Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   How much does carbon help? (

Mike 11-27-2007 09:30 PM

How much does carbon help?
Hi everyone,

We have a 55 gallon fish only saltwater tank. We've been running a pro-clear wet/dry and a fluval 405 canister filter. Somebody at our LFS told us a while back to remove the carbon from the fluval and I did, but I've been reading that it is beneficial and keeps the water clean. Should we put a bag of carbon in our filter?


MattD 11-27-2007 09:50 PM

I keep a bag of carbon in mine. It is essential for water clarity, imo. Within days you notice a serious improvement in water clarity.

Gump 11-28-2007 01:53 AM

It removes metals and other water impurities and polishes the water. But its not needed and there is a good case that it can cause health problems in some fish.

SKAustin 11-28-2007 05:25 AM

Personally, I wouldnt use the Carbon unless you were removing medications from the water. But thats just me.

Mike 11-28-2007 05:59 AM

Thanks for the replies. Does anyone know off hand what types of health problems carbon is thought to cause?


MattD 11-28-2007 06:42 AM

Carbon does have a tendency to leech phosphate into the aquarium after it goes bad. While it's working at its best, it will remove trace elements from the water that some corals need - compromising their long-term health.

It works well for me because the corals I'll be keeping are straight softies and won't suffer from the loss of nutrients.The potential phosphate leak also isn't a huge problem because I have a refugium that will aid in removing small amounts from my system.

It's up to you to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons, but the situation isn't necessarily black and white. You could, like me, use it on a temporary basis to keep the water clean etc, but then remove it when there's no need for it. I'm using it now because I'm still cycling and I'm dealing with periodic algae blooms.

Good luck.


managemysite 11-28-2007 01:19 PM

carbon removes colors and odors and should definately be used.

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