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Old 02-29-2012, 04:45 PM   #1
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Need to understand Prime more...

I am going to learn how to keep my tank at very low nitrates in the hopes of getting a ram at some point.

Water test today showed ammonia .25 and nitrate 25ppm. I did a 50% water change to get them down. Tested again after about 4 hours to see if I wanted to do another water change to get nitrate down more. Nitrate was better at 12.5. But, the ammonia showed up higher than it did before I did the water change this morning.

I really want to understand this process and know if this result is something I should be worried about. I know someone said ammonia changes to ammonium (?) for 24 hours. Should this be showing up on the test? Is it something I need to worry about? I am sure when I test again tomorrow no ammonia will show, but I don't like the green result today. If I understand more how it works maybe it won't bother me so much.

I use tap water and change about 4 1/2 gallons at a time for a 50% PWC (10 gallon tank). I use about 10 drops of Prime for this amount. That is about 2 drops per gallon with a couple added on for good measure. I add Prime as I fill the container and let it sit for about 10 minutes before adding it to the tank. Do I need more prime? More sitting time?

As I said, I am trying to figure this water thing out more knowing that some day I want a ram. And I won't ever feel comfortable getting one if I am showing ammonia at all. I know if I want really low nitrates I need to do more water changes, but I worry about those PWCs doing more harm than good.

Thanks!
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:54 PM   #2
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Liquid salicylate tests like the API test and most others commonly available do not distinguish between free ammonia (nh3) and ammonium (nh4), it reads them both together as a whole. Prime basically temporarily converts NH3 to NH4. So in short, it shouldn't read any different before and after dosing.


You are right not to get rams until the tank gets better established.

As for your nitrate issues, look into planting the tank, they will suck up the nitrates for you.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:14 PM   #3
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Read the details here http://www.seachem.com/Products/prod...ges/Prime.html

But it basically sounds like the dechlorinator process creates ammonia. But Prime includes a binder that converts the ammonia (as well as any nitrite) in the tank into non-toxic forms. But as jetajockey points out, these modified forms still show up on the chemical tests.

If your 'new' water is in a bucket, add two drops of Prime per gallon of 'new' water to the bucket before adding the 'new' water to the tank.

If you add your 'new' water directly to the tank (such as using a Python to fill directly from the sink), then add two drops of Prime per gallon of 'the tank'. I believe the idea is that the Prime must be at a certain concentration to work. So if you have a 10 gallon tank, remove 1 gallon of water, add two drops of Prime to the tank, then add 1 gallon of water to the tank, the Prime will be too diluted in the tank to do the job of properly.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:17 PM   #4
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That's right, with chloramines, the chlorine/ammonia bond is broken, chlorine is dissipated leaving behind the ammonia.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:31 AM   #5
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