Hey everyone, I'm new to the forums and hoping you can help me. I would like to preface this by saying that I am very familiar with the nitrogen cycle (since I anticipate answers telling me to read up on that).
I have a new tank, (20 gal, freshwater) that's been running with fish in it for close to 2 weeks. I only waited 48 hrs before putting fish in, because I had been successful doing that in the past. What I had done the previous times (in a different state) was use water conditioner and bacteria starter. I performed water changes to keep the ammonia levels in check and the fish were healthy from day 1.
This time around, though, I noticed the fish weren't doing so well, so I tested the aquarium water w/ the API ammonia test kit and found that it's 1ppm. After that, I was performing 25% water changes every other day, but the aquarium was still staying at about 1ppm. I finally tested my tap water and found that it has 1ppm of ammonia. I purchased an ammonia neutralizer (Aqueoun ammonia neutralizer), but I don't think the fish are doing well. I already lost 3 neon tetras.
I currently have 3 sunset platies and 3 gold barbs and 1 remaining neon tetra. I feel terrible for making such a rookie mistake, but I never ran into this problem in the past, where the tap water was much cleaner.
What is the best thing to do at this point? I found that if I use the drinking water filter in my kitchen, the ammonia level is reduced to 0.25ppm. There aren't any reputable fish stores in the area for me to talk to about local water chemistry and which supplies they recommend.