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Old 03-26-2013, 03:35 PM   #11 
Otterfun
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Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
Adding Prime into the water turns NH3 (ammonia) into NH4 (ammonium). Ammonium is much less toxic to fish, and they can survive in higher levels of it. Your test kits will still read the same levels, as they read both NH3 and NH4.

If your tank water is basic (pH over 7) the ammonium doesn't stay in this form. I won't go into a chemistry lesson, but basic water causes the ammonium to change back into ammonia.
If your tank water is acidic (pH under 7), ammonia will actually take the form of ammonium, even without Prime. So if your tank is very acidic, Prime does very little work as the work is already done.

This is not a straight cut from 6.9 to 7.1 with pH values...
For example, if you have 4ppm of ammonia/ammonium total...
-At pH 6.5: 1ppm ammonia : 3ppm ammonium
-At pH 7: 2ppm ammonia : 2ppm ammonium
-At pH 7.5: 3ppm ammonia : 1ppm ammonium
(again, imaginary values to help you see the pattern.. but you can see in most tanks, your readings are a mix of ammonia and ammonium.)
In basic water, Prime is going against what the ammonia/um naturally wants to do and binds it, but it cannot hold like this forever. Just imagine Prime fighting to keep it as ammonium, the more basic your water, the less time it is able to do so.
hmm, so if my pH is 7.4, then it will be fewer than 48hrs of safety net in an uncycled tank ??
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:38 PM   #12 
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Yes, there may be more factors, but I would say it will be closer to the 24 hour range.

What size tank do you have? It really isn't all that difficult to cycle a smaller tank as long as you have a filter.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:46 PM   #13 
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Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
Yes, there may be more factors, but I would say it will be closer to the 24 hour range.

What size tank do you have? It really isn't all that difficult to cycle a smaller tank as long as you have a filter.
my 5g is cycled, so that would not be a problem.

I am thinking more of the QT tank that I have 2.5g no filter. Also thinking if AmQuel+ might work better but then it won't be an issue either since I need to do 100%WC when betta is in QT....
thanks, this is helpful discussion.

I posted this originally because I saw a number of members have ammonia in their tap water and thought this would be a point of reference. I am excited to see the amount of discussion on this and learn quite a bit as I am able to comprehend in english laymen terms since it can be overwhelming to me who is not a chemist.

Thanks.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:22 PM   #14 
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This is why it is a such a good thing to have a cycled tank and live plants.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:20 PM   #15 
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Thanks so much for the information!! I had no idea the Prime was just bonding, and not a permanent status. And big thanks to Otterfun as well for posting this thread in the first place. :)

So, basically what we've learned here is that if you have ammonia in your tap water (thank Heaven mine tests at 0) you really have very little choice but to always cycle your tanks?

Now I'm curious as to what my Ph is...I'll have to test this. I've always just left that part of the master test kit alone, concentrating on ammonia, nitrite and nitrate...but now I'm curious! :)
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