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Should I use activated carbon?

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  • Should I use activated carbon?

    I am confused over the role of activated carbon in filtration of planted tanks. In the past I had used them while first starting (and failing!). At one point someone at APS said that one should never use activated carbon in a planted tank as it removes the ferts, or weakens them. While reading over a lot posts here, I see recommendations for using them.

    What is the "official" recommendation on using activated carbon?

    I only have several small tanks, from 5.5g to 20g and use either h.o.b. filters or a small Filstar XP1 on the 20 gallon. At the moment I only use the activated carbon as part of the filter cartridges for the little Marineland Eclipse System 6 I have. I wish I had the tanks and space to experiment both ways at this time!

  • #2
    Erik, myself and others discuss the use of it.

    We tried a few things.

    Jeff Senske and I talked about it's use as well as purigen and other like products.
    Amano uses it.

    I do not think it has adverse impacts on planted tanks, rather I think it's actually helpful.

    So are water changes, but in cases where you cannot do as many as you'd like or hazy water issues, this may help.

    Unless they can show that it impacts plant negatively, which is in serious doubt given myself, Amano, Jeff Senske and others that are good observationalist, the burden of proof to show cause in on them.

    I see no relationship with a well run tank that would serve as a good control, they do. the question is, can they reproduce the tank as a control to begin with to test to see?

    Most often, no.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
    www.BarrReport.com

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    • #3
      I never did particularly notice any ill-effects, but considering I was so new to the hobby, doing so many things "wrong" and being extremely successful at growing algae :-) I stopped and never questioned the practice. I think I was just afraid to try and ruin a bunch of plants.

      Now, I'm eager to experiment where I can afford to do so!

      Thanks, Tom, for your comments, they are VERY helpful.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by rusticitas View Post
        I am confused over the role of activated carbon in filtration of planted tanks. In the past I had used them while first starting (and failing!). At one point someone at APS said that one should never use activated carbon in a planted tank as it removes the ferts, or weakens them. While reading over a lot posts here, I see recommendations for using them.

        What is the "official" recommendation on using activated carbon?

        I only have several small tanks, from 5.5g to 20g and use either h.o.b. filters or a small Filstar XP1 on the 20 gallon. At the moment I only use the activated carbon as part of the filter cartridges for the little Marineland Eclipse System 6 I have. I wish I had the tanks and space to experiment both ways at this time!
        I just started using the purgin in my tank. I read ALOT on this, and it seems that it doesn't do anything "bad" to your tank.
        -Rick
        Check out my tank and I would be glad to hear any suggestions, or advice you have.

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