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Re: [APD] Carbon/Plants


Lief Brittan Youngs <liefy at yahoo_com> wrote

Can anyone tell me wether the information I was given is right or wrong? Someone told a while back that if you have a planted tank then all you need in your filter is sponges or a place for the bacteria to live. You don't need carbon or anything else. Is this true??


I tried this. I was also using fertilizer at the same time. So, I don't know if I was over fertilizing or not using carbon and causing the bacteria bloom. I have since put carbon in and may try again when my tank has been clear for a few weeks. If I do try should I do it without fertilizers?? Or should I just can the whole idea and continue to use carbon??

The bacterial bloom probably was something else wrong with your tank balance, so you may want to fix that, rather than try to cover it up by removing selective nutrients with a carbon filter. It is far more likely to be connected primarily with fish food than plant nutrients, BTW. Overfeeding, or feeding a food that the fish don't clean up is the common culprit.

What does everyone else use in there filters? How do you keep the cost cheap?

Sponge, gravel, lava rocks, bioballs, filter floss (aka pillow stuffing from WalMart), or any of many other basically inert mechanical filters with plenty of surface area for biofiltration. Most are permanent, hence cheap. Just rinse in tap water when dirty. [No. That brief chlorine exposure will not kill the active bacteria you want there.]

IMO, carbon invariably doesn't remove what you want it to (unless you just medicated the tank), and often does sequester stuff you may need. I quit using it as a regular filter medium about 40 years ago. I still believe in it as a way to remove chlorine and chloramine, but only in high-pressure cartridges on the inlet lines, never right in the aquarium or aquarium filters. [Even then, wrong use can be a disaster.]

One really nasty property of the coarse chips of charcoal ("carbon") you get at the LFS is the (rare) tendency to saturate slowly with some noxious ingredient, and then, when water is changed or other disturbance happens, the poison is all dumped back into the tank in concentrated enough form to do real damage. That, alone, is reason enough for me to avoid it.


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