Do you guys use carbon in your fishtanks? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-23-2003, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Just wondering I'm reading alot of people just using sponges in their filters and no carbon. Should I take it out?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-23-2003, 06:40 PM
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I normally do not use carbon at all.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-23-2003, 07:17 PM
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i stopped using carbon a long time ago. i used to use zeolite as part of the media in my canister filter, but i dont even do that anymore. i think if you have good filtration, then its not really necessary.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-23-2003, 07:42 PM
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Nope, no carbon at all, Ive read that if you almost always have it in there, it actually stops working. and replace it, which is expensive. Also, it removes nutrients needed by plants(correct me if im wrong, please).

So no carbon, other than when removing fish medicine.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-23-2003, 11:49 PM
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Even if the carbon is no longer effective, don't bacteria eventually use it as a growth medium??
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-24-2003, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Schmoe
Even if the carbon is no longer effective, don't bacteria eventually use it as a growth medium??
But I read that if the carbon is no longer activated, it might leech out all the stuff it was supposedly trying to get rid of. Plus, bacteria doesnt just live in your filter, its all over your tank, and it should be more than enough, other than if you have huge amounts of biolad per tank.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-24-2003, 03:54 AM
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I stopped using carbon too.

Two reasons:
1) Some carbons contain phosphate... enough to cause lots of unwanted algae growth in a tank with lots of light, lots of nutrients, and sometimes extra CO2 (i.e. a planted tank).

2) Carbons do soak up some of the micronutrients in plant fertilizer.

If you want the good mechanical filtration that a carbon bed provides, with much less aggressive "chemical" filtration and without the adverse side effects carbon can cause in a planted tank, consider Seachem's "Renew" carbon substitute. Seachem says Renew will not absorb the micronutrients you add for your plants - and in my experience, it has not caused problems and does help trap some of the very finest particulate matter in the water. That's why I use it... as kind of a "water polisher".

One word of caution... the granule size in Renew is considerably smaller than the average granule size for filter carbon. So a pre-made mesh compartment like the one that comes with the Magnum filters will have a mesh that is too big to contain the Renew granules. You'll need a fine mesh bag to put inside the "carbon" compartment to contain the Renew if this is the kind of filter you have.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-24-2003, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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Ok my next question is ammonia chips? What about them? I guess I should take out the carbon heard it's bad for discus too anyway
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-24-2003, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by NyCzBuBba
Ok my next question is ammonia chips? What about them? I guess I should take out the carbon heard it's bad for discus too anyway
Yes, Discus keepers don't use carbon because of the "leach back" tendency. Besides, most successful Discus keepers (who keep them in bare tanks for "production line" breeding) do water changes every five minutes to fight nitrates anyway.

If you have plants, you're doing them a dis-service by adding ammonia chips. Plants will take up the ammonia directly, without waiting for the Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter (or Nitrospira if you prefer) bacteria to convert it to Nitrate. Plants will get nitrogen from Nitrate, but they also can extract Nitrogen directly from Ammonia and actually "prefer" for it since the nitrogen extraction process with Ammonia is easier for them.

If the tank is new and not cycled and the plants are new and not settled in and growing and/or if you have a large fish load versus your plant load, it is possible to develop excess ammonia. However, if you don't go nuts, in an established well planted tank, you should never have an ammonia (or nitrite for that matter) problem.

Good luck!

Tim
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-24-2003, 04:57 PM
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I use Carbon in tanks with a high bio load or tanks that my loaches damage plants in. Simply put, if there is a high level of DOC's in my water I use carbon so I dont have to change my water every 2-3 days.

Currently I am only using Carbon in my Soil substrate tanks. This keeps the water clearer as the soil I'm using leaches tannins prety heavily.


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-24-2003, 10:14 PM
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I never use carbon (AC) in any of my tanks. I do use SeaChem Purigen from time to time, Purigen is far superior to AC and you can look at it and see when it's time to change or "recharge"...something not possible with AC.
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