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Old 11-05-2010, 12:54 AM   #1
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Plants and Carbon?

I had someone tell me in a previous post of mine that when keeping live plants that I should take the carbon out of my filters. Can anyone else give some opinions on this. It makes sense. If I take out the carbon, will it cause my water to get cloudy?
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:47 AM   #2
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i've been doing planted tanks for over 2 years now. i don't use carbon and my water is never cloudy unless i stir things up rearranging the plants. even then it all settles/filters out in couple hours.
the carbon will take out some of the nutrients that the plants use to grow. also if you will be dosing ferts you will be removing some of what you are putting in.
so essentially you're throwing money away buying more carbon every few weeks to remove what you're buying to feed the plants.
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:02 AM   #3
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I don't run carbon unless I'm trying to remove medication or tannins.

FishEggs pretty much nailed it. Carbon removes stuff from the water. It doesn't differentiate between the good and bad.
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:55 PM   #4
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Do you all have Amy proof on this or just stuff you heard on here? Not trying to bash or anything but I never found anything definitive.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:22 PM   #5
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Proof of carbon removing stuff from the water?

Here's some information from North Dakota State University:

Treatment Systems for Household Wate Supplies -- Activated Carbon Filtration

Quote:
What Contaminants Do Activated Carbon Filters Remove From Water?

Activated carbon (AC) filtration is most effective in removing organic contaminants from water. Organic substances are composed of two basic elements, carbon and hydrogen. Because organic chemicals are often responsible for taste, odor, and color problems, AC filtration can generally be used to improve aesthetically objectional water. AC filtration will also remove chlorine. AC filtration is recognized by the Water Quality Association as an acceptable method to maintain certain drinking water contaminants within the limits of the EPA National Drinking Water Standards (Table 1).

Table 1. Water contaminants that
can be reduced to acceptable standards
by activated carbon filtration.
(Water Quality Association, 1989)
---------------------------------------
Primary Drinking Water Standards
Contaminant *MCL, mg/L
---------------------------------------
Inorganic Contaminants
Organic Arsenic Complexes 0.05
Organic Chromium Complexes 0.05
Mercury (Hg+2) Inorganic 0.05
Organic Mercury Complexes 0.002

Organic Contaminants
Benzene 0.005
Endrin 0.0002
Lindane 0.004
Methoxychlor 0.1
1,2-dichloroethane 0.005
1,1-dichloroethylene 0.007
1,1,1-trichloroethane 0.200
Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) 0.10
Toxaphene 0.005
Trichloroethylene 0.005
2,4-D 0.1
2,4,5-TP (Silvex) 0.01
Para-dichlorobenzene 0.075

---------------------------------------
Secondary Drinking Water Standards
Contaminant **SMCL
---------------------------------------
Color 15 color units
Foaming Agents (MBAS) 0.5 mg/L
Odor 3 threshold
odor number
---------------------------------------
*Maximum Contaminant Level
**Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level

AC filtration does remove some organic chemicals that can be harmful if present in quantities above the EPA Health Advisory Level (HAL). Included in this category are trihalomethanes (THM), pesticides, industrial solvents (halogenated hydrocarbons), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

THMs are a byproduct of the chlorination process that most public drinking water systems use for disinfection. Chloroform is the primary THM of concern. EPA does not allow public systems to have more than 100 parts per billion (ppb) of THMs in their treated water. Some municipal systems have had difficulty in meeting this standard.

The Safe Drinking Water Act mandates EPA to strictly regulate contaminants in community drinking water systems. As a result, organic chemical contamination of municipal drinking water is not likely to be a health problem. Contamination is more likely to go undetected and untreated in unregulated private water systems. AC filtration is a viable alternative to protect private drinking water systems from organic chemical contamination.

Radon gas can also be removed from water by AC filtration, but actual removal rates of radon for different types of AC filtration equipment have not been established.

Water Contaminants Not Removed by AC Filtration

Similar to other types of water treatment, AC filtration is effective for some contaminants and not effective for others. AC filtration does not remove microbes, sodium, nitrates, fluoride, and hardness. Lead and other heavy metals are removed only by a very specific type of AC filter. Unless the manufacturer states that its product will remove heavy metals, the consumer should assume that the AC filter is not effective in removing them. Refer to the other circulars in the Treatment Systems for Household Water Supplies series for information on systems that do remove the contaminants listed above.
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
Proof of carbon removing stuff from the water?

