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Testing Amquel+


Since many here have reported less than good results with Amquel+, I have been curious at how it compares to the product Amquel. Amquel has always done a great job at binding free ammonia in water, but did nothing about nitrites, nitrates, and had little buffering abilities, so could potentially cause pH problems. Amquel + was designed to address these issues, but did not seem quite up to the job. I followed these tests very closely and feel that you might be just as interested in their results.

"Any time a new aquatic water treatment appears on the market, it arrives with a series of claims about its effectiveness and recommendations for its use. Amquel + is no exception. It presents itself as a treatment for chlorine, chloramines dn ammonia, much like its predecessor, as well as being buffered and containing an as yet proprietary treatment designed to remove nitrite.

We decided to take advantage of the new buffering capacity and its reported enhanced efficacy in removing ammonia and purchased four Kg pf Amquel + as the primary treatment for the Northern Midwest ZNA's Koi show held September 10,11,and 12, 2004 in Plainfield Illinois.

Vats were arranged outside in broken shade, and filled with either 300 (6 foot vat) or 500 (8 foot vat) gallons of water from the local well source. This h ad been previously tested, and was free of runoff or exogenous ammonia., pH was 8.4 and alkalinity was in excess of 300 ppm.

Test kits used were LaMotte Salicylate kits purchased within two months of the show and from different lots. The vat treatment protocol was that developed by Norm Meck for koi shows and publishing in Koi USA, Vol 22, issue 4 (January/February 1998). The only departure form Norm's technique was to omit the Novaqua, expecting the buffering capability of the Amquel + to ease

the stress on the fish.

A point system was used to prevent overloading.

All vats were pretreated with the recommended dosage supplied with the Amquel + label at a weight calculated to provide ammonia neutralization capacity of 2 ppm for each vat. The Amquel + was measured for each vat on a triple-beam manual balance scale by a single operator.

{Prior to introduction of fish into the vats, samples of untreated source water and treated vat water were obtained for reference purposes. An ammonia standard solution was prepared using the Hach ammonia standard solution (150ppm) to deliver a final concentration in 5cc of water of 0.25 ppm ammonia per drop of standard solution.

Source water was tested for ammonia using both test kits and were both found to be negative.

Test #1: Ammonia standard and reagent testing. Five tubes of distilled water were treated with 0, 0.25, .05, 1 an 2 ppm of ammonia standard, agitated, and then tested for ammonia using the directions and reagents provided with the LaMotte kits. Comparison with the provided standard comparison slides confirmed the accuracy of both the ammonia standard and the testing reagents.

Test #2: Samples from 2 vats were obtained, one empty and the second containing koi at t a load rate of 0.66 of vat capacity. The koi had been in the bay approximately 2 hours prior to sampling and had been fasted for six days prior to the show. The tubes were filled with 5cc of respective bat sample and preteated with 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5 and 2 ppm of ammonia standard. All tubes were tested by a single operator using one of the LaMotte kits.

The expectation was, since the data supplied with the Amquel + indicated that standard dosing would neutralize 1.2 ppm, of ammonia and we had pre-treated with a double dose (2.4 ppm), that none of our test tubes would "break" or develop color indicating the presence of free ammonia. We were surprised to note that water form both bats "broke", the empty bat at tube 3, indicating only 1 ppm of residual protection. The vat with koi broke at tube 2, indicating a 0.5 ppm residual protection,. This was very disquieting, since it implied that Amquel + , used as directed, had less than half of the protective capacity claimed on the label. Both vats were retested with the second LaMotte kit and the results were identical.

Test #3: All vats were treated with a second double-dose of Amquel +, mixed and allowed to equilibrate for 1 hour, and the same index vats were retested using the same test kits and techniques. With a claimed ammonia neutralization capacity of 4.8 ppm in each vat, the empty vat broke at tube #3, as did the vat with koi.

These results are disturbing, indicating the lack of ability of our stock of Amquel + to dope with ammonia loads at concentrations claims on its label. All samples of Amquel + had been pre-measured according to label directions and stored in sealed plastic bags prior to use. Given these results, we cannot recommend the use of this product until the disparity between claimed results and actual performance can be resolved."

Bob Paaovoy and Bod Brudd

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