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Holly 03-29-2007 12:15 PM

Newbie question about carbon and planted tanks
OK, you can laugh at me as your reading this but I just had a realization. I can't get my plants to grow because I have 2 filters in my tank with carbon in them!! They are doing better with the tabs but they're not growing, just not dying! So here's my question...the carbon helps keep the water clean for my fish. If I take the carbon out, what do I put in it's place? Also I'm going to be getting a Fluval canister filter in the next 2 weeks, what do you suggest I use as media in that? Here's the link if you want to check it out. Either the 205 or 305..not sure if I should get the bigger one in hopes of a bigger tank down the road.

Falina 03-29-2007 12:57 PM

I have a fluval filter in my 35g, thoguh not the same model and i just use polyester pads rather than the carbon ones. my water is always lovely and clean and water parameters usually test good as well. the polyester pads are only really for mechanical filtering but as long as your tank is fully cycled, it will provide the biological benefits as well as the majority of the beneficial bacteria is harboured in the filter anyway

good luck with your plants. i have only recently planted my 10g with no experience with plants at all so im still waiting to see how it goes really :)

fish_4_all 03-29-2007 01:42 PM

You can use almost anything. Fliter pads, filter floss, bioballs, ceramic rings, biochem stars, anything that will fit the chambers. All you really "need" is a biological media that you never replace all of at the same time. The biochemstars can be rinsed in tank as can the bioballs and ceramic rings. The ceramic rings will need to be replaced over time but only 1/2 of them at any one time. The mechanical is the foam, floss pads or filter floss which you change weekly or rinse out weekly with your water change.

Carbon is bad for planted tanks because it removed trace elements needed by the plants. I don't know which ones but it can do a good job of it and leave the plants scraping for even the smallest amounts.

gmckey 03-29-2007 04:57 PM

so, if I use the Rena Bio-Chem Zorb w/ carbon in it, I should remove it for the benefit of my plants?

SimplySplendid 03-29-2007 05:37 PM mean plants won't grow with carbon filters?

Holly 03-29-2007 06:23 PM

My plants have barely grown and barely staying alive. Even at that, I've had soooo many plants that just died and I get rid of them. My leaves would go tan, then get holes in them and basically fall apart. I always thought it was because I didn't use fertilizer so I tried that. Then I thought it was from lack of co2, so I tried that which was a disaster. :frustrated: Now 200 pages into "The Encylopedia of Freshwater Plants" it tells me not to use carbon! Maybe they should have told me that in the first 100 pages!!!

fish_4_all 03-29-2007 08:07 PM

Carbon will not help growth, you can grow plants with it but it is very hard and requires a littl emore effort. A regular filter cartrikdge with carbon in it changed on a regular basis will remove some nutrients your plants need. The only time you really need to use carbon is to remove medications after treating for a disease or parasite.

SimplySplendid 03-30-2007 10:46 AM instead of carbon could I use something like pond media in my tank? Like this:

Or could I not use pond stuff?

fish_4_all 03-30-2007 01:14 PM

I have never seen that before. If it is inert it should work as a mechanical filter and if it is a pourous material it might actually work for biological filtration. I would have to know about it before recomending it for sure.

Andrew 03-30-2007 05:43 PM

Carbon doesnt affect plant growth why would it??? granted ferts wont work, as soon as you put them in the carbon beaks it down- carbon pads are used for clearing meds from the water body.
You can use any media you like in a cannister- partly why they are so popular.
I suggest you do not use sponges- they take up such a large volume of filter space, and provide little surface area. I remember reading that one ceramic ring has more surface area than a 2213 eheim full of sponges.
Surface area is what its all about- the more you have the more bacteria you can colonise. You need a biological filter, you wont need mechanical- if you set your tank up right you should have no debris in the water body.
Use any form of pourous ceramic filter material that you can find/afford.
As for fluval- well i think they are poor but each to their own, i am a fan of eheim.

Why was CO2 a disaster for you?
As for books you need to take the advice with a pinch of salt- look at the tanks they refer to and ask your self is that the tank i want and is it really all that impressive? I bet chances are that most members on this forum are more knowlegeable than the authors of popular aquarium books, and boast far more impressive planted aquaria- just my opinion.

CO2 should be used on the outlet not the inlet of the filter- bacteria in filters depend on oxygen- sending co2 into the filter might not be a good idea.
If you can use a gravel cleaner on the outflow of the filter- then place the airstone expelling co2 in the base of the gravel cleaner- might work as a primitive reactor, the bubbles should rise in to the cylinder and mix- in theory, practice is a different beast.

Good luck.

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