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Author Topic: Aquatic Ammonia Neutralizers  (Read 24 times)

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Aquatic Ammonia Neutralizers
« on: Today at 01:03:21 AM »

Hi All!

There are two typical methods of neutralizing Ammonia in aquatic systems:

1) "Biological Filters" which promote the growth of microbes that "eat" ammonia and metabolize it to non-toxic molecules
2) Addition of Chemicals to "Neutralize" Ammonia ... typically converting it to some type of Ammonium molecule.

A commonly used chemical for neutralizing Ammonia in consumer to industrial scale operations is Sodium Thiosulfate.  Other notable chemicals include Sodium Methanesulfonate and Sodium Hydroxymethane Sulfonate (both "proprietary" chemicals patented by 'Aquascience Research Group' for Ammonia and Chlorine Neutralization in aquatic systems). 

I am researching a water treatment for saltwater fish tanks and need to make an informed decision about the efficacy of various Ammonia Neutralizers.  I passed both high school and college chemistry back in the early 1980's, but I am certainly NOT a chemist.  So, first thing first, I want to make sure I have a grasp on the stoichiometric progression of Sodium Thiosulfate and Ammonia....

Na2S2O3 + 2(NH3) --> (NH4)2S2O3 + (Na+)

One would assume the Sodium ion would bind with a free Chlorine ion if available thus fulfilling its side task of "Chlorine Neutralizer".

Now, assuming I have Sodium Thiosulfate -> Ammonium Thiosulfate figured correctly, I am at a loss with Sodium Methanesulfonate (CH3SO3Na) and Sodium Hydroxymethane Sulfonate CH4NaO4S+ .  While "Methane" is obviously bound to the sulfate and (perhaps) more loosely to the Sodium atom I can't figure out how either of these in the presence of Ammonia "progress" to some form of Ammonium Sulfate without the carbon atom 1) Remaining Bound to the 4 Hydrogen Atoms and being released as Methane  OR binding to oxygen to form 2) CO or 3) CO2 by taking dissolved oxygen from the solution.  I am sure there is a simple answer, I just haven't done much chemistry in the last 3 decades.

My primary interest is determining if there is any chemically sound reason to select a proprietary Ammonia Neutralizer in favor of a considerably cheaper generic commodity chemical.  If either of the proprietary chemicals have a > 5:1 efficacy over the Sodium Thiosulfate then it would be worth considering them; if not, then the only advantage might be marketing. 

Thanks in Advance!


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