Dechlorinator that doesn't fix ammonia - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-02-2021, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Dechlorinator that doesn't fix ammonia

Is there any such thing as a dechlorinator that can remove chlorine and choramine without fixing ammonia or nitrites?

I don't like that if I add Seachem Prime to my water, I cannot see how much ammonia my ADA Tropica soil is releasing (ammonia test reads 0 ppm). My tank is new (just a month old, no livestock except tadpole snails that hitched a ride on my many plants and hatched in the tank). For water changes I normally use either rainwater or water from the outside hose (I tested chlorine at 0 ppm, probably off-gassed). The day before yesterday, I did a huge water change using water from the inside faucet, and the next morning my ammonia was at 1 ppm and nitrites at 0.25 ppm. I checked the chlorine in the tap and it was 1 ppm, so I had killed off some of my bacteria colony. That night both ammonia and nitrite were already back to 0 ppm. I'll avoid using my tap water in the future...but the experience made me think that it would be nice to have a dechlorinator for emergencies...one that would not impact my ammonia readings.

Another question: can plants uptake the "fixed" ammonia when you use dechlorinators? More importantly, can bacteria still use the "fixed" ammonia or will using dechlorinator in a tank with no livestock starve the bacterial colony?

Last question: do Tetra Easy Strips test for chlorine only, or also chloramines? How can I test for chloramines in my water? I don't see "chloramine" anywhere in my county's water quality report.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-02-2021, 08:32 PM
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It's my understanding that API's ammonia test shows total ammonia, just free ammonia, so prime doesn't matter.
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Last edited by ElleDee; 01-03-2021 at 01:18 AM. Reason: deleted questionable info
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-02-2021, 08:54 PM
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I believe the action of these water conditioners, besides handling chlorine, is that they somehow convert toxic ammonia to not/less toxic ammonium (note the "m" at the end). I think ammonia is NH3 and ammonium is NH4. Supposedly, NH4/ammonium will still show up on all the ammonia tests as ammonia, so if you do not see any, it's probably because it is being used up by your plants and/or bacteria colonies.

If you are going to have live animals in the tank I think you can't get around using a dechlorinater. Dechlorinater don't harm your nitrogen as far as your plants are concerned. If you do get the answer about tests for chloramines, post back it would be interesting to know. But my guess is 99% of folks use a dechlorinater and do not ever bother measuring chlorine nor chloramines.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-05-2021, 03:50 AM
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Something to consider is that prime is very concentrated . Ime most people are measuring use the cap .
Slowly overdosing their tanks trapping to much nitrates etc.
My plants do much better since years ago I started measuring using accurate to 0.5 ml syringes .
this way I only ever use exactly enough prime as is needed.
The extra prime that people sometimes get through poor measurement affects plants ability to access ammonia nitrogen etc because prime can make it unavailable .
can also affect test kit results.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your replies. For some reason I didn't get any email notifications, even though I subscribed to my own thread. I just assumed no one had answered. I only have this problem with this forum...

I do think the point about conversion of NH3 to NH4 is correct. I have lingering questions about how nitrogen-fixing bacteria use NH3 vs. NH4 and the effects that this ammonia->ammonium conversion might have on the bacterial population density and robustness, etc. (particularly for tanks at different pH levels...mine is 6.0-6.4). These lingering questions are the main reason I don't use dechlorinators.

Prime is definitely SUPER concentrated, and this is another problem I have with it.

Anyway, I did purchase the Salifert test kit for chlorine and chloramine and it arrived yesterday. I tested my tap water twice, about an hour apart, and the first test measured >1ppm, the second test 0.1ppm. I think the only difference was the pressure from the tap; the first time it was quite low and the second time it was on full strength. That would suggest that I have 0.1ppm chloramines in my water and >0.9ppm chlorine, which gets off-gassed during aeration. However, I need to explore this more with specific attention to the pressure of the water.

For now, I'll continue using rainwater for my water changes while I'm testing chlorine/chloramine tests. As I demystify my "dechlorinator & nitrifying bacteria" questions, I'll update this thread.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 02:10 PM
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"Another question: can plants uptake the "fixed" ammonia when you use dechlorinators? More importantly, can bacteria still use the "fixed" ammonia or will using dechlorinator in a tank with no livestock starve the bacterial colony?"


I asked Seachem this exact question a couple years ago and they told me that Prime has no effect on the bioavailability of the ammonia, nitrite or nitrate to plants or bacteria.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, that's excellent to know. Thanks for sharing that info! Much appreciated.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 07:26 PM
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-10-2021, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sovrappensiero View Post
Is there any such thing as a dechlorinator that can remove chlorine and choramine without fixing ammonia or nitrites?
That would be all of them, since none can remove ammonia or nitrites at all.


Info is here with full test that you can do yourself and proof. More info is here too.
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