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Old 12-03-2012, 01:34 PM   #1 
carbonxxkidd
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Are carbon filters really necessary?

Are carbon filters necessary? My 5 gallon set up came with a Tetra Whisper Filter that came with a carbon filter cartridge (these: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tetra-Whis...-3-ct/13424591). My tank has been up and running for almost a month, and I think it says to replace the carbon cartridges monthly and I'm concerned - won't that damage my cycle by replacing the filter media??? Is there something else I could use instead of the filter cartridge that would work just as well? My mom has some filter stuff for her filter (looks like white sponge/gauze kind of) that she gave me to stick in my filter to lower the flow, would just a piece of that be sufficient in place of the carbon cartridge?

I don't want to mess up my cycle and I want to keep my fish happy so any input would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:43 PM   #2 
tromboneplaya
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I never replace filter cartridges.....I just give them a swish in old tank water once a month. I just doing it while I'm doing a water change. I think that, yes, it would mss up the cycle if you just replaced it. I'm not an expert but that's what I do and it seems to work!
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:49 PM   #3 
bethyMT
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carbon is not necessary in a filter. It's just kind of a cosmetic thing...carbon clears up colors,odors, and sometimes cloudiness. Most people who seriously keep tanks don't use it unless they need to remove meds, and I do the same. There are some people who say that old carbon in a filter can actually leach toxins over time. IDK about that.

Since a whole lot of your good bacteria are in the filter, you don't want to replace that insert. If you'd like to remove the carbon, just cut a hole in it and swoosh the carbon out in old tank water, as much as you can.

I don't replace my (carbon free) filter inserts until they are falling apart. A "dirty" look, without being really slimy,is actually good. That means your bacteria are there, doing thier jobs.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:52 PM   #4 
Freyja
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Your carbon is pretty much inert already. You can leave the actual cartridge and take advantage of the filter floss, which is where your BB is growing. Don't change the cartridge until it's falling apart. Should you decide to replace it, seed your need media first.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:12 PM   #5 
carbonxxkidd
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So just removing the carbon from my current filter cartridge is probably my best bet? I'll just do that for my next water change. Thanks!!
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:27 PM   #6 
Phaydra
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Carbon has a saturation point just like everything else. It can potentially become a chemical release point as oppose to cleaning them out. I personally only keep carbon for removing medication.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:13 PM   #7 
Bsalem05
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What is the max time before the carbon starts becoming toxic??
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:22 PM   #8 
Phaydra
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Really depends on how much carbon you have and how much of an given chemical/s it is absorbing. Most of 10g cartridge filters are only rated for 2 weeks but again if they aren't expose to any chemicals carbon could sit in a tank forever and be safe.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:32 PM   #9 
Bsalem05
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Would Stress Coat/Prime be considered a chemical?
I have Marina Filter Carbon & Ceramic Cartridge in my Marina S10 filter.. just want to make sure its safe for a while more.. and when I should resort to "cutting" out the carbon, etc..
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:38 PM   #10 
Phaydra
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I always run carbon for a month on a new set up just to be on the safe side. After that I pull it out. I use a sponge in tank to cycle it and you can always put a cut to size sponge filter in the place of the carbon afterwards. Yes water conditioner is a mix of chemicals but in normal amounts they are harmless to fish.
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