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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2013

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    Default Confused, what the hype with Prime?

    0 Not allowed!

    Context: I came to this forum trying to find answers for a problem with an aquarium that i believe is caused by Prime. More specifically, using Prime regularly over a long period of time to neutralize (more adapted than detoxify) ammonia. That was for my uncle. Then i spoke to a friend of mine yesterday who is having all sort of weird reading on his FW, and who has been using ... Prime in the same way.

    I just did a search on this forum re: Prime, and found that every senior member/ moderator suggest using Prime, without even having the presence of mind to direct the helpless member to its water utility company (hey, it might only be chlorine in the water, right?). I don't mean any offense because all of you mean well, you are passionate and feel your long years of experience speak a great deal, which they do. I feel though that context and scientific knowledge is lacking a bit here.

    So here is what i have been able to gather from SeachForum on Prime. Reading closely, i feel puzzled. I am aware that removing chloramine is important, and perhaps a one time use is harmless (like treating the water during a water change, although that could be avoided as well).

    First of, Prime and other chloramine removers don't go hand in hand with most water test kits. I quote:
    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). A: Assuming 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.
    I am sparing you the moment they are promoting their own test kit.

    Then does it dissipate? Well, if you take a look at the number of people asking the question, and the answers, it is far from clear.
    It says on one hand that the bond is not reversible. On the other hand that Prime dissipated in 24~48 hrs (depending on who answers apparently). It could just mean that once the ammonia is locked it is locked for good. But then another answer says "the toxic forms of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate will once again be converted to their toxic forms after the 48 hours has passed making it necessary to dose with more Prime to bind these into a non-toxic form once again".

    Then there is the ability of the bacteria to consumer or rather oxidize nitrogen form that is bonded to prime. If they can, then no problem. But nothing says they can, and if this is the case, then their number is contained by the nitrogen forms available to them.

    So my personal conclusion in all this is to use these products only if you have to, and if you do, use them with moderation. I have found personally that spending the money and going through the hassle of bringing large quantity of RO water were worth it. If there are other ways to remove chloramine, that would be great as well.


  2. #2

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    0 Not allowed!
    I would really like to hear some responses on this. Should make for quiet the discussion .
    ask ?'s and change some water pair of JD's and loving it.

  3. #3

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    methuen ma usa

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    1 Not allowed!
    i cant give you answers to the exact questions you have asked but i can offer you my experience with all this.

    i have used prime in large doses to detox ammonia, this was over a 4 week period. the fish in the water were not affected in the slightest.
    when i did that, i was doseing 3x recommended dose for the entire tank each day.

    bb has no problem using ammonium vs ammonia. they are able to convert it to nitrites and nitrates just as easy as ammonia. this was my own experiment i was doing.

    ive also tested several other chloramine removes, ie api, kordon, and nurtafin. the reason i choose prime is cost and effectiveness. it costs about the same as api, but doesnt require as high of a dose as api.

    ive never had any problem with liquid test kits and prime. im not sure about other kits, but its recommended to use liquid tests. api master kit is the favorite around here.

    i would like to see if prime's detoxing the ammonia is temporary, might get me a free ammonia test and get to the bottom of that.

    about other ammonia detoxers, api and kordon have ammonia detoxers, and ive never had an issue.

    as i said in your other post, unless you are calling the water company every day you will never truly know if theres any chlorine or chloramine in the water. worst yet if you are aging the water to rid the chlorine, you need to have a large container to store the water, and heat the water to aid in the aging. then you need a pump or alot of work to move the water to the tank. TBH its not worth the work, i personally need to do 75% water changes on all the following tanks, 55 29 20 10 10 5.5. doing the math ill need a 90g tank just to age my water. thats not considering the other 5 tanks i care for that arent mine.

    im pritty sure the discuss owners all use prime and those fish are some of the most delicate fish in the hobby.
    I wonder if i plant one of my tiger barbs would the demon seed grow to a full tree?
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  4. #4

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    Sep 2013

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    0 Not allowed!
    I appreciate you engaging into this discussion Genocidex. I am also interested in other people's opinion on this, EltylT. Thanks.

