What a great read this as been, it gives me some hope and reassurance as a newbie who just made a bunch of rookie mistakes. I guess I'm not alone. I also learned some stuff that I didn't even know I needed to know, so that's always good too.
Good for you doing a fishless cycle! 2ppm ammonia is IME the best amount, too much & it can derail the bacteria, too little takes too long. (that was probably in this thread but, well, I didn't want to read it all again, lol. Maybe I should, as I recall it's good 1, no wonder it's a sticky.)
Yes, if you do the dilution math, larger WCs are more effective than more frequent small 1s in reducing pollution. Nitrate is the easiest way we can test but there are likely other "things" too.
You should start a new thread in newbie or general freshwater forum, we'd love to hear about your big new tank & can help if you need it...we all have opinions & like pics too.
Old thread but glad to have read it all. As was mentioned, there are hard and fast rules to this hobby. But most research is truly just reading 100 peoples’ opinions, hoping that those people are basing it on experience and not speaking out of their ass, seeing how far the opinions swing in any direction, and making your best judgement. Ultimately, trying something and forming your own opinion based on experience.
As a teen I got my first betta, Sentoki, who lived for a very long time despite me being a complete newb. He was used as a center piece for my aunt’s sweet 16 and I took him home. He went from a bowl to a tall glass vase that I had, and then in my 3.5 gal. There was a lot of trial and error which was hard for someone with no money. I just wanted to give him a good life. When he finally passed I cried like a baby lol. That was about 5 years ago.
I had 4 betta after him in the span of a couple years. One I inherited from a friend because she didn’t have the space anymore, then another, then another, then another, each having shorter lifespans than the last. I didn’t get it. My first betta lived a long healthy life so I thought I was a “natural.” I was frustrated and I felt guilty, and also a little embarrassed that I had to tell my parents my fish kept dying, so I gave up on them for a few years.
Fast forward to now. I started getting fish fever out of the blue. Wanna be a fishmom again and now I’m an adult with money. I upgraded my 3.5 to a 10, with plans to go bigger when I have my own home. I’m going to have a properly planted tank for once, and ordered nice healthy plants from people online. I’m going to check my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, do weekly water changes and fishless cycles, all things I had never bothered with before. Back then I would do a complete reset of my tank every couple of months, unknowingly getting rid of all of the good bacteria, and doing who knows what to my water levels. I feel like my life the past month has been google searches and fish forums.
And even after all of that reading I’m still a newb. I’ll be a newb even if my new fish lives for years. I do not, in fact, have a “green thumb” for fish keeping. Sentoki was just a healthy, hardy fish. He didn’t thrive because of something I did, he survived despite me. I really don’t want to put another betta through that so I’m taking my time. I’m not gonna plop him in right when he gets here, I will stock my tank measuredly and not all at once, and I’m going to get him some damn good food because I can afford it now. I’m hoping things go well but I know that means making a proper commitment this time.
Despite me being in this hobby for over well 2 years now, I still am a newbie. Ask everyone around how they hate me and my mistakes just because I am trying to give a good piece of advice. I would be long gone from here if it was not for my friends I gained here.