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My Questions About Prime- Answered!

Guest asteriskadonis

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Guest asteriskadonis

I have been using Seachem's Prime for over a year now, and have been pretty satisfied. However, when I bought a new bottle of Prime at my LFS a week ago, I noticed that there was a difference between the old and new bottles.

Specifically, my older bottle claimed that a single dose of Prime "removes approximately 0.6 mg/L ammonia, 3 mg/L chloramine, or 4 mg/L chlorine". However, the new bottle of Prime had different numbers: "0.8 mg/L ammonia, 1.2 mg/L chloramine, or 3.3 mg/L chlorine". The Seachem website now also says that a single dose of Prime removes 0.8 mg/L ammonia, 1.2 mg/L chloramine, or 3.3 mg/L chlorine.

These numbers are quite different, so I was confused: what was with the change? Did Seachem change the formula or the concentration of Prime? Or did they do more testing of their product and slightly revise their numbers?

I've also always wondered- when a bottle of dechlor says that it removes X amount of chloramines in a single dose, what exactly does that mean? For instance, does a single dose only break apart X amount of chloramine into chlorine and ammonia without removing or detoxifying them, OR does removing X amount of chloramine really mean that it breaks apart the chloramine bond AND remove and detoxify all resulting unbound chlorine and ammonia? (This is important for where I live, because I recently found out that I have 3 ppm chloramine coming out of the tap, which is more than a single dose of either prime or novaqua+/amquel+ can handle.)

There was only one way to answer these questions- calling Seachem's tech support desk. When I called, a really nice and knowledgeable woman answered right away, and proceeded to answer all of my questions.

She had worked for Seachem for years, and had never heard of the numbers on the Prime bottle changing. Which means that my old bottle of Prime must have been kicking around warehouses and LFS store shelves for a pretty long time before I bought it about a year ago. Kind of interesting to find out how long it can take to get a bottle of dechlor from the factory to your tank! She put me on hold and asked the president of Seachem, who told her that the chemical formula and concentration for Prime has never changed. The reason they changed the numbers a few years ago is that they felt Seachem's previous president had been too conservative on the amount of ammonia a single dose of Prime will remove; also, more testing by Seachem resulted in more accurate estimations of the amount of ammonia, chloramine, and chlorine that will be removed by a single dose in average water conditions.

In terms of exactly what they mean when they say a single dose "will remove X amount of chloramine", she told me that this means that X amount of chloramine AND all of its components will be completely removed (in the case of chlorine) or detoxified (in the case of ammonia). So, when the new bottle says that a single dose of Prime removes 1.2 mg/L of chloramine, that means it will get rid up up to 1.2 mg/L of chloramine AND remove/detoxify all of its unbound chlorine and ammonia. (What a relief to know for certain!)

So, for my tap water, with 3 ppm (more or less 3 mg/L) chloramine, I will need to use a triple dose of Prime to completely get rid of all that nasty chloramine. She told me that up to 5 times the normal dose of Prime can be used with no problems in a tank, and even more can be used in tanks that are not overstocked and are well-aerated. Like amquel+, the active ingredient in Prime is a reducing agent, which will bind to oxygen in the water when there isn't sufficient amounts of chlorine and nitrogen-based molecules (like chloramine, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc.) to use it up. This is why using more than 5x the normal dose in tanks with already low oxygen levels can be dangerous.

Edited by asteriskadonis
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