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Chesh 03-04-2012 09:53 PM

How tricky is a 5 gallon tank?
I'm thinking of getting a small tank for my African Dwarf Frog (and possibly a betta buddy), but am not having very good luck finding anything bigger than a 5 gallon tank to fit in the space I have available (and in my budget). I'm new to the underwater world, and am reading that it's much harder to keep the water cycled/stable in a smaller-sized tank.

How tricky IS a 5 gallon tank? I'll do my water changes like a good little fish momma, but are there rules to maintaining a cycle in a tank this small? Or... is there a cycle to BE maintained, or does it get wiped out with every cleaning. It'll have a filter, so I imagine there will be some sort of cycling going on!

Any information will be used and appreciated! Thank you!

dmuddle 03-04-2012 10:06 PM

5 gallons arent hard although Im not sure about having a frog considering I fear them. But I have had a betta and getting another one and they love the room. hope this helps.

ladayen 03-04-2012 10:14 PM

Theres always a cycle to complete no matter the size tank.

African dwarf Frog need to be in groups, 6+ preferably 3 at least. With just one you will never see it, to the point it can starve itself because it will not even come out for food. If you do choose to get a betta as well make sure that food is getting to the bottom and staying there. Frogs are nocturnal, nearly blind and rely on smell to find food so it can take a bit for them to get it. Dont want the betta to eat everything before the frogs can touch it and dont want the betta to eat too much and get bloat.

That being said just be careful how much you put in there and keep a close eye on the ammonia and such. I try to check the parameters every wednesday and do a water change on the weekend in my 5g betta tank. This is after the tank is cycled. Frogs dont do well with cycling a tank either btw. Always do fishless cycle anyhow :)

Chesh 03-04-2012 10:43 PM


I'm doing this more for the frog than the as of yet non-existent betta, I already have a frog, and am quite in love with him! I started off on the wrong foot, and unfortunately made him endure a cycling tank - which I DO NOT intend to do again! He's come through brilliantly in the community tank, but for various reasons I've decided that it might be better to house him on his own.

Thanks for the advice, Ladayen -

ADF's are actually fine by themselves, though they ARE more social with friends - they don't have to be in a group. He has lots of hiding places in the main tank, but we see him out and active all the time! I was looking for a 10 or 15 gallon tall tank so that I could get another frog to put in with him, but am not having much luck finding something small enough for the space I have. We've got the food situation down so he gets his share. He'll actually eat it right out of my fingers - but yeah, he's TERRIBLE at finding his food if it isn't in an established/expected place away from the greedy fish or hand-fed to him. He's in an 18 inch high tank right now - he has no trouble swimming to the top of for air - but I don't like having to put my entire arm in every time I feed the little guy. So yeah, reasons. . .

But I just wanted to make sure before committing to such a tiny tank that it'll be. . . stable enough for him! How much water do you generally change out every week, and does this 'shock' the system into doing another mini-cycle? I've read some very odd things on small tanks, so I'm unsure!

Good to look into about over-feeding the betta. I'm still in the considering/research stage of even THINKING about getting one months after the tank/frog are established. Would it be healthy for a betta to live soley on blood-worms/brine-shrimp? I know many people keep them together, so I was thinking that would be the easy part! SO much to learn!

Dmuddle! Don't fear the frog!!! He's SOOOOO CUTE! And SWEET!

ladayen 03-04-2012 11:00 PM

The good bacteria grow on surfaces, such as the filter decorations and gravel. Doing a water change will never have any significant effect on the cycle. Some people think you must clean the gravel every water change, this is not the case and can cause a mini cycle. The goal is to do a 50% water change weekly, realistically I often only get a 30% or so.

Chesh 03-04-2012 11:13 PM

Awesome! That's kind of what I was thinking, as it WILL be filtered. And a water change on a 5 gallon is like. . . a drop. I'm SURE I'll be able to handle that. 50% seems high for such a tiny little tank (no water left!), but I guess I'll have to base that on the readings I'm getting once the tank/frog are established and go from there. . .
Thank you for all the info!

Geomancer 03-05-2012 06:35 AM

The 25-50% change is the same, regardless of tank size. Toxins build up based on number of fish per gallon of water. Larger thanks have more fish, while smaller have fewer, but the rate toxins build up is the same thus the amount of water being changed (in terms of percent) is the same.

beetlebz 03-05-2012 07:28 AM

The solution to pollution is dilution. Thats the same regardless of tank size :)

Chesh 03-05-2012 07:44 AM


Originally Posted by beetlebz (Post 1003543)
The solution to pollution is dilution.

Haha, great way to think of it! Thank you! As long as I don't have to worry about a constant mini-cycle, I'm sure I can handle a 5 gallon just fine! Can't wait to get it, set it up, cycle it, and get Froggy into his new apartment!

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