What's The Difference Between Seacham (sp) Prime And Water Conditioner? Question

Discussion in 'Cleaning and Maintenance' started by Joyceheatherington, May 16, 2019.

  1. Joyceheatherington

    JoyceheatheringtonValued MemberMember

    What's the difference between
    Seacham prime vs water conditioner?
    We put in water conditioner. Not sure if should get some of the prime to put in during the cycling?
  2. Skavatar

    SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    Prime has the added ability to temporarily detox ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates between 24-48 hrs.

    That's why its a lifesaver when doing fish in cycling.
  3. smee82

    smee82Fishlore VIPMember

    As far as i know most water conditioners detox ammonia, nitrites and nitrates for 24hrs too. The only thing i think is different is price with prime being cheaper.
  4. aussieJJDude

    aussieJJDudeWell Known MemberMember

    Or often a lot more concentrated - and more commonly reccomended on forums/web sites.
  5. Skavatar

    SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    Of the most commonly sold tap water conditioners,Prime is one of the few that does it. The others are Kordon AmQuel+ and Hikari Ultimate.

    Looking at API Tap Water Conditioner, no where does it say it detoxes ammonia, nitrites or nitrates. https://www.apifishcare.com/product.php?id=655#.XN6bbMhKjcs

    Neither does TopFin. https://www.petsmart.com/fish/food-...um-dechlorinator-water-conditioner-17578.html

    Neither does Fluval. https://www.chewy.com/fluval-total-protection-water/dp/124210 or

    Neither does Aqueon. https://www.aqueon.com/products/water-care/water-conditioners

    The first conditioner I used when I began this hobby was Tetra AquaSafe Plus, and it does not detox ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates either.

    found this list of conditioners that detox ammonia,nitrites,and nitrates. But looking at Kordon's own website and the label on its bottles, the NovAqua Plus does not detox ammonia, nitrites or nitrates. http://petskeepersguide.com/detoxify-remove-ammonia-nitrite/
    and neither does API Stress Coat+ https://www.apifishcare.com/product.php?id=652#.XN6iUchKjcs
  6. smee82

    smee82Fishlore VIPMember

    Interesting, they all claim to detox heavy metals. I wonder if that includes amonia, nitrites and nitrates as well but they just claim it as directly as prime. Most i can buy in china claim to detox it all.
  7. Skavatar

    SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    China makes so many knock off products. They violate all sorts of copyrights, patents, etc.

    Scientifically Hydrogen, Nitrogen, and Oxygen aka ammonia(NH3), nitrite(NO2), and nitrate(NO3) are not classified as "heavy metals."
  8. AvalancheDave

    AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    No dechlorinator binds or reduces nitrite or nitrate. Printing it on the back of a bottle doesn't make it true.
  9. Pescado_Verde

    Pescado_VerdeWell Known MemberMember

    If your water supply contains chloramines you want to use a product that neutralizes ammonia, like Prime. API and others as was mentioned already, do not do this. Chloramine is broken down into its components - chlorine and ammonia - and the chlorine is eliminated but the ammonia remains. Read labels carefully and know what is coming out of your tap.
  10. Skavatar

    SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    Seachem admits that they don't know the exact science that makes ammonia, nitrites, nitrates temporarily non-toxic to fish. The way they found out was that many of their customers reported it. Science looks for repeatability and reproducibility. Just b/c we don't know exactly how it works, doesn't mean that it doesn't work.

    If you ever done fish in cycles, you'll know that there's a difference before and after using Prime. I've done 2 fish in cycles.

    If you ever had a mini-cycle, or a nitrite spike that lasted 3 weeks, your fish would be lethargic and sitting at the bottom of the tank. Then a short while after using Prime, they're back to their normal selves. for 3 weeks! nitrites tested dark purple! I've had this happened before.

    Repeatability and Reproducibility from hundreds, if not thousands of other fish keepers.

    You can say that it doesn't bind or remove these chemicals, and maybe it doesn't, its probably a whole different process.
  11. AvalancheDave

    AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    That's not how science works. Religion, maybe. A few hundred years ago the vast majority of people would swear the Earth was flat.

    I doubt there are thousands of fish keepers reporting this. On all the aquarium forums out there I've only seen you make that claim.

    Remember the thread from the Seachem support forums where someone used Prime for nitrite and it failed. I used it for ammonia and it also failed.

    Most aquarists have no idea what levels of nitrite and nitrate are toxic. They think any amount of nitrite is toxic while studies have found it can be anywhere from 1-100 ppm for tropical fish. And they think nitrate is toxic above 40 ppm when the actual value is more than a hundred times that amount. It's very likely false reports were made based on a lack of knowledge of nitrite and nitrate toxicity.

