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What to do if Seachem Prime is not working

Seachem Prime is mainly used to remove chlorine and chloramine from the tap water in addition to detoxifying ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. If this water conditioner doesn’t appear to be working as advertised, then you can take a look at this troubleshooting article from Aquarium Blueprints to see what you can do to make it effective.

1. Before we start, it should be noted that Seachem Prime won’t directly remove ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Instead, this water conditioner will only turn these nitrogen compounds into non-toxic forms for a maximum length of 48 hours.

As a result, your aquarium water test kit should still be showing the same ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels as before.

After around 48 hours, the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates will become toxic again if they aren’t removed from your tank.

To see how you can remove ammonia and nitrites from your tank water, we recommend taking a look at this guide.

To find out how you can reduce nitrates in your fish tank, you can check out this post.

2. Seachem Prime can also cause false positive ammonia spikes if you are using a Nessler-based testing kit.

In this case, you need to wait around 24 hours to test your water parameters so that you can get a more accurate ammonia reading.

3. If your tap water has an exceptionally high concentration of chloramine, then a normal dose of Seachem Prime may not be enough to get rid of the chemical compound.

Instead, you should be using twice the normal dose. In this case, it should be 10 mL of Prime for every 50 gallons or 200 liters of the fish tank water volume.

4. If your tank water has more than 2 ppm of ammonia and/or nitrites, then a normal dosage amount of Seachem Prime won’t be able to detoxify all of these dangerous nitrogen compounds.

In this scenario, you can dose up to 5 times the normal amount, which translates to 25 mL for every 50 gallons or 200 liters of the fish tank water volume.

5. As we stated before, Prime will only detoxify ammonia, nitrites and nitrates for a maximum of 48 hours.

If you are dosing the normal amount of Prime, then we recommend that you re-dose daily to keep ammonia, nitrites and/or nitrates in non-toxic forms until you find a way to reduce these nitrogen compounds.

If you are using the 5 times the recommended amount of Prime for high concentration of ammonia and/or nitrites, then we recommend dosing every 48 hours to detoxify both nitrogen compounds.

6. If the Seachem Prime in the container gets spoiled in one way or another, then it may not be as effective. In some cases, the water conditioner may even become toxic.

Therefore, we recommend that you store this solution at room temperature and keep its container cap tightly closed at all times when not in use.

If you believed that your Prime bottle is spoiled, then you can get rid of the spoiled bottle and then get a new one.

7. You can safely overdose Seachem Prime at up to 5 times the normal amount. Beyond that limit, you may start seeing issues due to the lack of oxygen in your tank water.

To see what you can do to make your aquarium safe again after severely overdosing it with Prime, you can take a look at this article.

8. Seachem Prime is a reducing agent as it will lower the oxygen levels in your tank. Therefore, it may cause issues when used with other similar reducing agents.

Prime may also not be compatible with certain medications and other types of water additives.

So, if you are only seeing issues when using Prime along with another product, then you might want to avoid using the two together.