water conditioners cause nutrient issues with plants?
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:08 AM   #1
Hardstuff
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water conditioners cause nutrient issues with plants?


A general question I have always wondered about. Does water conditioners that , say help slime coat & heavy metal detox remove or make certain plant & fish nutrients unavailable to plants??? I would like to add some conditioner for their skin but I also do not want to put the tank out of balance or in a funk because of some kind of binding action going on because of the conditioner.
I am not necessarily talking about Prime. I know Prime is supposed to do that, but I have read it does it by irritating the skin so the fish produces a natural protection of slime coat, but I would rather put something in the aquarium water that does NOT cause irritation only a compound that the fish can absorb or use if there really is such a thing. Some companies say their product works that way but I am wondering if they really work at all. I do use Prime, but not a big fan. I am trying to use less since I use mostly R/O water.
What are other people's experiences & what do you use?
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:37 PM   #2
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I haven't heard that about prime... Not saying that it isn't true but I have just never heard that. I have been using it it for years and have never had any issues.

I actually do 80% water changes every week and just add prime while I am refilling the tank with tap water. I have never had one death caused by a water change or prime. In fact, The fish or shrimp don't even show signs of stress during the whole process.

The only time they show any stress is when the tank is low and I am about to start filling it back up. At that point they really don't have much water to swim around and hide so, I just toss it up to that. Once the tank is full, they seem happy to me.

What don't you like about Prime?
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Last edited by Dempsey; 02-15-2013 at 11:54 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:53 AM   #3
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I also have heard several things about slime coat enhancers.

1) Some act by irritation.
2) Some are goo that sticks to the fish including the gills. Not good, IMO.
3) Healthy fish do not need slime coat enhancers. A good rotating diet, healthy tank and so on go a long way to helping the fish to develop just the right amount of slime coat. Not too much, not too little.

About the only time I use anything like that is if a fish needs to be handled, for example to hand remove an external parasite. Then, the fish is in a quarantine tank, and anything I use to help that fish will not bother the other fish.

I use Chloramine Buster by Clear Pond.

Heavy metal detoxifiers are often chelators. This may interfere with some of the trace minerals that plants use. Chelators hold onto different metals with different levels of attraction. Fortunately for us the plant fertilizer minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium) are lightly held and the more toxic minerals (lead, mercury, zinc, cadmium) are more strongly held. I would like to think that a gravel vac (or at least as close as we can get in a planted tank) is enough to remove the chelated minerals. I do not know, however. Do the chelated minerals stay near the top of the substrate?

Some chelators are light sensitive. A UV sterilizer will often break down the chelation material, releasing whatever it held.

Last edited by Diana; 02-16-2013 at 04:13 PM.. Reason: *
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:26 AM   #4
Hardstuff
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Now it seems like we are getting into redox. That's what I read as well that some or all water conditioners reduce plant nutrients. Now if its just a chemical formula that removes chlorine & or chloramines or ammonia that would be ok for plants & fish provided the dosage is correct. I think Prime takes it too far & claims it can do just about anything. I sometimes wonder if it causes fish to flash.
I have heard that UV sterilizers make minerals more bio available to fish & plants , something to do with redox. I have also heard they do the opposite. They make minerals unavailable to fish & plants. Maybe somebody could shed some correct information on UV filters if they are positive or negative at good redox that would improve aquarium life not just kill bugs. Do they make old used up minerals that can be used again or do they make them unavailable? I read they can actually make so called dead minerals alive again by either taking an electron or adding. I always mix that part up.
Anyway Demsey, why are you changing 80% of your water?? Seems like a lot to me.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
Now it seems like we are getting into redox. That's what I read as well that some or all water conditioners reduce plant nutrients. Now if its just a chemical formula that removes chlorine & or chloramines or ammonia that would be ok for plants & fish provided the dosage is correct. I think Prime takes it too far & claims it can do just about anything. I sometimes wonder if it causes fish to flash.
I have heard that UV sterilizers make minerals more bio available to fish & plants , something to do with redox. I have also heard they do the opposite. They make minerals unavailable to fish & plants. Maybe somebody could shed some correct information on UV filters if they are positive or negative at good redox that would improve aquarium life not just kill bugs. Do they make old used up minerals that can be used again or do they make them unavailable? I read they can actually make so called dead minerals alive again by either taking an electron or adding. I always mix that part up.
Anyway Demsey, why are you changing 80% of your water?? Seems like a lot to me.
UV FILTERS are generally positive. they don't make nutrients more available to plants. bacteria do really. for instance ferric phosphate which is an iron phosphate mix which can occur when both nutrients are in high enough concentration will slowly be made available to plants in the substrate

uv filters however can reduce or oxidize some nutrients (mainly iron) and make it unavailable,, this is generally rare and in most cases will only happen when a UV has recently been added to a tank
after "redox" has reached an equilibrium in the tank iron doesn't seem to be reduced as much when dosing.
this has been my experience
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:32 PM   #6
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Anyway Demsey, why are you changing 80% of your water?? Seems like a lot to me.
Just a preference, really. I like to control and know for the most part what is in my tanks. There are lots of folks on this forum that do the same thing. No danger to your pets if you do it right.

I am lucky to have pretty good tap water also. Well, besides the chlorine and chloramines. You can actually smell it when you run the sink.

Everything seems to respond well with the "large" weekly WC's I do.

Before my house fire and I had to start over, my pygmy cories seemed to breed after every water change. I had about 50+ in there. Looking for them again now...
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