    Is it possible a product is simply so great that it borders on magic? Every few years they discover miraculous new properties. How long before Seachem starts claiming Prime will resurrect the dead?

    Why hasn't Seachem done so and released the results?

    Why don't you devise a scientific test that doesn't involve anecdotes? I'm willing to split the cost of the experiment with you.
  12. Skavatar

    SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    since we're talking about chemicals, chemistry, science, lets stick to that. The Native Americans would be like those of us who believe Prime does temporarily detox or makes the toxins non toxic to fish for 24-48hrs. They smoked tobacco, chewed willow bark, and (Inca's) chewed coca leaves. They knew it did something but didn't know the exact science of the chemicals in the plant and how they specifically affected their nerve sensors. But like science, there was repeatability and reproducibility. Today, with much better technology we know how these chemicals affect our bodies, our nerves, our brains.

    Perhaps Prime doesn't affect these toxins directly, instead it affects the fish and prevents the toxins from either entering into the fish's body/blood stream/etc, or it attaches to the fish's nerve receptors and stops the toxins from attaching.

    I don't have that kind of money, that's why Universities and Pharmacutecals have grants and research funds. Such as the University of Adelaide and the University of Colorado, where they discovered that "the drug (+)-naloxone can selectively block" and Morphine addiction. "This finding, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, is a huge breakthrough which could potentially even lead to new treatment drugs that could reduce the severe pain of users while kicking their habit." https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249065.php

    I started fish keeping last year July 2018. I'm not the first nor the only one here to make this claim. I'm also not a member of any other fish keeping forum, only this one.

    from this forum 2010, 8 years before i started fish keeping: https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...ime-necessary-to-detox-nitrite-nitrate.74992/

    from a different forum 2010: https://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/threads/urgent-fish-breathing-at-top-of-tank.316391/

    same forum 2011, 7 years before me: https://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/threads/prime-vs-aquasafe.388848/

    from a different forum 2012, 6 years before me, : http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/archive/index.php/t-108704.html

    from another forum 2014, 4 years before me: https://www.koiphen.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-143464.html

    from another forum 2019, i'm freshwater only so... https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/3-weeks-into-cycling-high-nitrites.558879/
  13. AvalancheDave

    AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    How about you tell me the volume of one of your tanks and I'll send you a lethal amount of sodium nitrite. You can use all the Prime you want.

    Some reading on anecdotal evidence:




    I've been keeping fish and active on forums for about two decades and I never heard about Prime and nitrite until it appeared on their website. If people felt it was saving their fish from nitrite they were only telling Seachem about it. Even after the good news was made public, I still didn't see more than a handful of reports.

    You still haven't addressed the argument that most hobbyists have no idea what levels of nitrite and nitrate were truly toxic and credited Prime with saving their fish from levels that weren't toxic to begin with.
  14. Skavatar

    SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    0ppm nitrites is the only acceptable level, therefore, we don't need to know what levels of nitrites are lethal to fish. some species will show stress even as low as .25ppm. why do you think when someone posts a help thread, we always ask about the water parameters? I had fish dying, tested the water, had a nitrite spike, dark purple, over 5ppm, added 5X Prime, and no more deaths for the next few weeks while nitrites still tested dark purple over 5ppm. A few months later in a different tank, I noticed my fish were lethargic and bottom sitting. tested the water, had a nitrite spike, dark purple over 5ppm, added 5X Prime, and shortly after the fish were back to normal.

    anecdotal evidence is usually disregarded, but its estimated that 30-50% of all scientific discoveries were by accident. Prime wasn't created to detox ammonia, or nitrites. The blue pill (forum won't allow me to post the name) wasn't created to fix ed, etc.

    why or how is nitrite toxic to fish?
    "Nitrite, an intermediate in the oxidation of ammonium to nitrate, changes hemoglobin to methemoglobin, which does not carry oxygen; nitrite may thus cause anoxia in fish and other aquatic organisms. The published literature on nitrite toxicity to fish, which consists of about 40 papers, shows that the ratio of the 24-h LC50 (concentration lethal to half of the test organisms in 24 h) to the 96-h LC50 has a median value of 2.0 and is fairly uniform across species; toxicity tests of differing duration can therefore be standardized to a common duration. In general, chronic effects are difficult to detect at concentrations below one-fifth of the 96-h LC50."

    so it is possible that Prime doesn't do anything to nitrite, but it somehow prevents it from affecting hemogloblin in fish.

    i'm not sure if that median value of 2.0 is measured in ppm like in the API test, but if it is. how do all of us who have experience nitrite spikes of over 2ppm in our tanks for any length of time, while using Prime not have dead or stressed out fish?

