The removal of ammonia and nitrite should be done through an aquarium nitrogen cycle in any well-established aquarium. It should not be the job of an aquarium water conditioner to keep the toxins at bay. However, some of them can actually detoxify ammonia and nitrite temporarily. It is useful for both new aquariums and emergency situations.
Aquarium water conditioners are primarily de-chlorinators. We use them to neutralize chlorine and chloramine in the tap water to make the water safe for aquarium fish. All commercially available aquarium water conditioners on the market can do the job quite well. To compete with one another, companies have added extra features to make their products stand out from the rest.
Among a long list of additional features, some of the aquarium water conditioners can detoxify ammonia and nitrite which are toxic to fish. Since ammonia and nitrite kill a lot of fish in new aquariums, the detoxify feature is very beneficial. As a result, it can reduce fish loss for novice fish keepers.
In this article, I will provide a list of the aquarium water conditioners that can detoxify ammonia and nitrite. I will discuss other useful features later in other articles.
A List of Aquarium Water Conditioners that can Detoxify or Remove Ammonia and Nitrite:
1. SeaChem Prime
Prime is my favorite aquarium water conditioner. It is from SeaChem Laboratories, an American company specializing in fish meds and other aquatic products for the last 35 years. It can detoxify ammonia and nitrite for up to 48 hours. I always recommend it for new aquarium hobbyists. Any time there is an ammonia spike, you can make it temporary harmless to the fish by doing a partial water change with Prime.
Prime has the highest concentration amongst all aquarium water conditioners. Therefore, it can save some cost in the long term when compared to other products. It never expires according to the manufacturer. So get the biggest bottle you can find. It is more economical. On a side note, Prime smells like sulfa from the bottle. However, it is entirely normal. You won’t be able to smell it after you have put it in the aquarium water.
2. NovaAqua Plus (NovaAqua+)
NovaAqua Plus is another Kordon product with the capability of blocking the uptake of nitrite by aquarium fish and other aquatic animals. This feature can make the toxic nitrite less harmful. Kordon recommends using NovaAqua Plus along with Amquel Plus at the same time to take full advantage of both water conditioners. In my opinion, this is a good suggestion, and it can also be a good idea to combine NovaAqua Plus with Prime. When it is used along with Prime, both ammonia and nitrite can become relatively harmless.
3. Amquel Plus (or Amquel+)
Amquel Plus is a product from Kordon which is an American company founded in California back in the 1950s. According to the product description from the Kordon official website, this aquarium water conditioner can detoxify all forms of a nitrogen compound. It includes ammonia, ammonium, nitrite, and nitrate. Nitrifying bacteria will not be affected by this product.
Since it can even make nitrate safer for the fish, it reduces the need for partial water changes. It is particularly useful for saltwater aquariums which can save a lot of time and trouble as well as some cost in the long run. As a freshwater aquarium fish keeper, I would not skip weekly partial water changes if I am using this product. It is still an excellent feature though.
4. Hikari Ultimate
Hikari is a Japanese brand from a company dating back to the 19th century. It has branches in many countries around the world. They make a lot of high-quality aquarium products including fish food, aquarium water conditioner, and fish meds. I particularly enjoy using their high-quality fish treats. According to the Hikari USA official website, their water conditioner, Ultimate, can remove ammonia and detoxify nitrite in a fish aquarium. Both functions are on the long list of “key features.”
5. API Stress Coat +
API is an American company with 50+ years of experience making aquatic products. I have been using its API Master Water Test Kit to test my aquarium water for ammonia and nitrite with excellent results. Its aquarium water conditioner is called API Stress Coat. Aside from being a de-chlorinator, it can also remove ammonia.
The Detoxification and Removal of Ammonia and Nitrite Are Temporary Measures
All the five aquarium water conditioners are from reputable companies. They can all detoxify either ammonia, or nitrite, or both. Most of them are just temporarily though. To make sure ammonia and nitrite do not harm your aquarium fish, you still need to rely on the aquarium nitrogen cycle.
All of the temporary measures are for emergency situations. If you get an ammonia and nitrite spike in your fish aquarium, these products can come in handy. By using these aquarium water conditioners with every partial water change every day or every other day during an emergency, you can prevent or reduce fish loss. Overdosing any of the water conditioners is unlikely. Thus you can take full advantage of multiple water conditioners by using them at the same time.
Although it is useful for new aquariums as well, please do not rely on just the water conditioners to deal with ammonia and nitrite. Once again, you will need your filter system doing aquarium nitrogen cycle to truly move the toxics on a constant basis. Throw in Tetra SafeStart will solve more of the problem if your filter is uncycled, but it is a live bacteria product instead of a water conditioner.