Has there been a "final" word on activated carbon?
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Fertilizers and Water Parameters


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-16-2013, 07:20 PM   #1
jbrady33
Wannabe Guru
 
jbrady33's Avatar
 
PTrader: (14/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Mt Laurel, NJ
Posts: 1,574
Default

Has there been a "final" word on activated carbon?


I know it has been a debate forever, any resolution? Today I took the carbon out of me shrimp tank's HOB in favor of more sponge, so I have (AQ30):

Foam prefilter
coarse foam
ceramic (stock)
purigen
coarse foam (black - has moss planted on it instead of running the lid)

Am I overlooking anything important running like this?
__________________
jbrady33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-16-2013, 07:32 PM   #2
AaronT
Collectoritis Patient
 
AaronT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (201/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: MD, USA
Posts: 2,302
Default

I see no need to run carbon at all; especially since you use purigen.

IMO carbon is for clearing up the unwanted, not for day to day use.
__________________
In the D.C., Maryland, or NOVA area? Come check out The Greater Washington Aquatic Plants Association! www.gwapa.org
AaronT is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2013, 08:45 PM   #3
Darkblade48
Moderator
 
Darkblade48's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Japan
Posts: 9,260
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronT View Post
I see no need to run carbon at all; especially since you use purigen.

IMO carbon is for clearing up the unwanted, not for day to day use.
I agree; there is no need to run carbon unless you are trying to remove something (medication, tannins, etc).

I have never ran any of my aquariums with carbon for an extended period of time.
__________________
Anthony

A Primer to Pressurized CO2 and A Primer to Planted Tanks
Eheim Pimp #362 - Eheim 2213 x2, Eheim 2028, Eheim 2217, Eheim surface skimmer and Eheim autofeeder.
Victor Pimp #33 - HPT272-125-350-4M
Darkblade48 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2013, 10:38 PM   #4
R.sok
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: wa state
Posts: 362
Default

You have plants? I havent ran carbon for years in my planted tank, just filter floss unless you overdosed on something
R.sok is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2013, 12:25 PM   #5
jbrady33
Wannabe Guru
 
jbrady33's Avatar
 
PTrader: (14/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Mt Laurel, NJ
Posts: 1,574
Default

Oh yeah, tons of plants, some would say 'choked'
__________________
jbrady33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2013, 12:55 PM   #6
HD Blazingwolf
Planted Tank Guru
 
HD Blazingwolf's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 4,907
Default

its unneccessary
UNLESS
like other's have said, u are trying to remove somethign that should not be there
__________________
HD Blazingwolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2013, 01:05 PM   #7
houseofcards
Planted Tank Guru
 
houseofcards's Avatar
 
PTrader: (55/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 2,611
Default

I think you need to separate startup and long-term. At startup it's only going to help until the bio-filter gets going, long-term it won't hurt, but is it necessary, probably not depends on setup. Less plant mass, less growth, issues?, it might be needed.
houseofcards is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2013, 02:23 PM   #8
Cthulhu
Planted Member
 
Cthulhu's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Montreal
Posts: 176
Default

And as I've just learned in this other thread I started, carbon can cause HLLE disease.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=215706
Cthulhu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2013, 06:06 PM   #9
iter
Planted Member
 
iter's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Orlando, Florida
Posts: 176
Default

I actually just finished a "true", controlled experiment on activated carbon and its effects on plants; will give you guys the link soon. This was only conducted once, I will do the experiment again in the future when I have the time to prove if my results are accurate.

Last edited by iter; 01-17-2013 at 06:20 PM.. Reason: Removed teaser
iter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2013, 06:20 PM   #10
HD Blazingwolf
Planted Tank Guru
 
HD Blazingwolf's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 4,907
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by iter View Post
I actually just finished a "true", controlled experiment on activated carbon and its effects on plants; will give you guys the link soon. This was only conducted once, I will do the experiment again in the future when I have the time to prove if my results are accurate.
before i see the results and say its final

i will say, i have seen plenty of perfectly healthy tanks that run carbon
__________________
HD Blazingwolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2013, 06:55 PM   #11
plantbrain
Planted Tank Guru
 
plantbrain's Avatar
 
PTrader: (256/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: The swamp
Posts: 13,385
Default

I ran carbon for many years, but have not for many years now. did I see any differences over that time I could say were due to carbon?

No, not with plants, algae or fish.

AC is used as a control for allelopathic chemical removal for plant-plant studies or plant algae studies also.
__________________
Regards,
Tom Barr
plantbrain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2013, 10:20 PM   #12
iter
Planted Member
 
iter's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Orlando, Florida
Posts: 176
Default The Experiment

Okay, I will just quickly summarize what happened. But before that, I will just say that this is for a school science fair, so it's perfectly okay if you think my experiment and results are wrong, I am no pro (I suck at science fairs and this is my third one :P). The results of this experiment are not "final"; future experiments will either prove me wrong or add other stuff to this.


The experiment was conducted in two 5 gallon buckets using floating riccia fluitans as the experimental plant. Each bucket has a submerged Tetra Whisper 10i filter. The light fixture used is a 36" Marineland Dual-Bulb T-12 fixture and the bulbs are 5200K. The amount of water used is 20 liters, I am in Orlando so you can get an idea of the water chemistry here (Florida is basically limestone ). I also added 22 grams of biobale to the bottom of both buckets to have some biological media (yeah, I had no other options). One filter has 100 grams of new Fluval carbon, while the other had a small chunk of cement to reduce flow to approximately the same as the other filter with carbon.

