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FAQs on Tap/Source Water Use for Marine Aquariums, Treatments by Brand, Manufacturer

Related Articles: Treating Tap water for Marine Aquarium Use, Water Purification Using Reverse Osmosis,

Related FAQs: Treating Tapwater 1, Treating Tapwater 2, Treating Tapwater 3, & FAQs on New Water Treatment: Rationale/Science, Chemicals (Chlorine, Chloramines, Trihalomethanes...), Filtrants, Techniques/Tools, Testing, Troubleshooting, DIY Treatment Chemicals/Tools, & Reverse Osmosis Filtration, Specific GravityWater Purification Using R.O 1. RO/DI 2, RO/DI 3, NitratesWater Changes

All life is thereby affected

Dealing with exceptionally hardy strain of crypt?    Impt. notes re Quinines; old Amquel toxicity           11/12/15
​Hi Crew,
I've been happily reading your site for several years now and am grateful for all of the information. Ever since ich entered my 170g reef almost two years ago before I learned to properly QT, I've been fighting it with just about every method in the book, including many "reef-safe" snake oils, but also QT with hypo, Chloroquine, and quinine...sometimes keeping the fish in
the DT while removing LR and corals, others removing fish to QT and letting the DT go fallow.
<With you so far>
I've blamed failures on everything from not keeping medication levels high enough, to keeping the QT and DT to close together so that aerosolized crypt could move between the two systems.
<Interesting speculation. More likely resident/residual infestation. Most systems have this/them>
I've also demonstrated through studies in a lab with good equipment that Chloroquine degrades super fast leaving behind an inactive molecule in my tank (I was monitoring by HPLC , and I believe, based on changes in CPQ behavior over a year, that a microbe capable of detoxifying Chloroquine either entered or evolved in my system...more about that another time, but high levels of the degradation do appear to be toxic to Zebrasoma tangs).
<I REALLY encourage you to publish your data, explanations>

I now know that quinine is perfectly stable in my system and that the concentration remains constant after dosing regardless of skimmer or keeping lights on. It clearly wipes out any visible ich on my fish within 24 hours and prevents the return until removed. Unfortunately, as you already know, it dos nothing for the inactive cyst stage, and I find that certain tangs (particularly Zebrasoma) begin to show signs of drug toxicity after about a week (labored breathing, failure to eat, general listlessness) but they recover fully withi8n a day of being moved to a system without quinine.
<I have suspected such as well>

SO....I still have ich. I just completed a 13 week fallow (no new coral or other additions), my QT and DT are far apart, precautions were taken to heat-sterilize anything that went from one tank to another, etc. I moved a Kole tang with no visible signs of ich from QT to the DT.
<Note the qualifier, "no visible signs">
He had been at high quinine concentration for the previous five days and was allowed an hour in the quinine containing water during the transfer process, just in case there were any random cysts that had just hatched so that the new hatchlings would have time to die from high drug exposure.
About a week later, the first small blotch appeared, looking nothing like ich.
<You should sample, check under a microscope>
Couple more blotches (as opposed to raised sugar grains) appeared here and there until this morning when I clearly saw some raised sugary grains. So, it's back to QT for him, and I'll have quinine in the tank to make sure that anything on him dies before it can re-encyst and live to infect another fish.
Finally to my question: Would you let this DT go fallow for 6 months?
<As long as possible, practical... more likely, with no desired life present, I'd bleach all and restart it>
A year? Or sacrifice your corals, cook your live rock, empty the DT, and go over every component with a hair dryer to make sure not so much as a single drop of water remains anywhere in the general vicinity?
<No; I would not go this far. Just as likely to (re) import Crypt w/ new fishes>
I have also considered periodically placing an ich-resistant fish in an isolation box within the tank in case this strain requires fish hormones to break dormancy. I realize all of this might seem extreme, but I seem to have a real survivor here and the theory of crypt weakening after a year of successive generations seems to either be wrong, or to not apply to this strain.
The good news is that my fish seem to be real survivors....though I did lose many to a bad batch of Amquel plus, which I will write about separately.
<To/for browsers; DO give your polyvinylpyrrolidone solutions (commercial dechloraminators often contain) a "good whiff" and if they smell, toss rather than use them>
I would greatly appreciate any advice here.
Thank you
<I'd have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/reefparfaq2.htm
and a few of the linked files above.... for solace, input. I'd strive to "keep balance" in your/fishes favor here; through optimized care: environment and nutrition; use of cleaners.... Bob Fenner>
Bad batch of Amquel Plus          11/12/15

