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Re: charcoal filters
"Morris, George" wrote:
> The main reason I don't use charcoal is because of the amazing range of
> stories I hear from knowlegeable people about what it will or won't do. I'm
> guessing that the different observations come form different kinds of carbon
> which probably act differently.
That's exactly right, George. The finely-ground kind of activated carbon in
my high-pressure cartridges used to strip chlorine and its bound ammonia
(for my tap-water storage) is very different from the chunky stuff at the
LFS. That stuff can reduce medicinal dyes and peat stains a bit, but serves
only a minimal useful purpose, IMHO. Water change works better for me.
A web search can find you lots of sites with information on the different
kinds of activated carbon -- how it's done and what kinds of materials are
"burned" to get it.
My only use of activated carbon, in recent years has been for the above
water conditioning before it ever reaches my tanks. It lets me avoid using
"Amquel" to bind up the chloramine. "Amquel," I feel, can kill micro-inverts
(infusoria) that I need in the tanks as either baby food or bacteria eaters.
It's wonderful for shipping and other purposes, though.
I also do a few planted tanks for display. The carbon will not remove most
trace elements directly, but, when they are chelated (bound to an organic
molecule), it can remove vital nutrients like zinc and iron. That's *not* a
good idea, IMO.
As Charles H. recently pointed out, carbon works best at really, really slow
flow rates. I throttle my whole-house-size filters down to a bare trickle,
and run two in series so I can sample with a valve between and test for
chlorine. When some punches through, I discard the first filter in line, and
replace with the (essentially unused) second. The new filter goes into the
second holder just as a safety, if I don't catch the punch-through soon
The output goes into a 40G food-grade barrel via a swamp-cooler valve ($5 at
ACE) near the top for autofill with never any overflows. It has been a
wonderful system that I recommend for anyone with a fair number of tanks.
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679 huntleyone at home dot com
The politicians favor low cost drugs for seniors.
They oppose low cost drugs for college kids.
Sounds wrong to me, somehow
(and I'm a senior)!
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