To Carbon or not to Carbon this is the ????

Fish Monster

Member
I pretty sure activated carbon is fine as long as you change it regularly, there is always the problem of leching contaminates into the tank with old carbon that's why you need to change it. I change my carbon evry three weeks which is half the time of 4-6 weeks recomended by the mfg. So from my understanding carbon can be a bad thing on any tank if it is not changed often but I would think as long as you are changing it on a regular basis like I do once evry three weeks you should be good. I am not an expert on Discus but I never heard not to use it before now that is. If you do not use AC then what keeps the tank from smelling or getting that yellow tinge that the AC is suppose to get rid of in other words what is the substition and if there is none dose anyone run into rpoblems of yellow tank and smelly for those of you who do not use the AC is there any draw backs from not using it?
 

Meenu

Member
I don't use it and have not noticed any drawbacks.
 
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Fish Monster

Member
What about any fishy smells or yellow tinges in the water, and what do you use for filtration then? any sugestions as to what to put into a canister filter? I have three trays in mine.
 

Meenu

Member
Mine has bio-media, sponges, and filter floss (Fluval 305)
And I do 50-60% water changes weekly. I don't have any fishy smells or yellow tinges in my water.
 
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Fish Monster

Member
Ok cool I could do that I just was under the impresion you know you gotta use the activated carbon and blah blah well if it serves no benefit to my discus maybe Ill just add for floss and ceramic rings for bio filtration, use what's left of the carbon and after that stop buying it and see how it goes. Maybe doing frequesnt water changes would eliminate the need for it anyway you know how can it get yellow or smell if we are always doing water changes with our Discus rite? make sense to me.
 

Meenu

Member
I don't have discus, though. I choose not to add AC, but I am pretty uptight about my maintenace schedule.
 

Shawnie

Member
I'm the opposite I do use carbon..its just money I choose to spend as part of the hobby .....and I use it mostly because my tanks are overstocked and it helps that issue of not having to do every other day water changes......I still do weekly water changes though
 

dvc_r

Member
My two cents...:

In my 75 gal Discus tank, I have done both; for the first 6-8 months I had one tray (of my rena xp3 canister filter) containing Filstar's Bio Chem Zorb which uses active carbon, but after reading countless articles I decided to take it out. I haven't had any carbon for the last year and I do not notice a difference.
As a matter of fact I kind of like that slight natural "dirt" smell that the tanks give off!

Two more cents :
...on the other hand, my other 5 tanks still use Whisper Bio bags on the HOB filters. Since I make my own (to save money) sometimes I leave out the carbon but most of the time I fill up the prepackaged carbon into the media.
 
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Fish Monster

Member
Ok good information here so I think I will use the rest of what I have then I will not buy any more and just keep up with my water changes 40% sx a week is what I am doing rite now. Thanks for all the helpful feed back.
 

Meenu

Member
Try it for a few weeks, then if you don't like it you can add it back in.
 

joshua 74

Member
dvc how many tanks u got??? lol
 
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Fish Monster

Member
I am almost sacred to use it now, I mean I still will for my 30 gallon community tank but with all the things I have read about on the forum in regards to Discus fish and a possible link to Hole in The Head in connection to using activated carbon makes me worried. To tell you the truth I would like to keep using it as I have always used carbon for over two years now and I really do not want to top. But some keep saying that while there is no proof or scientific proof that is there could be a link **** HTH with Discus and AC but I just figured that was because people were not changing it on a regular basis. I change mine often like half the time the package says it can be in. For instance on the Discus tank the AC says it can stay in for about 4 -5 weeks and I change mine after 3 weeks. But with all the water changes I am doing you would think it would eliminate any leech back any way or maybe eliminate the nned for the carbon. Man I ust do not know what to do here I would like to keep using it but I want to do the best thing for these for special and expensive fish, I only had mine for a week now and I am already attached to him/her what to do what to do????
 

Slug

Member
I only use carbon if i'm treating the tank with meds or polishing the water, and even then a water change polishes just as good.
 

funkman262

Member
Have you read any scientific proof that the activated carbon actually leeches after excessive use? From what I understand about it, it takes extremely high temperatures in order to remove whatever has been adsorbed to the carbon.
 

