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Old 06-26-2011, 10:48 PM   #1
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To use activated carbon or to not...

I've been searching the web and the forums to determine if I should use activated carbon in my HOB on my 29 gallon SW tank. There seems to be no general consensus. I've read that the pros outweigh the cons and then I've read that there are no benifits if you aren't trying to remove meds, odors, etc.

I'm a little stuck on what the best thing would be to do. I've been using AC 24/7 since I started my tank. I've read on here to not change the filter pads (I'm guessing that includes the AC within) until the pad was falling apart. I was planning on using this method until I started reading more into the carbon leaching once it's potential was met. I was thinking of removing my carbon and replacing it with polishing pads/foam, bio-balls or Fluval ceramic rings in order to save a little in expenses.

Any thoughts or suggestions are much appreciated.
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyPB View Post

I'm a little stuck on what the best thing would be to do. I've been using AC 24/7 since I started my tank. I've read on here to not change the filter pads (I'm guessing that includes the AC within) until the pad was falling apart. I was planning on using this method until I started reading more into the carbon leaching once it's potential was met. I was thinking of removing my carbon and replacing it with polishing pads/foam, bio-balls or Fluval ceramic rings in order to save a little in expenses.
The AC leaching is a myth ... it only happens if there is a BIG pH swing in your tank ... and at that point your stock'll probably be swimming on the surface belly up. See the link below.

Activated Carbon In Aquarium | Aquariums Life

Most members don't use it in their filter media. Eventually when the AC is reached it's chemical potential it becomes part of the biological filtration so BB will grow on it as well.
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:55 PM   #3
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BTW .. don't bother with polishing pads ... get Poly-Fill at your local craft store .. it's less expensive, you get alot more of it ... and it works as well as polishing pads. That and ceramic rings will do.
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Old 06-26-2011, 11:06 PM   #4
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In my fluval I have all of my compartments filled with ceramic rings. Don't bother with chemical filtration and mechanical filtration is a minimal requirement.
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Old 06-26-2011, 11:24 PM   #5
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From what I have read, if I used ceramic rings, I could rinse and reuse them much longer than AC, and from what I've read from others, can use them almost indefinitely (at least until they began to break?)

I'm thinking I'll use ceramic rings and place them in a filter bag, possibly made out of the Polly-Fill you suggested, jcolon, and do away with the AC.

Thanks guys!
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Old 06-26-2011, 11:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyPB View Post
From what I have read, if I used ceramic rings, I could rinse and reuse them much longer than AC, and from what I've read from others, can use them almost indefinitely (at least until they began to break?)

I'm thinking I'll use ceramic rings and place them in a filter bag, possibly made out of the Polly-Fill you suggested, jcolon, and do away with the AC.

Thanks guys!
I rinse my bio rings when I rinse my filter pads. Always do it in old tank water. Tap water will kill the bacteria on the rings. Same with filter pads, replace them as seldomly as possible and rinse in tank water. Biorings should never be replaced but if they are only replace a little a bit at a time.
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Old 06-26-2011, 11:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyPB View Post
From what I have read, if I used ceramic rings, I could rinse and reuse them much longer than AC, and from what I've read from others, can use them almost indefinitely (at least until they began to break?)

I'm thinking I'll use ceramic rings and place them in a filter bag, possibly made out of the Polly-Fill you suggested, jcolon, and do away with the AC.

Thanks guys!
Yep ... the ceramic rings ... as I've read and been told should last indefinitely. I'm sure eventually some are bound to break ... but if so ... replace a little at a time.

I put Poly-fill in the bottom basket of my fluval 404 2 weeks ago and overnight it made my water visibly clearer .. my wife also commented on it. A week later, I opened the filter and was surprise at how dirty the poly-fill got. Keep in mind the gunk it captured was the micro-stuff that gets by the 4 (NEW) filter pads the water passes through first .. so that stuff would've ended up back in the tank. IMO the stuff works if used correctly.
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Old 06-26-2011, 11:46 PM   #8
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I rinse my bio rings when I rinse my filter pads. Always do it in old tank water. Tap water will kill the bacteria on the rings. Same with filter pads, replace them as seldomly as possible and rinse in tank water. Biorings should never be replaced but if they are only replace a little a bit at a time.
I rinse my filter pads in old tank water during each WC. I keep tapwater as far away from my tank as possible. Living directly on the Chesapeake Bay leaves me with 50 year old, rusty water lines. I don't even drink tapwater.

To do the switch, I'm planning on filling my current media bag with the rings and in a week or two rinsing the AC out of the filter bag (with tank water) and continue to use the same bag, with the rings, until it needs to be changed.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:03 AM   #9
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Yep ... the ceramic rings ... as I've read and been told should last indefinitely. I'm sure eventually some are bound to break ... but if so ... replace a little at a time.

I put Poly-fill in the bottom basket of my fluval 404 2 weeks ago and overnight it made my water visibly clearer .. my wife also commented on it. A week later, I opened the filter and was surprise at how dirty the poly-fill got. Keep in mind the gunk it captured was the micro-stuff that gets by the 4 (NEW) filter pads the water passes through first .. so that stuff would've ended up back in the tank. IMO the stuff works if used correctly.
When it comes to the poly-fill, is there a certain brand you'd recommend or anything I should look out for?
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:11 AM   #10
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When it comes to the poly-fill, is there a certain brand you'd recommend or anything I should look out for?
I bought a 20oz (about $5-$6) bag of 100% premium polyester fiberfill by Fairfield at Michaels Arts and Crafts ...sure other craft store sells them as well as walmart. It's a blue packaging. I'm sure they're other just as good brands. What's important is that it has to be 100% polyester with NO fire retardants, dyes, perfumes etc.

A bag my size could last you months ... a much better bargain than paying $12+ for one box of polishing pads.
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NonBarbs Cardinal, Neon, RummyNose, Bloodfin Tetras, Z. Danios. 1RTS. Amano, Bamboo, Ghost & RCS. 20g Long Shrimp Tank RCS, Tiger, Amano.
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