How does Prime affect API Ammonia testing?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Brook16, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. Brook16

    Brook16New MemberMember

    I know that dosing with Prime locks the ammonia for 24-48 hours, but how does it affect the API ammonia testing? As an example, if you test 1ppm ammonia before using Prime, what would the result be an hour later? Still 1ppm but neutralized? Will a test still read 1ppm if the actual ammonia goes down below that? I've never been sure how the test is affected.

  2. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Yes it will still register as 1 ppm of ammonia. That's because the API test doesn't differentiate between ammonium and ammonia. The Prime basically takes ammonia and detoxifies it, turning into ammonium.

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  3. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    This is an excellent question, and one that really deserves to be investigated properly.

    My sense is that the API ammonia test will likely still show the same concentration of ammonia after dosing with Prime because the API ammonia test shows both ammonia and ammonium (combined or "total ammonia") the way it works.

    But I don't know what compound Prime converts ammonia to, so it's possible that might be missed by the API test. But I don't know that for sure!

    Maybe I'll run a little experiment and see if I can learn anything.

    Ninja ed!

    Are you sure Prime only converts it to ammonium, and not some other ammonia compound?
  4. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Yes I'm sure it was stated somewhere on the Seachem website. I'll have to find it when I get home.

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  5. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    I just looked on the Seachem site, and found this as part of an answer to a question there:

    "Prime converts ammonia into a complexed imidium salt. This salt is a nitrogenous compound that can still be utilized by aerobic bacteria. In the same way they consume ammonia, these bacteria consume the imidium salt and release nitrite as a byproduct. Prime will also bind with nitrite and nitrate, however, it will not prevent bacteria from consuming these compounds as well."

    The problem is, I find no such word when I search for it. Google wants me to change the word "imidium" to "iminium". So it might have just been a typo by the Seachem person answering the questions, but they spelled it the same repeatedly in that thread.

    Whatever (iminium or imidium), I still don't really know if the API test will "see" that as ammonia. My suspicion is that it may, though.

    Seachem makes an ammonia test that can distinguish between ammonia and ammonium. From what they say in that thread, using Prime will make their ammonia test NOT see it (at least initially since they say that the ammonia will be released from that compound after 48 hours or so). I didn't see if they said whether their combined ammonia test will show it after using prime or not, though.

    But, again, my guess is that both the Seachem combined ammonia test and the API ammonia test may well see this compound, so neither of those tests would be any good at telling if your fish are safe or not.

    Again, all of this should be tested, I guess, to make sure.
  6. Sarcasm Included

    Sarcasm IncludedWell Known MemberMember

    What your searching for is imide salts.
  7. Bluestreakfl

    BluestreakflWell Known MemberMember

    I'd be curious as to how it measures ammonia that's still attached to chlorine in the form of chloramine prior to treating and after as well. I usually have ammonia and chloramine from the tap, maybe when I get home I'll test some tap, and then treat one batch with Aquasafe just to dechlorinate, and test another batch treated with prime, see if there's any difference. My tap is sometimes as high as 4.0ppm of ammonia/chloramine, one rare time it measured off the charts, average is about 2.0ppm.

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  8. Chris99

    Chris99Well Known MemberMember

    To my knowledge it does not measure the ammonia molecule in chloramine. After adding prime though there will be a spike in ammonia. Mine typically reads around .25 ppm just after a wc. The Seachem website states this ammonia is neutralized until the biomedia can process it.