Meenu

Member
funkman262 said:
Have you read any scientific proof that the activated carbon actually leeches after excessive use? From what I understand about it, it takes extremely high temperatures in order to remove whatever has been adsorbed to the carbon.
Harpua told me that the leeching thing is a myth. I think she said that once the carbon is no longer able to absorb any more impurites, it basically becomes like your other media. However, if you want to use the carbon for its intended purpose, you should still change it every 3 weeks.
 

funkman262

Member
If anyone has read an article about carbon leeching in an aquarium or any other bad aspects for it, please post it here. Otherwise, Fish Monster, I don't see any reason for you to discontinue using the activated carbon. Although, if for some reason you're just scared to use it and don't want to risk hurting your fish, that's completely understandable and you should just do whatever makes you feel comfortable.
 

ppate1977

Member
I run two filters in my smaller tank, since it's a bit overstocked...one with active carbon, one with filter floss.
 
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Fish Monster

Member
x
funkman262 said:
If anyone has read an article about carbon leeching in an aquarium or any other bad aspects for it, please post it here. Otherwise, Fish Monster, I don't see any reason for you to discontinue using the activated carbon. Although, if for some reason you're just scared to use it and don't want to risk hurting your fish, that's completely understandable and you should just do whatever makes you feel comfortable.
Thank you Funkman O0 I like your sugestion I have been using carbon from the begining of my aqurium hobby and if fir no other reason I think I will keep using it out of habit. I just started doing this every three weeks changing the carbon ever sense I started my first aqurium over two years ago and now it just seems common place for me to use it. I would have a hard time going with out it I think and I feel comfortable using it on my Discus tank as long as I stick to the changing of the carbon once every three weeks. On one last note it is nice to know that if I run out for some reason its not going to hurt my Discus to go with out it for a little while.

I am one of those guys who will shave about two weeks or more off of the sugested use from the MFG and that goes for the filter floss as well, the only thing I keep in there and never change but clean with aqurium water every so often is the BIO sponge and the ceramic ring that support my live bacteria.

Again thank you folks who have answered my questions you all have been helpful in helping me determine what is best, in the end I suppose I am the only one who really can decide what's best for me and my aquirum but your feed back has been very helpfulo in helping me to decide.

I love this forum and I will be using this site as a tool in order to keep my Discus fish healthy and to share the love of the hobby and this fish for years to come thank you all!
 

Aquarist

Member
Good morning,

My two cents on activated carbon : I'm a firm believer that every freshwater aquarium should use it. Granted it is a personal choice and many members only use it at certain times, if they use it all. I respect that and it's their decision.

I use it around the clock in all of my tanks, changing it out every 3 weeks. I don't feel that carbon masks any problems but removes them as long as you change it out periodically. I change mine every 3 weeks for fresh. It absorbs minerals and organic substances, helps to keep your water clear, eliminates foul odors. It will also remove medications and discoloration in the water (caused by driftwood for an example). If you're running more than 1 filter on a tank, the carbon does not have to go into every filter only 1. I have 4 filters on my 265g and I only use it in 1 of them. The other filters you can stuff full of good bio media. (sponges, ceramic cubes and tubes, bio balls).

I've stopped saying that the Activated Carbon (AC) leaches what it has collected back into the tank. There are people on both sides of the fence here. Instead I think it's more accurate to say the the AC looses it effectiveness after 3 to 4 weeks and it should be removed and replaced.

If your tank smells foul then I highly recommend adding it to your filter immediately. A water change would probably be a good idea too.

Ken

My tanks are crystal clear!
 
  • Thread Starter

Fish Monster

Member
Well I think you sumed this up perfectly, you are absolutely correct it comes down to personal choice. I think for me my choice is to keep using it, I think the benefits from using it out weigth the potential negitives like leaching contaminets back into the tank which at this point is just hear say and not actually proven to be the case. The big thing is changing it to keep it efective for your tank, and it seems for those of us who do use it the 3 week mark seems to be the time we feel its time for it to be changed. I also think that you are correct in that over time it would just loose its efectivness and basically do nothing for your tank. I would like to add that for as long back as I can remember AC has been around for years and years and has been the main stapel in chemical filtration on many tanks, why stop using something that works and the proof that it has benefits like eliminating odor helping to keep your tank clear and removing contaminets all proven facts certainly is a strong argument when you consider there has only been one possible draw back and this has not been proven. So in the end yes it is personal choice but really think about it, its in evry pet shop across America and I am willing to bet its in about 90 - 95% of our tanks I am not going to try and fix what's not brake so I think I will keep on using it and for those who do not that's fine to its whatever works for you and whatever you are comfortable with doing.
Good words Aquarist48! thanks for the summary!
 

Aquarist

Member
Thanks FishMonster!

Ken
 

dvc_r

Member
What coincidence... a few days after reading this post I came across a VERY interesting discussion on another forum. Because I know these people I can say you will NOT find anyone more qualified! They have been in the hobby for 40-50 years and have 50-100 tanks!