    Chlorine does evaporate on its own, overnight is enough. Stirring up the water will help.

    You seem to imply that these dechlorinator change ammonia into ammonium, but it is not the case. They do not "detoxify" nitrogen forms, they neutralize them. That i am almost certain.

    In your case (I imagine you're performing 75% WC weekly), you probably have so much of it, that it does not matter whether you have beneficial bacteria or not. Unless i see an independent test that shows that Nitrobacter and Nitrosomas do feed on prime bonded ammonia and nitrites, i'd imagine it stays in.

    Yes, i know that the API liquid test kit is very popular, that is why i thought of pointing out they don't work hand in hand (according to Seachem and based on personal experience).

    Now, if you have so many to maintain, why not investing in a RODI system? Have you tried AquaBella (I hesitate to ask, it does not seem to be well received on this forum)?

    What it seems to me, is that there are two philosophies out there ... be as close as possible to a natural water ecosystem or use chemicals to lessen the incidence of naturally occurring inorganic matter.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5

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    May 2010

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    1 Not allowed!
    As with all things. Consideration and moderation and research is the key. When used correctly, Prime is the best for me and my needs. Even though I don't have any tanks running now that uses water straight from tap, I still have a kilo of Safe in my conditioner cabinet. Simply put, Prime is very cost effective. The concentrated powder version is even more cost effective. It works well when I had to keep fishes alive in tanks without a cycle and needed to do 95% pwcs on a daily basis. It is cost effective when you keep multiple tanks that require daily water changes. When I had discus grow out tanks. The water was changed at least twice a day at 90% plus each time. That is about 2000 gallons of water each day. .....Prime was used at the normal dose every time.

    I also use electronic meters instead of strips or liquids because I want an accurate measure for all possible measurable parameters. It's because I know my water, my specific needs, and what is required of me for water changes that made me choose Prime, or Safe for my case.

    For people who are sure they only have chlorine in their water, they can definitely find an alternative that suits their need. This would mean doing their homework and research.

    Before you blindly follow people's advice, you need to stop and research. You need to cross examine and evaluate you own specific needs.

    I recommend Prime for its cost effectiveness. As long as you don't abuse it with dosage, there is no real issues.

  6. #6

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    Sep 2013

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Spardas View Post
    Before you blindly follow people's advice, you need to stop and research. You need to cross examine and evaluate you own specific needs.
    Totally agree with that!

  7. #7

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    1 Not allowed!
    From the Seachem website -


    Product Description
    "Prime® is the complete and concentrated conditioner for both fresh and salt water. Prime® removes chlorine, chloramine and ammonia. Prime® converts ammonia into a safe, non-toxic form that is readily removed by the tank’s biofilter. Prime® may be used during tank cycling to alleviate ammonia/nitrite toxicity. Prime® detoxifies nitrite and nitrate, allowing the biofilter to more efficiently remove them. It will also detoxify any heavy metals found in the tap water at typical concentration levels. Prime® also promotes the production and regeneration of the natural slime coat. Prime® is non-acidic and will not impact pH. Prime® will not overactivate skimmers. Use at start-up and whenever adding or replacing water.
    Sizes: 50 mL, 100 mL, 250 mL, 500 mL, 2 L, 4 L, 20 L

    Why It's Different

    Nearly all companies manufacture a product that removes chlorine. None of those, however, can compare in quality, concentration, or effectiveness to Seachem’s flagship product: Prime®. Prime® is the second most concentrated dechlorinator on the market after our own aquavitro alpha™. A single 100 mL bottle will treat 1000 US gallons of tap water. Prime® will remove both chlorine and chloramines from municipal water supplies.

