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I don't use carbon in my filters, it can pull nutrients out of the water that your plants need. In my filters I use biological media and course sponges, that's all you'll ever need.
 

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I would, I use as much bio as possible usually. I usually put a course sponge at the bottom of the first tray and at the top of the last tray to catch any junk in the water.
 

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The Carbon thing is a myth, I don't buy them and use the carbon pads all the time but when I get a new filter I use the carbon, it does a couple of things. You have a new filter with no nitrifying bacteria and the carbon can remove impurities and polish the water to make it look super clear and after it has passed it's effective period of 7 to 10 days you can just leave the carbon in there as another surface for nitrifying bacteria to grow on. It's also good to keep some carbon on hand because you never know when you might need it, like after using medications etc. and you need to remove them from the water column.
 

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Purigen is good stuff. You can tell when its dirty due to color change and it can be cleaned and reused. Does great job of sucking wood tannins out.
 

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Purigen is really tiny and doesn't work so great in a cannister filter. If you want to use it with a cannister filter, the best thing to do is probably build a reactor sort of like the one here:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/shrimp-other-invertebrates/154272-tank-re-do-filter-setup.html
I just use the 100ml ones they sell in a bag. Even less headache than making a reactor, although that would be more cost effective if the tank were larger than the ones I have.
 

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The problem with using the little bag in the cannister is that water does not flow so well through the bag. The mesh is really fine, and the purigen media itself is really tiny and it packs together really close. So water ends up flowing around the purigen instead of through it. YMMV though depending on your filter, but that is my experience.
 

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I never had any problems with the Purigen bags. My water is clear even with all the dirtwood I have in there. Yes, you do need to make sure how those bags are set in the filter. I have two Purigen bags in my canister....even though one is rated for 100 gal..just to make sure I have even coverage in there.
 
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