​Hi again crew.
I wanted to separate this subject from my previous tome on a persistent strain of ich.
<Ah, I thank you>
I have found a little about this on your site, but wanted to add. It took me 3 die-offs and a discussion at my LFS to get here.
I have used the product many times in the past with great success,
<I've used hundreds of gallons commercially; and know where you're going here>
but I bought a new bottle from Amazon in July when we were having a heat wave. I had just restarted a quarantine tank and was ready to begin catching fish after another ich outbreak and put some of the product in. I trapped a pbt that was heavily infected, added him, and he died overnight. I assumed he was too badly damaged by crypt or that something was wrong with my parameters or that it was new tank syndrome even though I had added a well seeded sponge. I let the QT (75 gallons) settle for a few days, added carbon, and tried another fish, but assumed I didn't need the AmQuel for just one fish. That fish lived, and I added more, one at a time. They all lived. After a week, I was heading out on vacation and thought I'd leave
the fish with a big water change and clean filters....and of course, some Amquel plus prophylactically in case the bacteria count was too far reduced to fully keep up with the bio burden for the first couple days. The water went cloudy overnight and many fish died immediately or over the next week while my house sitter watched helplessly. Again, I blamed it on my water change and the weekend state of my fish.
As the end of my fallow period approached, I decided to do a tank transfer just in case there were any cysts capable of surviving. I set up a 20 gallon with new water and seeded sponge filter and checked my temperature, pH, etc. Then I added Amquel plus from that same bottle, now 2 months older. I placed a fish in the tank and it began twitching and was dead
within 10 minutes. I had removed it to a bucket of water taken from my DT within 5 minutes, but it could not recover. The water turned cloudy and the pH dropped to 6.5.
After my fallow ended and I transferred my few remaining fish back to the DT, I decided to buy a couple new fish and begin the QT process over again. They went into the same QT my other fish had been in with good stable conditions, and they were swimming happily. At 10 PM, I decided to add a single capful of Amquel plus from this same bottle, still thinking
the other deaths were something I had done. Six hours later, I awoke to find the fish dead and the pH very low but no ammonia.
I tasted the material and found it to be acidic and strong, then went to my LFS and explained what had happened, and asked if they had open AmQuel I could taste. The two were not the same.
<Note to browsers, please DO NOT taste test aquarium products>
When discussing my decision to purchase off Amazon in July, the owner noted that he only orders Amquel for the store between October and May, and stocks up in May to avoid shipping in summer. He stated that exposure to high temperature will sometimes cause it to go bad, and that was likely my problem.
<Yes; though simple time going by can result in such degradation>
I bought a new bottle to run some tests, like change in pH of live salt water, but the old and new were identical. I cut off a couple pieces of filter floss from my canister filter and added them. It did seem like the old bottle made the water hazier in the presence of the dirty filter, but I could just be seeing things. since I cannot distinguish between the two bottles based on appearance, smell, or effect on simple parameters, I am terrified to add this to my tank.
I have since added a couple fish to this QT, after a water change and carbon. There have been no deaths.
Since I can't similar stories anywhere else on the internet,
<There are a few accounts. Am going to try "Amquel Toxicity" in the search tool: There are ref.s, but they're not coming up counter-shaded for some reason, and am wont to look w/in the FAQs files for the specific Q/As.... I assure you though that I am well-aware w/in you speak; chatted w/ Dr. Bob Rofen (RIP) who passed earlier this year; owner of Kordon/Novalek Re (the maker of this product and NovAqua, and...) and John/ny Farrell Kuhns, the actual chemical patent holder for these lines..... the aging, break-down and toxicity of this product IS a known quality>
I was wondering if you had similar experience or had heard this from somebody else in the past. I am particularly interested in whether the "heat effect" is real.
<Sped up rates of reaction; yes. You can see/read my bio. on WWM, elsewhere. I taught H.S. level chemistry and physics....>
Thank you in advance for whatever information you can provide....I'd like this info to help others, but I understand if you need to keep it private in order to avoid lawsuits from the manufacturer.
<I am very long since past any such consideration. Am really only interested in establishing fact/s, disseminating them in a useful, timely manner to others that are interested. Again, I thank you for your sharing, concern. Bob Fenner>

