will Nitrites still test positive if they are "detoxified" - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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will Nitrites still test positive if they are "detoxified"

I treated my water with sechem prime and it says it detoxifies ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. However my test still says around 1.0 ppm of nitrite. Will it still test positive if it is "detoxified"? And if not how come my 2 otos and my 6 scissor tail rasboras are doing fine.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 07:52 PM
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IME, all three N products (NH3/NH4, NO2 and NO3) do read positive despite being bound by the Prime. Keep in mind that Prime does NOT remove any of these, it only binds it up so that it can't harm fish. The binding only lasts a day or two (unless you add more Prime) and then the bad actors are released back into their original state. In the case of NH3/NH4 (total ammonia) and NO2, it is expected that either the BB will reduce it while it is bound or that water changes will remove it. In the case of NO3, only water changes (or plants) will remove it. However, unless your NO3 is over 60-80 ppm, i wouldn't worry about it being an emergency ...unlike NH3 or NO2. You can gradually take the NO3 out with w/c's over several weeks.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
IME, all three N products (NH3/NH4, NO2 and NO3) do read positive despite being bound by the Prime....
I tested this at one point using the API test kit.

I don't have any tanks with ammonia or nitrites to replicate now, but as I recall ammonia was affected quite a bit. Don't remember now how nitrites tested. Just tested nitrates again since I do have a tank where I know they are relatively high.

Top tube is without Prime (I'll qualify that some in a minute). Bottom is with .1 ml added directly to the tube prior to testing and letting it sit for a few minutes.



You can see it more clearly in person than it the pic but still should be able to see a difference.

The qualification that I mentioned above re the first tube is that I tried adding Prime in .1 ml increments afterwards to see whether it would change after adding reagents. Does not appear to after a full 1 ml added over time and waiting quite a while. (That tube also is further diluted in color by 1 ml as a result which accounts for the greater volume seen.)

It's been a long time now but doing the same with measurable ammonia, seems to me that it was affected both before and after adding reagents. If I remember right, adding a couple of drops of Prime to a test showing relatively high ammonia changed it to show little to none.

Granted testing like this by adding Prime directly to the tube is at a much higher concentration vs in the tank but I was going for a test which would clearly show ANY effect. Whether it would make a practical difference in normal testing results I don't know. If someone has a tank with ammonia/nitrites (or ammonia available otherwise), they can test in the same way. I meant to do that at one point when setting up a new tank but never got around to it.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
I treated my water with sechem prime and it says it detoxifies ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. However my test still says around 1.0 ppm of nitrite. Will it still test positive if it is "detoxified"? And if not how come my 2 otos and my 6 scissor tail rasboras are doing fine.
Two studies tested a variety of tropical aquarium fish for ammonia and nitrite sensitivity. The cardinal tetra was the most sensitive species tested with a 96-hr nitrite LC50 of 1.1 mg/L. Angels had a 96-hr LC50 of around 21 mg/L. It's quite possible for fish who are slightly less sensitive than cardinals to be fine at 1 mg/L nitrite. Toxicity is also greatly affected by chloride. A little goes a long way so a little bit more chloride in your water could make a dramatic difference.

The basis for Seachem's claims about nitrite detoxification come from hobbyist reports that their fish survived levels of nitrite and nitrate they believed were toxic. Since hobbyists don't actually know what levels of nitrite and nitrate are toxic they're crediting Prime for "detoxifying" levels of heavy metals, nitrites, and nitrates that were already non-toxic.

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I tested this at one point using the API test kit.
Reducing agents will interfere with colorimetric test kits so ion selective probes or ion chromatography must be used.

Kordon was the first to claim that Amquel Plus detoxified nitrite and nitrate using a colorimetric test. Subsequent testing using ion chromatography found that it actually had no effect on nitrite/nitrate.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 01:08 AM
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Reducing agents will interfere with colorimetric test kits so ion selective probes or ion chromatography must be used.

