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Re: Peat x Activated charchoal
> Carlos J P Gomes wrote:
> Iīd like to apologise to all of you for my ignorance, but I was not able
> to find out an answer to this question in my books. If I setup a
> filtration system bringing together peat moss and activated charchoal,
> will this last one cancel out the benefits of the first, by counteracting
> the humic acids released by peat?
Probably not, but I never, ever, add activated carbon to a tank unless I
want to remove some specific, known toxin, and simply cannot do enough water
changes fast enough.
It is a lousy filter medium for several reasons. It has a tendency to
saturate, and then decide it likes some new contaminant better than the one
it has, so the old toxin is suddenly dumped back into the tank. A number of
elements that are toxic at high levels are essential low-level
micronutrients for fish and plants. Iron, copper, zinc, etc. are best
utilized when chelated (combined into an organic compound) and in trace
amounts. That's the likely form to be sequestered by the carbon and made
unavailable when most needed.
You must change the carbon periodically, to avoid the "dumping" effect, so
you have to throw away a major portion of your biofilter (and essential
micronutrients) each time you do that. This, in turn, may cause partial
recycling that can make your fish and plants sensitive to pH swings for
several weeks, until nitrites and ammonium are stabilized and gone, again.
I don't really hate activated charcoal. I use it a lot to condition my tap
and RO water and reduce my need for "Amquel" which can be very hard on the
essential microlife in my tanks. In high-pressure cartridges, *with very
slow flow*, the proper kind of carbon effectively removes all the
chloramine. I just think it is not a good in-tank filter medium, despite the
way the stores push it.
For tank-filter medium, I strongly prefer inert floss or sponge-like
materials than can be rinsed under the cold tap and returned to the filter
with a good load of nitrifying bacteria still aboard. I use peat mostly as a
substrate material either directly in the tank or in spawning containers.
Since I remove it often (e.g., to collect eggs), I try to *not* have enough
flow through it for it to be a major part of the biofilter. If I need
structure and further acid (humins) I sometimes use boiled dry oak leaves,
fibrous peat, or equivalents in the bottom of a tank.
You don't say if you have some special need for the combination, Carlos, so
barring that, I would use foam or floss in the filter to efficiently trap
mulm and support an active nitrifying bacteria colony. The peat can be used
to "brown" your water by hanging it in the tank (or filter chamber) in a
fine-mesh bag (ladies panty-hose material is good for this). It can be
rinsed and returned just like the floss.
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679 huntleyone at home dot com
If it ain't broke, don't fix it -- and, especially,
don't let politicians fix it. ... Thomas Sowell
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