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Why Seachem Prime Detoxifies Ammonia But Cannot Replace a Water Change...


dnalex

I just got off the phone with several Seachem technical support reps, including a staff chemist, because I had somethings I wanted clarification in regard to one of our favorite products, Seachem Prime. Here is what I learned after speaking to the Seachem people:

1. Depending on the dosage added, Prime will have degraded anywhere between 24-48 hours after adding to the tank.

2. Prime binds to free ammonia and converts the ammonia into an imidium salt. This process is irreversible in the sense that you can't add another chemical to the tank to release the free ammonia from Prime. This imidium salt is still available to the biological filter to be consumed and converted into nitrite.

3. As long as Prime is still active in the tank, the ammonia is non-toxic. However, as Prime degrades (24-48 hours), it will release the ammonia back to its free (toxic) form.

What this means is that if you have ammonia in your tank, either because you are cycling or you are having a cycle bump, you can definitely add Prime to detoxify ammonia and nitrite. However, as early as 24 hours or a maximum of 48 hours, all that ammonia will be free again. This will be in addition to even more ammonia that is being produced in the non-cycling tank. So, I think that while Prime certainly helps to detoxify ammonia, leaving it in a consumable but non-toxic form to be consumed by your benecial bacteria, you will need to do a large water change with 24-48 hours of adding Prime and then adding a fresh dose of Prime to keep things safe.

You could just dose in a more Prime daily, but I think this is counterproductive, because the idea is that you want to have enough ammonia in the system to drive the cycling process while keeping ammonia from harming your fish. However, too much ammonia and the second step of the cycling process, the expansion of nitrite consuming Nitrobacter spp., will be inhibited.

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thanks so much for this info! it's very interesting and I think very important to know! :)

EDIT: I wonder if this topic might be worth pinning?

Edited by tithra

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How timely! It's as though you read my mind......

My tank is experiencing a cycle bump, and these are things that I've been wondering myself. (as I sit here doing a water change)

I nearly forgot to say, thanks so much for looking into this.

Edited by kaytee

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That's very helpful, and informative. Thanks for posting this, Alex!

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Good post Alex. I had heard it was 24 hours but wasn't really sure just exactly what happened after that time period :)

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Good post Alex. I had heard it was 24 hours but wasn't really sure just exactly what happened after that time period :)

Likewise. Apparently, a lot of the techs at Seachem didn't quite know either. I had to ask the chemist at the end.

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Just adding a few plants wont do it. You have to add a LOT of plants.

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