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Chemical Filtration

In response to the question about using carbon in a planted tank, I will admit
(almost shamefully given the current political climate surrounding its use)
that I do, in fact, use activated carbon (lots of it) in my H.O.T. Magnum
filter on my 50 gal planted tank (fwew! I feel better...)  I feel that carbon
gives the water unparalleled, crystalline clarity.  Also, as a chemist who has
used activated carbon to "clean up" many reaction products, I can say that what
activated carbon is known for is adsorbing large non-polar organic compounds. 
I have never been convinced that carbon mediates the adsorbtion of small
charged chemicals (like Fe++).  It *may* suck up a tiny amount of EDTA which
would result in less *available* iron, but in my experience it is not
problematic.  My plants absolutely RAGE.  They grow so fast that I can barely
keep up with the pruning (especially 3 types of swords, frill, hygro, rotalla
indica, Crypto Wendtii) and none appears even slightly chlorotic or in any way
deficient...  I add SeaChem Flourish ( about 1-2 ml when I remember, maybe once
every week or two) and I also "inject" (with the little eye dropper) flourish
into the root zone.

I really do believe that activated carbon has somehow gotten a bad rap.  The
campaign against it is probably lead by the same folks who insist on spelling
pleco 'pl*co'!!  (Activated carbon = aquatic plant hobby's 'black cat')

Earl  (who also owns a black cat!)