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Chemical Filtration

>     Like most people (I think) on this list, I do not use any form of
>chemical filtration (e.g., carbon, etc.) for fear of plant nutrient loss.
>Between weekly or biweekly water changes, the water becomes noticeably
>yellowish and dingy as expected without the carbon. 

I don't know why that would be expected.  It doesn't happen in my tanks.
My water looks no different just before a water change than it looks just
after.  In both cases, it's pretty much crystal clear.  I don't not use
carbon due to the potential loss of micro-nutrients... I don't use carbon,
because I don't need it, and can't see wasting money on it.

Is your tank fairly new with an organic rich substrate?  If so, you may
_have_ to use carbon until it settles down.  I know Amano does.

>I would certainly like to
>use a filtration media that would yield a continuously colorless water. 

Since my tanks have relatively small filters on them, I think the
filtration media you're looking for is healthy, rapidly growing plants.
(again, unless the tank is quite new with either an organic substrate or
new drift wood in it, in which case, it might need some _temporary_ help)

>So, is
>anyone using carbon, perhaps in small amounts, in their plant tanks without
>causing significant nutrient deficiency ?

You can certainly make up for nutrients lost to chemical filtration, you
just need to add a little more, possibly a little more often. Carbon
doesn't remain active for very long anyway.  A better choice if you really
_need_ chemical filtration might be to throw a bag of GAC into the filter
once every week or two for 24 hours.