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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All! New to the site, second post (question actually) -

I have filled a 50 gallon rubbermaid with 26 gallons of tap water for a 50% water change for a planted, co2 injected tank coming up Friday 3/11.
I tested my tds, ph, kh, gh, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and phosphate using API test kit before and after adding 2.5 ml seachem prime. My results are as follows -

before prime
tds - 141
ph - 7.6
kh - 4
ammonia - 1.0
phosphate - .25

After adding prime (45 minutes i guess)
tds - 144
ph - 7.2
kh - 5
ammonia - 1.0
phosphate - .25

...unless i'm missing something, my ph and KH seem perfect. As does everything else except my ammonia readings. Prime bottle says "removes chlorine, chloramine (included in my tap water), and detoxifies ammonia converting it in to a safe non-toxic form that is readily removed by the tanks biofilter."
I want to make sure my change water is okay as I've never used tap water before and as of yet, haven't lost a fish. I'm hoping someone can confirm that i'm fine and just being... shall we say... overly cautious?

Thanks!!
 

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What kind of test kit are you using for Ammonia? If it is a drop style(nessler, API etc.) they will give false positives. The prime binds the ammonia making it less toxic, but when you use the test that raises the PH higher and the prime breaks down and releases the ammonia so the test picks it up. Prime and "False Positive" Ammonia Readings - Seachem Support Forums
 

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First you are not being overly cautious. Ammonia can be very toxic. Because your pH dropped, ammonia/ammonium becomes less toxic. To my knowledge, Seachem has never disclosed the agent used to "detoxify" ammonia - their only claim is that there is a temporary conversion from the more toxic ammonia to the less toxic ammonium. Keep in mind that both ammonia and ammonium are BOTH TOXIC (albeit ammonia is the more toxic form).

The aquarium universe is not highly regulated like the FDA. Therefore, we likely have many products in the aquarium trade with "nutraceutical-type" marketing with innuendos without supporting data.

Thank you so much for showing your water parameters both before and after. You definitely think like a scientist.

Mike
 

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API. I had read that on Seachem's website earlier and it didn't make me feel any better. They suggested using their multi-test kit for a more accurate reading. They say the ammonia present after using Prime is in a non-toxic form. For me, any form of ammonia sets me into semi-panic mode.

Thanks!

Just out of curiosity why are you moving on to tap water?
A couple of reasons.
One would be time. For most of my tanks life, i've been doing 20% water changes every six days using Seachem's Excel, Equilibrium, Acid and Alkaline buffers.
I bumped it up to 30% after more plants were introduced using the same products and adding Seachem's N,P, K and Iron.
I'm not using excel anymore and i'd like to get away from the acid/alkaline buffers as well.
I did a 50% water change last week and my tank seems to like it much more than the 30% and especially the 20%.
With the RO/DI unit running at a 1 to 4.5 ratio producing a gallon every 35 to 40 minutes, 15 or so hours is a long time for a huge trash can full of water to be sitting in the middle of the kitchen!

Cost would be my second reason.

Bump:
First you are not being overly cautious. Ammonia can be very toxic. Because your pH dropped, ammonia/ammonium becomes less toxic. To my knowledge, Seachem has never disclosed the agent used to "detoxify" ammonia - their only claim is that there is a temporary conversion from the more toxic ammonia to the less toxic ammonium. Keep in mind that both ammonia and ammonium are BOTH TOXIC (albeit ammonia is the more toxic form).

The aquarium universe is not highly regulated like the FDA. Therefore, we likely have many products in the aquarium trade with "nutraceutical-type" marketing with innuendos without supporting data.

Thank you so much for showing your water parameters both before and after. You definitely think like a scientist.

Mike
Thanks Mike

Bump:
First you are not being overly cautious. Ammonia can be very toxic. Because your pH dropped, ammonia/ammonium becomes less toxic. To my knowledge, Seachem has never disclosed the agent used to "detoxify" ammonia - their only claim is that there is a temporary conversion from the more toxic ammonia to the less toxic ammonium. Keep in mind that both ammonia and ammonium are BOTH TOXIC (albeit ammonia is the more toxic form).

The aquarium universe is not highly regulated like the FDA. Therefore, we likely have many products in the aquarium trade with "nutraceutical-type" marketing with innuendos without supporting data.

Thank you so much for showing your water parameters both before and after. You definitely think like a scientist.

Mike
Thanks Mike
 

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I find that in many cases, moving to tap water can ease several problems when the water works for what you want to keep. One that I like is having a full blown, ready supply on hand for those times when the wheels fall off and a major water change is needed! It doesn't happen often but when it does, it can save a tank full of fish.