    The toxicity levels of nitrates have been discussed before and scientific papers referenced. High levels of nitrates, 40ppm and above have long term negative effects on fish. Most can survive in the 40-80ppm for a long time. Some can even survive in much higher concentrations of 200-300ppm. at about 400ppm most species will show short term stress and negative effects. but to most fish keepers we try to keep nitrates below 40ppm. so again, needing to know the lethal levels is a non-issue, b/c we don't allow nitrate to get anywhere near those levels.
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  15. AvalancheDave

    AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    You're conflating accidental discoveries and anecdotal evidence. I believe the blue pill was originally used to treat hair loss but people reported that it helped downstairs. Pfizer or whoever certainly did not begin marketing it for "downstairs help" based on those claims alone.

    You misread the article you cited. It states that the ratio of 24-hr LC50 to 96-hr LC50 is 2.0. Not that 2 mg/L nitrite is toxic. That data is in this table:

    nitrite toxicity table.png

    The 96-hr LC50 values span 7.1 to 140 mg/L nitrite-N. That converts to 23.3 to 460 mg/L nitrite. A hobbyist who thinks anything >0 ppm is toxic and 5 ppm is deadly toxic might believe Prime saved their fish.

    As for nitrate, most aquarium test kits use nitrate units while scientists and everyone else switched to nitrate-nitrogen a few decades ago. It's very common to take articles out of context and use suggested limits for something like invertebrate larvae for adult fish. Developmental stages (larvae, eggs, fry, etc.) of animals lack methemoglobin reductase. Most tanks don't have a food chain dependent on invertebrate reproduction so low nitrate limits aren't needed. If you look at the tables in the Camargo 2005 review you'll see massive increases in nitrate tolerance in fingerlings over eggs. One salmonid species listed has a 96-hr LC50 of 5,800 mg/L nitrate. All non-fake nitrate studies have similar values in the thousands for adult fish. It's easy to see how someone who thinks >40 mg/L nitrate is toxic could mistakenly credit Prime for detoxifying something that isn't even close to toxic levels.

    The Davidson 2017 article is probably one of the best nitrate studies. It used a salmonid species and took place over 8 months. One group of fish was kept at 44.3 mg/L nitrate and the other at 443 mg/L nitrate. There were no differences in mortality, growth rate, fin score, etc. How much higher could they have gone? Probably a bit higher before differences would begin to emerge. And since salmonids are more sensitive to water quality, you could probably go even higher for tropical fish.
  16. Skavatar

    SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    In this article it cites a study by John Davidson, saying "Modest levels of nitrate nitrogen – in the 75 to 100 mg/L range – may be more harmful to aquaculture-raised rainbow trout than producers realize. A team of scientists at the Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute led by John Davidson documented deformities and significant behavioral changes in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) raised in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) with nitrate nitrogen concentrations at levels less than one-tenth the recommended maximum nitrate nitrogen level of 1,000 mg/L. They believe the changes were spurred by chronic exposure to nitrate nitrogen." https://www.ysi.com/ysi-blog/water-...aculture-may-be-more-dangerous-than-you-think

    the nitrate nitrogen levels would convert to about 331ppm - 442ppm, the approximate range that i stated in my previous reply.

    and this was the discussion thread we had on toxic nitrate levels, seem you missed it. multiple sources cited that contradict your >1000ppm nitrate levels are safe. natural unpolluted waters have 0ppm ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate compared to fish contained in an aquarium.

    and why are fish keepers against fish in cycling if a little nitrite is totally harmless?

    i highly doubt any of your fish could survive 8 months of >400ppm nitrates.
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  17. toosie

    toosieFishlore VIPMember

    If you are doing a fishless cycle, there is nothing wrong with a standard dechlorinator. If you are doing a fish-in cycle, I prefer to do water changes to keep ammonia and nitrites around the .25 or below mark, no matter what dechlorinator is used, including Prime.
  18. AvalancheDave

    AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    The YSI webpage is referencing the various experiments by Davidson over the years. He and his coauthors have performed at least 3 (one or two in 2011, one in 2014, and one in 2017).

    In the earlier studies, the authors of that article state that they could not definitively conclude that nitrate was responsible due to their inability to control several other water parameters. Each study is presumably an improvement over prior studies.