Heavy Metal Removers?   5/9/11
<Hello Carrie>
I have been reading and reading, but due to my very busy schedule, I have to press the EASY button here! lol I have a reef tank with corals, snails and some fish in a 90 gallon.
Here is my query...... what do you think of the new Instant Ocean Conditioner, http://www.petmountain.com/show_product/11442-522003/?utm_source=froogle&utm
_medium=datafeed&utm_term=11442-522039 or the like, that says it removes harmful heavy metals from tap water?
<A bit... taught/have credential for teaching chemistry and physics at the H.S. level, and long-study in the aquatic husbandry interest>
I did talk to a person from the company that makes Amquel Plus, Novaqua, or something like that..... and they said THEIR product will remove harmful metals but to let the water circulate for 24 hours with their product BEFORE adding salt.
<Have seen/read these claims. Are valid for the most part>
Now here is my quandary.... after reading a lot of information, I am getting the idea that letting the water aerate and circulate for a few days BEFORE adding the salt gets rid of the metals ANYWAY....
<This is also so>
but that just doesn't make sense to me. Metal is just that.... metal and metal I assume does not just "float away" into air, lol.
<What it does is combine w/ other reactive materials in the tap/source water, some of which have been added by municipalities, and precipitate into (largely) insoluble compounds. What we are mostly concerned re as hobbyists are free metals, ions... inert molecules not so much>
I understand that this is good for chlorine/chloramines etc. THAT being said, these NEW products, as they are said to CHLEAT
<Chelate... bind them chemically...>
to the metals.... IS IT POSSIBLE for them to release them BACK into the aquarium at one time?
<Generally no. The circumstances, most notably very low pH, that would allow such don't often occur>
When you do water changes and vacuum the sand will it remove those chelated metals?
<To some extent, yes>
OR..... If you were to allow the water to circulate say a day or 2 with this chelating agents, would those agents THEN be at the bottom of the tub, at which time maybe siphoning out the bottom level of water, say 2 to 5" of it would remove the metals?
<The very bottom yes>
Sorry for the crazy questions, I just want to be clear. I have a water softener with an R/O that I have been using for years, but we may be moving and I was not sure if there way any way around R/O water by doing SOMETHING to the tap water as stated above.
<Reverse osmosis is a good "starting point" for many places w/ too much questionable "other" content in source water. I encourage you to study a bit more and write up your impressions for pulp and e-magazine use in our field. Bob Fenner>
Re: Heavy Metal Removers?   5/9/11
Hi Bob,
To be clear.... and yes I READ a lot, and this was actually very interesting as far as a subject goes!
<Ah yes>
1. I can use Las Vegas (put that in there just to rub in the great weather lol) TAP WATER. Let it aerate in an OPEN container for 48 hours (I read 2 days is preferable), then add the salt until mixed. With THIS approach will the harmful metals for the corals and inverts will be gone?
<Is not harmful... or shall I put it, using RO only will only get you a few percent improvement overall in water quality>
2. SAME as above but use that product or similar in the fresh water as it "aerates" for the 2 days?
<I'd go w/ #1>
What brand are you cool with?
<Most all contain about the same three real active ingredients... Am a fan of the Kordon and SeaChem lines>
Thanks for the answer by the way, and that PH thing DOES make sense.
Someone in the industry.... no one notable...... told me that you never know if it would release those back in the water.
<Not so... the energetics of the "forward chemical equations" are such that only under "non-living" settings would these ions get back into solution in concentration>
I have to admit I am having a real issue with nitrates for SOME reason.....
I have really no idea BUT I need more live rock. Never had the problem before, but I did add prime to the tank, but the test is still showing the nitrates.
<Do search this on the Net. You're very likely seeing a false negative reaction from this water conditioner use>
Corals look fine, fish seem fine and I would THINK my Sympodium would NOT be cool with over 40 nitrates. I am guessing a foul test, but I do NOT want to risk it. My bad, I know.... this has been a rough couple of months.... hubby in the hospital for 5 days with pneumonia...
<Yikes... the highest percentage killer of humans, U.S. citizens in the history of our species. DO take care>
I had it at the same time, but caught it sooner and I was okay. So about 2 months of neglect and I need to do a huge water change, but thought the 10% ever over day would work, although I read that doing larger ones would be okay in this case. SO MANY opinions!!! lol
<Seek to understand the underlying science in these matters. I have found that the Net has (w/ some searching and tossing out 90 some percent noise) useful explanations for most phenomena>
I read where someone said that is like being in a garage full of CO2 and only cracking the door enough to let 10% out a day! lol Seems the REAL ISSUE is the PH being balanced.
<Mmm, yes, though CO2 is very water soluble... much more so than other gasses we're interested in>
My thought was to put the corals and fish and ROCK in a separate container and fill the tank with freshly aerated and salt added water and wait till the PH balances BEFORE putting them all back in.
<Better to mix elsewhere... DO learn to/use the WWM search tool, indices...>
I have actually put fish in NEW saltwater from their old tank with no problem. (I was told to do this YEARS ago) but I was not sure how the corals would react to .... lol.... clean water.
<Sometimes not favorably>
My guess is the PH is the MOST important thing next to temperature and salinity of course.
<Mmm, actually... alkalinity is more important than pH...>
Thanks again!!!
Carrie :)
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Heavy Metal Removers?   5/9/11
HI Bob,
<Big C>
Yes I do know I need to find the cause of the nitrates.... I already did the research.... I am narrowing is down to needing more live rock. Also YES THANKS the alkalinity is important as the PH, temp and salinity... forgot to put it in. :) I know the mix the water elsewhere, not the tank.... lol.... derr.... not THAT stupid.... I guess I meant after it was mixed I would add it all back in.
Okay so I think I will do 15 or 20% water changes every other or everyday to get the possible nitrates down or at least dilute the prime so the test is more accurate! lol
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked files above>
Besides this is SO much more doable if I can use tap water. Lugging the 5 gallons back from VONS (7 of them) is a back killer!! (has those water purifying machines I always use too).
<Best to get/use your own. Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm and the link....>
Thanks again... sorry I seem a little dingy right now... I have a LOT on my plate and if I had hours to go through WetWeb as I have in the past, I would. :)
<Oh yeah!>
Oh..... ORA told me that their mandarins eat constantly like seahorses, so if you know someone with one, make sure they are using the spectrum little pellets and feed 3 to 4 times a day!
<Or more!>
Thanks again, Bob!
Re: Heavy Metal Removers? Oxycirrhites greed    5/10/11
Forget the below.... Just wanted to tell you something that was so funny!
I have a Longnose Hawkfish and I was putting in some krill (freeze-dried) so he GRABS a piece that is obviously too big for his mouth, but as he is holding onto it, he eyes up ANOTHER piece! So as he ponders over whether he can grab the second one AND keep the one in his mouth, my purple tang and percula are approaching..... So he decides WHY NOT?? He GRABS for that second piece and misses and in the process LOSES the first one he had, ...... both pieces were stolen by above mentioned fish!!! A KRILL IN THE MOUTH IS WORTH MORE THAN......... (you finish it.... lol)
Take care!
Carrie :)
<Two or more in the tank?! B>

