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I was over at simplydiscus.com and found a discus basics section that says "Don't use carbon in the filter (this can lead to disease in discus)". Many other people over there do not use carbon because it "removes good nutrients from the water the fish need to thrive". I've never heard of this before. I always thought carbon in the filter was a good thing for removing impurities. Anybody else's thoughts?
 

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And the opposite view says... carbon is outstanding in the first few weeks of a planted tank's life. It removes nutrients that feed the algae that can take hold before the plants have a chance to really take off.

Now if you are doing dosing from the get-go, you don't want to do that. But holding off for the first few weeks, and using carbon, does seem to be a working combination. Worked for me. Works for Amano.

Just goes to show you there are few hard-n-fast rules.
 

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Carbon is good for about any tank. Except in some reefs where P leaching could be an issue.

Purigen is even better. I love the stuff.

I used to think it was a bad idea to use it, but that was a long time ago, when I first embarked on the Planted Aquarium journey.

Remember that trace nutrients are just that, and aren't needed in great quantities. Water changes and a good trace supplement will take care of all you need, regardless of what you have in your filter.
 

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"In theory" carbon removes nutrients that the plants need. In practice, this doesn't seem to be the case. I use carbon in some of my planted tanks. And mrb. is right: purigen does rock.

I'd never heard that it removes nutrients that fish need. Can you/they be more specific?
 

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"In theory" carbon removes nutrients that the plants need. In practice, this doesn't seem to be the case. I use carbon in some of my planted tanks. And mrb. is right: purigen does rock.

I'd never heard that it removes nutrients that fish need. Can you/they be more specific?
It removes organics and DOCs before they are even converted into NH3, NO2 and NO3. It's a selective resin, but I'm not sure how selective it is - I believe it is attracted to negative ions such as PO4.
 

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I heard that if you use Carbon, don't change it for a long time. It will only take up so much until it is full and then it will work good for a biological filter. I've been using it off and on. It sure makes the water sparkling clean fast. I usually change out some every couple of months, not all just some. I place it (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch) between layers of floss in my canister filter. I also use the noodles which I have never cleaned or changed in maybe 10 or 12 months since I first bought my filter. The rest it just floss. I have a medium to heavy plant and a high fish load and my Ammonia and Nitrite stay at 0.
 

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I haven';t used carbon in a very long time, and my tank has never been healthier. Do frequent water changes, and put a LOT of filter floss in your filter. Nothing polished water better! I now have 2 eheims on a 55 gallon, The bigger is all biological. The smaller is ALL filter floss. My water is way clearer than when I used to run carbon. (though floss won't take out the browns of tanins)
 

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I always run carbon also and have had no problem getting good growth out of my plants.
 

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Your plants may grow fine- but if you're adding fertilizer, your striping them right back out. Carbon is a porous structure, and it does not remove just BAD things- It will remove anything that fits in it's pores. There is a great book on carbon located at BREWHAUS. The website is for spirit making, but the book applies to carbon no matter where it is used. It's an interesting short read. (and a free download)

{heh- I think Rex may agree with me for once on this one!}
 

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About a month ago I replaced my filter on my 56 gallon tank with a Flistar
XP2. I hadn't previously been using carbon but my new filter came with a carbon insert so I threw it in. A few weeks later, I'm starting to see signs of nutrient deficiencies on my plants although my dosing regime and everything else has been the same. This thread sparked the thought that maybe it's due to the carbon in my filter. I can't think what else it could be.
 

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Your plants may grow fine- but if you're adding fertilizer, your striping them right back out. Carbon is a porous structure, and it does not remove just BAD things- It will remove anything that fits in it's pores. There is a great book on carbon located at BREWHAUS. The website is for spirit making, but the book applies to carbon no matter where it is used. It's an interesting short read. (and a free download)

{heh- I think Rex may agree with me for once on this one!}
Well, It sure can't hurt to try it without carbon for awhile and see what happens. Thanks for the input.
 

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What would you suggest putting in my xp3's in place of the carbon? Filter floss maybe?
 

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WOW:eek: I seem to learn something new everytime. I will try to run w/o carbon. I have an Emperor 400 w/ the Rite Size Cartridge (it has the polyfiber pad & carbon together) what can you guys suggest? Thanks.
 

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Yeah-
Make sure you keep some form of biological (though some claim a well planted tank only needs frequent water changes and to keep the water moving) but i toally think you should have biological to be safe.
I personally choose filter floss as my "water cleaner" and think it does a far better job than anything else - but keep in mind I have an eheim canister filter FILLED with nothing but that.
 

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I'll try filter floss. Also, I already have some ceramic rings in them for biological filtration. Xp3's have a ton of room for media.
 

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WOW:eek: I seem to learn something new everytime. I will try to run w/o carbon. I have an Emperor 400 w/ the Rite Size Cartridge (it has the polyfiber pad & carbon together) what can you guys suggest? Thanks.
I'm not familiar with the Emperor 400 but some of those cartridges allow for easy removal of the carbon. If not, you can probably cut it at one end with a straight-edged razor blade and dump out the carbon.
 

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I'm not familiar with the Emperor 400 but some of those cartridges allow for easy removal of the carbon. If not, you can probably cut it at one end with a straight-edged razor blade and dump out the carbon.
I agree with KDahlin. I used to have an emperor 280 and a penguin 330 which use the same style filters. When I did not want to use carbon I put a cut in the top of the polyfiber pad and dumped the carbon out of it. This worked really well for me.

In the end I got rid of those filters because they were creating too much movement on the surface of the water (for using co2).
 
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