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-   -   How soon to replace activated carbon (http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f60/how-soon-to-replace-activated-carbon-136514.html)

fxbillie 11-22-2010 05:01 AM

How soon to replace activated carbon
 
Being a relative newbie to the hobby, can some experienced members answer some filtration questions:
1) How soon to replace activated carbon? I have a Aqua Clear 300 on 55 gallon and a Marineland Penguin 150 (with Biowheel) on 30 gallon. How soon I need to replace the activated carbon if my tanks are already cycled and recent water test has no problem?
2) Do I need to rinse the new activated carbon bag? When I put the bag in some water for rinsing, the water can turn black. Is this rinsing necessary? Does the rinsing lose a lot of carbon material being the water all turn black due to carbon particles?
3) For the Aqua Clear, can I use bulk activated carbon instead of its designated bag? I try to cut open an old carbon bag and replace the bag with the bulk carbon, is this ok?
4) The Marineland Penquin biowheel filter does not separate carbon from bio material. If there an alternative instead of using the designated filter cartridge?
5) Do you have to rinse these carbon material during water change? I am now rinsing it in the water I suck out from the tank as suggested. Can you rinse it in tap water?

If I don't have to replace the carbon every month as suggested by the filter manufacturer, then perhaps I don't need to use bulk carbon, otherwise bulk carbon should be cheaper. Is there a good place to buy bulk carbon online?

Thanks for any help.

mfdrookie516 11-22-2010 07:16 AM

Carbon lasts anywhere from a week to a month, alot of it depends on where you get your info. That said, IMO, its a waste of money unless you're using it for a certain purpose like removing smells or meds.

meegosh 11-22-2010 07:40 AM

I second that, Jonathan. I do not run AC in any of my tanks. Unless you are removing smells, tannins, or medications it is really not needed.

melosu58 11-22-2010 09:19 AM

I usually use it for 1 to 2 weeks and for the reason mentioned above.

ccCapt 11-22-2010 10:24 AM

For a saltwater reef tank, it should be run all the time to help remove DOC's (dissolved organic compounds). It should be rinsed thoroughly as there is evidence the carbon dust can causes HLLE in some saltwater fish. It should also be changed out monthly.

The best, affordable carbon is ROX 0.8 from BulkReefSupply. A little cheaper, but still very good is there Lignite carbon. I would suggest using either of those 2.

melosu58 11-22-2010 10:43 AM

This must be what you are talking about Larry.

HLLE and Activated Carbon: Looking for a Link | Coral Magazine

cmor1701d 11-22-2010 11:03 AM

I'm eagerly waiting for the results of that study.

I didn't use to run carbon, but started running carbon and GFO (granulated ferric oxide) in a dual reactor a couple of months ago.

The small amount of carbon in those little filter bags should be replaced every time the filter pad needs to be cleaned (weekly or every other week) as they contain very little carbon. You could slit the bag, remove the carbon, rinse the filter and replace it for another week. That will stretch the use of the filter pad and give you the occasional carbon use.

Carbon is used to get rid of yellow looking water, remove DOC's, and medications, but it can only hold so much. It may then start leaching junk back into the tank, so it needs to be replaced often.

fxbillie 11-22-2010 02:31 PM

No need carbon?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by meegosh (Post 1179012)
I second that, Jonathan. I do not run AC in any of my tanks. Unless you are removing smells, tannins, or medications it is really not needed.

So if I get it right from the comments of the pro's (like above quoted) who have gone the distance with maintaing healthy tanks, you are saying if a tank (freshwater) is cycled, with no smell & with clear water, no problem with PH & nitrite, then I don't need to use activated carbon. That means for a filter system, all I need is the dirt filter (like the foam sponge for Aqua Clear) and the bio-material (for the beneficial bacteria). Is this right?

This actually agrees with my thinking all along. I am always under the impression that the activated carbon is there to absorb excess amonia/nitrite or chemicals (as they all say remove the carbon before putting in chemicals). So I always doubted why I need the carbon if my water is tested to be OK for PH & amonia/nitrite level.

I guess I will have to remove the activated carbon or not replacing it once a month as suggested by the suppliers. Thanks.

Kurt_Nelson 11-23-2010 12:01 AM

Just a comment about your item (4) in your original question...

With the Penguin biowheels, the true biological media is the biowheel itself. While the combined floss/carbon cartridge will end up housing some bacteria if you leave it in long enough, that is not its main purpose. That cartridge is primarily your mechanical and chemical filtration.

If you don't replace that cartridge often, you probably still want to take it out and rinse/scrub it during each water change, to remove the junk collected on it. You could also slit the filter material and shake out the carbon and throw it away so it doesn't leach stuff back in to your water.

mfdrookie516 11-23-2010 06:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fxbillie (Post 1179132)
This actually agrees with my thinking all along. I am always under the impression that the activated carbon is there to absorb excess amonia/nitrite or chemicals (as they all say remove the carbon before putting in chemicals). So I always doubted why I need the carbon if my water is tested to be OK for PH & amonia/nitrite level.

Carbon isn't really going to help with your pH, nitrite, ammonia, or nitrate. It does remove meds if you ever dose any (almost bet you can get around that if you try hard enough), smells (never had that problem, pwc's help with that), and tannins (if you have driftwood and dont let them leach out first). Thats about all it'll do for you in a FW tank.


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