It is one of the most common questions we get: “Do I need carbon in my aquarium filter?” Let’s explore why and how to use it.
What Exactly Is Activated Carbon?
Technically, carbon is produced by burning wood or gas into charcoal. Some people use activated charcoal 15x in powder form to remove organic matter from their aquariums and other hard-water aquatic areas. Activated charcoal has great applications because it absorbs many pollutants, chemicals, toxins etc., including heavy metals like mercury sulfide (HgS) which are often formed due to bacterial production of H2S as a result of decaying vegetation on the floor of the aquarium.
Activated charcoal is processed through heating agents like phosphoric acid (H3PO4) which help to burn the matter in the filter medium. Activated carbon can be made either by sealing air inside an activated charcoal granulated pad or granular bag and making it into a powder, or converting coal directly to activated carbon. Both processes work effectively at removing harmful substances from aquarium water but different deionized dewaxing compounds are found in the market for this purpose.
The ideal place to use activated carbon is as a filter media in both aquariums and garden ponds where it’s highly effective at removing oxidant metals like mercury (Hg) and free chlorine (Cl2). There, activated carbon can do all of that: remove bad tastes and odors from your tank water; naturally eliminate harmful bacteria; help minimize algae growth thereby increasing the lifespan of fish; improve water quality at the same time. One important note here is that if your aquarium water has high levels of dissolved oxygen, you’ll need to use a lot less activated carbon than people usually think will be necessary for best results because it’s very effective at removing O2 from water.
What Activated Carbon Does?
Activated carbon has many benefits with regards to water quality and fishes’ well being. It naturally binds to free chlorine, driving it from aquarium water helping you detoxify your pool or pond faster. In addition, activated charcoal is able to absorb a broad spectrum of chemicals that include nitrates/nitrites as well as other pesticides found in tap water at low levels which help improves the oxygenation level in your garden pool so long bathing time will be eliminated as well.
In addition, activated carbon is also able to absorb ammonia, which causes toxic build-up in the water. The activated carbon will eliminate this harmful substance from your pool or pond water. Activated charcoal has been used for years by professional pool and spa owners to help detoxify their water, but it’s only recently that science has discovered its many benefits to aquariums as well.
Can You Use Activated Carbon in a Planted Tank?
It’s true that activated carbon is best suited for open spaces where it can do its job effectively among other things. If you’re using an aquarium filter, then no worries as this process will not affect the plants in any way at all. On the contrary, being natural organic compounds with potential benefits to aquatic life through filtration and uptake of harmful gases along with several properties that are beneficial to water quality even further makes them a good option for aquariums as well.
From time to time, we might come across products like carbon fiber ore and zeolite-eze which recommends using these in planted tanks because of their benefits it offers with regards to water quality improvement but there’s no need for this product on a healthy thriving ecosystem of aquatic life. While they might have some uses from the limited capacity that is limited but not worth considering based on how expensive it can be too!
How To Use Activated Carbon In Your Aquarium?
Activated carbon is a substance that is used in the filtering process of water to remove impurities from the water. It is typically used as a pre-treatment before other treatments such as a protein skimmer or a UV sterilizer. It can also be used as a post-filter after a bio filter to help control ammonia and nitrates levels in the aquarium.
One way to use activated carbon in an aquarium would be by using either a canister filter or an undergravel filter. These methods are preferable to the use of activated carbon because it will do some good for your aquarium while adding minimal stress on your fish and plants which would increase their growth rate enormously.
While you should know that these products aren’t necessarily harmful especially if used correctly, they can be quite threatening to bacteria and algae in general (especially those living in open spaces like plastic parts) therefore we always recommend you to do some research and check the manufacturers recommendations on which supplement is appropriate for your tank and aquaria.
Alternatively, if there’s no need of activating carbon in your aquarium you could instead choose a sponge filter or hang one of these above an open area such as behind live rock where impurities get collected from the water flow like coconut shell flour (or diatomaceous earth) . It can be used with other methods too.
Can Activated Carbon Kill Fish?
No, activated carbon does not kill a fish it removes hazardous impurities from the water and provide balance so your aquarium remains healthy for you. Sometimes people have misinformation about this ingredient causing news reports of fishes dying in an aquaria containing carbons or getting wastes stuck under them because sediment has been trapped by using these sinks as storage places. So just be careful to take care of our source before disposing these harmful things into your aquarium!
How Often Should I Change the Charcoal in My Fish Tank?
These materials can last for a very long time and depending on the frequency of cleaning you perform is something we recommend to change it after 10 months maximum. This shows that activated carbon isn’t harmful as once removed from your aquarium, they don’t leave already accumulated wastes behind so every new activate carbon should be completely clean (and thus toxic) with water left over at all times.
It’s like dissolving half deciliter salt in one liter water in an aquarium, the converter will drain the half liters salt water to make way for potion of new properly dissolved when placed back. Activated carbon is no different when used correctly.
The same goes with Sponge Filters – these are always exposed to fresh water and exposed all day long which means that it hardly accumulates any residues or wastes over time especially if you clean them regularly!
Is there a difference between high-grade and low-grade carbon for my aquarium filter?
Carbon filters are graded by weight. The higher the grade, the better quality the filter will be. High-grade carbon has a smaller pore size which means it can hold more water and is less likely to clog up. Low-grade carbon also has a larger pore size but this allows more air to pass through, increasing dissolved oxygen in your aquarium.
Can my carbon bring in unwanted bacteria / toxins from the outside?
Activated Carbon is a common misconception among aquarium hobbyists. Activated Carbon does not have any chloramines or ammonia in it, nor will it attract these harmful substances into your tank when used properly with a Sponge filter and still maintained within recommended circulation rates for sponge filters . Remember, Activated Carbon at the proper grade is meant to remove organics for your aquarium so it will not harm any of your livestock in anyway.