Filter Question

poefox

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I'm currently medicating my betta and I was advised to remove the carbon filter, which I have. Now I'm wondering if I can re-use it (I put it in a clean bowl of water) or if I should just throw it away and install a new one when the medication cycle is done.
 

Gunnie

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You could probably save it just to absorb the meds once you are done treating your betta. Carbon doesn't last very long once it's activated, so it might not be any good anyway, but you could try it.
 

atmmachine816

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You don't really need it either, it's to filter chemicals in your water mostly. If it's not filtering that than it's probably filtering something else you don't want or it just becomes another filter media that's not necessary, so really you don't need it unless you want it except to remove any meds after your done. I don't believe it lasts more than a few days before it loses it's effect correct Gunnie.
 

0morrokh

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I'm pretty sure it just lasts like a week max... so it most likely won't be good by the time you need it.
 

vin

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At the risk of sounding rude - I'm beginning to wonder where some of the information on this site comes from. Typically, I find it very useful, but other times I find it quite baffling....

After doing some research and as I had intially thought - activated charcoal (carbon, A.C.) used in aquarium filters is the same material used in household water filtration systems....Cartridges in these systems - depending upon the type- can last anywhere from 4-6 months.....The floss/carbon biobags used in many HOB filters will and should last at least 4 weeks.....The longer you expose AC to water and the slower the water passes over or through it, the more absorbant it becomes and the longer it lasts, however, this material has a lifespan as well as it can only absorb so much....Which is why it is recommended to be changed every 4-6 weeks.......It's very beneficial in the removal of organiic contaminants and inorganic matter from water as well as some of the chlorine. Some high tech AC filters will remove metals as well. AC will not remove lead, sodium or nitrates.....

The reason you use the AC biobags is to remove some of the organic matter caused by the breakdown of fish waste, food, plant matter, etc., which would lead to odors.....The AC coupled with the floss material helps to reduce the amount of broken down organic matter being recycled and reintroduced to the tank.

So, in short, AC will last more than 'just a couple of days or about a week'........You may not need it for cycling, but it's probably a good idea to use it for regular water filtration. If used to remove medications and other chemicals it should be replaced sooner.
 

0morrokh

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Hmmm, wierd. That's not what I've ever heard. ??? Maybe the reason it doesn't last so long in aquariums (or maybe it does...) is because there is so much more to soak up and it becomes "full" very quickly. Right now I'm cycling my tank and the carbon isn't more than a week or two old, but it certainly isn't adsorbing the odors from all the rotting flakes.
 

vin

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0morrokh said:
Hmmm, wierd.  That's not what I've ever heard. ???  Maybe the reason it doesn't last so long in aquariums (or maybe it does...) is because there is so much more to soak up and it becomes "full" very quickly.  Right now I'm cycling my tank and the carbon isn't more than a week or two old, but it certainly isn't adsorbing the odors from all the rotting flakes.
Well, as I said, I'm not sure where you heard it...but the Whisper box that I have says to replace monthly or when water no longer continues to flow through the filter bag. Now, maybe it's just me, but I consider a month to be about 4 weeks.........

I'm also not so sure I could agree with you on the reason it doesn't last so long in aquariums is because there is so much more to soak up....Most households, restaurants and other places where AC filters are used use gallons of water every day, do they not? Especially restaurants where they attach AC filters to the water lines for their ice making machines.......
 

atmmachine816

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Well I don't use carbon anymore and I have no odor so it's doesn't absorb odor in a cycled tank, but interesting point brought up.
 

ebbandflow

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Hey Vin,

I was wondering if you could post the websites and/or books where you did your research because I have also heard differing opinions on this and I would like to resolve the issue with myself.

0morrokh,

Did you also find specific research about this or are you going by your experience and the experiences of others that you have heard. If you have found specific websites/articles/books about it could you point me towards them.

Thank you both.
 

0morrokh

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You know ebbandflow, that's exactly what I would have asked! Unfortunately I don't really have much for you. I just go by what others say and what I've found. 99% of the time that leads to a correct answer; but I see in this case it is debatable. The one thing I know is my finrot medication says it is ok to leave in the carbon in the filter while medicating as long as it is at least 6 days old. This would lead me to believe that either the carbon only lasts 6 days or else it is pretty much used up by that time. And everything says you have to replace your carbon every few weeks; though this may just be to try to make more money. But now that I think about it I'm sure I've read in books that it doesn't last very long.
 

ebbandflow

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How about you vin? I actually cant use it right now anyways because I am medicating (I think everyone agrees that you cant use it then) but I would like to figure out whether I should use the carbon or not for when the medicating is over.
 

vin

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All I can tell you is that WikiPedia will give you all you need to know about the properties of AC, roughly how long it will last and what it will and will not absorb.....

The reason you cannot use it when medicating tanks is because it will absorb the medication.....

I just did another search on HowStuffWorks.com and they link it to a reef aquarium section that indicates that small amounts of AC should last anywhere from 2-3 weeks in a reef tank....But that also depends upon water quality and flow through the AC material......The better the water quality, the longer it will last......This is because the pores in the AC do not get clogged with an overload of organic matter and chemicals as rapidly...

Remember, AC is all about absorbing chemical impurities in the water whether they be gasses or solids....It will not absorb ammonia or chlorine, but will absorb nitrates and other impurities that result in tannins and other matter derived from waste.......Read on.....



From Practical Fishkeeping Magazine:

How often should I replace my carbon?
Activated carbon removes certain chemicals from the water via a process called adsorption.

Activated carbon and carbon-impregnated pouches and pads have a limited lifespan of around two to eight weeks, and if left in the aquarium too long, there's a risk that they could leach chemicals back into the tank via a process called re-adsorption.

Check with the manufacturer to see how often the carbon needs to be changed as the lifespan may be linked to quality.
-----------------------------------------------------------

Quality of the carbon is the key.....Whisper recommends once a month.....


From Marineland Products: (Penguin)



They recommend every 2 to 4 weeks........Again, it depends upon water quality and the quality of material.

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freshwater Aquariums" also says that your AC should be replaced "at least monthly" and if buying in bulk "buy the good stuff".

I'm not trying to be a jerk here, so I apologize if I am coming across that way....I just think there is some misinformation being put out there as fact and am only trying to help clear up some of the confusion......
 

vin

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atmmachine816 said:
Well I don't use carbon anymore and I have no odor so it's doesn't absorb odor in a cycled tank, but interesting point brought up.
It's not just the odors.....See my post above......
 

ebbandflow

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Thanks vin. Consider me swayed. The aquarticles link was particularly good. How do I find out all the info about the carbon I am using from aquaclear (surface area, pore size distribution, pore volume, particle size)? Thanks to everyone and their input.
 

vin

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I just did a quick Google on Hagen, the makers of AquaClear products....You can check them out....If they are anything like AP they have a product link and should provide a data sheet......I would think you'd be safe by changing the filter cartridge as often as they recommend........

I replace my Whisper BioBag every month as they recommend and my water is absolutely crystal clear and odor free.
 

0morrokh

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Ok, maybe carbon does last longer than I thought. but I still don't see the point of using it. I mean, it's not necessary, and it's a hassle to always be replacing it and have to remove it whenever you medicate. I just don't bother use it.
 

ebbandflow

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Yeah, I guess the way I see it is if it can't hurt, I might as well use it. The carbon for my filter is only like a little over a buck each and you only have to replace it every month.
 
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