Effect of Prime on API test kit

Discussion in 'Test Kits' started by kinezumi89, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember


    I just have a quick question about the API Freshwater Master Test Kit.

    I know that if you test the water after dosing with Prime while it is still effective (within 24 hours), that the ammonia and nitrite test results can be inaccurate. Are the nitrate, KH, and GH tests still reliable, or should I only test right before I re-dose with Prime? (To explain, I am unfortunately doing a fish-in cycle (long story) and my tapwater has 0.25ppm ammonia in it, so I am dosing Prime for the volume of the tank daily.) I read the sticky interview with API, but I don't believe they addressed this topic.

    Thanks! :)

  2. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    I presume all the test results would be skewed.

    Are you doing water changes daily?

  3. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I was, until I tested my tapwater and realized that it contains 0.25ppm ammonia. I test my water daily (thus far, I do it right before I add the Prime in case it skews all tests), and if the ammonia is greater than 0.25ppm, I would do an immediate water change. It's never actually risen higher than the level in the tapwater, so I've just been doing weekly water changes to remove debris and lower nitrates (though since there are only three platys, a BN pleco and some free-loading MTS in a 55 gallon tank with a bunch of hornwort, the nitrates don't get very high). I set the tank up in the beginning of March; one day the ammonia test was almost zero so I thought I was coming up on the end, but it's been consistently 0.25ppm since then, so I must have been imprecise when doing the test. (I always shake the bottles vigorously just in case, but Nitrate #2 especially.)
  4. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    Ok, I'm still not sure of something. Every day, you dose with Prime? But you don't necessarily do a water change every day, is that right?
  5. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    That is correct. I was told that Prime is no longer effective after 24 hours, and any ammonia produced (or nitrate, but there isn't any in my tank) is no longer detoxified into ammonium.

    Every night I dose all three tanks (10 gallon also isn't cycled, and my shrimp tank isn't either, but I'll be putting a sponge filter in this weekend) with Prime for the full volume of each tank. Beforehand, I test the water parameters. If ammonia is still at or below 0.25ppm, I do not do a water change (haven't had to during the week yet, ammonia is always low enough). Every weekend I do water changes; 50% in the 10 gallon and about 25% in the 55. (The shrimp tank, however, I do daily water changes because the ammonia DOES get to over 0.25ppm if I don't.)

    Hopefully that clears things up! I had a different thread about this; Lexi, toosie and Dena were helping me throughout and this is the strategy we (okay, they) came up with. :)
  6. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    Well, I certainly trust their judgement. I've just never heard of someone dosing with Prime daily whether or not they're doing a water change.

    Now, am I allowed to slap you around a little for having 3 uncycled tanks? :p
  7. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    To the best of my knowledge, Prime only affects the ammonia test, the other should be fine. If your tank is cycled, it should eaily process the .25ppm ammonia in your tap water in 24 hours. So I would recommend not dosing with Prime, unless you are doing a water change. But on water change day, test your ammonia before the water change and that should indicate where you really are ammonia wise.
  8. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Well, without boring you with a long story, I got a free bowl from my mom (it's pretty and decorative!), put a betta in it, realized it was too small, put him in a 10 gallon, didn't understand cycling and had too many fish, set up a 55 and moved the fish over and quarantined platys in the 10 gallon (because I incorrectly thought it was surely cycled by then), platys were aggressive in a small space so I switched the platys and the betta. I was doing daily water changes but the ammonia never dropped below 0.25ppm, tested the water, consulted FishLore, and that pretty much brings us to the present. As for the shrimp tank, I was sort of going off of Jeri's thread for ideas (I bought it for a betta because I read 2.5 gallons is large enough, but then I learned that 5 is the minimum, so I scrapped the idea and went with shrimp instead). Hers isn't filtered but it has lots of plants, so I went with that. The filter that came with the tank is way too strong, so this weekend I'll make a sponge filter and hopefully that will provide a suitable habitat for a bacteria colony. Whew, sorry that was so long-winded...

    So I don't need to dose Prime everyday? If it's only effective for 24 hours though, wouldn't the levels of ammonia be harmful?
  9. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

  10. Lexi03Well Known MemberMember

    The waterchanges do. Not bring her ammonia down because she is not quite cycled, and there is .25 ammonia in her tap. This is a method I have come up with with my tanks to get the cycle to finish with all the ammonia in my tap. Once you go through most of the cycle and get to where the waste from the fish is being processed, with a nitrate reading, no nitrites, and the ammonia equal or less than your tap, it stalls because you are constantly adding more ammonia with a daily water change. Kinda like almost cycling a tank then adding a fish every single day.
  11. LadayenValued MemberMember

    Prime will affect nitrite and nitrate with sufficient dosage. Even seachem doesn't understand (last time I checked anyhow) how or why this is, but many many people have reported it and seachem has been able to duplicate the results.

    Prime does not change ammonia into ammonium as most people think but binds it into something else entirely. I cant recall the chemical compund formula off hand. When testing your water the chemicals in the testers break the binding and you get an accurate reading of the ammonia in the water as if the Prime were not present. Whether you test after dosing with prime or before you should get the same results.

    Ammonium is only possible long term in acidic water. In a higher PH tank ammonium would nearly instantly be converted into ammonia. On the other hand ammonia is slowly converted to ammonium in acidic water. The lower the PH the more ammonia is converted. There is a limit as to how much ammonium can be stored before the rest of the ammonia just sits there.
  12. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Thank you, that was very informative! My pH is 8.2, so I doubt there's any ammonium in my tank.

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