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New Betta -- question about a new sponge filter


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After giving up goldfish back in December, I ended up with a betta this past weekend after stopping in to Petco for dog food. Haha. He is in a bowl right now, but I have a sponge filter on the way and an empty (never used) 2.5 gallon sangria jug/pitcher thing I will be converting into his home.

I have never worked with a sponge filter before, and unfortunately don't have my big tank anymore to jumpstart the beneficial bacteria. I was planning on adding it to the tank with a small bottle of Tetra Safe Start (which I've always had good luck with in the past) when I add the fish.

About how long do you think it will take to cycle? Will I see an ammonia spike in such a small tank with just one fish? Any info/tips would be appreciated. Thanks!

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I'm not sure how the safe start will affect the cycle, but you will see ammonia in such a small tank.  Like in a bigger one, test the water daily while he is in there and do a water change every time it hits .25 ppms of ammonia.  Continue in this fashion until you see the nitrite spike (adding just a tiny bit of salt, even half a teaspoon per gallon should help protect against the worst nitrite toxicity) and through until you see nitrate present, then only nitrate with no ammonia or nitrite.  


Fish in cycling isn't really that bad, but you just have to stay on top of the water chemistry and water changes to keep things comfortable for your animal while the filter matures.  In a nice warm betta tank with light feeding this could happen in several weeks.  The warmer tank helps!

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