Originally Posted by xrayjeeper83
Thanks for all the info. So from this comment is it worth having the carbon in my 29 gallon tank?
For the money they charge for those stupid filter cartridges, not really. Carbon is good for removng medication from the tank when you have ill fish, and it will absorb ammonia for a few days, but after that it basically just becomes another space for nitrifying bacteria to colonise. Just for proof: even in the instructions for fish medication, it warns not to use carbon in your filter with the meds until the carbon is three days old, because by then it is neutral and won't absorb the medications.
So for the money you are paying for a mediocre media (as far as surface area for bacteria to colonise goes), a better filter will pretty much pay for itself! I just got a Fluval 2 Plus, which uses 2 foam pads and an optional 'polishing pad' (more or less, filter wool).
Sponges: $5 for 4, replaced every 4 months
Polishing pads: $5 for 4, replaced every month.
HOB carbon inserts: $7 each or 14 for 3, replaced every month.
So in about a year the more expensive filter will actually pay for itself, and I am not even including the price of the HOB filter itself!