A Warning about Seachem Ammonia and PH Alerts

Discussion in 'Misc. Reviews' started by PythonTheBetta, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. PythonTheBettaValued MemberMember

    I was on the fence about getting these but I saw some positive reviews. Since I didn't have a liquid test kit yet, I took a chance. When I first got it I made sure to carefully peel the film off as not to damage the little detector dots. And I was extremely careful about not touching the Ammonia Alert sensor.

    So I put them in Python's tank. The ph alert adjusted in a few hours as expected, but I gave the Ammonia Alert a week and it stayed a weird gray color. So I took it out of the tank. It sat out for a few weeks until I bought a bottle of pure ammonia to test it. I held it over the bottle and it immediately turned to the darkest shade. Confident that it worked, I put it back in Python's tank and watched it adjust back to the "safe" yellow.

    When I moved Python and the two alerts from the little hex tank to the slightly larger cube she's in now, I noticed the suction cups were cloudy. Then I noticed small bits of a film like substance floating in the water, thinking it was something I might have had under my fingernails, I sucked all the pieces up with a turkey baster and continued with the move.

    Now back to the inaccuracy. Once I got the API test kit, I tested Python's water. The ammonia was over 1 ppm and the Ammonia Alert said it was within a safe level! Now I've heard that test kits measure ammonia AND ammonium but the alert only measures ammonia, which is why there's such a difference. But I don't know how much truth there is in that.
    The PH wasn't that important but it was still wildly inaccurate.

    I knew the alerts weren't accurate but I kept them in the tank since Python liked swimming around them. I recently decided to take them out(the cloudy suction cups worried me) and the water was immediately clouded with long, clear, stringy... I don't even know how to describe it. Slime? I sucked a lot of it out with my trusty turkey baster, but there's still little pieces floating in the tank, I'm considering a 100% wc...

    So please, don't waste your money on the Seachem PH and Ammonia Alerts, stick to the liquid test kits!

  2. JunneFishlore LegendMember

    Must have been bad/expired or something. I agree, liquid test is the most accurate and the most cost effective way to go.

    I do use the alerts in my tank ( my tank has been cycled for 3 + years ) and use it as a general guideline ( in case I have an ammonia spike or ph drop )
    It's been fairly accurate as I only do a liquid test if I suspect any changes.
  3. PythonTheBettaValued MemberMember

    have you had any issues with the suction cups?
  4. JunneFishlore LegendMember

    No, they stick on pretty good and they are clear, nothing secreting off of them.
    I suspect you must have gotten a bad one - I have used both of those alerts for probably 4 years now and buy them off of Amazon with no problems.
  5. jhigg008Well Known MemberMember

    Is it possible that you had just used prime when the test gave a false negative? I believe that the ammonia indicator measures free ammonia and perhaps the detoxified ammonia would not be detected since it is not free. Just a theory. If this theory is correct then it would not be a false negative but an accurate reading.

    Perhaps CindiL knows. I have been wondering about the reliability of these indicators as well. I use them but purely in conjunction with the liquid kit. I dont place too much confidence is the indicator, but not sure why.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  6. PythonTheBettaValued MemberMember

    I bought Prime at the same time as the liquid test kit. It showed "safe" weeks before I used Prime. and continued to stay the same color after Prime
  7. kluggyValued MemberMember

    I've used seachem ammonia alerts before and I've had one that had issues like yours, A test that you can run on the Alerts is to hold them above a bottle of Windex or other cleaning product that contains ammonia and let the vapors hit the sensor. You should see an immediate change in the color of the sensor. This will indicate that unit is working
  8. PythonTheBettaValued MemberMember

    I did this and it immediately changed color, so it worked to an extent I guess. Either way I will not be putting it back into the tank due to the suction cups
  9. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, What concerns me is the 1.0ammonia reading you got with the API test. Did you move his old filter over? What is your ph? It must be low enough that what you are seeing in ammonium. That will tell us if it's doing its job based on your ph. I would do a 50% water change today and tomorrow. Do you have any ammonia in your tap water?

    It's normal to get bio-film on all surfaces, and also normal to have the suction cups cloud up depending on how the amount of minerals in your water source. Mine do the same thing. They don't get long stringy stuff on them but I am wondering if your filter is breaking the water enough, or splashing enough. I'd be curious if you push them down towards the lower half of the tank if you still will see that on them.

    I don't know about the ph but I also keep the ammonia alerts in my tanks because I have been cycled for years and rarely if ever check ammonia anymore. It's more of a warning to me also like Junne mentioned to see if something is off. With my ph at 8.0 it wouldn't take much ammonia for the indicator to show a reading.

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