My thoughts on Prime go like this. It can leave us being mislead at times with testing as it can show ammonia even when we KNOW it is not a problem. That takes some experience and knowing when/why we may truly have ammonia and when it is a fault in testing.

But I fall back to this idea. Prime is quite near the most universally accepted water treatment and loved by many. I currently use a house brand but I find Prime is great. You can trust it in almost all cases. I do not trust what I read on the ads, nor what I read on internet postings until I check the info. When I see the number of people using Prime, I accept it as far more reliable reviews than written.

The world is filled with misleading info. The trick is in finding how to sort the wheat from the chaff! I recommend being skeptic but trust the Prime?
 

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Prime is good for removing chlorine compounds. However, you may want to rethink your strategy of converting from RO to tap. There is a prestigious aquarium maintenance company in Houston called Aquarium Design Group (ADG). They have some of the most spectacular planted tanks I have ever seen.

They use 50% tap and 50% RO. Formerly, I was using 100% RO in my water changes but have since switched to 2/3 RO and 1/3 tap. However, my tap is about 140 ppm TDS. Some of my plants were showing classic signs of calcium deficiency (wilted new leaves) but after changing the mixture, the problem went away. My TDS range is 120 (after water change) to about 158.

I also agree with Planted Rich in that what your read in ads may be more promotional than fact.

There are many aquarium suppliers that make claims based upon insufficient evidence or junk science.

Let me know how your TDS levels increase after making the switch from RO to tap and keep up the good work!

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
They use 50% tap and 50% RO. Formerly, I was using 100% RO in my water changes but have since switched to 2/3 RO and 1/3 tap. However, my tap is about 140 ppm TDS. Some of my plants were showing classic signs of calcium deficiency (wilted new leaves) but after changing the mixture, the problem went away. My TDS range is 120 (after water change) to about 158.
Mike, your TDS readings got me curious. I went back through my notebooks and my TDS readings (tank) have never been anywhere near 150. I'm wondering what the difference might be.

Looking back, with 100% RO/DI water (using Kent RO Right) my tanks TDS numbers were right around 350. A few months later i switched over to Seachems Equilibrium and still, my TDS readings were/are at or around 350. I've always thought that was a typical number?
 

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The big thing I find about water as I've moved here and there around the country is that water is not a standard item that we can expect the same results. Water from one source may be totally different than water from a source as close as just across the street. There are so many variables in the underground as well as what is topside and then when we run it through public drinking water treatment, those can add to the confusion, too.
But the point that I find in most cases is that Prime is as close as I can find to a product that takes care of me and is designed to cover lots of those variables without me doing a lot of testing and guessing. I have no way to do the amount of precise testing and calculations it would require for me to do the job that Prime does under all the situations where I have used it.
There are always those with stories about some product and they are certain that is the reason their fish die but I often tend to discount those. When I look deeper at those who do the major rants, there seems to be one item they all have in common. Those who rant the loudest are often in the group who also knows the least.
Approach any new project or product with a bit of caution, learn as much as you can and then see what it does for you before taking some of the rants too seriously. The water in your backyard will not be the same as the water in my backyard.
 

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I target my RO water at 150 but my tank always tests between 250 and 300. There are many more things dissolved in the tank water including dead leaves and fish waste that contribute to the TDS reading.

As far as switching water supplies goes the important thing is to make sure the GH and KH are close between the tank and the new water. If they are more than a degree of KH I would recommend doing a few smaller changes over the course of a week rather than one big 50% change. KH is more important to match than either GH or PH.

Get your water report and post it up and folks here can tell you what minerals may be needed to supplement it. You are correct in that plants and fish both love big water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Get your water report and post it up and folks here can tell you what minerals may be needed to supplement it. You are correct in that plants and fish both love big water changes.
All went well. decided to do a 30% vs a 50% water change. My oto's acted like they were on crack but have settled down now.

Parameters -

Tank before water change
TDS - 389
PH - 6.8
KH - 3
GH - 7
API Ammonia test - 1.0 ppm
After water change

TDS - 322 (i'm assuming this will go down even more as i do more water changes with tap water but will eventually level off)
PH - 7.2
KH - 4
GH - 7
API Ammonia test right after water change - .25 ppm
API Ammonia test - back to 0 ppm (good to know my biofilter is working)
 

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That is a good amount of transition. Give the fish time to adapt to the different mineral levels, then do another water change. You could do 2 such water changes (25-30%) each week, but if the tank does not need a water change, then just once a week is fine. There is no hurry to get the tank switched over to tap water, and a slower transition is easier on the fish.

Bump:
 
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