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Discussion Starter #1
I purchased a carton of Activated carbon for Spike's filter media. A coupla questions. I'm thinking of changing the carbon every 3-4 weeks...Any input or opinions on that? Should I change it earlier? I've always purchased the premade ones for the filter and changed them when they got dirty.
That and the PetSuperMarket employee said I could reuse the media sleeve, just rinse it in cold tap water and if it starts to get uber dirty go purchase a new sleeve. I'd REALLY love your inputs on that. I honestly think it maybe okay, as some bacteria is good, but then again, something in the back of my mind says "no no".
I purchased this carton:
http://www.petco.com/product/1952/API-Activated-Filter-Carbon-for-Fresh-and-Saltwater-Aquariums.aspx
Also, I decided to put my anacharis in our 75 gallon and started cycling in it. So Spike currently doesn't have a live plant. Would this activated carbon be better? http://www.petco.com/product/1967/A...ctivated Filter Carbon & Ammonia Remover-1967

He currently has no tank mates. I'm afraid to put the shrimp in there, hes quite aggressive and would probly make a meal outta them, that and they were tank mates with Cal and I'm not sure if they would be carrying what Cal had on them.

Any opinions and advise would be greatly appreciated :) Thankies
 

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The general consensus is that the carbon is only really active for the first week or so it is in the aquarium. Even less in some cases. Although, no scientific studies have been done to confirm this.

If you're going to do live plants, I wouldn't use activated carbon as it removes nutrients that plants need like iron. If you're dosing with ferts then a lot of it is going to the carbon. In my opinion activated carbon is a waste of money. I just cut filter sponges to go where the cartridges used to. I never have to replace them and lose the bacteria (or spend buckets of money on cartridges). To me carbon is only useful when trying to remove medicine from the water.

Never rinse any filter material in tap water as it will destroy the good bacteria you worked so hard to get. Just use old aquarium water for rinsing. As for reusing the bag, I see nothing wrong with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The general consensus is that the carbon is only really active for the first week or so it is in the aquarium. Even less in some cases. Although, no scientific studies have been done to confirm this.

If you're going to do live plants, I wouldn't use activated carbon as it removes nutrients that plants need like iron. If you're dosing with ferts then a lot of it is going to the carbon. In my opinion activated carbon is a waste of money. I just cut filter sponges to go where the cartridges used to. I never have to replace them and lose the bacteria (or spend buckets of money on cartridges). To me carbon is only useful when trying to remove medicine from the water.
Where do you purchase your Filter Sponges? I wouldn't mind giving them a try:hmm:
Do you also do weekly partial water changes?
 

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Those work or you can also get unbonded or bonded filter pads and cut those to fit.

Probably the only time you want to use carbon is after you've medicated a tank, like Izzy said. Then it helps remove extra medication from the tank. :)

Almost forgot to ask. What kind of filter is it?
 

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So changing the activated cabon isn't that important? I've had my tanks about a month now and also in the middle of cycling. I'm wondering if I can or if there is a point to change the carbon in the filter?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Those work or you can also get unbonded or bonded filter pads and cut those to fit.

Probably the only time you want to use carbon is after you've medicated a tank, like Izzy said. Then it helps remove extra medication from the tank. :)

Almost forgot to ask. What kind of filter is it?
Just a top fin power filter
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2752295

What is unbonded or bonded? Like it somehow sticks together or doesn't?
 

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If you don't change it, eventually it just becomes a home for good bacteria. It's actually a good medium for cultivating that because it's so porous.


EDIT: fishy, okay. If I recall, Top Fin has it so you buy premade cartridges that are carbon in a foam sleeve, right? If that's the case, you might want to try what Izzy suggested and cut your own. Would save you money.

Sorry, I think I meant uncut bonded filter pad, not bonded or unbonded. >.>

Here's bonded filter pads
http://www.petco.com/product/5539/Marineland-Bonded-Filter-Pads.aspx
 

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Ugh I hate to keep asking questions, but what does the activated cabon supposedly do? I just bought a big bucket of it tonight and it may be going back...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If you don't change it, eventually it just becomes a home for good bacteria. It's actually a good medium for cultivating that because it's so porous.


EDIT: fishy, okay. If I recall, Top Fin has it so you buy premade cartridges that are carbon in a foam sleeve, right? If that's the case, you might want to try what Izzy suggested and cut your own. Would save you money.