Kordon was the first to claim that Amquel Plus detoxified nitrite and nitrate using a colorimetric test. Subsequent testing using ion chromatography found that it actually had no effect on nitrite/nitrate.
The OP's question in this case though is the effect on common colorimetric tests. Which is what I was showing. Whatever actual effect is another question. As you note, measuring that is beyond typical capabilities.

Ammonia and nitrites are the more interesting parts of the question. Unfortunately, I don't have any to test in the same way. I was just demonstrating that the testing using the API kit does appear to be affected to some degree (at least potentially). As mentioned, as I remember it, there was a significant change to the shown values for ammonia. To what extent that reflects effects on the test vs actual change to form/concentration and/or both, I don't know.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike A. View Post
I tested this at one point using the API test kit.

I don't have any tanks with ammonia or nitrites to replicate now, but as I recall ammonia was affected quite a bit. Don't remember now how nitrites tested. Just tested nitrates again since I do have a tank where I know they are relatively high.

Top tube is without Prime (I'll qualify that some in a minute). Bottom is with .1 ml added directly to the tube prior to testing and letting it sit for a few minutes.

You can see it more clearly in person than it the pic but still should be able to see a difference.

The qualification that I mentioned above re the first tube is that I tried adding Prime in .1 ml increments afterwards to see whether it would change after adding reagents. Does not appear to after a full 1 ml added over time and waiting quite a while. (That tube also is further diluted in color by 1 ml as a result which accounts for the greater volume seen.)

It's been a long time now but doing the same with measurable ammonia, seems to me that it was affected both before and after adding reagents. If I remember right, adding a couple of drops of Prime to a test showing relatively high ammonia changed it to show little to none.

Granted testing like this by adding Prime directly to the tube is at a much higher concentration vs in the tank but I was going for a test which would clearly show ANY effect. Whether it would make a practical difference in normal testing results I don't know. If someone has a tank with ammonia/nitrites (or ammonia available otherwise), they can test in the same way. I meant to do that at one point when setting up a new tank but never got around to it.
That's odd; my testing finds no difference in before and after using the API test, which measures total ammonia. I believe that the Prime just converts the dangerous form of ammonia (NH3 - free ammonia) to the safer ammonium (NH4) form. A total ammonia test kit, such as API's, will measure only the total ammonia (NH3 + NH4). So, with API's kit, you can't know how much of the dangerous NH3 is present. I believe that Seachem's kit does distinguish between NH3 and NH4.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 05:43 AM
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Nitrites should only be in your tank while it is in the middle of cycling.
I don't reccomend having fish in your tank while it is cycling.
If you must do that, I would recommend 50% water changes daily until Ammonia and Nitrites are at 0 and you see Nitrates.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 11:33 AM
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https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/com...ium_dithionite

With enough reducing agent, any colorimetric test can be bleached.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
That's odd; my testing finds no difference in before and after using the API test, which measures total ammonia. I believe that the Prime just converts the dangerous form of ammonia (NH3 - free ammonia) to the safer ammonium (NH4) form. A total ammonia test kit, such as API's, will measure only the total ammonia (NH3 + NH4). So, with API's kit, you can't know how much of the dangerous NH3 is present. I believe that Seachem's kit does distinguish between NH3 and NH4.
Quote:
The test kit is not giving a false positive due to the components in Prime. It is possible that the reaction that you mention may be true of other conditioners on the market, but since Prime contains a different proprietary blend of complexed hydrosulfite salts, this is not the same process that is taking place in the presence of Prime.

