Welcome to our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page where we list some of the common questions we are asked about Seachem products. If your particular question is not listed here, please drop us a line via the contact page and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

I think that my Prime might be old because it has a bad smell

Prime® has a very distinct odor that is similar to sulfur which is completely normal. Also, the presence of small black specks is normal.

I used Neutral Regulator to adjust pH to 7.0, but it didn't work. What am I doing wrong?

There are two different buffering systems you can rely on in freshwater aquariums. The first is a bicarbonate based buffering system and the second is a phosphate based buffering system. Of the two, phosphate based buffers, like Neutral Regulator, tend to be more stable. In situations where a bicarbonate buffering system is strong, you will need to increase the dosage of Neutral Regulator until the phosphate based buffer can overcome the bicarbonate based buffering system. You can dose Neutral Regulator daily until you reach your desired pH. If you want a faster working solution (I’m assuming your pH is too high), you can use our Acid Buffer to dissolve some of your bicarbonate based buffering system to make things easier for Neutral Regulator to work.

Another test kit showed positive for ammonia but Ammonia Alert™never changed color. Is it still good?

Most likely the other test kit was testing for total ammonia. Total ammonia includes both free (NH3) and ionic (NH4+) ammonia. The Ammonia Alert™ only measure free ammonia because that is the harmful form. Ionic ammonia cannot harm your fish. However, as pH rises, a greater and greater percentage of the total ammonia will be converted from ionic ammonia to free ammonia, so knowledge of total ammonia is also important.

Does ammonia alert work accurately if you are using ammo lock? My contact at my local fish store and I are both curious.

Yes it does work accurately, however as a product like Ammolock is removing the ammonia the transition back to yellow will take some time, so don’t be concerned if you don’t see an immediate shift back to yellow. The Ammonia Alert is always faster to respond to increasing ammonia levels than to decreasing.

I’ve heard that Reef Calcium™has sugar in it and that it will cause algae growth. Is this true?

No. This is a faulty assumption based on the premise that polygluconate is the same as glucose. Polygluconate is not a sugar any more than cellulose is a sugar (it’s a polysaccharide). Cotton is almost pure cellulose, if you saw some cotton would you consider that to be a sweet treat? Polygluconate can be broken down into gluconate. The corals also can break it down and use it as a carbon source, as does your biological filter (some people even add ethanol to their system to “jump start” their biofilter… it’s the same principal). In this vein, one side effect sometimes seen when using Reef Calcium™ is a dip in nitrates (if they were already up of course). The use of Reef Calcium™ presents no more of problem with respect to adding too much organics than does feeding your fish. Gluconate is a carbohydrate; fish foods also contain carbohydrates, either directly or within cellular DNA/RNA (DNA and RNA both contain cyclic carbohydrates (5 membered furanose rings) as their backbone). So the risk of a problem from Reef Calcium™ is equivalent to the risk from using fish food. The key here is that Reef Calcium™ is not being added in excess to what the tank can support. When the calcium is utilized the carbon component is also necessarily utilized and will not build up. If you overfeed your fish you’re going to cause a problem, and if your overuse Reef Calcium™ you can run into a similar problem.

I have been told that your product releases aluminum, which will close corals for weeks and might even damage them! How can something like that not be stated on the package?

We do recommend rinsing/immersing the product in a double volume of freshwater which should remove most of the fine dust particles that can cause temporary irritation to some soft species. With regards to the release of aluminum, we are aware that it has been shown that under certain conditions aluminum is able to affect some soft species. However this is in no way conclusive as there are a number of other situations where a product such as PhosGuard has had no such negative affect at all. Based on the evidence it would appear it is more than a simple “aluminum from phosphate removers is the sole culprit”. We are looking into the matter more closely so that we can provide a meaningful cautionary statement (i.e. “use of this product under _this set of conditions xxxxxxx_ can have a deleterious affect and should be avoided).

With regards to the false advertising claim I can assure you that was certainly never the intention. The statement “it will not release anything in to the water” is made in reference to it not being an exchange resin to further underscore the difference between it and an exchange resin: by their nature exchange resins release an equivalent amount of material for every piece of material they absorb. PhosGuard does not release anything into the water upon phosphate or silicate removal… in other words the extremely low level of aluminum leached is not correlated with its phosphate or silicate removal activity. Furthermore, the amount of aluminum that is released is in the microgram range. In other words, an extremely low level that from a chemical standpoint would be characterized as “non-soluble” i.e. non-soluble material is not released into the solvent (i.e. water). Any search on the solubility characteristics of aluminum oxide would show it to be considered completely insoluble in water.

The bottom line is that if the directions are followed and the product is well rinsed in freshwater, any deleterious effects should be minimal to non-existant and temporary.

I am curious to the similarities and differences of HyperSorb™ and Purigen®

Purigen and Hypersorb are both chemical filtration resin, turn color to note exhaustion, and can be regenerated. Neither filtration will have an impact on trace minerals, will alter pH, both will ultimately help to control ammonia/nitrite.nitrate by removing organic waste, and both are great to use in almost any water system.

Hypersorb has a broad range of removal properties, but will remove a great deal of organic waste. Hypersorb is great for those looking for a regenerable media that is less aggressive than carbon.

Purigen was released after Hypersorb. Purigen has a high capacity and very good removal rate. Purigen is specific for organic waste removal. Purigen is a very unique filtration resin and is a premium adsorbant. It is unique because it is neither an ion exchange resin nor a scavenging resin. It has a removal and capacity rate higher than most filtration resin on market.

I've heard that Flourite's™ content of arsenic is 18 ppm. Any comments on this?

In an attempt to tarnish the reputation of Flourite®, some brands have made claims that Flourite® contains arsenic. This is true, but what they won’t tell you is that their substrate contains arsenic as well. After independent laboratory testing*, we found that their product contains almost 50% more arsenic than Flourite®. This is inconsequential; however, because all iron containing substrates (even laterite) contain around 5 ppm of arsenic (as insoluble ores (arsenopyrite or orpiment). The keyword here is “insoluble.” This means that while arsenic may be present, it will never be accessible to the plants or fish, thus it can cause no harm.

*Testing procedure: Samples were prepared according to EPA Method 3050B. Sample analysis followed EPA Method 6020 for ICP-MS and was performed on a VG Elemental VG PlasmaQuad 3 and performed by The Chemical Analysis Lab at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.