Flourish comprehensive and carbon filter...
Quick question, just started adding flourish comp. to my planted tank, but I have been reading that carbon filters will just remove what is added to the tank to fertilise the plants. I currently have a carbon sponge in my filter, if this is the case then taking out the carbon sponge is recommended? And what should I put in its place if anything? I am taking it from what I read that not having carbon is still safe for the fish, and better for the plants?
Cheers for any help
Correct, chemical filtration should be removed from a planted tank as they'll remove nutrients for the plants (not all of them, just some).
The only filtration you need is mechanical. So things like a sponge, filter floss, pad, etc. You can still use bio media (like bio balls or ceramic rings) if your plants are not enough to fully use all ammonia, but generally are not needed also.
In my canister I put in Fluval pre-filter ceramic disks into the first tray, they just trap the large particles. Then I have a sponge and two pads in the middle tray. In the top tray I have another pad and then a bag of ceramic rings. We'll see how it works out, as I've just set that tank and filter up.
In my smaller tanks with HOBs I have a pre-filter sponge on the intake, and a pad in the filter compartment and that's it, neither have problems of any kind.
There are a lot of folks here with heavily planted tanks that swear off activated carbon and/or any chemical filtration. It is true that living plants help purify water. However, It's my understanding that you need a lot of plants with a small bio-load to provide sufficient water purification with plants.
We might also consider that if you have ample living plants and perform weekly [somewhat large] water changes, chemical filtration is in fact, of very little value.
On the other hand, and in defense of carbon, it has been used for many decades to purify water, including drinking water. It adsorbs many organic and some inorganic contaminants and impurities making the water more pure. It will even adsorb pheromones and other chemical 'crud' from the water column. It does not typically remove significant quantities of desired plant nutrient elements from the water.
If your tank is heavily planted, you too just might swear off carbon. On the other hand, if you have just a few plants (or folks that have only plastic/silk plants) chemical filtration can offer a huge advantage in aquarium water purification.
Like so many things in the fish keeping hobby, there really is not a steadfast rule in this regard.
Yeah, what I want ultimately is whats best for the fish... but I also want to give the plants a boost with ferts, but don't want to be adding them if the carbon is taking them back out again.
Ill attach a couple pics of my tank i took just now, let me know if you think its fairly heavily planted, and would suffice without the carbon. I have taken the carbon pad out of my filter casing for now, just doubled up on the large particle filter media.
cheers as always for all of your responses!
It is interesting to note that the majority of more recent articles on filtration are no longer suggesting carbon like they once would have. Only this week I was reading Jack Wattley's discus column in the May 2012 TFH and in his response to a question about filtration from someone considering acquiring discus for the first time [i.e., a true discus novice] he recommended against carbon in the filter of discus tanks. And most will tell you there are few fish as sensitive as discus. So this has to be considered.
In my article on bacteria I briefly mention the effect of carbon and that it should not be used in planted tanks, and its use in non-planted is also being discounted lately, as I noted above. The purpose of carbon is set out in the article:
I am not aware that carbon will do as much as AD claims;-) with respect to pheromones...these can only be removed by water changes as far as I have been able to determine. But I will certainly investigate any contrary sources.
There is more in the water than simple nutrients that the plants need, and carbon impacts this too. So all told, best left out in my view.
Edit: You posted those photos as I was typing; that tank is well planted, and carbon should not be used, no question on that. B.
pheww, thanks Byron.
I have taken the carbon out, and dosed with Flourish comprehensive. I eagerly await the results.
So I now only have one blue very fine particle filter media (the filter media is all Jewel brand), one green filter media and then there was the carbon, which I have removed and on top of the carbon sits the large particle filter media which is like cotton wool or something, which I change weekly/bi weekly if it gets clogged up. I am hoping this will be fine, to be fair, I probably have a fairly high bioload so I guess keeping on top of water changes and the plants health improving should be able to handle the bioload.
I usually use carbon when I set up a tank (mostly because I use soil, and it removes the tannins from the substrate.)
I'm not disagreeing with the above posters though, because I've never replaced the carbon cartridge- I only rinse it with hot tap water. I'm sure it's long since depleted and simply became biological media.
That is something I forgot to mention originally, and I agree. I have used a carbon pad for the first week once, didn't seem to do much, but it came with the new Rena filter so I tried it. And carbon is useful to remove tannins (initially, although since they don't cause harm perhaps it is best not), or medications, etc. And as it adsorbs stuff it does become inert.
Simon, on the filter pads/cartridges, don't replace these unless they wear out and no longer fill the space and water can get around them. Just rinse every water change or as needed. Doesn't really matter, but replacing them is costing money un-necessarily.
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