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Does Seachem Prime give false ammonia readings?

Seachem Prime is designed to help detoxify ammonia in your fish tank. So, is it possible that this water conditioner can give a false ammonia reading on your aquarium test kit?

You can find out in this article at Aquarium Blueprints.

Quick Summary

If you are using a liquid-based aquarium test kit, then it is very likely that you will get a false ammonia reading when adding Seachem Prime to your fish tank.

To fix this issue, you can switch over a strip-based testing kit. If you want to keep using a liquid-based test kit instead, then you need to wait for at least 24 hours since you last added Prime in your aquarium for the solution to fully dissipate before testing.

It is also important to know that Prime will only turn ammonia into a non-toxic form. Therefore, ammonia readings may still show up in your test kit unless you have enough beneficial bacteria to consume the compound.

What are the features of Seachem Prime?

In addition to being able to detoxify ammonia, Prime will also turn nitrates and nitrites into non-toxic forms.

For the uninformed, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are part of the nitrogen cycle. The cycle starts when organic wastes decomposing into ammonia. Beneficial bacteria will then convert ammonia over to nitrites and then nitrites over to nitrates. If you have your aquarium setup properly, then beneficial bacteria will also help consume nitrates as well.

Furthermore, the water conditioner will remove chlorine and chloramine from the tap water; otherwise, these chemicals will end up killing off the beneficial bacteria in your tank waters.

This product will also remove small traces of heavy metals in addition to helping promote healthy slime coating production for your pet fish.

Does Prime give false ammonia readings?

Prime does not remove ammonia from your tank water. Instead, it binds the compound into a non-toxic form. Therefore, your test kit will still detect ammonia in your aquarium as long as you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria to consume it.

It is very important to note the binding of ammonia is only temporary as the effect will only last a maximum of 48 hours. Afterwards, the non-toxic form will become toxic once again. To keep ammonia, nitrites and nitrates non-toxic, we recommend that you add Seachem Prime in your tank every 24 to 48 hours.

If you are using a liquid-based test kit, like the API Master Test Kit, then it will give a false reading of the ammonia level in your tank if you are using Seachem Prime.

How to prevent Prime from giving off a false ammonia reading

In order to prevent Seachem Prime from giving off a false ammonia reading, you can use a strip-based testing kit (such as the Seachem MultiTest Ammonia Test Kit).

Alternatively, you can simply wait until 24 hours after adding Prime into your tank, as the solution will be fully dissipated by then, in order to use a liquid-based testing kit.

To see how you can use Seachem Prime with Seachem Stability to remove ammonia, nitrites and nitrates from your tank water as soon as possible, you can take a look at this tutorial.