activated carbon kill plants?
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:36 AM   #1
msawdey
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activated carbon kill plants?


ok so first the question.. someone told me activated carbon in my aquaclear filter will kill my plants.. i think its bull.. but has anyone else heard this..


here was my original post
My plants are dying and i cant figure out why. The tank is not overstocked... i do a 10 gallon change every week and a half.. its 40 gallons. All levels stay consistent and relatively low.. I have fish in the tank that wouldnt do well in poor conditions and they look great!. But i cant figure out what is going on.. The substrate is Eco Complete base then eco complete mixed with gravel. I dose twice weekly with flourish and excel. I also just put root tabs in 4 days ago..I also have a DIY CO2 with a reactor on a powerhead for CO2 injection. The plants are looking worse and worse everyday. HELP! I dont want to lose my plants...
also have plenty of light from my GLO TO H5 with 2x24 watts plus another light off an old tank that is 20 watts and the bulb is specifically for plants ...plants are crypts and swords and annubis

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Old 06-29-2009, 10:23 AM   #2
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Why are you cross posting the same post in different parts of Planted Tank?

To answer your question, no, activated carbon will not directly kill your plants. It can adsorb DOCs, including chelated iron. In essence, it can sequester some nutrients from plants, but will not be directly responsible for their death.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:01 PM   #3
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AC will kill your plants


but only if you bury your plants under a couple of pounds of it.

seriously though, no. AC will not harm your tank. nor your plants. as darkblade pointed out it will remove approx 70 - 80% ( i forget the true percantage, but could find it if your interested ) Chealated Iron over a 96 hour period. so depending on your dosing methods, and if you are dosing Chelated iron in conjunction with other needed Macros a few times a week,

Then AC will...... clean / clarify your water, and remove odor.

and when left in for long periods, serve as a BioMedia in your filter.

Now as to why the plants are dying! What do they look like? old growth is yellow and dieing,
new growth is green and looks good? etc etc etc
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Old 06-29-2009, 08:30 PM   #4
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Agreed, it shouldn't effect your plants in any real way. Even if it soaked up all your ferts, forever, your plants won't just die either. As far as I have read, carbon only lasts for a few days before it stops doing much. You have other issues but you still may want to loose the carbon for more media of another type, or use Purgion which should give you the benifts of Carbon and a lot more.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida_Larry View Post
AC will kill your plants


but only if you bury your plants under a couple of pounds of it.

seriously though, no. AC will not harm your tank. nor your plants. as darkblade pointed out it will remove approx 70 - 80% ( i forget the true percantage, but could find it if your interested ) Chealated Iron over a 96 hour period. so depending on your dosing methods, and if you are dosing Chelated iron in conjunction with other needed Macros a few times a week,

Then AC will...... clean / clarify your water, and remove odor.

and when left in for long periods, serve as a BioMedia in your filter.

Now as to why the plants are dying! What do they look like? old growth is yellow and dieing,
new growth is green and looks good? etc etc etc

after reading up on a few things... im starting to think it was an overdose of excel... i guess i did it without even realizing it.. but the plants were yellow and then browning on the tips (swords) and my tall long crips went red and then brown... they almost look like they were melting.. any thoughts?
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Old 06-30-2009, 03:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
after reading up on a few things... im starting to think it was an overdose of excel... i guess i did it without even realizing it.. but the plants were yellow and then browning on the tips (swords) and my tall long crips went red and then brown... they almost look like they were melting.. any thoughts?
Sounds like you have hit the nail on the head.
I have heard that excel will cause Crypts to "Melt", often they will recover unless the dosing is "excessive"
you may also wish to start dosing with "LeafZone"
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:39 PM   #7
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Default activated carbon and plants

I use activated carbon in my 75 gallon discus tank. Ill give you my set up. I use two eheim 2217 filters with two aquaclear 110s as over flow boxes. each aqua clear i use, one sponge and 4 cups of activated carbon in each filter, which i replace every two weeks. I alternate them. I have 4 discus and one red betta, he the boss of the tank. I have a bare bottom tank. I have drift wood which i drilled holes in for the live plants. I have various sword plants and annubis plants. I do two weekly water changes of 35% ro/di water and add a little kent marine ro right back into the water. My plants are growing out of control. I use very little light, may be 4 hours a day. My nitrate - 0 ph- 6-4 water temp 80 degrees. I never get algae. I feed my fish twice a day. I think the big key is the water changes, and keeping a good log. This works for me and i enjoy this system. Hope this helps. joe h
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:49 PM   #8
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What is feeding your filter if you have 0 nitrates :-/
Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida_Larry View Post

and when left in for long periods, serve as a BioMedia in your filter
Actually its the complete opposite, once its used up its use fullness after a few days to 6 days, it leaches what it has absorbed back into the tank. Detritus being the bigger problem.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrypticLifeStyle View Post
Actually its the complete opposite, once its used up its use fullness after a few days to 6 days, it leaches what it has absorbed back into the tank. Detritus being the bigger problem.
Even if it did leach all the elements it initially absorbed, which it doesn't, it doesn't change the fact that it CAN act as biomedia. Anything in your filter will act as biomedia. Some even claim that with time it's a very good biomedia.
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:56 PM   #10
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Well it does leach back, and have yet to see any evidence showing it dosnt. Think about it, carbon breaks down fairly fast, and as it does the stuff absorbed isnt going to absorbed substance heaven, it goes where the water flow is going, back in the tank.

Given how fast carbon breaks down i cant see using it as a bio media as being a choice of intelligence, i'm sorry but that just seems pretty stupid to even consider using it. Which is why it is known to leach detritus back into the tank only after a few weeks. It isnt effective as bio media, and given the choice of other options out there, which are cheaper, and dont break down it should never be considered.
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Old 07-14-2013, 04:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrypticLifeStyle View Post
It isnt effective as bio media, and given the choice of other options out there, which are cheaper, and dont break down it should never be considered.
You should tell that to Tom Barr then, and some other senior planted tank folks who have stated AC can be a very effective biomedia.
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:13 PM   #12
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Only thing i've seen on his site are threads discussing or trying experiments as such with no actual evidence proven in the end result, just more questions raised. What i'm going to go off of is my 20 years as a fish hobbyist, breeder, and the experience's and discussions with the hobbyists, and shop owners i've networked with over that period of time. One thing i have learned through my trials, and tribulations is no one is a senior of anything, anyone can be wrong no matter how long they've been doing something, and anything is possible, and with how many times people have told me i was wrong, but i ended up being right eventually or partially it's worth being skeptical about everything.

Another concern is it's ever growing strength evidence activated carbon dust might be a cause for HITH, so for me that alone is something i would avoid the possibility of all together by just not using it.

Now as a example what would your thoughts be based on this article on my main forum, as i'm open for discussion as i can be wrong myself, that i can admit. So these talks are always healthy to have :-)
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/using_carbon.php
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:57 PM   #13
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My only point was that AC can in fact act as a very effective biomedia over time. I wouldn’t recommend its exclusively use over other biomedias. But in the fourth paragraph of your article, the writer admits to AC being an excellent biomedia. That was my only point. I personally don’t use it, I use a combination of matrix and substratpro for my biomedia of choice.
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