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Hi!

So I bought a small mesh bag of activated carbon today because the mopani wood in my tank has been leeching tannins like crazy. I know that it's good for my tetras and everything, but the water has become far too brown for my liking. I don't mind if it's slightly off color as long as the tetras are happy, but I'd like to reduce it a bit. I soaked the wood for well over a month in warm/scalding water but I guess it's going to leech forever.

Anyway, I wanted to reduce the color a bit so I heard that activated carbon will help. After putting a bag in my 10G earlier today, I also found out that it's not very good for my plants... D=.

Would it be ok to leave the bag in there for awhile, or should I just take it out to save my plants and suck it up until the brownish water goes away?

Thanks everyone!
 

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Hello juliejules,

You are correct activated carbon is not very good in a live planted aquarium. It removes a lot of the minerals and nutrients that plants need to grow. A media that you can use and with tons of experience using it is a product made by Seachem called Purigen. You can buy it online at amazon.com if you can't find it at your local pet store. The stuff is designed to suck up discoloration from water. I have a 75 gallon planted tank and inside are 3 huge pieces of driftwood that seem like they will leach for ever. Purigen instantly removes the brown color from the water and clarifies it so much that the fish actually look like they are flying not swimming, lol. Anyway if you do some research and decide to buy it it's a very fine material and will require a special bag made from Seachem called "The Bag" it's designed to keep the Purigen from floating around all over the aquarium. It's kind of expensive but it really works. Just my opinion.
 

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Hello juliejules,

You are correct activated carbon is not very good in a live planted aquarium. It removes a lot of the minerals and nutrients that plants need to grow. A media that you can use and with tons of experience using it is a product made by Seachem called Purigen. You can buy it online at amazon.com if you can't find it at your local pet store. The stuff is designed to suck up discoloration from water. I have a 75 gallon planted tank and inside are 3 huge pieces of driftwood that seem like they will leach for ever. Purigen instantly removes the brown color from the water and clarifies it so much that the fish actually look like they are flying not swimming, lol. Anyway if you do some research and decide to buy it it's a very fine material and will require a special bag made from Seachem called "The Bag" it's designed to keep the Purigen from floating around all over the aquarium. It's kind of expensive but it really works. Just my opinion.
Oh wow, that's pretty nifty! I want to see my fish fly hahaha. Ok, I'll definitely research that tomorrow morning. Thanks!
 
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whoa i didnt know that about carbon and plants! no wonder why i have such slow growth. lol i soaked my wood for about a week and for about 3 weeks after it leached but its all gravy now! thank you for the info OSagent23!
 

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Just a thought but, they make some very convincing looking fake driftwood these days. It's permanent and there will be one less substance that you'll be adding to the tank. In the end, it seems the result would be the same. After time, the artificial driftwood takes on a patina that makes it all but identical to natural.
 

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I would not put Purigen in a planted tank. I know that Seachem says it has "minimal effect" on trace elements, but any effect is detrimental. It also messes with ammonia, which plants need a lot of.

I agree carbon also messes with plants; it will adsorb (adsorb, not absorb here) organics and DOC (dissolved organic carbon) which is essential for sufficient carbon for plants in natural planted tanks.

Mopani is a bit worse for tannins, but they will dissipate. Regular water changes will slowly remove the discolouration.

As a general observation, many forget (or don't realize) that live plants are the only filtration needed in an aquarium. They are nature's filters, on land or in the water. To let them "do their thing" and do it best, we shouldn't interfere.

Byron.
 
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I would not put Purigen in a planted tank. I know that Seachem says it has "minimal effect" on trace elements, but any effect is detrimental. It also messes with ammonia, which plants need a lot of.

I agree carbon also messes with plants; it will adsorb (adsorb, not absorb here) organics and DOC (dissolved organic carbon) which is essential for sufficient carbon for plants in natural planted tanks.

Mopani is a bit worse for tannins, but they will dissipate. Regular water changes will slowly remove the discolouration.

As a general observation, many forget (or don't realize) that live plants are the only filtration needed in an aquarium. They are nature's filters, on land or in the water. To let them "do their thing" and do it best, we shouldn't interfere.

Byron.
so i dont need a filter in my tank?
 

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so i dont need a filter in my tank?
Technically, if there are sufficient live plants and the fish load is in balance, no, you don't need a filter. I still use them to gently move the water around and remove suspended particulate matter to keep the water clear. But the plants keep it clean. Clear and clean are two very different things.:)

Byron.
 
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Technically, if there are sufficient live plants and the fish load is in balance, no, you don't need a filter. I still use them to gently move the water around and remove suspended particulate matter to keep the water clear. But the plants keep it clean. Clear and clean are two very different things.:)

Byron.
thats really cool! i did some reading up on it last night after i read this.
 

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thats really cool! i did some reading up on it last night after i read this.
I do not know where you may be going here, so permit me to add something. While the answer to your initial question was correct that with live plants a filter is not necessary, this is not something one can try in any tank unless you understand the biology fairly well and set the tank up accortdingly. Most of us tend to have more fish than what the plants can effectively deal with biologically, and a filter is the least a nice back-up and may be more. The clarity issue is important, and in my experience filters do make tanks "clearer" than no filter. A simple sponge filter in smaller tanks achieves this.

I would not want to see anyone trying a filterless tank, having the wrong plants that start dying, then the fish go because of all this. A filter would at least keep the fish safe.

Byron.
 

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I second Byron on the Filter. Although it isn't absolutely necessary, it will help maintain a cleaner and more clear tank. This coupled with Plants will provide whatever fish you introduce (Within Reason:)) a more stable environment. As far as the Tannins in the water, Weekly water changes of 25% should clear it up in about a month. Or 20% every other day for a week but this is a little more risky IMHO because of the chance for human error is greater (no offense).

However, I would like to warn you about something that I learned the hard-way and was even warned about. Mopani driftwood is prone to developing a fungus or mold type of growth on it. I never actually pinpointed the scientific name of what grew on my beautiful piece of Mopani but whatever it was it wreaked havoc on my tank and almost wiped out the entire population. So whatever you do, be alert for this "White Fuzz/Tiny White Hair" Fungus. At the first sign of it, remove the wood and give it a good scrubbing. Some people have had better luck than I did with Mopani but just in case, keep a close eye on it...:|
 

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oh i dont plan on not using a filter i just thought it was cool. yeah i was watching some of dustins videos an noticed he had a few tanks outside for growing that were topless and filterless but i take it they are plant only tanks. still neat tho
 
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