So your tap water has 1.0 ppm ammonia straight out of the faucet, and a pH of 8.2?
1) use a conditioner that temporarily neutralizes ammonia
, such as Prime. (There are other brands that do this as well.)
These work by converting ammonia (bad) to ammonium (not bad). But they only do this for about 48 hours.
Since they only work for 48 hours, you either need to redose the conditioner every other day, or physically remove the ammonia-tainted water and replace it with better water.
2) Lower the pH via natural means such as tannins.
At a lower pH, ammonia will convert to ammonium on its own. This is good.
At a higher pH, such as your 8.2, the reverse occurs. Ammonium converts over to ammonia. This is bad.
You can add things to the water that leach tannins. Tannins have some antimicrobial properties (this is good), and naturally lower the water pH (also good).
Tannin sources include:
a) Indian Almond Leaves (IAL)
, which are found in Indonesia, where bettas come from. They can be ordered through eBay. (Do a search for Amy. Lots of people on this forum have recommended her.)
b) Oak Leaves (OL)
, which are common in much of North America. Be sure the leaves are pesticide-free. Rinse them off to remove dirt, and place the in the tank. They'll slowly leach tannins into the water.
c) Wood such as Mopani Wood
, which can usually be purchased at petstores.
d) In a pinch, people have even used decaffeinated teas
! The tan/brown color from tea is due to tannins.
3) Add bottled drinking or spring water.
Be sure these say something such as "minerals added for flavor."
You don't want to use distilled water (unless your own water is hard). Distilled water lacks the electrolytes needed to maintain good health.
I prefer to use drinking water, or spring water, that specifically states it contains dissolved minerals (salts). These provide the necessary electrolytes.
Also, test for ammonia on the bottled water too. It's possible that the manufacturer disinfects the water with ammonia or chloramines. If this is the case, using that particular brand won't help you.
4) Cycling your tank
.... is a whole different world though. There needs to be ammonia present, in order to begin the nitrogen cycle. I'm not particularly familiar with the process, as I don't cycle my tanks. If no one on this forum addresses this aspect, I would ask on the Bowls/Habitats forum. The people there are cycling experts.
How is he doing today? Any better?