Seachem Prime, SW use, and RO waste water as well    12/21/08 On my freshwater tanks i always use prime in my 24 hour aged water prior to conducting a water change. <A good practice> For my saltwater tanks i also use prime prior to mixing my salt for partial water change. I now have a RO filtration system fitted, and would like to know if i need to continue to use the prime. <Mmm, not necessary. For browsers, this product desc.: http://www.seachem.com/Products/Conditioners.html> I have started to use the RO water for drinking and for topping up my sump. Can i continue to use my tap water plus prime for my partial water change on my salt water tanks, or is it best to use the RO water. <Mmm, really depends on the nature/constituency of your source/tap water... and your goals in using the RO... but if using tap, I would use the Prime> It seems to be a very slow process waiting for the trash can to fill with RO water, and the waste involved is very high. Regards Alan <Mmmm, I would think about ways to use the vented "solute water"... I have run out to my pond before and/or to a cistern to in turn water my garden. There's really not "that much" different than the tap... so, you might very well be able to simply collect this "waste water" and use in on your freshwater systems. Bob Fenner>

NovAqua dechlorinator question  11/30/08 Hi. You have the BEST website for fish. I am absolutely stunned by the amount of information you have available. <Ah, good> Anyway, I have a 125 gallon saltwater FOWLR tank with a 30 gallon sump. I use tap water for my water changes and to top off. I usually use NovAqua plus to dechlorinate the water. What do you think about this product? <Is a fine, tried and true formulation... extremely useful and safe> This product is supposed to produce a Slime Coat for fish. I am thinking that there is no point to have extra chemicals when the slime isn't necessary. What do you think? <Not a worry> Should I use a plain dechlorinator <Dechloraminator actually in these days and times> with no extra additives? (I know the best thing to do is to use RO water, or alternatively leave the tap water out for a week or so). But which dechlorinator would you recommend? <This one is fine... there are a few others that are very similar... check the ingredients (esp. PVP)... John F. Kuhns is not the only one who found/makes "a better mousetrap> Furthermore, regardless of whether I should use NovAqua for my display tank, do you think it is a good idea to use it for my Quarantine tank for new additions? <Yes> I figure the new fish could use some extra coating. But I've also read that some fish (like angelfish) have a lot of slime naturally, and too much coating can actually cause them to suffocate. Is this true? <Not a real concern> One more question: for top off water, I use dechlorinated tap water. I don't raise the PH in it (so the PH remains at 7.0). My tank PH is 8.4. I assume the top off water that I add gets the PH increased from the live NovAqua dechlorinator question Hi. You have the BEST website for fish. I am absolutely stunned by the amount of information you have available. <Ah, good> Anyway, I have a 125 gallon saltwater FOWLR tank with a 30 gallon sump. I use tap water for my water changes and to top off. I usually use NovAqua plus to dechlorinate the water. What do you think about this product? <Is a fine, tried and true formulation... extremely useful and safe> This product is supposed to produce a Slime Coat for fish. I am thinking that there is no point to have extra chemicals when the slime isn't necessary. What do you think? <Not a worry> Should I use a plain dechlorinator <Dechloraminator actually in these days and times> with no extra additives? (I know the best thing to do is to use RO water, or alternatively leave the tap water out for a week or so). But which dechlorinator would you recommend? <This one is fine... there are a few others that are very similar... check the ingredients (esp. PVP)... John F. Kuhns is not the only one who found/makes "a better mousetrap> Furthermore, regardless of whether I should use NovAqua for my display tank, do you think it is a good idea to use it for my Quarantine tank for new additions? <Yes> I figure the new fish could use some extra coating. But I've also read that some fish (like angelfish) have a lot of slime naturally, and too much coating can actually cause them to suffocate. Is this true? <Not a real concern> One more question: for top off water, I use dechlorinated tap water. I don't raise the PH in it (so the PH remains at 7.0). My tank PH is 8.4. I assume the top off water that I add gets the PH increased from the live rock and the substrate. <Mostly the artificial salt ingredients actually> Do you think I should be increasing the PH of the top off water to 8..4? Wouldn't this raise my overall PH in the display tank? <Mmm, likely not necessary... your stated pH is mighty fine> Thanks in advance. Eugene <Thank you Eugene. Much could be mentioned re these commercial products, the main points of their chemistry, biological concerns. I assure you, having used (and sold) many thousands of gallons of this fine Kordon product... it is very safe and effective. Bob Fenner, who uses nothing nowadays for his own systems... but time in storage ahead of use> rock and the substrate. <Mostly the artificial salt ingredients actually> Do you think I should be increasing the PH of the top off water to 8..4? Wouldn't this raise my overall PH in the display tank? <Mmm, likely not necessary... your stated pH is mighty fine> Thanks in advance. Eugene <Thank you Eugene. Much could be mentioned re these commercial products, the main points of their chemistry, biological concerns. I assure you, having used (and sold) many thousands of gallons of this fine Kordon product... it is very safe and effective. Bob Fenner, who uses nothing nowadays for his own systems... but time in storage ahead of use>