    So let's see what the most recent study has to say:
    Most or all of the earlier studies were 3 months long. You need to find evidence that short-term exposure to >40 mg/L nitrate will kill warm water fish. Salmonids at 330-440 mg/L for three months isn't particularly relevant. Still, those numbers are way higher than 40 mg/L nitrate. Since many aquarists believe that short-term exposure >40 mg/L nitrate can be lethal, and salmonids that are much more sensitive to water quality can survive or even thrive in levels 10 or more times higher for 3-8 months, it's highly likely they misattributed their fishes' survival to the use of Prime.
    What are these sources? I want links and exact quotations. I hope you don't take them out of context or misinterpret them again.

    Ammonia and nitrite levels in nature are also much lower than in aquariums. If we must duplicate natural nitrate levels then we should do the same for ammonia and nitrite. Testing ammonia and nitrite at such low levels would probably cost $2-300 per test. Sample preservation for ammonia and nitrite is very difficult and the test equipment would cost more than most cars. That means we would have to personally transport each sample to the nearest lab.

    Maybe we can mimic natural stocking levels as well? Each fish gets hundreds of thousands of gallons then.

    Artificial lighting? That's out, too. And combinations fish species that would never meet in nature are out as well.

    Or we could just accept that aquariums will always be unnatural to some degree and not engage in naturalistic fallacies.
    Because they believe that those low levels of nitrite are lethal?
    Again, this is irrelevant. I only have to show that aquarists overestimate the effects of short-term nitrate exposure and mistakenly credit Prime for their fishes' miraculous survival.
  19. Skavatar

    SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    I don't know what people on other forums say, but i know on here, we recommend frequent water changes to keep nitrates below 40ppm(usually 20ppm or less), so I have not seen much on this forum about using Prime to detox nitrates, nor have I recommended such. We mainly recommend Prime for ammonia and nitrites.

    [QUOTE="AvalancheDave] are these sources? I want links and exact quotations. [/quote]
    like i stated in my last reply, they are all cited on the thread i linked.

    Ammonia and nitrite levels in nature are also much lower than in aquariums. If we must duplicate natural nitrate levels then we should do the same for ammonia and nitrite. Testing ammonia and nitrite at such low levels would probably cost $2-300 per test. Sample preservation for ammonia and nitrite is very difficult and the test equipment would cost more than most cars. That means we would have to personally transport each sample to the nearest lab.[/quote]

    again, if you looked at the thread i posted in my previous reply, you would have seen that i took a water sample from a local pond that i go fishing and tested the waters with the same API master test kit that i test my tanks with. 0ppm ammonia, just like my tanks. 0ppm nitrites, just like my tanks. 0ppm nitrates. my tanks never get to 40ppm b/c i do weekly water changes to keep them as low as possible due to, as you said, the "unnatural" nature of aquariums.

    Because they believe that those low levels of nitrite are lethal?
    Again, this is irrelevant. I only have to show that aquarists overestimate the effects of short-term nitrate exposure and mistakenly credit Prime for their fishes' miraculous survival.[/QUOTE]
    b/c even low levels of nitrites and nitrates are unnatural. and our aquarium fish show signs of stress such as lethargy, gasping at the surface, and bottom sitting. this is observable, and have been reported other fish keepers.
  20. AvalancheDave

    AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    If <40 ppm is the recommendation but 40 ppm nitrate isn't even close to toxic then that would lead to false reports that Prime "saved" the fish.
    I don't see any scientific articles about nitrate toxicity in that thread. Please link them or I will conclude the evidence doesn't exist.
    The API ammonia test can only detect ammonia over 0.05 mg/L. Some might say it can't even distinguish between 0 and 0.25. Natural levels are probably in the ppb range and impossible for aquarists to test or achieve. If we have to mimic natural nitrate levels then we must do so for ammonia and nitrite as well.

    And end the use of artificial light.

    And end the mixing of geographically separate species.

    And give fish thousands or millions of gallons each.
    Again with the naturalistic fallacy. Seachem says they received reports that Prime prevented high death rates aquarists expected from nitrite and nitrate levels. Not lethargy but death. This is all anecdotal anyway and confirmation bias.

    Let's look at some real data (from the Davidson 2017 paper):
    Davidson nitrate fig 2.png

    Wow, no difference in salmonids over 8 months at 443 ppm. Yet people think much hardier warm water fish will die or be stunted at 1/10th that.

    Davidson nitrate table 1.png

    Looks at all those water parameters measured!

    Davidson nitrate table 2.png

    And look at all those growth metrics!

    Davidson nitrate table 3.png

    Who needs all this stuff? An aquarist insists that nitrates ten times less in hardier fish for a much shorter time are hurting his or her fish! Who are you going to believe?

    Davidson nitrate table 4.png

    What's this? Forget all this careful scientific measurement. I'm going to believe some random person on the Internet who says nitrate levels ten times less will stunt hardier warm water fish.

    Davidson nitrate table 5.png

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