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Old 08-16-2006, 09:40 PM   #1
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Carbon chemical filtration?

How do you know when the carbon has lost it's chemical filtration properties?

Yah dumb question. It seems that I get different guidance on this subject.

Is it OK to change carbon filter cartridges every 3 months?

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Old 08-16-2006, 09:48 PM   #2
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Why bother using them? They aren't necessary, on a daily basis. For sure, 3 months would be too long.

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Old 08-17-2006, 05:22 AM   #3
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some people swear by carbon and some people think it's a waste of time and money. i have never read or found a case where carbon has been detrimental in any tank at any time to fish, plants, cycling, or anything else. carbon is a personal preference. carbon removes impurities from water, not beneficial bacteria and it has not been proven it removes trace elements essential for plant growth. leaving carbon in a filtration system for extended periods of time will not leach any contaminants back into the aquatic environment and therefore it poses no danger to fish, plants, or invertebrates.
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:00 AM   #4
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In regard to the question, if you are using carbon, it needs to be changed every 2/3 weeks.
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:31 AM   #5
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I've always heard that carbon loses it's effectiveness in 4-6 weeks. But I'm certainly no expert on the matter.
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Old 08-17-2006, 05:26 PM   #6
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It is true that carbon loses its effect as a chemical filtration method within a couple weeks... if that. Most people at this point would consider it "useless", and it is... as a chemical filtration process. By this time however in an established tank, it is providing for bio-logical filtration.

Though many people will say "don't use it its worthless!" on this board, I couldn't disagree more. I put in carbon to help polish the water, and then I leave it in there, even after its "chemical filtration" properties are worthless. Every few months, Ill change out the carbon media and polish the water again as well as provide some chemical filtration.

This is obviously just a preference, and by no means to I swear by it, but I do think that all three methods of filtration are vital to aquariums.

1. Mechanical - Filter sponges
2. Biological - Bio-wheel, Bio-balls, OLD CARBON
3. Chemical - Activated Carbon

I feel that lacking in any of these forms of filtration would not be wise, but then again... that is just my preference.

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Old 08-17-2006, 05:59 PM   #7
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you couldnt have stated that any better jcarl. carbons surface area is a great place for beneficial bacteria to colonize, long after the carbon becomes 'inactive'. im one that swears by it, by preference.
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Old 08-17-2006, 07:25 PM   #8
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Will a carbon pad "do anything" to chemicals like Prime? From reading it seems that carbon is good for removing chemicals and medications. I need to use quite a bit of Prime to stabilize my terrible municipal water. I was thinking about adding a carbon pad to my Eheim, but if it would mess with Prime's effectiveness, then I would do better skipping it.
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Old 08-17-2006, 07:58 PM   #9
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not at all. carbon does not interfere with prime or other chloramine/chlorine treatments such as aquaclear, etc. i have the same kind of municipal water concerns and never had a problem. but if you feel more comfortable skipping the carbon, then by all means do so.
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Old 08-17-2006, 08:18 PM   #10
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Well I have never tried it, as my first take is finally in the end stages of its cycle.
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Old 08-17-2006, 08:38 PM   #11
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well, let me make this recommendation to you then. since your near the end of your cycle and got along fine without it so far, stick with what has been working for you. then, down the road a ways, after your tank is well established and you know everythings cool, try different things out, like carbon if you want, it certainly will not harm anything. and if your unsure of something, ask somebody for help.
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Old 08-17-2006, 08:48 PM   #12
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As for the longevity of fresh AC, it is entirely conditional to the amount of contaminated water passing over it, over time. If you know you have heavy contaminate concentrations in your water supply, it would be advisable to change your AC more frequently. Personally, I'm in with the "AC for bio-filter surface area" camp. There is a reason it is so useful as a chemical filter! I typically swap only half my carbon at a time so as to not drastically diminish my nitro colonies too quickly.

Don't forget that besides removing all the nasties in your tap water, AC will also remove "human introduced contaminates" like soap residue, perfumes/colognes, and who knows what else finds its way onto your hands and then into your fishies' water.
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Old 08-27-2006, 01:36 PM   #13
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Completely agree jcarlilesiu.
Ive been using AC to remove the tannin released from bogwood into the water and it works very very well. Granted I use about £12.00 worth every 6 weeks, but to me thats worth it for the amazingly clear water.

Ive not had, nor heard, of any issues with using it.
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Old 08-27-2006, 02:28 PM   #14
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im a carbon user, and i change my carbon once a month, my water stays clean, and it doesnt cost much, i got 9 oz for like $5-6, and i dont use alot either. actually im not sure how much to use, i think i'll leave a post in the main room on how much carbon people use, after reading this...
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:25 AM   #15
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I only add carbon for a few days when my water starts to look like iced tea from driftwood tannis.

10g Heavily planted - 1 mating pair of Apistogramma Cacatuoides "Orangeflash" and a whole lot of MTS
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carbon, chemi, chemical, filtration

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