Re: NovAqua dechlorinator question, and electrical concern, Paracanthurus sel. and roasted Nori...   12/1/08 Thank you so much for your help. I now feel confident in using the NovAqua product. I have 2 more questions to which I couldn't find an answer after browsing your website. <Sure> 1) I recently had a small accident. I accidentally left a hot heater in an empty bucket. The bucket also contained one of my pumps (I use it to mix salt). The heater touched the wiring of the pump and burned a small piece of the wiring. The actual electrical wiring is not exposed, but the rubber got burned. I am wondering if the pump is still safe to use (the burned wire is close to the actual pump and would go into the water) or would the burned rubber release chemicals that would kill my fish. <The burnt material should be fine chemically... the chance of an "electrical leak" can be easily checked with a small electrical meter... placing the probes in a container of water with the pump in place, plugged in> 2) I recently bought ROASTED Nori from a local Asian store. The store didn't have regular dried Nori, but they did have roasted Nori. There are no other additives, it's just roasted seaweed. Is roasted seaweed safe for fish? <Mmm, a qualified yes... the processing of roasting itself may have involved the use of oil/aromatic/s... You can likely see if this is the case by placing a bit of the Nori into water... to see if a "slick" issues forth from it> The reason I ask is because I just had a small (2") hippo tang die a day or so after feeding him this product. <Mmm, small Paracanthurus do often "die mysteriously"... A/the reason I am not a fan of folks dealing with such diminutive specimens of this species. See WWM...> I only had the tang for about 10 days, and he was always hiding, but he did eat. My water parameters are perfect, so I assume he died because he was just too young, unless of course it was the seaweed??? <I doubt it> Thanks again for your help. Eugene <Welcome my friend. BobF>

A follow-up to "I need help, all my fish died 3/28/07" More on Amquel (and A.C.E. . ) poss. toxicity   3/31/07 Good afternoon Crew, <Nicole> I just wanted to add to this question, which Alex answered, in which someone named Dawn relayed the disaster that her 45 gallon reef tank experienced. <Please do> I myself have noticed this odor with the Amquel+ product, but when I first bought a bottle of it about a year ago, it had a similar smell. The smell seems to have become concentrated as the product was expended. It leaves a very lasting odor - an uncapped bottle can quickly smell up a room! This makes me uneasy, but I do believe it is normal to some extent. Even Prime (in my opinion the best dechlorinator, the 50 ml dropper bottle makes dosing very simple - 3 drops per gallon)  has a section on the back where it says: "Sulfur odor is normal." <Yes> Prime, however, has a very slight odor, in my opinion. The Amquel+ product definitely does not! I answer fish questions on another site, and have seen many cases where an addition of Amquel+ or A.C.E. . caused major disruption of the bio-filter, usually nitrites shooting up sky high. <Yes> I cannot say that it is due to the product alone, but it certainly was a catalyst. Although both Novalek and Jungle do offer other fine aquarium products - these particular ones, I would never recommend to anyone. <Me neither> Thanks for reading this, and for all that you do each day for hobbyists worldwide! Nicole <Thanks much for coming forward... with this lucid, useful input. Bob Fenner> Bubble Tip Anemone and Prime -- 3/11/07 Bob, <Hi Cindy, Brenda here> I have a question about a Bubble tip.  My husband got this guy on Thursday.  He put Prime in the tank today. <Why?  Prime is used to remove chlorine and ammonia.  It is also used during cycling to reduce ammonia, nitrate and nitrite toxicity.  You should be using RO or RO/DI water.  An anemone should not be added to a tank until it is well established.  It is recommended to wait six months to one year before adding an anemone.> Now the Anemone is sucked back until it is very small and looks a little jelly like. <It is not unusual for an anemone to deflate from time to time.  It needs to expel waste.  If it looks like it is melting or decaying, it is dead.  Need to remove it, do a large water change and monitor your water parameters closely.> What could be wrong with this guy and is there anything we can do to help him? <Without more information on your tank such as equipment, age, water parameters, and as to why Prime was added, I can't offer much help.> He did try to feed him today but he wouldn't eat. <That is not unusual for a newly introduced anemone.> Cindy <Sorry, need more information.  Brenda>

PRIME (SEACHEM) 3/11/07 How are you all doing? <Good thanks.> I have a question about the product PRIME from Seachem. I have a little system made to dispense Freshwater (R/O) from a 26 gallon trash can and a saltwater mix (1.023) that is in another 26 gallon. I have heaters in both and have power heads in both. My question is when I make new fresh water with the R/O maker, can I just implement the PRIME in the freshwater trash can? <Not necessary with R/O water, it removes the chemicals Prime treats.> Or when I'm ready to mix new saltwater and add it to my saltwater trash can should I put the PRIME in the saltwater mix? Where do you think the Prime would be more effective or does it even matter? <Unnecessary.> Sorry but two more question my tank has been cycling for two weeks now and I have been doing 5-10% water changes so far at the end of each week ( Only two so far). However, I also have real fine sand in the tank. Do I need to siphon the sand too. <I would not unless it has algae growth on it.> Or can I just pick up the die off from my LR with tongs and not have to stir up the sand. <Would work fine.> Because as you know if you suck to close to the sand you end up sucking up sand as well and I don't want to do that. The last question I have is my tank has already gone through a phase where I had brown algae and now it has turned green in the tank is this normal? <Yes> I  believe it is from all of the books and forums I read on this web site. Also can you all give me a good web site to go to that has detailed info on how the Nitrogen cycle works and the steps your tank goes through from beginning to end and also charts and pictures of what it looks like in these stages.  <Don't know of one with everything you are looking for.  Can start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and see where it leads you.>    Thank you for all of your help! Jeff <Chris>

