Charcoal in planted tanks - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-02-2020, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Charcoal in planted tanks

A guy with a You Tube video said that heavily planted tanks should not use charcoal in the filter because it takes something out of the water that plants need? Is that true? Anyone have any knowledge about this?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-02-2020, 11:09 PM
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I use at startup for the first two months to help remove toxins before the bio-filter has a chance to mature. Somehow the plants grew. In a healthy mature tank you don't need it, but if you have algae issues I wouldn't hesitate to use. It's effect on ferts is grossly over-rated IMO.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-04-2020, 01:49 AM
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If we are talking about activated carbon, I doubt if it will take out ammonia and nitride build up in an uncycled tank.


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-04-2020, 02:35 AM
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If we are talking about activated carbon, I doubt if it will take out ammonia and nitride build up in an uncycled tank.

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You mean AC and Purigen doesn't remove NH3 and NO2 by removing organic waste that would breakdown into these compounds?


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 02:05 AM
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You mean AC and Purigen doesn't remove NH3 and NO2 by removing organic waste that would breakdown into these compounds?
These products remove dissolved organic compounds (which can include, but not limited to things like tannic acids, humic acids, etc), but these will not break down into NH3 or NO2

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 02:20 AM
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These products remove dissolved organic compounds (which can include, but not limited to things like tannic acids, humic acids, etc), but these will not break down into NH3 or NO2
Are we talking about the same thing? If you remove organic waste via carbon/purigen, wouldn't it have released nh3, no2 into the water if the waste wasn't removed?


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 02:28 AM
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Hi

This is just my opinion.

Unless you are removing medication from the water there is no reason to use activated carbon/charcoal.

I also do not use purigen, I just cant see the point.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 02:32 AM
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Hi

This is just my opinion.

Unless you are removing medication from the water there is no reason to use activated carbon/charcoal.

I also do not use purigen, I just cant see the point.
Not every tank is created equal. if you have good plant mass, your odds are better. But if you have very limited plant mass and high light (i.e. Iwagumi, mostly hardscape) it is extremely helpful in reducing organics and keeping algae from starting. Very srong light especially is an accelerant for algae.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 02:46 AM
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Hi



Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
Not every tank is created equal. if you have good plant mass, your odds are better. But if you have very limited plant mass and high light (i.e. Iwagumi, mostly hardscape) it is extremely helpful in reducing organics and keeping algae from starting. Very srong light especially is an accelerant for algae.

Its all about balance while all tanks are not the same the basic principles are,


Too much or too little light, including how long the light is on.

Wrong type of light.


Too many or not enough nutrients in the water, easily taken care of with water changes.




A little algae is OK but if algae is a problem you need to look at the root cause. Identify and fix the root cause and you wont need charcoal or purigen.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by HairyNoseWombat View Post
Hi

Its all about balance while all tanks are not the same the basic principles are,

Too much or too little light, including how long the light is on.

Wrong type of light.

Too many or not enough nutrients in the water, easily taken care of with water changes.

A little algae is OK but if algae is a problem you need to look at the root cause. Identify and fix the root cause and you wont need charcoal or purigen.
No not really. I'm referring to startup not once the tank matures. Most tanks are prone to algae at startup because the bio-filter isn't mature and/or the plants haven't kicked in yet. Preventive measures are key. So you could do all the water changes you want it can only help to have organic removal products working for you as well. If your starting up a tank without a lot of plant mass and you need strong light for a carpet. You can't just dim the light, the carpet if it's high-light demanding would die. You could shortening the light period or the peak period but either way the tank might be getting too much light for the given setup.

It's a preventive measure. Your less likely to have algae issues at startup by using it. It's a no lose scenario. It can only help and it does.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 03:00 PM
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Are we talking about the same thing? If you remove organic waste via carbon/purigen, wouldn't it have released nh3, no2 into the water if the waste wasn't removed?
Activated charcoal readily adsorbs DOCs. Trapping of organic waste (I assume you meant plant litter, fish poop, etc) is entirely incidental, and not the main function of activated charcoal.


The trapped organic waste will release ammonia (and eventually nitrites and nitrates), the process of which cannot be stopped by activated charcoal

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 03:31 PM
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I don't use charcoal in the filter but I do use it as a base layer before the substrate. It's what ada Tourmaline bc is.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 04:29 PM
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These products remove dissolved organic compounds (which can include, but not limited to things like tannic acids, humic acids, etc), but these will not break down into NH3 or NO2
This statement I do not understand. How do dissolved organics not breakdown into nh3 and no2?

From Seachem:
"Purigen controls ammonia, nitrite and nitrate by removing nitrogenous organic waste that would otherwise release these harmful compounds. Whether its AC or Purigen they are both removing waste that would become toxins."

The results speak for themselves, there is no comparison when using these products at startup vs not-using them in terms of algae control.


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
This statement I do not understand. How do dissolved organics not breakdown into nh3 and no2?

From Seachem:
"Purigen controls ammonia, nitrite and nitrate by removing nitrogenous organic waste that would otherwise release these harmful compounds. Whether its AC or Purigen they are both removing waste that would become toxins."

The results speak for themselves, there is no comparison when using these products at startup vs not-using them in terms of algae control.
The way I am reading it is that the dissolved organics the DB mentioned have very little to no nitrogen in them to break down into ammonia>nitrite>nitrate.

“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.” -Jules Verne
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 04:57 PM
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The way I am reading it is that the dissolved organics the DB mentioned have very little to no nitrogen in them to break down into ammonia>nitrite>nitrate.
Sounds like that, but Purigen and Carbon remove Nitrogenous waste.


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