Sorry, I think I meant uncut bonded filter pad, not bonded or unbonded. >.>

Here's bonded filter pads
http://www.petco.com/product/5539/Marineland-Bonded-Filter-Pads.aspx
Correct, they do have premade cartridges. I remember using them when I was younger and have a goldfish tank. I know their a bit more expensive than buying the carbon and thought it would be cheaper just to get the carbon n such.
Funny thing is my sister gave me a nearly full bag of that stuff a long time ago and I long ago threw it away because the bettas I owned then were in bowls. That was before I got Fishy and put him in a 2.5 with a filter :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
But anyhow, looks like I'll be taking that carbon back and exchanging it for the filter pads.
If their thin do you double them or are they fine by themselves?
 

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Yes. I use those in both my aquaclear filter and to make sponge inserts for my other filters. I believe Rena also makes good sponge inserts. They are a little larger and thinner. You don't need to double up on the sponges, but since they do make different pore sizes you could have a coarse and then a fine sponge.

Ugh I hate to keep asking questions, but what does the activated cabon supposedly do? I just bought a big bucket of it tonight and it may be going back...
Activated carbon "purifies the water." It removes things like iron and other dissolved minerals. In a planted tank the plants do it for you. If you run carbon in a planted tank you are just competing with the plants.

I switched away from carbon inserts when I realized how much money I was wasting on them. I clean the sponges about once every 2 weeks (once a week in the goldfish tank) in old tank water. I still do my weekly water changes in all of my tanks. What you are basically doing is turning your filter into a sponge filter instead of a cartridge filter.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Activated carbon "purifies the water." It removes things like iron and other dissolved minerals. In a planted tank the plants do it for you. If you run carbon in a planted tank you are just competing with the plants.

I switched away from carbon inserts when I realized how much money I was wasting on them. I clean the sponges about once every 2 weeks (once a week in the goldfish tank) in old tank water. I still do my weekly water changes in all of my tanks. What you are basically doing is turning your filter into a sponge filter instead of a cartridge filter.
So without live plants will the sponges still help "clean" the water?
 

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Oh yes. This is because the sponges give the good bacteria ample room to grow. The most important toxin to take care of in a tank is ammonia and nitrite. That's what the bacteria does. Biological filtration is the most important part of a filter. Those things that carbon removes don't actually hurt the fish. Unless you have some crazy funky water, carbon really does nothing for the fish.
 

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Freemike, don't worry. Asking questions is the only way to learn :) Activated carbon removes discoloration and odors in the water. As thekoimaiden said, it also removes some nutrients that plants need like iron so if you have a planted tank, it's best not to have carbon. It also removes medications and things like that. In fact, the filter cartridges in a Brita water pitcher are basically filled with carbon. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but as Izzy said carbon pretty much needs to be replaced every week to remain effective.

Fishy, right. My Marineland Penguin filter is like that too. If you use the premade cartridges, you pretty much have no choice but to use carbon since the cartridges are made with them inside.

Actually, if you have any choice at all, the best medium for chemical filtration is zeolite because it removes ammonia. Some filters do offer cartridges made with that but most of the filters with premade cartridges don't. If your filter is big enough, you can fill a small mesh filter bag and put it inside the filter box as additional filtration.

EDIT: Should really learn to read the second page before posting. Sorry for rehashing everything Izzy already said. >.>

EDIT TWQ: Carbon can actually be bad for inexperienced fishkeepers because it keeps the water looking clear, fooling them into thinking the water is still clean so they don't do the required water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So a sponge is still one of the best ways to go for my set up correct?
I just want to make sure before I do the exchange and then have to take another trip back to the store xD
To refresh you on my set up:
5.5 gallons
No more live plants (were transferred to the 75 gallon for cycling purposes)
The only inhabitant is Spike
20-50% water changes every Monday
 

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Wow I just changed out the activated carbon in my whisper filter... never again I'll be switching the whisper to sponge filters when these cartridges wear out. That was the most aggravating thing I've done involving aquarium maintenance.
 

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Nope, never. Love this forum too much to stay away for too long. Just have lots of typos from working on an iPad. :)

freemike, glad to hear it. Izzy always has awesome advice so you can be sure she'll always steer tyoi in hte right direction.
 
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