Carbon will have a similar effect but the downsides are, it doesn't last long before becoming useless, not recommended for long term use in a planted tank, not rechargeable. Purigen is however longer lasting, does not remove trace elements that all plants need to grow properly, is easily recharged with house hold bleach and then dechlorinator. Purigen is the kind of thing you would always have running in your filter, IMO. With driftwood and MGO you could be leaching tannins for months even years! Just an FYI when you do recharge your Purigen, use regular/classic bleach, make sure there is nothing else in it like added scents or perfumes.