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Re: Prime and dechlorinators, heavy metals vs. nutrients

"Bill Pabst" <BPabst at Asha_org> wrote:

> I think someone on this list mentioned that they use Seachem's "Prime" for 
dechlorinating tapwater for their planted tank, and I wanted to get a little 
more info.  I was using Jungle's "Start Right" or Aquarium Pharmaceuticals' 
"Stress Coat" for my water (treated by the Washington Suburban Sanitary 
Commission, Potomac River MD drainage).  But I switched to using nothing and 
just aging the water, after reading that those dechlorinators have heavy 
metal-neutralizing properties, which is meant to be good for fish, but in 
fact they neutralize the iron and trace elements in plant fertilizers.

They do.

> So, for those of us who are not yet using an R.O. or D.I. system, what is 
the best choice for a dechlorinator for planted tank water?  The other day I 


was filling my buckets and the chlorine smell was like being at a swimming pool.
  Maybe they dose the system at the beginning of the month, or would the 
stronger smell indicate chloramine?  

I guess chloramine has no smell. Must be chlorine gas.

Does "Prime" cover chloramine as well? What about products that claim to 
"break the chloramine bond"?  Isn't that like adding ammonia to the tank?

Yes, but the plants will take care of the amonia. I've been treating my
tap water (North Baltimore County) with just Amquel for two years now with
absolutely no problems. I replace 50% of the water every other week. It's
a big volume, but there are abolutely no ill effects on the fish. I believe
amquel breaks the bond but the amonia gets combined with the amquel
molecule, and the amonia is them released very slowly, giving time for the
plants to suck it up. If this is the case, it's like adding a benign nitrogen
fertilizer. Things are even better at lower pH values ( < 7.0), when most 
amonia is in fact in the form of amonium (ion) which is not harmful for fish 
and is, I believe, the prefered form for plant intake.

> Anyway that smell made me nervous and I want to start using a dechlor again. Any advice is much appreciated.

If your tap water has no chloramine, you can use a simpler dechlorinator such
as Genesis. My tap water seems to have both chlorine and chloramine, in
varying proportions depending on the time of the year.

> Thanks,
> Bill

- Ivo Busko
  Baltimore, MD