Q: I think that my Prime®might be old because it smells like it went bad...
A: Prime®has a very distinct odor that is similar to sulfur which is completely normal. Also, the presence of small black specks is normal.
Q: I am using Prime® to control ammonia but my test kit says it is not doing anything, in fact it looks like it added ammonia! What is going on?
A: A Nessler based kit will not read ammonia properly if you are using Prime®... it will look "off scale", sort of a muddy brown (incidentally a Nessler kit will not work with any other products similar to Prime®). A salicylate based kit can be used, but with caution. Under the conditions of a salicylate kit the ammonia-Prime complex will be broken down eventually giving a false reading of ammonia (same as with other products like Prime®), so the key with a salicylate kit is to take the reading right away. However, the best solution ;-) is to use our MultiTest: Ammonia™ kit... it uses a gas exchange sensor system which is not affected by the presence of Prime® or other similar products. It also has the added advantage that it can detect the more dangerous free ammonia and distinguish it from total ammonia (which is both the free and ionized forms of ammonia (the ionized form is not toxic)).
Q:I tested my tap water after using Prime and came up with an ammonia reading. Is this because of chloramine? Could you explain how this works in removing chloramine?
A: Prime works by removing chlorine
from the water and then binds with ammonia until it can be consumed
by your biological filtration (chloramine minus chlorine = ammonia).
The bond is not reversible and ammonia is still available for your
bacteria to consume. Prime will not halt your cycling process.
I am going to assume that you were using a liquid based reagent test kit (Nessler based, silica). Any type of reducing agent or ammonia binder (dechlorinators, etc) will give you a false positive. You can avoid this by using our Multitest Ammonia kit (not affected by reducing agents) or you can wait to test, Prime dissipates from your system within 24 hours.
Q: How does Prime make a difference in reducing Nitrates?
A: The detoxification
of nitrite and nitrate by Prime (when used at elevated levels)
is not well understood from a mechanistic standpoint. The most likely
explanation is that the nitrite and nitrate is removed in a manner
similar to the way ammonia is removed; i.e. it is bound and held
in a inert state until such time that bacteria in the biological filter
are able to take a hold of it, break it apart and use it. Two other
possible scenarios are reduction to nitrogen (N2) gas or conversion
into a benign organic nitrogen compound.
I wish we had some more "concrete" explanation, but the end result is the same, it does actually detoxify nitrite and nitrate. This was unexpected chemically and thus initially we were not even aware of this, however we received numerous reports from customers stating that when they overdosed with Prime they were able to reduce or eliminate the high death rates they experienced when their nitrite and nitrate levels were high. We have received enough reports to date to ensure that this is no fluke and is in fact a verifiable function of the product.