10-12-2008, 06:40 PM
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I am probably the biggest believer in chemical filtration on this site. You don't recognize the benefits unless you test Nitrate and hardness frequently.
Chemical filtration, especially activate carbon, removes organic waste directly from the water. These organic compounds have many negative effects on the overall system. For starters, they are metabolized by the biofilter, resulting in Nitrate buildup. Perhaps more important, the process of metabolizing these organics steals buffers from your buffer system, resulting in the need for more frequent water changes and a closer monitoring of pH and General Hardness. Finally, and not to be forgotten, organic compounds taint the water, reducing light penetration which is valuable in both marine reef systems and freshwater live plant tanks.
The only real negative to chemical filtration is the removal of trace elements which might be utilized by live plant or coral growth. Saltwater reef systems face this head on, by adding supplements into the system as needed. My live plant knowledge is limited, but I suspect a similar process could exist in a live plant setup with regular supplementation.
If you haven't noticed, I like carbon.-)