Chlorine Poisoning? (12/24/2003) Dear Crew, <Steve Allen tonight> I did a search on your website and found an article on chlorine poisoning but it didn't quite answer my question.  My question is - can a fish recover from exposure to excess chlorine? <sometimes>  After acclimating a newly bought fish by slowing adding tank water to his bag, which was floating in the quarantine tank I netted him out of the bag and put him in the tank.  After about 2-3 minutes he turned upside down and sank to the bottom.  I quickly netted him out and put him in one of my established tanks.  Twenty-four hours later he is still alive but just barely. He lies on the bottom not moving unless I gently touch him with the net.  <Not very hopeful> If  the damage to his system is permanent I will put him out of his misery, if he could recover from this insult I'd leave him alone and let him heal. <Impossible to predict with certainty.> I am positive it is from chlorine.  If it is of any importance I can explain why in another email, but for now, please assume it is from chlorine <okay, but this sounds mysterious. You're sure it isn't something else like ammonia?> and if you  are able to provide an answer to my question I would be most appreciative.  It is my fault that this fish is suffering and if there is no hope for him, the least I can do is to end it for him. Thank you, Judy <Judy. You mentioned nothing about whether this is FW or SW or what kind of fish it is or anything else about the size of  or conditions in your tank. This makes it more difficult to answer your question. Suffice it to say that a fish that has been lying on the bottom for >24 hours and only barely responds to touch is highly unlikely to live much longer. On the other had, it doesn't really sound like it's suffering so you could wait it out a bit. I jut hope you didn't introduce some pathogen into your display tank by plopping him in there. Hope this helps.>

"Prime" smell Hello, I have a question about "Prime" dechlorinator manufactured by Seachem.  I've read on here that dechlorinators that have a formalin smell are not to be used.  I don't know what the smell is, but Prime has a pungent odor.  Also, it says that it provides a slime coat.  I also read on this site that a dechlorinator that causes a slime coat is not necessarily a good thing.  Is this a good product?  I like the way it doesn't cause my protein skimmer to go nuts like Amquel does.  Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from your advice. Gary <Hey Gary, my experience with dechlorinators is the cheaper they are the better they are.  Dechlor is a great one and it's very cheep.  I don't think Prime is going to bother your tank, but from now on go for the cheap stuff!  Good Luck, LinearChaos> <<A note re DeChlor... this sodium thiosulfate (aka hyposulfite) product is ONLY useful for chlorine... it will NOT detoxify chloramines (which almost all municipalities utilize)... nor do anything else. RMF>> Rotten Egg smell from Novaqua and Amquel Plus ? Hi Crew, <Mario> Back in January, I purchased online a bottle of Amquel plus and Novaqua by Kordon. I used them for the first time on a routine water change on Wednesday (Mar. 16), and did not notice any smell then. But, when doing another water change today (Mar 19), I notice both bottles after being opened had a rotten egg- like smell that also filled the room. <Don't use these... They have "gone bad"... should be returned to your dealer, ultimately to Kordon/Novalek for testing....> Also, when I put the lid back on the bottles the smell was still on the bottles, but an hour later the smell has diminished from the bottle with the lid on. But, if I open them the smell is there again.  <Yes... biological, microbial in origin... "Critters" are living on some of the organics in the products> I keep both bottles in a cool place in the bathroom with the others, away from any heat or drafts. In the past I used Start Right by Jungle, and this product did not have any smell. There is no expiry date on the bottles. I noticed the drops that I add to the replacement water does not make the water smell. In other words, I have not odor coming from the water. Is this smell normal? Even if the smell is not in the replacement water can it do harm to the fishes or plants? Should I continue using them if the smell continues? Thanks, Mario D. <Not normal, Dangerous, should NOT be used. Should be returned to manufacturer through your source. Bob Fenner> 

