Activated carbon does it help keep algae at bay

Fishjunkiejimmy

As I’m always learning more I have come to find that I am not changing my carbon nearly enough I was under the assumption that u don’t change ur filter media unless absolutely needed as that’s where all the BB is but have come to learn I should b changing my carbon every 2-4 weeks as it can only absorb so much then stops working it’s magic and in my research I’ve kinda come to the conclusion that frequently changing the carbon will help reduce my algae and it traps organic matter in it so my question is is this true ? If I clean all the algae out and and stay on top of changing out my carbon will I have less algae to deal with as always any options are welcome and appreciated thanks
 

MacZ

If I clean all the algae out and and stay on top of changing out my carbon will I have less algae to deal with
Short answer: No. You have to selectively take care of different nutrients, the light and water parameters to get to the root problem of different algae. Activated carbon is not going to help you with this, as it filters out any organic molecules indiscriminately.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Thanks for the quick response yea I guess if it seems to good to b true it usually is how often should I b changing out my carbon I’ve read 2-4 weeks witch is kinda shocking to me as I mentioned I hardly ever change it and I was just reading a bit more and read that cleaning the algae off ur tank with baking sofa works great and it kinda got me to thinking I’ve used baking Soda to raise ph so will just the presence of baking Soda in the tank keep algae at bay or is just a good tool for cleaning the algae off ?
 

MacZ

I use activated carbon exclusively to remove residual meds from my tanks after treatment. So last time was... 5-6 months ago.
I neither have to do anything against algae. In my blackwater tank I get some diatoms in the uppermost 5cm on some leaves. And there are none in my planted cube. In the end I don't care. Algae are useful indicators of nutrient imbalances.

Do NOT use baking soda or anything similar directly in your tank. Period. Besides cleaning the front glass, leave them be and work on the biological balance instead of using any chemicals to remove algae. That's just inviting other problems. What's a bit of algae in comparison to a tank only working thanks to half a dozen of added chemicals?
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Yes I couldn’t agree more I don’t put any chemicals in my tank other than water conditioners and medicine if needed when I say I used baking Soda it wasn’t just put directly in the tank it was dissolved in tank water and slowly added to get my ph up and I wouldn’t mind the algae so much as I have multiple big tanks that get it and have recently in last 3-4 months set up a nice 75 gallon planted tank and it gets absolutely zero algae and am just kinda hoping to find a way to have that in all my tanks I get somewhat puzzled as to why I have algae problems because I do all the things to prevent it regular water changes 20% weekly vacuum substrate and keep out of direct sun light keep artificial light to a minimum but yet still find myself cleaning the walls at the aquarium at least once a week and often twice I know there is some stuff u can add that gets rid of it but again same as u I don’t like adding chemicals unless absolutely needed anyway thanks for the advice helpful as always
 

MacZ

Can you please use punctuation? It's hard to read your posts, as I always have to restart lines when I notice you missed a point.

I get somewhat puzzled as to why I have algae problems because I do all the things to prevent it regular water changes 20% weekly vacuum substrate and keep out of direct sun light keep artificial light to a minimum but yet still find myself cleaning the walls at the aquarium at least once a week and often twice
Weekly waterchange should be 50%.
Substrate vacuuming has no impact on algae.

What almost always helps: Plants. Fast growing, easy plants. If you have fish in the tank that dig them up or eat them, use plants like pothos. Besides controlling nutrients and light, competition is the third pillar of keeping algae in check, if you absolutely have to.

What never helps: Chemicals and animals.

If you want some more in-depth hints for your tanks, answer these for each tank separately:

- Volume? Height? Lighting schedule?
- Water parameters (tap and each tank separately)
- Stocking? Feeding schedule?
- Plants? Fertilizer schedule?
- Substrate? Botanicals?
- Maintenance schedule?
- Overview picture of each tank.

I'm pretty sure I forgot something, but with these questions answered we might work out how to get your problem evaluated and solved.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Ok thanks for all the info. You are a very knowledgeable person in the areas. I actually just finished reading an old post about peacock cichlid aggression and dealing with it with time outs u had chimed in on And have the same feelings on it I’ll try and work on the punctuation I know it’s not my strong suit. And end up just rambling off
And 50% water changes is what I’ll step it up to . I always read that 20% was what was needed but I will most definitely listen to u as I said u are very knowledgeable. And it makes sense that that’s why I’m having these algae problems.
The reason I pointed out the vacuuming is because it’s my thought that I would b removing more nutrients from the water that the algae eats
But I imagine the 50% water changes will do a much better job of removing them thanks again for all your advice.
If I could trouble you for one more pearl of wisdom.
I get mixed information on how many peacocks can b kept in a 110 gallon what’s your thoughts? I currently have mixed with 6 mbuna 2 haps and 5 peacock. I’m re homing 4 of the mbuna to make room for more peacocks. As they are much to aggressive and found out they are the trouble makers in the tank . Not the other peacocks that I thought were doing cause they looked the same. Turns out they look the same drab colour because they were stressed from the mbunas picking on them. Thanks again for any info u send me always appreciated
 

MacZ

I always read that 20% was what was needed
Yeah, still gets purported nowerdays.