    Prime® also contains a binder which renders ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate non-toxic. It is very important to understand how those two functions work together. All dechlorinators operate through a chemical process known as reduction. In this process, toxic dissolved chlorine gas (Cl2) is converted into non-toxic chloride ions (Cl-). The reduction process also breaks the bonds between chlorine and nitrogen atoms in the chloramine molecule (NH2Cl), freeing the chlorine atoms and replacing them with hydrogen (H) to create ammonia (NH3).
    Typically, dechlorinators stop there, leaving an aquarium full of toxic ammonia! Seachem takes the necessary next step by including an ammonia binder to detoxify the ammonia produced in the reduction process.

    Be very careful when purchasing water conditioners. If your municipality includes chloramines in the water supplies, a standard sodium thiosulfate dechlorinator is not enough. Prime® promotes the natural production and restoration of the slime coat rather than relying on artificial or non-native slime compounds. A further bonus for the reef hobbyist—Prime® will not overactivate protein skimmers."

    You only use it at startup and waterchanges - not all the time. I spoke to Seachem before I setup my 75 gal as I have 1.0 ppm ammonia and 10 nitrates in my tap water. Prime is only effective for 24-48 hours, until your BB take over.
    Last edited by gronlaura; 09-10-2013 at 10:33 PM.
    75 gal - Smudge Spot Cories, Silvertip & Pristella Tetras, Scissortail & Red Tail Rasboras, Pearl Gourami, Black Kuhli Loaches, Whiptail Cats, Wild Caught BNP
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  8. #8

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    1 Not allowed!
    Very good discussion.
    I have used water conditioners but only for water changes in freshwater tanks. I stuck with Prime due to the low dosage amount needed.
    I have an R/O filter system which I use for my saltwater tank and occasionally my sons freshwater tank.
    I have never used Prime with a tank that was not cycled but when I use an API liquid test kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate on a cycled tank that Prime was used on (recommended dose), I have not seen readings I wouldn't expect.
    Using Prime to assist in cycling a tank or keeping the bad chemicals from doing harm to the inhabitants, is an experiment I have not even considered.
    I'll be waiting to read more.
    Warning; Bulldog Pleco guarding my Sons tank now..

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  9. #9

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    0 Not allowed!
    You only use it at startup and waterchanges - not all the time. I spoke to Seachem before I setup my 75 gal as I have 1.0 ppm ammonia and 10 nitrates in my tap water. Prime is only effective for 24-48 hours, until your BB take over.
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
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  10. #10

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    Vancouver, BC, Canada

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    1 Not allowed!
    I fully agree with the point Spardas made about researching your water source and then using the appropriate conditioner.

    I would not use Prime if all that it does was not needed; it does affect fish. Prime like all conditioners contains TDS (total dissolved solids) and while hard water fish may manage with these regardless, soft water fish do not. I asked Seachem directly about the TDS of Prime, and they were unable to provide that information.

    What bothers me about this, is all the fiddling Prime does with ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. It is advisable to use this product if one has these three problems, or has nitrite or nitrate issues, in the source water. But if not, I am skeptical that any chemical concoction that messes around with nitrogen like this is actually wise. Even Seachem will admit they do not fully understand the effect of Prime in this area. My view is that one does not need to be adding some chemical preparation that affects ammonia, nitrite and nitrate if it is not necessary. One less substance entering the fish tank.

    On the ammonia, Seachem told me directly that it detoxifies ammonia by changing it to the harmless ammonium. Plants and bacteria/arachea take up ammonia/ammonium as one, so this is no issue. Seachem also said that this bond is permanent. As for test kits for ammonia, most (like the API) will measure ammonia and ammonium as "ammonia."

    On nitrite and nitrate, and toxic metals, Seachem told me that Prime's detoxification is tempoorary, up to 36-48 hours, after which the substances if still present will revert back to their toxic form. My question to them on this point had to do with using Flourish plant fertilizer which contains nutrients that are heavy metals (iron, copper, magnesium, etc) following a water change with Prime; their advice was that Prime would detoxify the metals in Flourish, and it would be best to wait 24+ hours. Prime's effectiveness is exhausted within 36-48 hours according to Seachem.

    Last edited by Byron; 09-10-2013 at 11:40 PM.
    Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
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