activated carbon can kill plants?! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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activated carbon can kill plants?!

I have a java moss in my aquarium right now i tied yesterday to a driftwood and im planning to add some more low tech plants like anubias and java fern but i have activated carbon on the back of the filter so should i take it out or should i take some and leave some? it will hurt anything? espcially plants?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 04:36 PM
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Carbon,no more than is found in most cartridges is only effective for a couple week's.
After that, it is just one more surface for beneficial bacteria to colonize upon.
Is not needed in planted tank,but won't hurt nothin either assuming you feed the plant's regularly.
Would leave it for now,and replace it with foam after a couple week's.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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what do u mean replace with foam what's foam? and should i take the carbon after some weeks? oh u mean a sponge? i have right now in my filter some ceramique and cotton and carbon?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by charbel101 View Post
what do u mean replace with foam what's foam? and should i take the carbon after some weeks? oh u mean a sponge? i have right now in my filter some ceramique and cotton and carbon?
Can replace the carbon after a couple week's with more cotton,or ceramic.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 05:13 PM
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Idon't find I need carbon for most of the time. It does do a good job of taking really fine stuff like colors or medicines out of the water but that is not something we need most of the time. So rather than deal with the added expense of replacing the carbon, I normally lay it back on the shelf and save it for a time when I might need it. It tends to stop up really quick and easy due to the tiny holes in it. The tiny holes do catch super small stuff but they also get filled in a couple weeks and need to be replaced. Many find other things to use. Sponge, foam or some type of filter floss. Cheaper and less trouble as sponge can be rinsed and reused many times and stops up less quick.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 05:30 PM
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My understanding of activated carbon is simply charcoal that has been steamed under pressure to make it crack. It forms minute cracks that are so numerous that its surface area has become immense. It is also my understanding that its ability to effectively filter and absorb contaminants decreases very quickly, a matter of hours rather than weeks.
Otherwise it is an inert substance that does not add anything to the water column. It does cost a fair bit and its use by the filter manufacturers has always been considered a bit of a scam since it is not normally necessary or even beneficial.
Open foam (sponge) filter media is effective, easy to rinse, and last a long time. Don't confuse it with normal kitchen type sponges though as it has to allow water to flow freely through it. Buy them from your LFS and not your food store.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 05:57 PM
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Ditch the carbon as it can remove some of the nutrients plants use, especially if you are getting plants that feed off the water column. Since you already have ceramic for good bacteria to populate, simply replace the carbon for some type of floss/polisher. You could even use seachem purigen if you want something to remove organics and keep the water clear without removing nutrients.

Just my .02
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charbel101 View Post
I have a java moss in my aquarium right now i tied yesterday to a driftwood and im planning to add some more low tech plants like anubias and java fern but i have activated carbon on the back of the filter so should i take it out or should i take some and leave some? it will hurt anything? espcially plants?
What kind of filter do you have?
Is it one with the charcoal built into the replaceable filter?
Like a Marineland?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 07:14 AM Thread Starter
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My filter came with my aquarium it's a back filter like a big box and a pump in the aqua
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 04:27 PM
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Okay we are getting a better idea of what you have. Those boxes with pumps which hang on the back are often called just that! Hang on back (HOB) are very common but made by many different brands. They can be changed by taking out some things like the little slip in cartridge or sometimes the media lays in layers. Do you have media laid in or is it the type that slides in from the top? What we are suggesting is that the carbon is not much help for the nuisance and expense it causes. Many have found several ways to get the job done with less effort? Tell us which type you might have and we can give better ideas of how you might improve it.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 05:15 PM
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Carbon won't hurt your plants at all.

Old-school planted tankers often layered their substrate with activated carbon. Vivarium hobbyists often still do.





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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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I mean hurt them like take the good things that they need just that
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 06:11 PM
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No, it cannot absorb enough plant nutrients to make a difference. Using activated charcoal in a planted tank will not impact plants in any significant way long term. It is absolutely safe and can be used without any more worry. Do not over think it too much.

Most planted tank people do not use it simply because it costs extra money and plants already provide some filtering capacity.
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