Need Help With Ammonia Levels!

ChancesMama

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Okay so, I have been struggling with Ammonia for about a month and I think I know what I want but I need to be sure so this wont happen again. I have a 28gallon (roughly 106 litres), currently I have 8 neon tetras and 4 cherry barbs but they will be gone by next week. I first noticed my ammonia levels were high when two Neons from Petco (I'm never going there for fish again) died in my tank. I went in to get my water tested thinking it was my fault, only to see that there were roughly 20 less neons in the tank I got mine from and 3 dead fish still in the water. The neons that died in my tank looked like they had pop-eye or something similar. But anyway, they said my tank was not properly cycled and my ammonia levels were high. So now I know I probably bought the Neons too soon. I bought a starter kit because the guy there told me to do so and practically shoved it at me, it was 5$ so why not. And I also got some test strips to do the tests myself. 
 
When I got home I discovered my ammonia levels were at "6.0" or higher, so I did a 50% water change right away. and added the starter kit. It was just over 4 within a few days. I tested my tap water and it came out fine. I continued to do 25% water changed every 3-5 days and still have been. The ammonia levels have been at about a steady 3 lately and my fish seem much happier. 
 
My plan is to: 1. Remove all my fish and give them to people I know that can take them. 2. Empty it, wash everything with warm water, and add new water. 3. Buy more plants (I only have 4). 4. Buy a heater.  5. The first fish I would like to add are either Corey's, Rasboras, or Guppies. (All Beta friendly because I intend to add my Beta to the community.)
 
ANY help would be really really appreciated! I'd like to hear what a more experienced Aquarist has to offer to this situation and I will read up more on cycling!
 

EllieJellyEllie

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Ch4rlie

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Would add one more thing, get rid of that test strip kit, they are pretty unreliable! 
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Get an liquid test kit if you can, API Master Freshwater Test Kit are ok for starters.
 
And do follow your plan....
 
ChancesMama said:
My plan is to: 1. Remove all my fish and give them to people I know that can take them. 2. Empty it, wash everything with warm water, and add new water. 3. Buy more plants (I only have 4). 4. Buy a heater.  5. The first fish I would like to add are either Corey's, Rasboras, or Guppies. (All Beta friendly because I intend to add my Beta to the community.)
BUT do not add any fish until you are sure you have completed the fishless cycle, use the link Ellie has given on her post.
That would be your best course of action.
 
Then you can plan what stocking you want to add to your tank, thats the fun part! 
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ADW1988

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Yes I agree, re-home the fish and do the fishless cycle.

I promise you, cos I learnt the hard way, that waiting 4-6 weeks doing a fishless cycle will be worth it.

No stress for you, no need for crazy maintenance and no stressed/pained fish.

One you go fishless cycle, you don't go back
 

lrhodes

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What everyone else said about the cycling...
 
But I don't know if guppies with a Betta is a good idea...
 
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You need to be doing much bigger water changes, you need those levels at 0 until you rehome the fish, 90% as soon as you can.
 
Rehoming the fish is the right way to go, then you can do a fishless cycle and hopefully things will be better next time.
 
Follow the guide that Ellie linked (is also in my sig) to the word, if you do, nothing should go wrong.
 
Like Ch4rlie said, you need to get a liquid test kit, API makes a good one (fairly cheap too). Liquid tests are much more accurate, compared to test strips.
 
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ChancesMama

ChancesMama

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Thanks everyone! I got them all out that week and I had been doing 30% water changes a day in the big tank. I did a 100% change before leaving for the weekend and there was some ammonia water left I couldn't get out but when I got back home, I did a test and the ammonia level was at 0. This weekend I will be buying a heater and all the necessary things to cycle it! Right now my betta, Chance, is just chillin in her smaller tank and she's loving it. My mom hadn't changed her water in a few weeks. Chance was probably lost because I've always been very on top of keeping her water clean.

Thanks again for your help! Especially Ch4rlie and Blondielovesfish!
 

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