Dechlor? Hello Bob, I have enjoyed your book and have found it very informative. Thank you very much for taking the time to help all of us wanna bes out here. <A pleasure, and an honor to do my part> I am currently setting up a reef tank and had a question about the product DeChlor for removing chlorine from tap water. I just purchased a R/O system and intend to us it religiously. Anyway, I accidentally added too many drops of DeChlor per gallon. When squeezing the bottle to get drip a small stream briefly came out into about 10 gallons of water. Almost, impossible to know how much. I was mixing the salt in the tank, again starting a new tank. There isn't any life in the tank yet. I was leaving the salt water to circulate for a couple days before adding the live rock and sand. Should I drain the tank and start over? Thank you in advance. <Not to worry... this product is water and sodium thiosulfate (aka hyposulfite) (by Weco Corporation if memory serves)... and has a very wide range of safety... Want to mention a few things though... the sanitizer in use almost everywhere in the U.S. is not chlorine (which "DeChlor" does render harmless) but chloramine(s) which are not treatable with this product... And, your Reverse Osmosis unit no doubt has an integral inline carbon contactor... and otherwise will exclude most all sanitizer... At all lengths, what I'm trying to say is 1) don't worry about the current circumstance... even if there were livestock present, 2) No need to use this product or actually anything if your source water is running through the R.O.... 3) And most important to mention: do read over the "Treating Tapwater for Marine Use" section and accompanying FAQs posted on my site: www.wetwebmedia.com re a protocol for pre-mixing synthetic seawater. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Dan Hutchings

Dechlorinators I have read through your information on the web site, and I can't figure out if the stuff I use is pseudo or not. I use Kordon's AmQuel - which does say it removes Ammonia, Chloramines, and Chlorine in "one step," but it doesn't smell like formaldehyde (I don't think). I couldn't find any reference to poly-vinyl compounds. I have used it to remove Ammonia and have tested afterward, and it did remove the ammonia according to the test kit. I am just worried because it says "one step" on it and I don't want to hurry my tank inhabitants. Thanks, Steve  >> Hmm, well this Kordon/Novalek product is "the real thing"... no formalin, formaldehyde... and does contain PVP. Use it and enjoy. Bob Fenner

Water Conditioner Bob.... Good morning!! I have another question. I have been using a product called Nova Aqua  <sic, Novaqua by Kordon Corp.> to treat my tap water for water changes in my reef tank for the last 2 years or more. I noticed last night that this product claims to neutralize iodine.  <Yes, all halogens> Isn't it true that corals need to have iodine??  <Yes.> So, does this mean that I have a great iodine deficiency going on??  <Possibly, do you have a test kit for iodine/iodide?> Should I use a iodine additive, and switch to another water conditioner that won't neutralize the iodine??  <Not necessarily... much could be stated here... I would instead change protocols to just storing, aerating new synthetic seawater instead of using any dechloraminator... the others sold in the trade do this same thing, some in different ways> How much iodine should be added and how often?? I have a 37 gallon tank approximately 1/3 full of live rock. Thanks, Pat Marren <As you can appreciate... the amount to add varies with products, concentration, format, your biomass, water chemistry... I urge all to administer iodide only once a week or so on an ongoing basis (perhaps more frequently in treatments, new livestock... specialized filtration...), and to use a test kit to ascertain about how much this should be... Many more organisms are harmed from I2 overdose than lack. Bob Fenner>

Re: Water Conditioner Bob... Okay, I will try setting up water before I do a change, but can you tell me how long it takes for the chlorine to dissipate?? I'm putting it into 5 gallon buckets. Would it be ok to just put the water into the buckets, and mix the salts into it before I do the change?? Thanks again, Pat Marren <Stated before... please read through the seawater prep. sections on the website: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: Water Conditioner Bob... If I can get spring water to use (there's a lot of that around here), would that be a good substitute instead of setting of water?? Pat <Not necessarily... many possible problems... have you had this tested for your use as in drinking, cooking, bathing? I would use the municipal water and treat as I've sent you to on the WWM site... Bob Fenner>

Amquel Do you have an opinion on the use of Amquel? <Yes> I have been using Novaqua as a dechlorinator but it is driving my skimmer crazy with the stress additive. I am considering just using Amquel since it does not contain the extra stuff. What do you think? Thanks for your help! :) <Am a big fan of this fine Novalek product... have used many hundreds of gallons over the years for dechloraminating tapwater, acclimating livestock. Bob Fenner> Elizabeth K. Birdwell

