12-27-2011, 12:18 PM
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First, I moved this post to start its own thread. Posts in one of the "stickies" or articles can get lost. Questions are best asked in a new thread so more members will see them.
Carbon works by adsorbing substances from the water passing over it. [Note that adsorb is not absorb; adsorption is the accumulation of substances on the surface, compared to absorption which literally means to suck in, as a sponge absorbs liquids.] Depending upon the amount of substances in the aquarium that the carbon adsorbs, it will at some point no longer have the capacity to do this, and at that point it is nothing more than another solid particle over which water flows. Usually after a few weeks but sometimes only a few days. Leaving it there will then do nothing detrimental since it will have lost its adsorption capacity. However, replacing it with something that is more beneficial such as more filter floss/sponge material is better.
I'm not personally familiar with the Emperor filter, not having used one; as long as the flow down the tank is not excessive, it will likely be fine. For most forest fish you want fairly calm water movement, not a raging torrent that they have to constantly fight against. Some fish do need that, which is another reason why not all fish can be kept with all other fish. "Compatibility" has many varied aspects to it.