Hello Another "newbie" With Problems....


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Austin, Texas
More than 10 years
I recently retired, and decided to get an aquarium for the betta my wife bought and kept in a less than 1 gallon fish bowl........he loves the 29 gallon I bought him. I also bought 4 peppered cory's and a pleco. The setup is 4 1/2 weeks in progress. Twenty five years ago I had a couple of tanks and raised a pair of breeding Jack Dempsey's. I guess I was lucky because I never tested the water, but I did do regular water changes. This time I decided to do it correctly and purchased a Tetra 6 in 1 test strip kit and an API ammonia test kit. My water out of the tap measures between .5-1 ppm ammonia. I've read online that is a reaction of either the chlorine or chloramine which are somehow making the ammonia (?)....Don't know it's all new to me. But after a 35% water change ammonia measures 1-2ppm.... inserted is a link to a photo of the easystrip test strip, and it is consistently in the shown range....Those paramenters look good to me but ammonia is still not good? Can I do anything besides the water changes of about 35% every 3 days to get the ammonia under control? I know the bacteria are supposed to kick in eventually but am I doing anything wrong to inhibit the bacterias growth?


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It’s wonderful that you got your betta a bigger tank!
Chloramine is broken down into chlorine and ammonia by dechlorinators. Some dechlorinators also temporarily detoxify the ammonia/nitrites/nitrates on top of removing the chlorine, but it will still show up on the tests and be accessible to bacteria.
The cycling bacteria takes a while to establish, and require ammonia to do so. But ammonia also harms the fish, so you’re in an awkward place in terms of cycling.
The safest and quickest way is to buy a bottle of nitrifying bacteria from a pet store, or find a local hobbyist and ask for some filter media from a cycled tank. Otherwise, there’s nothing much you can do other than keeping up with the water changes and hope your tank gets cycled eventually, which could take many weeks. What kind of filter do you have?

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