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Re: Activated Charcoal

Tom & Lianne Herbruck at tom.herbruck at multiverse_com wrote:

> I have been using activated charcoal in my filter system (Magnum 350).
> Looking through the archives, I've found mixed messages about whether
> activated charcoal is beneficial in a planted aquarium.
> I am good about water changes ... and have no problem with algae.
> However, my test kit (thanks Dave Gomberg) registers no Fe at all ... even
> after adding fertilizer.
> Is there a consensus on whether activated charcoal is needed?
> Thanks
> Tom

The activated carbon is probably removing your Fe, and maybe other
micronutrients needed by the plants. It is also serving as living quarters
for bacterial colonies which may be competing for the same nutrients your
plants need. If you have a well-planted aquarium, it is less desirable to
use carbon, except for temporary situations where you need to quickly remove
certain substances (medication, tannins leached from new driftwood,
reduction of excessive chemistry levels,etc.).

I use the same filter you have without carbon. Put some large rocks or other
space filler in the carbon basket or it will collapse as the floss media
gets dirty. The basket feels too sturdy for this to happen, but I tried it
without any filler and it got squashed. (The white screen was hard to
unsquash, too.)

Dan Dixon