Myths of Activated Carbon
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Old 08-28-2011, 05:53 AM   #1
jdm68
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Myths of Activated Carbon


Are the authors of the linked page on base?

http://theaquariumwiki.com/Activated_Carbon

Also, does anyone on here frequent The Aquarium Wiki?
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Old 08-28-2011, 07:09 AM   #2
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Yep seems so. I have a friend who works making the water filter cartridges and he said that heating the contents to over 200C will recharge it but only for a little while(the cartridge makers seal them to prevent / discourage this).
This is not viable with sponges impregnated with activated carbon dust for obvious reasons.
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Old 08-28-2011, 07:27 AM   #3
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The only problems I see there are.. coconut carbon is also used in RO filters... hydrogen sulfide is inorganic.. they say changing AC out periodically is probably needless but then say it should be thrown away once exhausted (I have read it can take as little as a few weeks), they also seem to consider the expulsion of PO4 afterward and the possibility to induce algae. Seems like more than one person contributed here. And lord knows I have a big problem with ants dropping their carbon dust in my tank.

I don't go there, not sure if I ever will.
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:31 AM   #4
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In my opinion carbon has it's good and bad points. Among more advanced aquarists it seems to go through fads, being in one day and out the next. There does seem to be a lot of questionable information published about it. Some information has got to be wrong, because it contradicts other information. They both can't be right.

My take on carbon is that you use it when you have a specific problem to solve. If there is no problem, you don't need carbon. I highly recommend that you rinse the carbon clean before use. That carbon dust is a mess to get out, and has been blamed for other problems.

There is also a great deal of variation in the quality of carbons out there. I believe in only using a top quality carbon. No point in causing a problem and messing up your tank because you saves a few dollars on cheep carbon.
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:44 AM   #5
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The one thing I do know is that most people don't need it and it accomplishes nothing already taken care of by the water treatment plant and conditioner. I haven't used the stuff in 15 years, exept last month to help remove meds from a BGA treatment.
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:31 PM   #6
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ADA uses it and suggests, it, it must work right????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???

Penac etc questions.........gets much much more press, the basic stuff, water changes, how to scape and prune, carbon in the start etc..........??????

Nope.

Carbon is not a bad idea, removes organic fraction well, this includes many decaying plant products, and as it ages, with high porosity......ends up nice biomedia.

I use it mostly for color, but see no reason NOT to use it in the start up.....or to remove color if you do not want to do another water change etc.
Zeolite is good for initial set ups if you use ADA As and need to add fish that week etc.........

Myths: it's detrimental to planted tanks: removes all the Fe, other ferts..............etc.
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Old 08-28-2011, 02:09 PM   #7
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Default Use of Activate Carbon

Good morning jdm...

The chemical information in these posts is interesting, but way over this old school water keeper's head. From the little I've read on the subject, the use of carbon is overemphasized, because routine water changes will remove many more dissolved substances in the tank than carbon can. I use it mainly to keep the tank odors down, but it does little to keep the water clean.

Just one reporter's opinion.

B
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Old 08-28-2011, 04:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies people!

I agree that something seems a little weird on that link, like multiple authors, or the same one but they took a LONG break in between writing the first and second half. I've got carbon in my filter because I'm too lazy to take it out. When I do change out my canisters media, I will probably just put more ceramic media back in and save the carbon for times the water may get smelly or take on a color, or(hopefully not)when I need to remove meds from the water. Then again, I could just piggyback a HOB on the tank with a load of carbon when I need and then won't have to tear into the canister...
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Old 08-28-2011, 05:20 PM   #9
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I run carbon all the time for color removal and removal of other chemicals that may develop or get into the tank.
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Old 08-28-2011, 05:51 PM   #10
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I use it sometimes on a fresh setup, usually leave it in as biomedia and obviously we don't care if it releases nutrients to our plants. I also use it to remove meds. Otherwise I don't see it as a requirement either. But not useless.
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:30 PM   #11
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I did some internet research about activated carbon a few months ago, and as I recall, it is most effective for "big" molecules, like organic ones, and not effective at all for small molecules, like all inorganic ones. Perhaps it removes some of the chelator in trace mixes, but I doubt it. And, I can't see any way it releases phosphate at any time - where is the phosphate coming from? It seems pretty well established that it removes medicines (all organic compounds), and tannins causing yellowed water (also organic). I think I still have several bags of it in my aquarium junk box from various filters I bought over the last 5 years, so I don't think I have ever used it, at least not in this century.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:16 PM   #12
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I use carbon to remove tannins leached from my driftwood (just added a new piece so it's needed) and it helps remove that fishy odor from the water.
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:32 AM   #13
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Do more wc's, money better spent.
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmas_one View Post
Do more wc's, money better spent.
What about people that have tap water that is unusable and RO isn't easily attained? I live 8+ miles away from the nearest RO dispenser, and lug two 5gal jugs and one 7gal jug to do a water change in JUST my 55gal tank, and now I have a 29gal tank to take care of, as well, up from a 10gal, which is now going to be my feeder/QT tank (only one at a time, obviously). It's not feasible to do more frequent water changes. If throwing in a $10 pack of carbon will clear up the color in the water AND get rid of a smell that, in my tanks, doesn't go away with water changes.
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Beware the Shallows an 80g shallow reef | But is it made of... wood? - a 13.3g rimless, planted orange neocaridina shrimp repository
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jedimasterben View Post
What about people that have tap water that is unusable and RO isn't easily attained? I live 8+ miles away from the nearest RO dispenser, and lug two 5gal jugs and one 7gal jug to do a water change in JUST my 55gal tank, and now I have a 29gal tank to take care of, as well, up from a 10gal, which is now going to be my feeder/QT tank (only one at a time, obviously). It's not feasible to do more frequent water changes. If throwing in a $10 pack of carbon will clear up the color in the water AND get rid of a smell that, in my tanks, doesn't go away with water changes.
Tap water is not unusable.
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