Deammonification (partial nitritation-anammox) is a proven process for the treatment of high-nitrogen waste streams, but long startup time is a known drawback of this technology. In a deammonification moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR), startup time could potentially be decreased by increasing the attachment rate of anammox bacteria (AMX) on virgin plastic media. Previous studies have shown that bacterial adhesion rates can be increased by surface modification or by the development of a preliminary biofilm. This is the first study on increasing AMX attachment rates in a deammonification MBBR using these methods. Experimental media consisted of three different wet-chemical surface treatments, and also media transferred from a full-scale mainstream fully nitrifying integrated fixed-film activated sludge (IFAS) reactor. Following startup of a full-scale deammonification reactor, the experimental media were placed in the full-scale reactor and removed for activity rate measurements and biomass testing after 1 and 2 months. The media transferred from the IFAS process exhibited a rapid increase in AMX activity rates (1.1 g/m2/day NH4+ removal and 1.4 g/m2/day NO2− removal) as compared to the control (0.2 g/m2/day NH4+ removal and 0.1 g/m2/day NO2− removal) after 1 month. Two out of three of the surface modifications resulted in significantly higher AMX activity than the control at 1 and 2 months. No nitrite oxidizing bacteria activity was detected in either the surface modified media or IFAS media batch tests. The results indicate that startup time of a deammonification MBBR could potentially be decreased through surface modification of the plastic media or through the transfer of media from a mature IFAS process.