Are you overdosing with Prime (the regular dose is one capful or 5 ml per 50 gallons)?Q: How does Prime make a difference in reducing Nitrates?
A: The detoxification of nitrite and nitrate by Prime (when used at elevated levels) is not well understood from a mechanistic standpoint. The most likely explanation is that the nitrite and nitrate is removed in a manner similar to the way ammonia is removed; i.e. it is bound and held in a inert state until such time that bacteria in the biological filter are able to take a hold of it, break it apart and use it. Two other possible scenarios are reduction to nitrogen (N2) gas or conversion into a benign organic nitrogen compound.
I wish we had some more "concrete" explanation, but the end result is the same, it does actually detoxify nitrite and nitrate. This was unexpected chemically and thus initially we were not even aware of this, however we received numerous reports from customers stating that when they overdosed with Prime they were able to reduce or eliminate the high death rates they experienced when their nitrite and nitrate levels were high. We have received enough reports to date to ensure that this is no fluke and is in fact a verifiable function of the product.
Despite using such a small amount of Prime it is still possible you are overdosing. Each thread in the cap represents 1 ml which is the recommended dose for 10 gallons. It sounds like that's the amount you are using if you just cover the bottom of the cap. If so, you're treating only about a third of the volume of water the dose is recommended for if you're adding it to each 3.5 gallon bucket you treat. It's hard to get a third of 1 ml unless you use a dropper or maybe a syringe (without the needle).shellies215 said:Zimmy, I would not say I'm overdosing with prime. when I add water to my 20 gal tank it's 3.5 gal bucket and I'm using very little prime, it seems like a few drops. For that 3.5 gallon bucket I pretty much just cover the bottom of the inside of the cap of the prime bottle, dump it in, let it sit for a minute, then dump the bucket in the tank
If you scroll down to the bottom of the link you've provided you'll see the quote I posted earlier in this thread regarding Seachem's explanation of Prime's effect on nitrates specifically. However, I now realize that I misread the quote as it states that "we received numerous reports from customers stating that when they overdosed with Prime they were able to reduce or eliminate the high death rates they experienced when their nitrite and nitrate levels were high," suggesting that only that the impact of high nitrate (and nitrite) levels was changed not the actual readings.mlancaster said:I should have simply gone to primes website FQAs. Here is the answer http://www.seachem.com/support/FAQs/Prime.html
However, this still confuses me to how shellies215 is reading 0ppm on nitrates without live plants (I would not expect minimal algae to use up all the nitrates).
Primes website FQA (although it is addressing ammonia and not specifically nitrates) would seem to indicate that an error in the test kit reading would be too high, opposed to too low.