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>>I am interested in starting a planted tank, but I'm a little perplexed
at which typed of filter to use. Right now I've got a Penguin
Bio-wheel. My plans are to inject CO2 into the filter box to allow the
gas to slowly dissolve and mix into the tank water. I guess, my main
concern is about charcoal. Ist it recommended in a planted tank? The
Penguin filter cartridges contain activated charcoal in them, which
would prove difficult to remove if need be.>>
I like Eheim cannister a lot for filtration in planted tanks - the
return flow is controlled and not to harsh, the filtration is silent,
and you can put anything you want in the cannister. I use the
Effi-stuff but lots of others just use polyester batting, etc.
Do not use charcoal - in my opinion it can cause deficiencies esp. with
iron. It will suck up organics and if Fe is stuck to organics it will
take that too. In my opinion, charcoal has no place in planted tanks.
I realize lots of people use it anyway, but I suspect they have to add
lots more traces to make up the deficits.
I have injected CO2 into the uptake of the Eheim and it was
unsatisfactory for me. The silicone tubing turned hard as a rock right
away and the filter cavitated (made noise due to bubbles from the CO2)
in a most grating way. I would recommend for tanks less than 40 gal to
use the little scintered glass diffusers out there; DrsFosterSmith sell
them; not too expensive. Better yet, or for larger tanks, I would
recommend a real CO2 reactor such as Tom Barr's or the one Plant Guild