When to change activated carbon?

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matt6765

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HI fellow fishlorians!

In some recent post I have read it said that if you leave carbon in tank for to long it will start to leach toxins.

Two questions: Is this true? And if so how long should I leave it in my tank?(the carbon is in my filter cartriges)

Thanks,
 

AlyeskaGirl

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This is just my opinion. No, it won't leach out, it only can absorb so much and then just becomes a part of the biological filtration. Needs to be replaced about every 3-4 weeks or so. If you don't want to use it, you can just make a slit in the cartridge and dump it out.
 

Goldwing_Don

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+1 AlyeskaGirl on the "won't leach out". it just doesn't work anymore IMO. I do feel it's good to use over a weekend once a month.
 

kuhliLoachFan

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Exactly. Carbon could become relatively inert (harmless, but useless) within a few days, in many tanks. But the good news is it starts to get colonized by helpful bacteria, so even though it's not removing nitrates from your tank, or anything else, it can help your tank grow a bigger biofilter.

I have noticed that in my largest tank, which is heavily stocked, carbon lasts about a week before the nitrates continue their relentless stair-climb upwards. In one of my tanks, the carbon will stave off water discoloration for several weeks, so it lasts longer some places, and less long other places. But since I change the carbon every two weeks, and water changes are 25% weekly, the carbon is effectively a very expensive way of keeping my water quality almost as good as two water changes a week would give me.

So when I feel a bit poor, I might stop buying carbon and just up the water change regiment to 2x a week. :)

I keep a small reserve quantity of carbon+zeolite mix for transportation of fish, where I find it absolutely GOLDEN. But in regular tanks, carbon is more or less a "band-aid", or "labor saving, but expensive thing", whereas water changes are my "no-fail water quality" plan.

But then I have 14 tanks. Carbon doesn't scale up financially to 14 bags per two weeks, unless I could find a source for twenty pound bags of the stuff.

Anybody know the cheapest way to buy enormous quantities?


W
 

Aquarist

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Good morning,

Activated Carbon should be replaced every 3 to 4 weeks. After this period it looses its effectiveness.

Ken
 

Kunsthure

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I agree with what everyone has said. What kind of filter do you have? I've started putting loose carbon into the legs of new, unwashed pantyhose and using those in my filters instead of trying to pour it in the filter cartridge pouch or replacing the expensive Aquaclear pouches.

-Lisa
 

Meenu

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I don't use carbon in mine, but I do know that loose is cheaper. Good point, Lisa.
 

Aquarist

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Good morning Turnonthebrightlights

Your posts have been moved to create a thread of their own to help you to receive more responses. Here is the link to your new thread:

Thanks!
Ken
 
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ryanr

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kuhliLoachFan said:
But the good news is it starts to get colonized by helpful bacteria, so even though it's not removing nitrates from your tank, or anything else, it can help your tank grow a bigger biofilter.
..... snip ....
I have noticed that in my largest tank, which is heavily stocked, carbon lasts about a week before the nitrates continue their relentless stair-climb upwards.
Um just want to pull you up on this. Carbon does not remove nitrates. It will remove impurities from your water, such as discolouration (tannins), medicines, but will not remove nitrates.

There's only really 2 preferred ways to remove/dilute nitrates, the most common is a water change, the second is with plants (plants will consume nitrates in the absence of their preferred ammonium) - or you can do it chemically with nitrate absorbers, but I don't recommend this if you have live plants.

Kuhli, I think the reason you are experiencing a drop in nitrates is maybe due to also doing a water change at the same time, or using a carbon blend (such as zeo-lite, zeo-carb) with nitrate absorbants in it.

Sorry to hijack the thread on you, but didn't want to give false expectations of carbon.
 
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