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General chemistry question about Prime.

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  • General chemistry question about Prime.


    Long time user of Prime and swear by it - never ever had an issue and now just want to improve my understanding of its most efficient/effective use.

    I have been reading as widely as I can about chlorine and chloramine and how to best manage its presence in tap water. I have often relied upon rain water in water-changes in the past but having moved I need to use tap water for all changes.

    My aquarium is a freshwater tropical 5'. I work off the principal that I have 400L and try to change 20% fortnightly - that's 80L or 4 x 20L buckets that I can easily siphon to and then fill from.

    My tap water is chloraminated and I generally use a very fine syringe to take up approxy 0.1ml of Prime (from the refrigerated bottle after shaking). I "drop" this Prime into the bottom of the 20L Bucket as I fill it from the bath tap. I usually use a combination of hot and cold water to ensure that there is no thermal shock when adding the new water.


    So I end up with a 20L - well probably its about 17-18L of 23' tap water with 0.1ml of Prime added at the beginning of the fill.

    Is the natural agitation of the filling of the bucket in this way sufficient to ensure that the Prime (such a tiny quantity!) is evenly dissolved into the container's water? Is this therefore all that is required for the Prime to do its thing? The water is then directly added (pretty unceremoniously to the tank in much the same way for several years - so I know its not doing anything that I have noticed detrimental - either the way it is added or the amount of Prime)

    My questions more directly are:
    1) Is this adequate, or should I use relatively more or less when adding the solution to a 20L Bucket in this way?
    2) Is the chemical reaction immediate in so far as by the time I have walked from the bath to the aquarium Prime has worked it magic?

    I don't clearly understand how chemical reactions work like this but I know enough to know it is not working like a chain reaction - the Prime doesn't sort of propagate through the water seeking and reacting with the chloramine - therefore it must only be able to work if it is properly mixed and dissolved throughout the solution.

    Thank you for a great product that I have learned to absolutely depend on. Additional knowledge about these areas is most appreciated!

    Best regards,

  • #2
    Re: General chemistry question about Prime.

    Hi Will,
    Thank you for your questions and for being such a loyal Seachem customer! Because Prime is so concentrated, it really only takes a very minute amount to completely condition your tap water. Since you are treating only your replacement water, which is roughly 20L, or 5 gallons, per bucket, then by my calculations, you will want to add 0.5mL of Prime to each bucket. Suggested dose is 5mL per 50 gallons; 50 gallons/5 gallons=10; 5mL/10=0.5mL to each 5-gallon bucket.

    This dose will remove chloramines immediately from your tap water. It does so by breaking the bonds between the nitrogen and chloride atoms (chloramine is NCl3). When these bonds are broken, however, hydrogen atoms will want to bind to the remaining nitrogen atom, thus forming ammonia, or NH3. Most water conditioners stop after this step, leaving ammonia behind. Prime, however, will also immediately work to remove any residual ammonia.

    To try and answer your questions more directly, I think you should add slightly more Prime than what you have been dosing (again, 0.5mL per 20L of water). Prime will have already worked to remove chloramines and ammonia from your water by the time you are ready to add the water to your aquarium. There is really no need to mix the water, as simply walking from the faucet to the tank will allow the Prime to circulate throughout the bucket sufficiently. We sincerely hope that this information helps and that you continue to be satisfied with Prime!


    • #3
      Re: General chemistry question about Prime.

      Thank you very much. Great answer.


      • #4
        Re: General chemistry question about Prime.

        You are very welcome! I hope that you have happy holidays!!


        • #5
          Re: General chemistry question about Prime.

          Finally (I think) would there be any reason why Prime will skew the results of my API Ammonia test? I know the documentation says that some tests will not read correctly due to what Prime does to neutralize the chlorine and ammonia etc.

          Happy to look at the Seachem tests on the next round of pruchase but for now I want to know that my ammonia tests have been reliable. I usually do a cross check with the tap water - its got about 1ppm anyway so my readings can't be very far off - usually reads clear yellow or trace amounts of ammonia which I suspect may be the prime working fallout?

          Since Nitrite is undetectable and I keep Nitrate less than 10 I doubt there is an ammonia concern, just checking.

          BTW I have stepped up the usage of PRIME exactly as recommended above.
          Thanks again.W


          • #6
            Re: General chemistry question about Prime.

            Hi again stardotstar, thanks for your question! It is very possible that the test kit you are using is giving you a false positive result for ammonia. In fact, I'm sure that this is what is occurring. We actually address this issue in our FAQ, and here are some previous questions that may help clear things up for you.

            Q: I am using PrimeŽ 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 PrimeŽ... it will look "off scale", sort of a muddy brown (incidentally a Nessler kit will not work with any other products similar to PrimeŽ). 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 PrimeŽ), 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 PrimeŽ 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.

            As noted in both of these question, a test kit that is unable to distinguish between free and total ammonia will yield a false positive result when Prime is in the system. If you are able to get the MultiTest: Ammonia with your next purchase, then you will get a much more accurate representation of the levels in your system. Hope this helps!