Simple calculation: If you have 50mg/l of nitrate and remove 20% that's 10mg/l you remove. Leaving 40mg/l in the tank. That calculation applies to almost all things we measure in mg/l (= ppm) and those are basically all nutrients. So when you remove only 10mg/l per week and the buildup in the meantime is 15mg/l your Nitrates rise by 5mg/l per week although you do waterchanges.

The reason I pointed out the vacuuming is because it’s my thought that I would b removing more nutrients from the water that the algae eats
Most of the Nitrates are made in the substrate and filter from toxic precursors (Ammonia and Nitrite). When vacuuming the substrate you remove a lot of beneficial bacteria, reducing the capacity to metabolize the toxic wasteproducts to relatively harmless Nitrate. The Nitrates leach into the water column mostly, so the substrate doesn't contain as much as you might think.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Ok that helps so I will cut down on the vacuum. How often should I vacuum? I have plecos in two of my tanks and their waste piles up fast. It will b ok to go over that lightly?
it looks terrible on the sand lol. And have u any thoughts on proper stocking the 110 gallon African? I know they say over stocking helps cut down on aggression. But I find it hard to get that many Africans that don’t look alike and fight because they look similar. I learned that the hard way in the beginning stocking my tank 2 of each so they had a friend.
 

Donthemon

You really don’t need carbon, except for like MacZ mentioned to remove meds. What filter do you have?It would be wiser and cheaper to replace the cartridge and use foam and bio rings instead. Or some people just cut the carbon out of the cartridge.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

I have different filters for different tanks. I use canister filter on my 110 African tank. And have various hob filters on other tanks I’m leaning towards not using filters with cartridges as I find the get all gunky and hard to clean properly. And when I have to switch out the cartridge I gotta float the old one in the tank for some time to transfer the BB. I have recently come across the top fin pro series hob and like it cause it has all the media separate like in a canister filter. And this makes the makes the maintenance much easier. As I can clean different components separately and I feel that that minimizes loss off BB. I also maintain couple tanks for my mother and she likes the marine land penguin hob cause they self prime. But that uses a cartridge and as I just mentioned I don’t like. But I guess I could customize it with my own media and all would b happy lol
Oh yea I guess that’s basically what u just said to do lol customize
 

ProudPapa

I have different filters for different tanks. I use canister filter on my 110 African tank. And have various hob filters on other tanks I’m leaning towards not using filters with cartridges as I find the get all gunky and hard to clean properly. And when I have to switch out the cartridge I gotta float the old one in the tank for some time to transfer the BB. I have recently come across the top fin pro series hob and like it cause it has all the media separate like in a canister filter. And this makes the makes the maintenance much easier. As I can clean different components separately and I feel that that minimizes loss off BB. I also maintain couple tanks for my mother and she likes the marine land penguin hob cause they self prime. But that uses a cartridge and as I just mentioned I don’t like. But I guess I could customize it with my own media and all would b happy lol
Oh yea I guess that’s basically what u just said to do lol customize

I have just sponge filters in most of my tanks, but I have Aqua Clear hang on back filters in three. They come with pouches of charcoal, but I've never used those. As said above, unless you're trying to remove medication or something similar it doesn't do much for you.

You can add extra sponges instead, if you want.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

yea it really doesn’t seem to do much I’ve just recently within the last day or so started research on why they are there and just always put them in cause they come with the filter so assumed it was necessary but seems like all it does it get rid of smell if there is any and get rid of medicine
 

RayClem

Unless you are using a very high research grade (read expensive) of carbon, it is quite possible that the carbon is contributing to algae growth. Many brands of activated carbon sold in the aquarium hobby contains phosphates which can contribute to the growth of algae. The more often your replace the carbon, the more phosphates you may be adding. Many algae blooms in public waterways are due to excessive phosphate levels.

There are some high-grade activated carbon brands sold to those who keep saltwater reef aquariums. Phosphates are a huge problems for reef tanks as they encourage the growth of nuisance algae and retard the growth of corals.

Most planted tanks do not require the use of activated carbon except under specific circumstances like the removal of expended medications. If you do use activated carbon, I suggest you spend a little more to get a "reef-grade" carbon.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Yea I mean that sounds legit I was never one to b overly good at science but sounds like u know what ur talking about
 

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