Here's some information from North Dakota State University:

Treatment Systems for Household Wate Supplies -- Activated Carbon Filtration
Well, so you worry that arsenic or mercury will be removed from you fish tank? Or you want to keep a certain level of pesticides? I don't see any info that useful staff is removed by AC, like iron, potassium...
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Old 11-06-2010, 12:02 AM   #7
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i agree i was just reading through it and it's just that and sulfur and i don't think our plants care if there's sulfur or not. i just remember this be debated before some people were saying carbon would remove the nutrients and i remember reading it but i don't remember there being any evidence.
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Old 11-06-2010, 02:32 AM   #8
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Yea i took my carbon out, but now am doubting my decision. Someone smart please hit us with facts that will give us comfort
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Old 11-06-2010, 02:46 AM   #9
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Yea i took my carbon out, but now am doubting my decision. Someone smart please hit us with facts that will give us comfort
Well I still feel that carbon is useless most the time unless youre medicating or some other specific reason.
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Old 11-06-2010, 10:27 AM   #10
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Yea i took my carbon out, but now am doubting my decision. Someone smart please hit us with facts that will give us comfort
What are you trying to say about the previous posters?
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:39 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
What are you trying to say about the previous posters?
I think what he's trying to say about previous posters is they haven't given us any evidence or information on why we shouldn't use carbon.

I've heard a few times about theories on why you shouldn't run carbon, but until we have any evidence it's all ancedotal and opinions. I'm following this thread myself, if someone can tell us what benificial things the carbon removes I would like to know.
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Old 11-06-2010, 03:12 PM   #12
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I've yet to run into any conclusive evidence that activated carbon removes the nutrients that plants use. On the other hand, I've found no good reason to run carbon for any reason beyond removing medication and docs. Save your money and leave it out. A good maintenance routine will take care of the rest.
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Old 11-07-2010, 02:10 PM   #13
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I took the carbon out of my filters 2-3 days ago because I was told by a couple sources that it does remove certain nutrients that AID in plant health. That was basically telling me that plants can live with carbon in the filters, but will do better without it. Whether this is true or not, I don't know. So far my java fern hasn't gotten any worse, but it hasn't gotten any better either. The main reason I removed the carbon is because I'm using some Sera fertilizer and I didn't want it removed. I'm really hoping the plant will improve. I'm leaving the light on around 12 hours a day and now the algae is growing like crazy. I cleaned the glass and put my old rubber lip pleco back in the tank to try and help eliminate as much of the algae problem as possible. Do you think if I add several more live plants to the tank it will help calm down on the algae and maybe allow the current java fern to improve. Any input would be great..thanks.
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Old 11-07-2010, 02:12 PM   #14
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Also, before I added the live plant, I had put in some aquarium salt the day before. Will the salt prevent live plants from thriving? I just did a water change of 10g and did not add anymore salt.
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:18 PM   #15
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Java fern should be okay with some salt, but most freshwater plants won't do well in salt.

If you have an algae problem, you probably have a nutrient imbalance and java fern does not need 12 hours of light. What kind of light are you using?
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:29 AM   #16
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I have a shop light with two ballasts so I'm running two 40watt Aqua glow bulbs. I've been told by my LFS that 1.5 watts per gallon is plenty for most plants that they carry. I trust them because they're live plants are the most attractive ones I've ever come across and I've never had a problem out of them on any other issue. They actually told me that the java fern is probably getting too much light. I just bought two amazon swords and a couple of kinds of plants that I'm going to put in. I told the guy at the LFS everything about my tank like my lighting, removal of the carbon, fish, and the fertilizer that he actually recommended several days ago before I bought live plants. I'll do another water change so I can remove some more of the salt. Any other opinions?
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:02 AM   #17
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Does carbon take out all medications? I've never heard about carbon being bad before, I have a HOB filter. Are all changeable filters made out of just carbon? Or is there something else in there that is beneficial?
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:27 PM   #18
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use this instead

Seachem. Purigen

it's what many on The Planted Tank - Articles, Forums, Pictures, Links use and that's why I use it. Great stuff.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:02 PM   #19
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Purigen is very good.

Carbon works just fine with regular tank maintainence.

Carbon removes some medications. If you are forced to use medicines, follow the instructions on the packaging as to whether or not you should remove the carbon during treatment. Not all medications have the same instructions.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:03 AM   #20
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I know that carbon removes medications, but will it remove the liquid fertilizer that I add to the water?
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