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Im thinking about buying some fish...

Well I have been wanting to do this lately the only thing holding me back is the cost of the tanks. I just want something small that I can keep on a desk or dresser that has a filter and all. I already have one (I know nothing about it). I do know that it has been sitting in my room ( which use to be my sisters room IE it was here aquarium) for about 2-3 years now with no fish in it. It has a filter and all, but the problem is that I dont know if I can still use it or what I would need to do to use it again.

Would giving it a good wash and changing the stones be good enough?

do I need to do anything with the filtering system?

How can I test if the filtering system is working properly?

I am not planning on getting anything special for the fish I thought about a beta but I dont think I should put a beta in the tank I have. I am just planning on picking out some fish that I like at wal mart.

So any advise would be helpful!
I dont know why it double posted please close one of them/
If you are on a tight budget then salvage what you can from the tank already there. That way you have to spend less. First clean the tank and see if it has any leaks. After that clean gravel. What kind of filter it has ? you can test it if it work or not after filler water. if the filter works that mean one more thing off from your shopping list.

What type of fish you need to buy is depend on the tank size. Bigger the tank is you can use bigger , fast moving fish. If smaller the tank you need to find smaller , slow moving fish or maybe just a single fish.
I should mention that when cleaning the tank, avoid soap... the residue left behind may cause health problems, or encourage algal growth.

Basically, you can leave the gravel in, wipe the glass down with a wet cloth, maybe use a scouring pad if there is dried on algae that won't rub away with the cloth. Fill the tank with water and check on it for a few hours, watching for leaks. If it seems water tight, great!

Hook up the heater, put a thermometer in there, and set up the filter. You might want to use fresh filter media; exactly what depends on the type of filter... but chances are all you'll need is a sponge or gauze pre-filter medium, then charcoal.
You can test the filter by putting it on the tank, pour some water into it and plug it in. It should start to pull water up its tube into the filter and return the water back in.
If you provide more info on exactly what kind of filter, we can be more specific.

You'll want to let the water filter/circulate for a few days. If you're using chlorinated water, you'll want to get something to dechlorinate it, though it will come out of the water while it's circulating over the next few days anyway... but you'll want some before adding new water once there are fish in the tank. (you can get this in a pet store, and they have it at WalMart too).
You MIGHT want to clean the gravel, you might not... it really depends on the condition it was left in. If it's really dirty, clean it, if not, leave it. Part of what you want to do is allow a microbial community to develop in the tank, this will help keep conditions stable and healthy... you don't want it to be sterile. Cleaning the gravel is easiest with a gravel vacuum (They're basically a tube with a hose attached, like this); it'll suck up the bits of dirt and the rocks will be too heavy to be removed. Just top up the water when you're done.

If you want a betta, it should be fine in a small tank, and they ARE a warm water fish. Most people just keep them at room temperature, but they'll do better around 22-24. They also keep them in small bowls, but they'll be happier with some space.

You can also decide whether you want real plants or other decorations... if you keep real plants, you'll need good lighting.

More detail will help us give more specific information Wink
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