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Re: activated carbon

Kim Bryant wrote:

> Some recent posts have mentioned that activated carbon can be used to remove
> the discoloration from aquarium water.  They've got me wondering.  I haven't
> used activated carbon in a long time - even when I thought it would be nice
> to quickly reduce protein levels - because I had it in my head that
> activated carbon leaches phosphate into the water.  Now I'm wondering if
> this idea is based upon some good evidence, the source of which I've long
> forgotten, or if it is based, perhaps, on a dream.  So I would appreciate it
> if someone would set me straight - privately, if it is too mundane a matter
> for the digest. Does activated carbon leach phosphates into the acquarium
> water?

You didn't dream it up.  Phospate leaching is a real possibility.  There
are some archived articles about it:


I also remember the ad of Hydrocarbon (a brand) emphasizing that
their brand does not leach phospate like some other brand does,
with some test tubes showing the result.  If you have some old
fish mag, you should be able to find it.  Of course, being an
ad, take it with a grain of salt.

If you have a phospate test kit, it is easy enough to test phospate
by putting the carbon in water for a day or so and compare with
the control.

OTHO, I can't pull off my head how much phospate carbon can
potentially leach, but if your tap water and/or fertilizer already
contains phospate, may be carbon is not a big source to worry about.

Louis Lin

Louis Lin                         lhclin at aw_sgi.com
"I like my spaghetti soft and chewy outside, crispy 
 and crunchy inside."