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Old 10-30-2010, 09:53 PM   #1
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Is carbon necessary?

I have an Aquaclear 500 on my planted FW 55g. Right now, there are 22 cardinals, 6 odessa barbs and a cory.
Do I only need the sponge and ammo chips?
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:58 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by libbyb View Post
Do I only need the sponge and ammo chips?
Personally, I wouldn't use ammo chips. I've seen way too much about how they can have a negative effect on your tank. All you need is the sponges and some sort of bio-media like the ceramic rings that come with them.

And to answer the question in the thread title, no, carbon is not necessary unless you're trying to remove meds
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:09 PM   #3
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I thought ammo chips were ceramic. What are they?
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:19 PM   #4
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ammo chips are made of zeolite
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:28 PM   #5
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Oh. What negative can come of using it? All I know is that it removes heavy metals. Right?
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:30 PM   #6
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Are you asking about carbon or ammo chips? Carbon removes meds (and supposedly smells). Ammo Chips absorb ammonia. The negative impacts they can have are just that. They absorb ammonia. Your system has to have ammonia in it to feed the bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrites and so on. Without ammonia, those bacteria die. When you run ammo chips, you can essentially kill the cycle.
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:07 PM   #7
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I was asking about the ammo chips.
I have had ammonia readings and have done PWC's then it was fine. I have yet to see any nitrates. I think I will remove the chips asap and see what happens. Don't plants eat up nitrates? Can or should I add nitrate? (don't fertilizers have nitrates?) I have been using ferts for my plants. Tablets that you bury and a liquid. The tablets seem to break up quickly and get under my fingernails! Also, much of it ends up as crumbs and floats to the surface. I hate those things. Is there another dry fert or can I nix it?
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Old 10-31-2010, 03:06 AM   #8
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you dont need carbon or the ammona chips you would be better off most likely adding another sponge or so bio media.

tell us more about your tank and what exactly are you using. root tabs and liquid ferts shoot for different things.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:41 AM   #9
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The only things you NEED to have in your filter are:

  • some sort of sponge part (physical removal of debris, etc.)
  • some sort of biomedia (usually ceramic), to grow your beneficial bacteria

Anything else (carbon, purigen, ammo chips, you name it) are completely unnecessary and can often do more harm than good, depending upon the circumstances of their use. They are usually sold to beginning hobbyists by unscrupulous pet stores who are, quite frankly, more interested in making $$$ from selling a useless product than they are actually helping people to understanding proper aquarium setup and making good, informed choices.
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:01 AM   #10
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Here's what I've heard on the carbon, ammo-chips debate:

Carbon isn't necessary unless you are trying to remove meds after treatment.
Carbon can strip the necessary trace elements that your tank needs to maintain it's health.

Ammo-chips are not necessary but if you have an over stocked tank they can be beneficial. Regular cleaning and maintenance are more of a benefit, but the ammo-chips will not harm the tank.

Now, my opinion:

Depending on which tank it is, I do run carbon, ammo-chips or Purigen.

For our 40g planted I use Purigen

For our planted BW, i use ammo-chips

For our 115 soon to be african cichlid tank I use carbon (fake planted)

For our planted 115 tetra/angelfish I use Purigen and ammo-chips. (I'm only running minimal filtration at this point, 1 Fluval 405 and a HOB rated for 60g)

For our planted 20g long floss in the rapids mini-canister filters, ammo-chips in the UGF tube outlet thingies

For our planted 10g shrimp, Purigen in the filter bags

For our planted 29g I run ammo-carb mix. Carbon in that mix because the fish in that tank (pair of always spawning firemouths) constantly dig everything up causing the water to cloud (yeah, even after cleaning)

For our planted 120 I run Purigen and ammo-chips

All our other tanks are on a case to case basis as well.
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