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Does Prime change the ammonia test readings and 2 related questions.

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  • Does Prime change the ammonia test readings and 2 related questions.

    So my ammonia is too high (brackish water tank). I put in some Seachem Prime and Stability in amounts per the instructions on the bottle (20 gallon tank). I use API Saltwater Master Test Kit (sorry if Seachem also makes tests - but that's what I have :) ). 1. Should I expect the addition of Prime to change the ammonia test reading or just make the ammonia that is there not harmful to the fish? I gather the Prime does some kind of reaction with the ammonia, but the ammonia is still there. So is it still detected by the test to the same extent as without the Prime? Or does the reaction of the Prime with the ammonia also alter the ability of the test to detect ammonia? Does the answer depend on the brand of test you are using, or does everyone test for ammonia the same way? 2. If the Prime is reacting with the ammonia putting it into some other form, could it also have a negative impact on the ability of beneficial bacteria to consume the ammonia? Are the beneficial bacteria still able to recognize and consume the ammonia after its reaction with Prime? Otherwise, when you stop using the Prime, you are just back where you started, no, with too much ammonia and risk to the fish? 3. I have fish in the tank. Can I ameliorate the situation by doing lots of water changing, to dilute the ammonia? Or would that also remove a lot of the beneficial bacteria and therefore not be a good solution? Or are the beneficial bacteria more in the filter media than in the free water, so that the water change would leave enough beneficial bacteria around? For example, can I just to 50% water changes every day until my ammonia gets back down below 0.25? I could re-add Prime and Stability to compensate for the dilution of those caused by the water changes.

  • #2
    Hello, thank you for the post! I will answer your questions below:
    1. Prime will not affect a total ammonia test like API's. There are a few kinds of ammonia test mechanisms, we use a unique one-hydrophobic sensor to detect free ammonia, that is the harmful ammonia. We also have a test for total ammonia which will detect all ammonia like API's does.
    2. Prime detoxifies ammonia making it more digestible by bacteria. So no, Prime will not negatively affect the bacteria
    3. You can lower the ammonia by doing water changes. If you use Prime every 48 hours, then you don't need to do water change as often.
    4. The bacteria in Stability are going to initially be in the water until they find somewhere to colonize, like Matrix biomedia. So since you're going through a ammonia spike and dosing new Stability often, then keeping water changes to a minimum is best. If you do a water change, it can lower the ammonia, but as long as you see an ammonia reading, you should dose about 2.5 mL of Prime for your 20 gallons every other day.

    Hope this helps!

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