Not All Carbon Created Equal

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by bitseriously, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. bitseriouslyWell Known MemberMember

    Like many here, I mix and match supplies from various purchases, trades, leftovers, etc.
    I've recently set up an office tank, with lots of found driftwood (terrestrial origin). Even though the wood was pre-soaked for a couple of months, it continues to release some tannins.
    When I set up the tank here at the office, I added a new bag of activated carbon from the Aquaclear line (sized for AC70). No problem. Then when I added fish, I stuffed some filter floss from a tank at home to keep the fish happy, so due to filter box constraints, I replaced the AC70 carbon bag with a smaller zip bag of new Sunsun carbon (which I had received when I bought a Cascade filter for one of my home tanks). No issues, at least that I could see at the time.
    Now, with the matrix media well seeded and processing wastes happily, I've removed that filter floss chunk, and the AC70 carbon bag is back in. It is AMAZING how much the Aquaclear carbon outperforms the sunsun carbon, in terms of pulling tannins out of the water. I would presume it performs similarly well with other organics.
    I'll never buy off-brand media again, if I can help it. If I had meds or worse, toxins in the water that I had to remove asap, I would obviously want to use the more effective product, right? I'd guess the AC carbon is at least 2x and maybe 5x or more effective.
    This has been a great lesson to learn, with zero cost or downside (ie I've learned from a good experience, not a bad one).

    I wish I had pics to show all this, but sorry it all happened very organically (pun intended) so it didn't occur to me to be documenting any of this. :(
  2. Thunder_o_bFishlore VIPMember

    There is a difference. The mayor one is there are two types. The cheep stuf is from burned wood or coconut shell. The good stuff is soft coal that can be recharged and reused. I only use Marineland. The quality brands cost more up front but are less expensive in the long run.
  3. bitseriouslyWell Known MemberMember

    That broadly matches this experience for me. The "good stuff" resembles garden perlite or expanded polystyrene in texture and density. Very light, with high surface area. The "junk" looks like 1/8" tubes of condensed charcoal that have been packed, extruded, and broken into 1/4-1/2" sections. In size and texture, it resembles guinea pig or rabbit pellets.