I used 5 grams of riccia in each bucket. My error in this was not drying each portion of riccia equally, so there might be differences in mass when I measured it. The plants are left floating at 12 inches from the light bulb. The location of the experiment is in a shaded area where both buckets get the same amount of light. The light is turned on 10 hours a day

I decided not to do any water changes, so I added fertilizers for only 6 days of the 21 day span of the experiment. I used Wet's Nutrient Calculator (http://calc.petalphile.com/) with the settings to Estimative Index. I dosed KNO3, KH2PO4, and Plantex CSM+B.

There is no more need to post more specific specifications since I eliminated most of the variables from my experiment. All the buckets are treated the same way in the same manner.



So after 3 weeks here is the result: The riccia's plant overall plant mass was exactly the same in both buckets, both weighed 12 grams; I made sure that they were equally dried this time prior to measuring. But the live mass was different. The bottom parts of the riccia turned black and died while the other is perfectly fine. Other differences between these two buckets are: There are at least 20 times more hitchhiker duckweed in the bucket without carbon than the bucket with carbon. The water clarity of the carbon filtered water is however clear, while the other is slightly tinted yellow. These are the main differences. Other small things I have noticed are that there are snails in the bucket without carbon than its counterpart. There are also more dead insects in the carbon-less bucket too.

REMEMBER!!!!! A bucket is nothing compared to a full planted aquarium. Everything is different. Besides 100 grams of carbon used in a 5 gallon bucket is OVERKILL. And I will stress again that a bucket is not an aquarium; I used 2 liters of Seachem Matrix Carbon on my 21 gallon and no apocalypse happened . This experiment simply showed that carbon has useful cleaning abilities and that it CAN affect plants, but it would most likely not in a planted tank. What I got out of this is that it is a really good thing to use carbon in the beginning of a planted tank to remove all sorts of crap from new stuff. I also feel that carbon is most cost-effective when used in small amounts over time to improve clarity and remove odor. Better to use a bit more in the start-up of an aquarium and then cut the amount used so that it would continually filter the water without taking so much expensive trace elements.

When I have time, I want to do this experiment over again but with even fewer variables.

My conclusion: Carbon is not necessary to a planted tank at all as Mr. Barr said. I think it is more of a conditional media which should be used at proper times. The knowledge of using it at proper times comes through experience. An example is thorough clean-up of leftover medicine which water changes sometimes cannot do. But in the end, sadly I have to say that it is personal choice of whether you want to use carbon in their tanks.....sorry for those who are looking for a "this is it" answer......


QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? ANYTHING THAT I MISSED? CRITICISM AND ADVICE WANTED!!!!!!

As with the pictures, here is the tip: unhealthy=carbon bucket
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_0187 - Copy.JPG
Views:	27
Size:	157.7 KB
ID:	68321  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Water comparison - Copy.JPG
Views:	26
Size:	114.5 KB
ID:	68329  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_0191 - Copy.JPG
Views:	25
Size:	161.6 KB
ID:	68345  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_0192 - Copy.JPG
Views:	26
Size:	131.6 KB
ID:	68353  


Last edited by iter; 01-18-2013 at 01:15 AM.. Reason: Pronoun Change
iter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2013, 08:41 PM   #13
iter
Planted Member
 
iter's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Orlando, Florida
Posts: 176
Default

Wow guys, no thoughts????
iter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2013, 09:05 PM   #14
houseofcards
Planted Tank Guru
 
houseofcards's Avatar
 
PTrader: (55/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 2,611
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
I think you need to separate startup and long-term. At startup it's only going to help until the bio-filter gets going, long-term it won't hurt, but is it necessary, probably not depends on setup. Less plant mass, less growth, issues?, it might be needed.
Well your little experiment although not perfect, pretty much supported what I've been saying that at startup it's another great thing to have in your arsenal to keep the tank clean and algae free. Once the tank get's going you probably don't need it, but there is no single answer it depends on the setup, your maintenance habits and what else your doing to remove organic waste.
houseofcards is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2013, 07:47 PM   #15
jbrady33
Wannabe Guru
 
jbrady33's Avatar
 
PTrader: (14/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Mt Laurel, NJ
Posts: 1,574
Default

Have totally removed carbon from my filters now, running my Fluval 406 like this (in order the water flows through):

coarse foam prefilter (in tank)
.
-White Fluval foam blocks x4
-Black Fluval 'biofoam" x2
-plastic pot scrubbie x2
-Black Fluval 'biofoam" x2
-plastic pot scrubbie x2
-Fluval Bio-max (stock with the hole in the middle, large pieces) x2
-plastic pot scrubbie x2
-Fluval Bio-Max (smaller pieces, no hole - meant for larger Aquaclear in nice pre-made mesh bags) x2
- Purigen pillow x2


the AC30 on my little tank is
- fine foam prefilter (from an Edge)
- Aquaclear foam blocks
- purigen pillow


So far I still have clear water, no odors and happy tank dwellers!
__________________
jbrady33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 02:07 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012