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Old 10-11-2010, 10:27 PM   #1
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can PRIME go bad?

i wasnt sure where to put this, but weve been having some issues with my tank after buying a new bottle of prime. all the parameters in the tank were perfect friday, we did a water change saturday morning and after that we noticed our puffer wasnt doing to good. we tested the water and the ammonia was insanely off the chart. i tested it again in case there was a mistake, but still the same, he shouldve been dead for the amount of ammonia that was in there. since then we've done about 6 water changes to get the ammonia down but it doesnt seem to drop down below 1.2ppm
i was wondering if its possible if prime can go bad...you know how prime has that really bad smell, well the bottle that i just bought on thursday doesnt have as strong of a smell as the other bottles of prime that we've used.

any help would be appreciated.
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:46 PM   #2
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Prime...

To my knowledge, there isn't an amino (ammonia-group) in the Prime product. I would look elsewhere for a cause, perhaps.
Do the tests:
Test tap water for ammonia
Treat water with Prime and test for ammonia
All shall be revealed...
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Old 10-11-2010, 11:29 PM   #3
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i have tested my tap water for ammonia and there isnt any. but i havent tested the treated water before adding it to the tank...ill do that right away. i dont know why i didnt think of that. thanks, ill see what happens.
weve even pulled out the filters to see if there was some food in side there but there wasnt anything.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:25 AM   #4
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never had a problem or heard anyone with a problem like that. prime can give a false positive on some tests.
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Old 10-13-2010, 01:28 PM   #5
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There is a relationship between ammonia-ammonium and pH as depicted on the chart on this page:

Aquaworld Aquarium - The Ammonia and pH Relationship

the lower your pH, the less free ammonia you have, which is what can kill your fish. What you are measuring is TAN or Total Ammonia Nitrogen. So unless you keep your pH really high (like over 8.5) your actual free ammonia is not that high.

I would first check your test kit to see if it is expired.

As far as Prime goes, it is way smelly and probably nothing wrong with it - it smells like rotten eggs.

Prime "locks up" the free ammonia (NH3) into harmless ammonium (NH4+) and then the beneficial bacteria break that down. I would find someone that has a well established tank and use your test kit on their water to make sure the kit is reading correctly.

Also, if you test right after dosing Prime, it may screw up your readings. Wait 24 hours after your PWC and then test. Or you could try testing before the PWC and then 30 minutes after your PWC/Prime and then you might get a better picture of what it going on.

If you're testing that much ammonia/ammonium on a consistent basis, I would wonder if you had a pH crash or something and your bacteria colony suffered.

What kind of filtration system do you run? Have you ever changed out 1/2 of the media (bio-balls, ceramic rings, etc) and how long has the system been running?

What kit are you using?
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Old 10-13-2010, 01:42 PM   #6
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when are you adding the prime during the pwc? are you adding it to the water before it goes into the tank or are you adding it directly to the tank? basically, is the tap water going into the tank untreated?

Have you tested you tap water for chlorine? if it is high it could be killing off your bacteria colony... would could cause a spike in ammonia...
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Old 10-13-2010, 03:32 PM   #7
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I always add Prime while I'm filling the tank (python) and have never had a problem, and our chlorine/chloramine is high. I would think the level of CL would have to be extremely high to cause bacteria die-off that quickly.
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:35 PM   #8
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okay so my test kits have not expired. i use the nutrifin liquid kits.
my tank is FW and sits around 7.5ph.
my concern with prime is that the one i just bought ISN'T as smelly as the other ones I have used.

I have 4 tanks cycled, 1 tank cycling one QT tank and a snail tank. And the other cycled tanks all have good params.

All the parameters were fine before we noticed the ammonia going up.

My tank is a 30gal, I run a Whisper 30-60. I don't remember the heater and air pump names but theyre there too. The tanks been up for almost 2 months. And I've never experienced anything like this in my other tanks before. And we've never changed the filter media. (Every 2 weeks we "swish" one of the filters in tank water)


When we do the water changes we put the water in the buckets, add salt and prime. Wait an hour and then add it to the tank. I can't use our DIY python on this tank cause the hose isnt long enough so we just use a "aquarium only" bucket for this tank and my 20gal.

I don't remember the ammount of chlorine was in the tap water but it wasnt much. And none of the other tanks are having a problem.

I tested the untreated water and treated water before putting it in the tank.
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