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Re: Take the Carbon Challenge

In Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #164, Jeff & Denise Dietsch 
<dietsch at voicenet_com> asked about the impact of acivated carbon 
filtration in planted tanks.

I know that Amano recommends carbon filtration in newly set-up tanks, but 
I'm not certain where he stands on the topic for older set-up tanks.

I also haven't seen anything written specifically on this. I do not that 
reef aquarists have expressed similar concerns in relation to carbon and 
reef tanks. Julian Sprung's recommendation is to throw a bag of carbon 
loose in the sump, or even at the back of the tank itself, where water is 
not going to be forced through it as it would if it were placed in a 
filter. His experience is that, used this way, it will remove the humic 
compounds which cause yellowing of water without impacting on nutrients.

I have tried using carbon and Seachem's Purigen in this way when faced 
with badly discoloured water from new wood included in a tank and it 
definitely removes the water colouring very effectively. I have no idea 
on the impact on metal salts and nutrients but noticed no problems with 
my plants.

I guess it depends on why you want to consider using carbon but, if you 
want to give it a try, you can try this technique very easily, and remove 
the carbon just as easily. I used to place the bag on the substrate at 
the back of the tank behind some thick bunch plants where it couldn't be 
seen from the front. It doesn't get any easier to install or remove 
something than that.

David Aiken
AGA Member