buy live plants, looks nicer AND importantly it cycles your tank quicker for you (save yourself the money for "bacteria" in bottles!) and the plants over time will strongly add to your biological balance within the tank.

As long as you hadn't cleaned the bio filter with bleach as well, yes you can rinse out & use it, otherwise please do not.
Do you have sulfur in your tap water? That concentrated in a small tank would do the trick for you to smell it.

Yes definitely have the light on (specially if you have live plants, I suggest some 10-11hrs/day) I'd look for a small heater that fits your tank size for a betta to keep the Temp warm enough for him.

The algae issue you had before was simply caused by your bio system being thrown outta weck for numerous reasons. Starting asking questions first and then set up & buy fish is definitely a WONDERFUL start and I promise you with all the people here you'll get PLENTY of advise how to do it all and won't have troubles again.

If you wish to read up on betta, here's a good link with detailed info Knowledge Base - Seriously Fish
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:17 PM   #3
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
Hello & Welcome to the forum!
Going of this bit by bit with you.... I'd suggest hot water & vinegar (since you previously used bleach on it, don't do that again pls) and let it dry out compleatly..
I thought I'd read that a very weak bleach/water solution was okay. Whoops. I did not use it on the bio wheel, so that should be okay.

Quote:
Do you have sulfur in your tap water? That concentrated in a small tank would do the trick for you to smell it.
Actually, we don't have sulfur in our tap water. It's slightly hard but not at all sulfury.

[quote]
Yes definitely have the light on (specially if you have live plants, I suggest some 10-11hrs/day) I'd look for a small heater that fits your tank size for a betta to keep the Temp warm enough for him.
[\quote]

How warm do they like it?

Thank you again--this is so helpful!

Lisa
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:37 PM   #4
 
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If you ever gotta clean anything hot water will be just fine. If you have let's say a whole tank in which fish died of disease I'd use vinegar & hot water.

That's very odd, does it still smell that way? Maybe reusing the old filter medias w/out rinsing them out first caused the smell. Otherwise I'm clueless sorry.

I recently learned (contrary to what I knew before) that they apparently prefer temps around ~80F, but I'd rather leave a detailed info on that one to either the betta keepers & breeders on here or refer to the link I posted for you earlier, just to be on the safe side (Never had betta, prop never will).
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:17 AM   #5
 
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Welcome to the forum, Lisa! I'm in agreement that bettas should be kept at a minimum of 80 degress. I've always preferred planted tanks and bettas appreciate having live plants (can't think of a fish that wouldn't) in their tanks. If for some reason you don't want to do live plants, silk plants are best for bettas as anything sharp can tear their fins. Too many plastic plants have *sharp* edges. Just a heads up. Once again, welcome to the forum.
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