Does carbon remove trace elements?

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by jcgoobee, 14 Jul 2009.

  1. jcgoobee

    jcgoobee Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, CA
    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.
     
  2. davidcmadrid

    davidcmadrid Member

    Messages:
    115
    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.
     
  3. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    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.
     
  4. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    agreed, i have both in my filter

    AC
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    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,
     
  6. jcgoobee

    jcgoobee Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, CA
    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.
     
  7. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    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
     
  8. jcgoobee

    jcgoobee Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, CA
    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.
     
  9. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    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
     
  10. davidcmadrid

    davidcmadrid Member

    Messages:
    115
    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.
     
  11. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    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
     
  12. jcgoobee

    jcgoobee Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, CA
    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... Yes! Excellent point. I will leave the carbon and Purigen the way they are then. Thanks for the :idea: James
     
  13. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    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
     
    nickmcmechan and Jafooli like this.
  14. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    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
     
  15. jcgoobee

    jcgoobee Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, CA

    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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