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Re: Water conditioners and their effect on heavily planted tanks

Leroy wrote:

> Thanks Roger for the information.  Then if you have a heavily planted tank,
> should you use chemical filtration such as activated carbon at all or should
> you just let your plants be the only type of chemical filtration that you
> keep in your tank?  I am currently using Aquarium Pharmaceutical's Bio Chem
> Zorb in my heavily planted tank, but I am now unsure whether or not I should
> be using it at all and I don't know whether I should take it out or just
> leave it in there.  Can any of you give me any advice on this?

I gave everyone else the chance to dive in here and no one did, so I guess
I'll carry on...

I don't know what the AP product is made for or why you're using it.
Generally there is little need for any kind of continuous chemical
conditioning in a heavily planted tank and the products sold for chemical
filtration can have damaging long-term effects.  As a result, if you don't
have a specific need for the product then you should probably simplify
your life and stop using it.

I can think of a few instances where you might want to use chemical
filtration, but not on a continuous basis.

For instance, some water systems add quite a chunk of phosphate to their
water.  One way to reduce problems caused by the extra phosphate is to
batch-treat the water used for water changes before you add it to the
tanks.  Briefly, keep a container large enough to hold the water you are
going to use for the water change (I use a 45 gallon garbage can on
wheels), add whatever dechlorinator you will need, and run the water
through a phosphate-adsorbing resin for a few hours or over night (or
however long it takes) before you use the water for the water change.

A more difficult case comes up when you have a piece of driftwood or a new
peat substrate that turns your tank water tea-colored.  You can't pretreat
for that problem.  In this case, activated carbon can be used for a few
hours after a water change to pull the color down.  Iron and/or other
trace elements will be removed by the carbon filtration, so you don't add
the fertilizers before or while the filter is running.  After you turn
the filter off then you can dose your tank to the desired level and
maintain regular dosing thereafter.

If you need chemical filtration, then there are reasonable ways to use it.
Continuous treatment is usually not the best way.

Roger Miller