The "false positive" is only referring to showing a false positive for toxic free ammonia. Since Prime has bound all of the ammonia in a system to an ionized NH4 form, it will still show up on a test kit as total ammonia, but it will be present in the system in a form that is not toxic to the fish. The only way to differentiate between NH3 and NH4 ammonia in the presence of Prime will be by using gas exchange technology such as what is utilized in our Ammonia Alert or MultiTest: Ammonia test kit.
https://www.seachem.com/support/foru...monia-readings
https://www.seachem.com/multitest-ammonia.php

Just a reminder and for those that want to calculate "bad" ammonia from neutral using readings from "total" ammonia tests..


https://support.hach.com/app/answers...f-nitrogen%3F-
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-21-2019 at 11:55 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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i cant seem to get the nitrites down it has almost been a week and I do a 25% water-change every 2 days or so. It is a organic potting soil substrate capped with sand. Could the soil be effecting the nitrites
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 04:23 PM
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i cant seem to get the nitrites down it has almost been a week and I do a 25% water-change every 2 days or so. It is a organic potting soil substrate capped with sand. Could the soil be effecting the nitrites
Do larger water changes daily and yes if the soil is releasing ammonia than you are still cycling till the beneficial bacteria(BB) catch up or until the soil stops leeching as fast.

In my experience the cycle goes fastest when you keep Ammonia and Nitrites <2 ppm. Also you can add Tetra Safe Start for more beneficial bacteria to speed things up. (Make sure you get a bottle that isn't dead from freezing). Even better if you can get some biomedia from the filter of an already established tank.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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Do larger water changes daily and yes if the soil is releasing ammonia than you are still cycling till the beneficial bacteria(BB) catch up or until the soil stops leeching as fast.

In my experience the cycle goes fastest when you keep Ammonia and Nitrites <2 ppm. Also you can add Tetra Safe Start for more beneficial bacteria to speed things up. (Make sure you get a bottle that isn't dead from freezing). Even better if you can get some biomedia from the filter of an already established tank.
the strange thing is the parameters are PH - 7.6 ish Ammonia - 0ppm maybe a little more but not even to .25ppm Nitrite - .75ppm Nitrate - 30ish ppm so why is there basicaly no ammonia 30ppm of nitrate and .75ppm of nitrite
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by zwalter08 View Post
the strange thing is the parameters are PH - 7.6 ish Ammonia - 0ppm maybe a little more but not even to .25ppm Nitrite - .75ppm Nitrate - 30ish ppm so why is there basicaly no ammonia 30ppm of nitrate and .75ppm of nitrite
From your readings it looks like you still need some more nitrite eating BB however it doesn't seem too far off.
Until it gets there you may continue reading nitrites until your substrate stops leaching ammonia into the water, like cl3537 recommended you could try dumping in a bottle of tetra safe start plus to give that last push to the BB.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
IME, all three N products (NH3/NH4, NO2 and NO3) do read positive despite being bound by the Prime. Keep in mind that Prime does NOT remove any of these, it only binds it up so that it can't harm fish. The binding only lasts a day or two (unless you add more Prime) and then the bad actors are released back into their original state. In the case of NH3/NH4 (total ammonia) and NO2, it is expected that either the BB will reduce it while it is bound or that water changes will remove it. In the case of NO3, only water changes (or plants) will remove it. However, unless your NO3 is over 60-80 ppm, i wouldn't worry about it being an emergency ...unlike NH3 or NO2. You can gradually take the NO3 out with w/c's over several weeks.
Whether nitrates of 60-80 ppm constitutes an emergency depends on the type of fish you have in your aquarium. Lets give fish some context like we do plants.

Fish are often lumped into a homogeneous group on this site with little specificity given to their particular needs.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 11:27 PM
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I'm not sure 60-80 ppm nitrate is toxic to any fish. Salmonid fry are the most sensitive with numbers as low as 1.1-4.5 mg/L NO3-N or 4.9-19.9 mg/L nitrate. However, those are 30-day NOEC numbers and all those studies were discredited so who really knows what levels are dangerous to the most sensitive life stages of the most sensitive fish?

The tolerance of all species to nitrate jumps dramatically beyond the fry life stage. This is probably because they, like human infants, have lower levels of methaemoglobin reductase.
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