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When is it too soon / late to change carbon filters?

Discussion in 'Brackish' started by mlefessler, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. mlefessler

    mlefessler AC Members

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    I've been using activated carbon filters for quite some time now. While doing a routine water change over the weekend, I was curious to know when it's appropriate to change the carbon. The packages claim "every two to four weeks for best results", but I would assume that to be a marketing ploy to make you buy more. Better yet, when is it time to change the filters based on appearance?
     
  2. zoowks

    zoowks AC Members

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    Myself, I've read that activated carbon can take a while for its ability to purify to completely diminish. That said the 2-4 weeks "for best results" holds; but I tend to go 2-3 months before replacing them. When I do water changes I will pull the filter out and rinse the heavy debris out of the filter with the water I siphon from the tank and put the filter back in. Also, I've read, don't know the truth of it, but I've heard that the carbon filter can clean too well and remove some wanted elements from the water, so maybe not doing it too often is good. I do the back to front with the filters when I'm going to put a new one in just to avoid the chance of a mini cycle.
     
  3. TwoTankAmin

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    That question has no exact answer. carbon has a maximum capacity for filtering out things and once it is reached, it need to be replaced. Therefore how much stuff is is being used to remove will determine how rapidly the capacity for that amount of carbon will be reached.

    Many folks only use carbon for specific needs such as pulling meds, removing tanins etc. I am one. I never run carbon on any of my tanks without a specific reason for doing so.
     
  4. excuzzzeme

    excuzzzeme Stroke Survivor '05

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    For filters using carbon, after a month I slit the bottom and remove all carbon. After rinsing in tanks water I put the cleaned filter back in. For my filters with exchangeable media I don't use carbon. I will substitute carbon for more mechanical media.
     
  5. mlefessler

    mlefessler AC Members

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    Hmm, there seems to be an interesting mix of responses. I guess it really is up to the aquarist. For those who do not use carbon, I use a Tetra Whisper 60 and Penguin Bio-Wheel HOB filters. One uses the Bio-Bags and the other the blue carbon filter inserts - if you were to replace carbon, what media is suggested? If I were to replace the new carbon filters I had placed in there last weekend, will it affect the tank's cycle?
     
  6. Pufferpunk

    Pufferpunk AC Members

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    Ditto
     
  7. mlefessler

    mlefessler AC Members

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    For those who don't run carbon in their tanks, what kind of filters do you use and what media?
     
  8. wataugachicken

    wataugachicken The Dancing Banana

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    i don't bother removing carbon from the filter pads once it has reached its maximum capacity. leaving it in there provides area for additional bacterial colonization.
     
  9. Pufferpunk

    Pufferpunk AC Members

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    I have Aquaclear HOB filters & Eheim canisters added on, if the tank is >55g. AC filters have a sponge on the bottom (mechanical filtration), 1" filter floss (to "polish" the water crystal clear) & BioMax in a stocking on top (biological filtration).
     
  10. mlefessler

    mlefessler AC Members

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    Thanks for all of the responses. I've got a good idea of where I want to go with the filter situation.

    1 - Here's my deal: I cleaned my 55g tank a little too well to the point where there's a significant bacterial bloom (white cloudy water). It's been like this for about 2 weeks now. I have not changed anything other than that one-time cleaning (too well). It's on week three and the water still has not cleared up any. I know the key to bacterial blooms is patience, but is there any other way I can alleviate the load? Perhaps instead of the weekly water change, bump it down to 10% every other day to help? Other than the bacterial bloom, I've been testing my water and all parameters are in range. Fish are all eating, sleeping, pooping, swimming and even the Figure-8's have that little green fluorescent patch on the top of their heads.

    2 - With that said: I'm running two HOB filters in the tank. If I were to switch my filters from the carbon to sponge/filter floss/biomax, would it be wise to change only one filter at a time to avoid a cycle? Or is that inevitable/irrelevant?

    3 - In relation to the aforementioned question, is it suitable to use the biobags and blue filters (with the carbon removed of course) as a filter floss? Or best to add it? I guess my main question is; for those who do not use carbon in their HOB filters, how do you set-up?

    Lastly - Because I'm going through this gigantic bacterial bloom, best to wait to switch over or best to go ahead?

    Sorry for the massive bombardment of questions - I guess I really have no idea what to do in this situation. Any suggestions / help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     

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