Does carbon remove trace elements?

jcgoobee

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Hi there... I have loaded a patch of Fluval carbon to my Eheim filter. I was browsing the Hagen web this afternoon, and found something very interesting... this is what it has noted:

"One final comment about carbon, it has been shown to remove many discolorations in the water, to polish the water to crystal clear clarity. This is quite useful for most standard aquarium communities. However, the powerful ability of carbon to remove trace elements form the passing currents can be a problem when dealing with a planted aquarium. In cases where plants are the major interest for the aquarist, carbon is probably not a good idea. it will remove many of the trace elements that plant fertilizer provides."...

So, my question is, should I remove the carbon from my filter since I'm dosing the PFK and CSM+B by the EI method? Carbon keeps the clarity of the water, and drives the odor away. I'm not sure if removing the carbon is such a brilliant idea.

Please kindly comment. Thank you.
 

davidcmadrid

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I cant answer the question on carbon , but " potentially " suggest an alternative in Seachem Purigen. I have not tested the notion but Seachem and a small number of reports i have read on it suggest if doesnt remove trace elements. I havent tested it deeply though , i just popped it into the filter for a few days and didnt notice any problems with trace elements.
 

Dave Spencer

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Purigen is a better choice for water clarity as it works for far longer than carbon. Either way, the effects on your ferts will be minimal.

Dave.
 

ceg4048

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Yeah, folks really need to get over the whole "carbon removes nutrients" mentality. Carbon does 100X more good than harm. So what if it removes a little bit of nutrients? It's not the end of the world, just add more nutrients. End of worries. Fluval makes an excellent Carbon+Zeolite mixture which does a darn good job. Clear, clean water should be a goal. The penalty one has to pay is so minuscule - and is so fixable that it should be a no-brainer.

Cheers,
 

jcgoobee

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Hi all,

I do have Perigen sitting side by side with my carbon bag in my filter.

A small question mark always strikes me when I look at the Eheim's manual. It doesn't seem that they advocate for any usage of carbon in their filtration system as oppose to Fluval. During the initial setup of the Eheim filter, the instruction notes that the carbon disc should only be used in the first two weeks then be discarded. They don't even sell active carbon. I found this very interesting as if they think that biological filtration of the SubstratPro is good enough to provide adequate filtration?

Thanks to all for your replies.
 

GreenNeedle

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Do they also suggest replacing the standard media at a specified time :)

The media in mine is all about 2-3 years old apart from the Purigen.

AC
 

jcgoobee

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SuperColey1 said:
Do they also suggest replacing the standard media at a specified time :)

The media in mine is all about 2-3 years old apart from the Purigen.

AC

Actually, no. They (Eheim) suggests to replace the media only when they're uncleanable by rinsing. From what I have read from the forums so far, those substrats should last for at least two years, depending on the size of the tank and the population. As for the Purigen, the instruction says that it's rechargeable by soaking the bag in the bleach diluted water, then rinse it thoroughly afterward.
 

GreenNeedle

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indeed but the purigen lasts for 3-4 months in mine until it is entirely brown. It is the only media that I catually wash in tap water rather than in tank water at each filter maintenance session.

I don't know what one would consider 'uncleanable by rinsing'. Seems very open ended to me that statement :)

AC
 

davidcmadrid

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On Purigen and i know we are drifting a bit from the op question ,, but ,, Seachem are adamant not to use Purigen with water conditioner that has " slime coat " properties such as aquatan.. my lfs guy is adamant thats to trick you into using prime but well hes the lfs guy and thinks nutrients cause algae.
 

JamesC

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You also have to remember that most of the metals in the traces that are used are in an organic compound (chelator). So if carbon/purigen are good at removing organic compounds then the chances are that they are good at removing your traces. I can only speculate though as I haven't got the equipment to test. Dose daily and it shouldn't be a problem even if they do remove the traces, as the plants will uptake the traces pretty fast.

James
 

jcgoobee

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JamesC said:
You also have to remember that most of the metals in the traces that are used are in an organic compound (chelator). So if carbon/purigen are good at removing organic compounds then the chances are that they are good at removing your traces. I can only speculate though as I haven't got the equipment to test. Dose daily and it shouldn't be a problem even if they do remove the traces, as the plants will uptake the traces pretty fast.

James

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... Yes! Excellent point. I will leave the carbon and Purigen the way they are then. Thanks for the :idea: James
 

JamesC

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Here's a table that gives you a good idea of what is removed by carbon.

High to very good adsorption on:
Antimony, Arsenic (Treated wood Leaches Arsenic into the Water), Bismuth, Bleach, Chloramines( Chlorine only), Chlorine, Chromium, Colors, Dyes, Gold, Hydrogen Peroxide, Insecticides, Monochloramine, Odors i.e. Sulphur, Pesticides, Phenols, Tin, Trihalomethanes.

Good to Moderate adsorption on:
Acetic acid, Cobalt, Detergents, Dissolved Organic Compounds (DOC), Hydrogen Sulfide, Mercury, Ozone, Potassium Permanganate, Silver, Soap, Solvents, Vinegar, Zirconium.

Fair adsorption on:
Copper ( If Complexed), Iron(as FE 3+), Lead, Nickel, Titanium, Vanadium.

Low to no adsorption on:
Alkalinity, Ammonia, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Carbon Dioxide, Copper, Hardness, Iron(as FE 2+), Lime, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nitrates, Selenium, Tungsten, Zinc.


James
 

GreenNeedle

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Seachem state not to use a dechlorinator that is amine based. something to do with the process but that doesn't rule out that many dechlors so should be OK.

AC
 

jcgoobee

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JamesC said:
Here's a table that gives you a good idea of what is removed by carbon.

High to very good adsorption on:
Antimony, Arsenic (Treated wood Leaches Arsenic into the Water), Bismuth, Bleach, Chloramines( Chlorine only), Chlorine, Chromium, Colors, Dyes, Gold, Hydrogen Peroxide, Insecticides, Monochloramine, Odors i.e. Sulphur, Pesticides, Phenols, Tin, Trihalomethanes.

Good to Moderate adsorption on:
Acetic acid, Cobalt, Detergents, Dissolved Organic Compounds (DOC), Hydrogen Sulfide, Mercury, Ozone, Potassium Permanganate, Silver, Soap, Solvents, Vinegar, Zirconium.

Fair adsorption on:
Copper ( If Complexed), Iron(as FE 3+), Lead, Nickel, Titanium, Vanadium.

Low to no adsorption on:
Alkalinity, Ammonia, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Carbon Dioxide, Copper, Hardness, Iron(as FE 2+), Lime, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nitrates, Selenium, Tungsten, Zinc.


James


Wow, James! Thansk for the break-down and this is a great resource that I will copy to my aquatic notes. From what you have mentioned, the presence of carbon doesn't have much to do with taking away the trace elements in the tank. This will definitely give me a peace of mind that I can leave the carbon and Purigen to coexist in the filter.

I'm curious though, what type of media that you have in your filtration system? Please share.
 
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