Over-dosing Prime reduces oxygen??


Feeder Fish
MFK Member
May 5, 2009
Seachem;3277795; said:
Hi everyone. I spoke with our Research Director this morning and here is the information he provided in regard to the buildup aspect of Prime:

Prime binds to things, such as ammonia, by forming salt complexes (specifically with ammonia, an imidium salt is created). This is also the nature by which it dissipates, or becomes no longer available. It is through this formation of salts that the Prime does not remain in its original form. The true way to remove these no longer active salts is through the common practice of water changes.

I am going to go through the last few posts and see which questions still have yet to be answered and try to work through them today. Thanks for all of the interest in this topic!
i dont know if your getting to the bunch i posted or not, there alittle off topic, but I rarely feel like i get a chance to get a question answered to go in to the detail you do. these are the main ones i had.

whats the shelf life of prime? is prime ruined if left uncapped for a long time?

can plants use they cyclic amine the ammonia is converted into? what about the detoxed nitrites and nitrates?

from some post(of questionable source) i have read, lead me to believe the detoxified nitrates and nitrites are only detoxified for a limited amount of time. is this correct?


Fire Eel
MFK Member
Jun 21, 2007
Charlotte, NC
Prime has an indefinite shelf life… Per Tech support’s statement in their forum here… http://www.seachem.com/support/forums/showthread.php?t=2767 Per my understanding (Seachem please correct if I am wrong) Prime will not “go bad” if left uncapped, being exposed to ammonia, nitrite, chlorine, etc, etc is what sparks the chemical reaction that depletes Prime.

“Prime® also contains a binder which renders ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate non-toxic.”
It should be noted that Seachem does not claim Prime “removes” ammonia, nitrite or nitrate, but instead it binds them in a “non-toxic” state… this statement is quoted from Seachem’s site here (Why it’s different, second paragraph)… http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/Prime.html

“The nitrates will be detoxified for up to 48 hours” This statement was made by a Seachem Rep on their forum in this thread - http://www.seachem.com/support/forums/showthread.php?t=2679

De*nitrate is a product by Seachem that claims to support bacterial growth that can consume nitrates. I have no personal experience with this product and am simply mentioning it here in response to a question because I have “heard of it”… http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/denitrate.html

Personally I have read enough information to satisfy my curiosity that A) Prime will not build up over time and B) except in extremely high doses (well above 5x) Prime will not effect oxygen levels. Although I do look forward to the conversation revealing additional information.

Seachem thank you for your willingness to get involved in our thread and thanks to those of you provided intelligent questions :D


Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Jun 5, 2007
South of Heaven
interesting thread, ill be following this one


Black Skirt Tetra
MFK Member
Jul 10, 2009
Madison, GA
Good Afternoon to everyone following this thread,

Typically, the Technical Support group answers questions or addresses forums at Seachem. Due to the increased interest surrounding Prime and a thirst for knowledge, the Research and Development Department will hopefully help work through some of the questions. I, for one, love a good scientific discussion and we are more than happy to answer any question posed by an individual without compromising the blends of our products no matter the level of detail involved. Forums such as this lead us to ask more questions: in turn fueling some of the research. It just so happens that this particular product has been around for a while, so we know it pretty well.

I would like to stick to the science of the matter at hand. There are quite a few terms and definitions thrown out in the forum. I will use the terms that apply to this particular environment i.e. a closed system.


1. Prime has an indefinite shelf life left unadulterated closed in the container. If left uncapped and thus open to the air, then over time the product maybe diminished. CO2 and O2 will naturally diffuse into liquids such as Prime, which could alter the pH of the product. Of course, the bottle would have to be left open for quite sometime for this to occur at an appreciable rate to alter the pH. With no agitation this would be a very slow process. In either case, the inert compounds will still maintain reducing power. I would be of mind to leave it capped so what I purchase does not accidentally get spilled, but that's just me (I like my money and accidents tend to take away from that).

2. Plants can use the converted ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate as well. As I am sure this answer deserves more of an explanation, I will discuss this below even though it is somewhat off topic. I will apologize in advance for thoroughness.

3. We are not a 100% sure on the binding time of nitrite and nitrate. This is why we went a safe time frame of 48 hrs. We always use very conservative values. The binding of both follows a similar mechanism as ammonia. Nitrate as you have noted may take a few different routes. This is impart is related to the difficulty ad limitations of machinery capable of yielding the desired information. As science itself, grows and develops Seachem grows and develops.

No aquarium water conditioner simply removes unwanted elements. These elements are detoxified via a few mechanisms: bonding for example ammonia/Prime, precipitations from the water column (heavy metals), or bounds are cleaved to form an un-reactive -ide as is the case with chlorine to chloride. We have made a product that functions on all levels.

The formation of these "salts" does not mean that sodium, chloride, calcium chloride, etc are now dissolved in the water, therefore altering the salinity or the overall desired water parameters you, the hobbyists, would like to maintain. The current definition of salinity refers to" the weight in grams of dissolved inorganic salts in one kilogram of seawater, when all bromides and iodides are replaced by an equivalent quantity of chlorides, and all carbonates are replaced by an equivalent quantity of oxides." This definition allows hobbyists to measure salinity with a refractometer or hydrometer. The salts formed concerning Prime, are cations (a positive charge) with a particular structure important to organic chemistry.

If you’re still with me... ☺

The organic structure formed is what allows bacteria and plants the ability to consume Ammonia/nitrite/nitrate bound to Prime. One is able to cycle a tank and/or supply plants with a nitrogen source even with the use of a conditioner. Consumption keeps organic salts formed from building up over time. If one can imagine, the nitrogen from ammonia/nitrite/nitrate bound to Prime is not simply solely take in as ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, but rather the entire molecule bound to Prime is absorbed.

Prime is not recycled from this type of consumption. With continued use according to the label instructions neither buildup nor oxygen consumption is of no concern. The rate of gross overdosing to reduce oxygen would be difficult for anyone to give an end all beat all number. Many factors dictate the level of oxygen present in water. Oxygen carrying capacity of water is a result of temperature, organic load, biological oxygen demand (BOD), aeration, and more. Since everyone’s tank is different, we have no way of providing a blanket answer. 5X the original label dose is also a conservative number. Many people have dosed more with no issues. Any water conditioner used well outside the recommended dose could cause a reduction in oxygen. Water conditioners in general do not preferentially bind oxygen if this were the case all aquarium companies would have a hard time selling current water conditioners on the market (overdosing happens occasionally in this hobby).

I hope this helps and most if not all of the questions have been addressed.

Gmerice Lafayette-Research Manager


Feeder Fish
MFK Member
May 5, 2009
thank you for the good answers