I have a 55 gallon planted aquarium that has been up and running well now for about six months, but the plants are not doing as well as I would have hoped. So, I decided to go over the 4 part series that Byron created again. In part three he talks about filtration and the possibility that carbon can remove vital nutrients that the plants need. I have two Tetra Whisper EX70 filters. Each filter is rated for 340 GPH. It is hard to explain, but I the filter has two levels. The first is called a bio scrubber which is basically a rubber thing with bristles on it and the second is a carbon filter cartridge. The carbon is encased in filter floss (I am sure you are familiar with these). Should I take the carbon out of the filter floss and just but the filter floss back in? There are two cartridges in each filter.
While many things can affect plant growth, individually they may be minimal in their effect but cumulatively it can reach the point where the plants simply can't manage well. So every thing that could be detrimental that is eliminated, the better the chances for good plant growth. And filter carbon is one such thing to remove. Also, excessive water movement can be detrimental by depleting CO2 and increasing oxygen too much (when CO2 leaves the water, oxygen enters). Too much oxygen is detrimental because it binds with many micro-nutrients such as iron, and makes these unavailable to plants. The faster water flow also works to move the nutrients past the plants too fast for them to assimilate them, and this includes CO2 which aquatic plants assimilate at a rate 4 times slower than that of terrestrial plants.
Inplace of the carbon I use ceramic. When th foss bag becomes clogged I transfer the ceramic to the new floss bag. This way I don't loss all of the good bacteria and it also sems to have helped my plants.
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