PolyFilter Hey Bob, <Steven Pro here this morning.> Thanks yet again for your timely answers to my questions, you're an amazing help to the neophyte aquarists out there. I've been using well water for my tank as it tested with acceptable levels for everything when the tank was set up, that is to say there was no ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, chlorine, or any other substances of note over acceptable levels (including those which should be 0ppm), granted starting off with small amounts is a hindrance over using distilled or R/O water. I still treat the water for chlorine just in case though. Recently however, my tap water has tested quite high for nitrates, between 50-100ppm. <Ughh!> Distilled water isn't an option unless I distill it myself due to some issues with the local stores in the remote town I live in, <Distilled water is never an option to me, too much of a risk of metal contamination.> and since this isn't my house, an R/O unit or de-ionizer seems to be out of the question as well. <RO and DI units made for the aquarium industry are completely portable. I can see no problem with either one of these.> I've got live rock and good circulation, which keeps the nitrate at around 50ppm steady, and so far everything in the tank seems to just be acclimated to high nitrates since presumably it went up over the time between when I started the tank and now. <Not necessarily. It takes a long time for most problems to manifest themselves and in some instances once you see a reaction it is too late.> I'm currently toying with building a denitrification coil. I understand that they can require a lot of adjustment but that's something I'm willing to take time out to do daily if it will. <Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation: Coral Gardening for Aquarists" has a section on denitrating coils and remote DSB's.> My question is, in the mean time, will the addition of a PolyFilter or two help reduce the nitrates in the water to acceptable levels? <Perhaps. They will also help to remove many of the dissolved organics which are associated with high nitrate levels. Aggressive protein skimming should help too.> Some places I've read seem to indicate they will in fact pull nitrates out of the water, others say the opposite. <I would have to defer to the good people at Poly-Bio-Marine.> I don't have the option of growing mangroves or Caulerpa, or the use of a deep sand bed in a sump/refugium as I only have room for the tank I have now, once again owing to this not being my house and me not being able to get rid of some of the extra furniture clogging up good aquarium space. Would it be more effective for me to tear the tank down and start a DSB as opposed to using the demit coil? <Your best option is to clean up your tapwater first. Then skimming and a DSB, IMO.> I've read through a lot of the FAQ's on your site regarding tap water, treating water, so on, as well as things on other sites and none really seem to address what to do if tap water is more or less your only option and it's high in nitrates. <It really is never your only option.> Any advice would be much appreciated, as frankly, I'm stumped on what direction to take at the moment. Thanks, Josh Yanny <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Removing Chlorine from Tapwater Bob, I noticed you mentioning pseudo dechloraminators; I'm wondering if Seachem's Prime is one, or if it's a genuine dechloraminator. <No, should be fine.> My LFS does not stock Amquel, but Prime is common around here (Sydney, Australia), but your article on treating tapwater has me concerned, as I don't want to waste money on something that doesn't work and will cause my fish harm. Cheers, Poe <The bad ones are usually super cheap and found predominantly in the pet isle of grocery stores and such. There are a whole bunch of good conditioners; Kordon's Novaqua and Amquel, Tetra's AquaSafe, Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Stress Coat, and many others I am probably forgetting. If you have seen any of these, you will notice they are all somewhat thick and slimy from the colloids. -Steven Pro>

-New Amquel!- Hey there Crew, <Hola, Kevin here> I was at PetSmart today and saw a bottle of Amquel+ with a sign that said "new" on it. <*Gasp!*> The bottle states that this new Amquel will remove ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and still remove chlorine and chloramines.  Any news/experience with this product? <Sounds like something handy to have in the event of a tank disaster, but not something that you should depend on. If your tap water contains those toxins, then yes, it would be a fine product to use. Good luck! -Kevin>

-More on Amquel plus - Kevin: The key point with the new Amquel Plus is that it supposedly will not drop the pH when added to a saltwater system the way the old kind did. <Excellent, that's definitely a good improvement!> I learned from bitter experience that even the recommended dose of the old Amquel causes a potentially catastrophic decrease in pH (several tenths). It turns out that it says so in microscopic print right on the label. <Same thing that happens when you ship livestock, as the water becomes more acidic and the ammonia level increases, the low pH detoxifies it.> The huge pH drop stresses the already ammonia-affected fish even more and kills inverts outright-been there, done that. I completely agree with you that one should not depend on a product like this to control ammonia. It is an emergency-use product only, not a substitute for maintaining high water quality by proper tank-keeping methods. I'll keep some Amquel Plus around just in case, but hope to never actually need to use it. BTW, AmmoLock 2 allegedly does not lower pH either. <So something in it binds with the ammonia to detoxify it; I wonder what it becomes...> Thanks for your WWM service, Steve Allen. <You're very welcome, have a spectacular evening! -Kevin>

-Amquel plus: more info- Kevin: Since you asked, I checked the Kordon Website & got the following: <Oh, very cool!> --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The active ingredient in Amquel is known chemically as sodium hydroxymethanesulfonate, HOCH2SO3Na. The active part of the molecule can be graphically represented as: The hydroxymethane- end of the molecule reacts with ammonia to form a non-toxic, stable water-soluble substance which is acted upon by biological filtration. This reaction effectively removes the toxic ammonia from solution. Even in water of low pH (<7.0) the above reaction proceeds to completion. This is because even at pHs below 7.0 there is always some "free" ammonia (NH3) and the Amquel will scavenge it from the water. This is why Amquel works faster at higher pH's and in saline waters. The substance formed is stable, and testing has shown that even after weeks in an aquarium without a biological filter, the ammonia is not released back into the water. Also, unreacted Amquel is stable, and unless removed with water changes or granular activated carbon it will be available to react with ammonia until it is exhausted in the water to which it was added. This is why Amquel has proven so useful in shipping fishes. The -sulfonate end of the Amquel molecule reacts with both free-available chlorine, known properly as hypochlorites (OCl-) and combined-available chlorine (chloramines). In the first instance nothing more than harmless chloride ions (Cl- ) are produced, and in the latter instance chloride ions are formed and the freed ammonia instantly reacts with the hydroxy-methane end of the molecule. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The attached picture shows the reaction. The site also warns of the sudden drop in pH with Amquel and recommends Amquel Plus to avoid this. As you correctly point out, lower pH detoxifies the ammonia. However, this occurs gradually during the shipping process. <That it does, lucky fish.> The pH drop with Amquel is sudden (a double dose, as the bottle states one can give, dropped mine from 8.2 to 7.5 in minutes. <Not so fun> That can't be healthy for any marine life. <Thank you Steve for this info, will post for everyone to see! -Kevin> Steve Allen

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