Hello all,

Recently, my aunt passed away and I sort of inherited her fish. By that I mean no one else wanted to take care of them, so I volunteered to take care of them because I didn't want anything to happen to them. Well, long story short, I am trying to be a responsible fish owner and wanted a little advice. I have read through a lot of online media concerning freshwater aquariums, but was hoping that this community could fill in a few blanks for me.

She had 4 tiger barbs and a pleco in a 5.5 gallon tank. I am not sure how long she has had them. But I was afraid that this tank was not large enough for them. I don't have a ton of room in my house so I opted for a 26 gallon bowfront tank. Along with this, I also got an API Freshwater Master Test Kit so that I would be able to monitor the water.

This morning I noticed the smaller tank was a bit cloudy and immediately tested the water. The ammonia levels in the tank were up quite a bit so I did about a 35% water change. This normalized it a bit more, but I am concerned that I need to do more. I have also read that it is not good to do too many water changes, as this could shock the fish. Any advice here?

I have also cleaned and added water to the new tank. I have put in the appropriate amount of water conditioner as well as a bacterial supplement that is supposed to start the "good" bacteria growing in the new tank. The water temperature is almost up to the 78 degrees that I was told is the recommended temperature for Tiger Barbs. How long should I wait before moving the fish to the new tank?

Also, concerning the water change I performed on the smaller tank this morning. When performing a water change, am I supposed to remove the fish from the tank before doing this? I wasn't sure, but was more concerned with the ammonia levels. I removed the water, and the decorations, cleaned the sides of the tank as best as I could, cleaned the decorations, and replaced the water with new water (after adding water conditioner to it and allowing it to sit for a about 10-15 minutes).

I sincerely apologize about all the beginner questions, I am just trying my best to take care of these fish and don't want anything to happen to them. Thanks in advance for any responses that I can get. And please tell me if anything I said in here is incorrect. This is all new to me, as I have never had a real aquarium; I am still learning.