Specifically take note to what "JG" has to say.
 
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Fish Monster

Member
Well this sucks, I just serviced my canister filter tonight and put new carbon in it, Well I think after going back and forth within my own mind and what I have read on the net including the information this knowlegeable guy has put out there (thanks for the link) I read the whole string very informitive indeed. At any rate I think Tomarrow or Monday I will open up my canister filter and just remove it altogether, it is just getting to conterversial IMO to keep using with my Discus and just not worth it to me. Besides I do so Many water changes like daily to everyothr day I really do not see why I would need to use it. I do have a 30 gallon running two HOBone Aqueon power filter 30 and one Aqueon power filter 20 and those filters come with it already in but it is a small amount and I only keep barbs, redtail shark, asmall pleco, and a couple of other small fish and seeing how the Hole in the head issue seems to be primarily with Large Cichlids I think I will be ok there.

With my cascade 1000 I have a well established colony of bacteria on the BIO sponge and the ceramic rings I think between that and the filter floss along with my constant water changes I think I will be goos to go and that at this point its not worth the risk to my very special very expensive fish to keep using it. I am new to Discus and I want to be succesful with them these fish are vry beautiful indeed and deserve special attention IMO.

By the way my water parameterswich I test every day (almost) and before and after water changes have been constant for the last three weeks are so, I used my aged filter the canister filter I ran it on my 30 gallon for about 5 - 6 weeks before I got and set up my 55 gallon so I knew it was broke in plus I took about 15 gallons of water from the 30 gallon to help establish the 55 gallon I still ran it like that for about two weeks before I introduced my first Discus, anyway my water paremters have been the same PH, 6.5 - GH, 5 - Temp, 86f - Nitrites, 0 - obviously no Ammonia and I am not sre of the Nitrates but with al my WC I doubt I have any of that, I use a very good water conditioner and I have Ammo Lock on hand for just in case of emergency, I use a little more conditoner than recomended when I do my water changes just because I feel safer when I do I hope that's ok? I mean it says 5ml for ten gallon I would use like 7ml I guess that's cool to do? So all in all what would you say about my water levels and WC regimin? good bad fair what? OH and I went with the BB tank as well!!O0
 

Nitro Junkie

Member
aquarist48 said:
If your tank smells foul then I highly recommend adding it to your filter immediately.
One thing about this.If your tank smells,you should probably figure out why. Carbon will definitely get rid of any smell you have,but unless you have a lot of tanks in a closed room with no hoods on them,most hobbyist should not be having problems with odors from their tank.

With that said,I use to use carbon,but stopped because of the expense. When I want my water to look extra clean and polished,I will through some in a filter.I always have a container of it,I just don't use it very often.

It is also supposed to add some more suface area for BB to grow too. I'm not sure how much truth there is in that,especially if you are supposed to replace it every few weeks,but that might be another reason to have it in your filter. The only drawback to using it I see is the cost.

But having gone from using it,to having carbon free tanks,not using it doesn't hurt either.
 
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Fish Monster

Member
Well my tank does not smell at all and I do WC all the time I just thought that using it was like a preventitive maintence sort of thing, but after reading that one link This guy has like20 years experince in fact his job was/is to test carbon and its effects they have found reason to believe that there is a direct corelation with the use of carbon and the dreadd Hole in the Head diease in large Chiclids the Discus included in that that's enougj for me to remove it on the Discus tank anyway, and beside with all the WC I really should not use it. as far as the Benifical bacteria goes I have a IO sponge anda large amount of ceramic rings that are both well established over 8 weeks running it so I think I willbe ok for the BIO filtration and tons of filter floss I have Ammo Lock on hand if need be and I use a good conditoner plus I test my water pretty much every day sometimes a couple times a day like befre and after a WC to see if anything changes it never does but I test anyway Ithink its just a good habit to get into testing the water all the time, thanks for your input!
 

funkman262

Member
Very interesting link dvc_r. Fish Monster, like you said, with the amount of water changes you do it would probably be best to discontinue the use of activated carbon to be safe. I stopped using it in my planted tank, but that's a whole different story...
 

dvc_r

Member
As to the respect to gentleman in the link, I've been to this guy's house and I know his background. Not only did he breed Discus since the 70's but he has been around the world as researcher/developer and speaker on water treatments for drinking water, swimming pools and aquariums! He was kind enough to let me visit his house and show me the ins and outs of his facility. He has beautiful Discus, Angels and Apistos, I totally respect anything he has to say. And if he says to keep carbon out of Discus tanks, I don't question it!
 

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