Prime vs. Safe? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 10 Old 10-12-2012, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
Prime vs. Safe?

Hey guys,

I'm picking up some new conditioner and planned on getting Seachem Prime since my tap water contains a fair amount of nitrate. I was checking it out online and found out that Seachem creates a product called "Safe" that is supposedly the powdered version of Prime and more concentrated. Anyone have experience with this product and it's use as opposed to Prime?

Thanks for any help!

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post #2 of 10 Old 10-12-2012, 04:17 PM
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I have no experience with either product.
However, I have a preference for liquid products. In the past, I feel that powders take longer to dissolve and work properly. This may be speculation, but it has led me to purchase liquid options whenever possible.

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post #3 of 10 Old 10-12-2012, 04:58 PM
Prime will not help your problem with source water nitrates. Although Prime will detoxify ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, it only does so for 24-48 hours.
You'll need to find another source of water for your water changes.
You might consider adding lots of plants, even floating to help bring nitrates down.

For lower nitrates for water changes...
You might consider an RO, DI or RO/DI system to filter nitrates from your water.
You might use an API Tap Water Filter to produce deionized (DI) water.
You might use Fluval Lab Series Nitrate Remover or API Nitra-Zorb. Both are synthetic resins that adsorb nitrates and can be regenerated in salt water.
You might invest in a denitrate filter (such as Aquaripure) but they can be a little expensive.

In any case, There is no chemical solution to high nitrates in source or tank water.

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post #4 of 10 Old 10-12-2012, 05:42 PM
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What is a "fair" amount of nitrate? If it's under about 20 using an API test kit, you have a great planted tank set-up right out of the tap, just add micronutrient fertilizers!

I always get the nitrite and nitrates mixed up. I think nitrate is the least toxic of the two nitrogenous molecules but even then you don't want it in too much excess. Some species are really intolerant of elevated levels. Others wouldn't be impacted by slightly elevated nitrates at all.

I think it'd be easier to overdose a powder, but that's just my opinion.

18 species/varieties of fish, 15 species/varieties of plants - The fish are finally ahead of the plants!
*560 gallons (2120 liters) in 5 tanks -> you do the math.
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-12-2012, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
The water's reading around 20ppm nitrate out of the tap after outgassing it. I live in a dorm, so it's going to be a bit difficult to have a deionizer or something like that when it's in a public bathroom. Both tanks are fully planted. If nothing else, I can ask the science department if I can use some of the water from one of the DI taps in the labs.
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-13-2012, 11:19 AM
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This may have been mentioned in another of your threads, but doesn't hurt to repeat. If using the API liquid test kit for nitrate, make sure to shake Regent #2 for a good 2 minutes before adding the drops. Less shaking has been known to result in inaccurate and higher readings. Also, the local water supply people should know the average nitrate level in the water, this is a public health issue, and that would confirm your test results.

As for dealing with nitrates, lots of plants especially fast-growers. Use Prime [I've never used the powder, but like someone else said I too prefer liquid additives as they are much easier for me at least] at each water change. This detoxifies the initial increase of nitrates and by the time Prime wears off the plants and bacteria [yes, there are bacteria in the substrate that use nitrates to produce oxygen] will have things under control when the nitrates are relatively minimal as here. If you had higher nitrate in the source water, other steps would be necessary as AD has clearly mentioned.

To pick up on DKRST's point about nitrate toxicity, there is a lot of inaccurate information around the hobby on nitrates. Some maintain levels up to 100ppm are "harmless" to most fish, and one still frequently sees advice to keep nitrate below 40ppm. This is far too high. Dr. Neale Monks has been writing on nitrates frequently in his responses to questions in the UK periodical Practical Fishkeeping, and being a biologist he should know; he says that all fish are probably affected by nitrates in excess of 20ppm, and cichlids certainly are. This should not be surprising, when one considers that none of the fish we maintain in aquaria have evolved in waters with nitrates much above zero. Nitrate is simply another form of nitrogen, and while it may not be as immediately toxic to fish and plants as ammonia and nitrite, it is still toxic and should be kept as low as possible.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-14-2012, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
I shook reagent two for a good three to five minutes and got 20-30ppm nitrate both times I tested. Just picked up some Prime today to detoxify the nitrates until the plants can handle them, and I'll be picking up some new, fast growing plants in the near future. Hopefully that'll take care of the problem :)

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post #8 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 11:48 AM
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Floating plants grow much faster than others since they can access atmospheric CO2 (higher CO2 than dissolves in water, thus faster growth). I'd recommend getting some Frogbit, Water lettuce, water sprite, or duckweed! Just removed excess growth each week and you are pulling out nitrates as well!

18 species/varieties of fish, 15 species/varieties of plants - The fish are finally ahead of the plants!
*560 gallons (2120 liters) in 5 tanks -> you do the math.
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
That much I can do! I already have Water Sprite and some Dwarf Baby Tears floating, so I'll try to pick up a couple more different types

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post #10 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 06:11 PM
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You probably don't actually have to have more floating species, just grow out what you already have!

18 species/varieties of fish, 15 species/varieties of plants - The fish are finally ahead of the plants!
*560 gallons (2120 liters) in 5 tanks -> you do the math.
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