canister filter tray- what to put in place of carbon

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rg0p

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Running a Fluval 206 canister and an Aqueon QuietFlow 30 HOB in my 25 gal. I am looking for suggestions for media to put in the tray that has actvd carbon now. Also, on the HOB I pulled the carbon out and put in filter floss recently. All this because, I have been reading how carbon is not that necessary and that it needs to be replaced every couple of weeks etc…
I am planning to clean my canister every 4 months (lazy!). Is that OK? What’s a good agreeable schedule? And what’s a good filter media alternative for the canister carbon tray that would last few months or more? I have purchased Purigen bag, but I haven’t used it yet. Other trays in the canister have ceramic rings and foam.
I had been replacing carbon in my HOB once a month. Any suggestions for the HOB – in addition to fliter floss?
To clarify, the canister was added recently less than 2 months ago…
BTW, I do PWC every week about 20%. My tank is moderately planted.
Thanks in advance.
 

QQQUUUUAADDD

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I would add more rings or foam. You don't have to change any media until it completely falls apart.
 

rg0p

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Thanks for the quick response. Anything else, for the sake of variety??!!
 

Matt B

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Though I am not experienced with planted tanks I have read Purigen can remove nutrients which are beneficial to plants and/or reduce the effectiveness of liquid ferts. Maybe some more research or hopefully input from some more experienced members can provide some more insight. Other than that, the more bio media the better IMHO.
 

rg0p

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I too have read something like that. That's why I haven't used it yet. My plan is to use that Purigen in my HOB if I happen to go on (short) vacations. Just as a precaution... Some added help to remove ammonia etc, in case...
 

QQQUUUUAADDD

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If your tank is fully cycled, you wouldn't need to add the Purigen which might potentially harm your plants.
 

Siggi

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Remember you (should) have a flourishing colony of nitritying bacteria in your filter, so don't change the filtermedia or you'll lose your ability to de-toxify your aquarium!
You have 3 trays in your filter and no pre-filtration media. According to Fluval/Hagen.
This is the manual:
http://ca-en.hagen.com/File/b3378f42-51ae-42e9-8c10-44fdc858d921
It doesn't state which media are in the trays, nor if the media are supplied with the filter.
But it appears you have the coarse rings and the fine foam (where the bacteria live - do NOT clean this media, unless it completely cloggs/blocks waterflow).
IMO you should get an intermediate-sized filtration media, like ceramic balls or small rings.


Note: if you need to clean the biological filter (looks like brown slime) only give it a shake in water from the aquarium itself, never tapwater!
 
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rg0p

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There is a foam screen frame (as Fluval calls it) with a 2 large set of thick foam layers, as an internal prefilter... In addition I have added a foam prefilter to the intake tube. in 206, there are 3 media trays - foam, ceramic rings & carbon. All supplied with the filter. Thanks
 

rg0p

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I shouldn't have bought Purigen in the first place. Just stupid decision made in haste. Anyhow, may be I could find some use for it in future... Thanks for all the help, folks....
 

Siggi

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Oh, I see: 3 trays - foam, rings and carbon. And now you want to take out the carbon in exchange for someting else.
In wich order are they in the canister? What gets first in the filter's waterflow? The foam or the ceramic rings?
Sometimes the foam is made so the nitrifying bacteria live in the foam and the rings are 'in front' of the foam making a mechanical filtration. Other times the ceramic rings are made of such a porous material, that the bacteria better lives there; the foam is 'in front' of the rings - it all depends on what the rings are made of.
Open the canister and see where the 'brown gelly' is.
1) If the bacteria are in the rings, I would get some plastic rings to put in front of the foam. The rings are highly porous and will do fine in holding the bacterial colony. Get something to filter mechanically or the foam will soon become clogged and block the waterflow. Mechanical filtermaterial should be in front of the foam, first filter.
2) If the bacteria are lodged in the foam, then the ceramic rings are 'only' working mechanically. In that case I'd get some smaller filtermedia to have between the rings and the foam, to help clean the water before it hits the foam. Then the new media should be in second, AFTER the rings you already have.

I hope I didn't mix things up for you instead of clarifying - the intention was to give you means of deciding in either case, as I don't know how your canister works. If it was , please say so.

Sorry
 
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rammerjammer24

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The media is set up with long foam block, biofoam, rings, polishing pads and carbon on top. At least that's how it is on the 306
 

rg0p

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In 206, with only 3 baskets, it's biofoam at the bottom, rings in the middle and carbon on top. so biofoam gets first flow among the trays...
 

rg0p

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jammer, that gives me an idea... when you say polishing pads, are they like filter floss? Pads mad of Poly-fil type material?
 

Siggi

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In 206, with only 3 baskets, it's biofoam at the bottom, rings in the middle and carbon on top. so biofoam gets first flow among the trays...
Ok, got it! The bacteria will be in the rings. Foam is in front to filter out larger particles. Carbon is last to act chemichally on the water after the bacteria.
If you have taken out the carbon, putting a purely mechanical filtration in front of the foam will significantly increase the servicing interval of the whole filter, by keeping the foam clear longer avoiding clogging of the biofoam.
 

Lunas

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Bacteria will colonize any and all surfaces there is a food source that flows by the prefilter foam and then the bio foam then the water polishing pad and ceramic rings and even the carbon gets covered. The thing is going to be is how fast it gets clogged or saturated with gunk personally i would leave the carbon as when it expires or has completely used up the bonding capabilities it has it still provides a surface for the bacteria to live on and unless heated to several hundred degree it wont release anything bonded to it.
 

Siggi

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Every surface in the aquarium system has de-nitrifying bacteria on it... we try to optimize their growth with porous materials in a place where much, if not all, of the water pass trough: the filter.

If the carbon has outlived its use and no longer shows special properties in binding due to saturation, it is a 'normal' filtermedia. If rg0p wants suggestions on what to use in substituting the carbon, my bet is to use the freed tray to pre-filter the biofoam. rg0p says filter is cleaned once every 4 months, so a biofoam filter is bound to get clogged; biofoam should not be cleaned too often, to maintain bacteria. This is what lead me to the opinion that a mechanical filter in front of the biomechanical foam could be the best choice.
Of course, carbon always has good filtration properties, but is it worth occupying a canister tray, if it is no longer acting with its special properties which lead it to be set into the canister?
 
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rg0p

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I agree and have left the carbon in the canister for 2 months (since newly added) now. So I am sure it's lost all its chemical filtration ability and now is merely a surface for bacteria. I just wanted to have something else instead that would provide a "better" surface for the bacteria... Since I have HOB as well, I have used carbon in that, until about a week ago...
Actually, today I new carbon back in my HOB as a cautionary plan. We are painting our home today and the weekend..... Any other precautions I need to take towards that. I worry about these sort of things, much to the annoyance of my better half (seemingly I don't worry about my kids that much!!)
 

cichlidmac

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Bio balls!

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BillD

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Bio balls!

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Bio balls are a poor media for use in a cannister. They have a very small surface are to volume ratio. Plastic pot scrubbers are better than bio balls, and cheaper.
 

rg0p

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Plastic pot scrubbers! What an idea, indeed?! Thanks for a creative suggestion!
 
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