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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I wanted to buy some carbon to use for my 20 g instead of buying the bags and saw this product. From the reviews it seem like a great one, but I am not sure if the way of removing ammonia is good and healthy.
While researching the forum I was not able to find enough comments on it, but saw somebody selling it as he/she decided to make a planted tank and this was not good for such a setup. I do have a planted tank and hope it woo become a really heavy planted.

Please, comment.

Thanks!
 

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carbon and related products is another one of those topics where you'll have people yelling that its wrong for a planted tank or its fine. its about personal preferense again. It really helps remove tannins, reduces smell and really makes that water crystal clear. The side effects is the removal of many trace and some macro ferts from the water column, leaving you to dose heavier or to ensure your plants have nutrients in the substrate
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Oh, I see. So if I don't dose anything, it is not a good idea? As the plants will lack nutricion. That is a good point then. So, I guess not such a good idea. I thought that removing ammonia may be like antibiotics - removing too many other things too.
Thanks, neven.

P.S. Oh, and what about the pure carbon then? It is still a good idea even for planted, right?
 

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Wierd... ive always have had plants and i'va also always have used carbon.... maybe i should switch
 

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From what I've heard carbon can be rendered ineffective within only a few days in a normally stocked tank. It just gets 'full' quite fast and therefore other than for purposes such as removing meds I have seen it as sort of a rip-off item commonly sold to noobs. Also, plants prefer ammonia over nitrate as a food source as the concept of the NPT suggests.

I guess that basically what I'm trying to say is that as long as you have a healthy biofilter, healthy plants and aren't overstocking your tank, you shouldn't need to spend money on 'Band-Aid' items like zeo-carb. The certainly have their place in special situations but I think overall good aquarium practices should render them pointless. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, Kelly. Same with carbon only then? Most filter bags have carbon and I have it in my small tanks that is full and nice healthy plants.
So, it is enough to just have the sponge part of the filter then?
 

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It will be just fine to have the sponge part of the filter, that's all I've been doing for ages. In my Aquaclears, I just save the carbon bags that come with them for removing meds / tannins and stuff filter floss in its place.

As for filter bags that come with carbon already in them, all it means is that you don't have to run out and buy new carbon every month; you can just replace the filter bags when they are starting to fall apart.
 

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Alright here is the skinny.
Zeo carb is a combination of carbon and Zeolite (ammonia remover). Carbon is an adsorbing media which basically means it will release back into the water column whatever is adsorbed once it is exhausted. Most carbons do not last longer then 3-4 weeks. The majority of adsorption is done over the first few days. After that point the carbon will continue to adsorb for roughly 3 weeks as an average but not at a high rate.
If Carbon is not changed before this period then the hobbyist is really not accomplishing anything by using it. Zeolite is exhausted after 6 weeks and will only really absorb excess ammonia which an established aquarium will not have if it is operating properly. Zeolite does have it's benefits, particularly if the aquarium is being fed by small children which is often the case. Zeolite will help to prevent unexpected ammonia spikes, lets call it insurance.

Mixing Zeolite and Carbon together means that the Zeolite will be replaced before it would be needed to if it were it's own insert.

The carbon issue concerning fertilizer adsorbing has been raised many times over the years. Recently there was an article claiming that carbon would not remove these wanted elements.

In my opinion if carbon is used and maintained regularly it will aid in sparkling clear water that may not be possible without it's use, depending on the aquarium. If carbon is left in the system past it's life span it can harm your fish. Long term neglect of changing carbon is the number one cause leading to lateral line erosion in both FW and SW as the carbon dissolves and breaks down into your water column.:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thank you very much for the input, very much appreciated!
I always change carbon bags no later then 3 weeks to be safe. I had no idea about the Zeolite addition as I didn't even know till the other day what is that thing in combination with carbon. So, from what I read I think I will keep the carbon as I used it a lot before and never had issues with the plants that I am growing. I will think about Zeolite as well, as to have this anti-ammonia insurance sounds very good to me, a piece of mind for sure and really low cost. I will try to find it not mixed with carbon, but if not, I will probably get this Fluval Zeo Carb as it $26 for a very big contaner (2 kg or lbs I think) with will last a loooong time. As it won't do any harm to fish or plants, that is great :)

Rastapus, do you have them separate or at least the combination? Didn't check when I was in Burnaby one yesterday. Thanks!
 

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Zeolite is available on it's own. We also have a bulk carbon coming in a few weeks which promises to be a great deal!
 

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In my opinion if carbon is used and maintained regularly it will aid in sparkling clear water that may not be possible without it's use, depending on the aquarium. If carbon is left in the system past it's life span it can harm your fish. Long term neglect of changing carbon is the number one cause leading to lateral line erosion in both FW and SW as the carbon dissolves and breaks down into your water column.:eek:
That's fascinating. I've never heard that neglected carbon can actually lead to lateral line erosion... I assumed that the neglected carbon would become inert, and act as a media bed for micro organisms in the filter. Do you know why it causes lateral line erosion (stress, carbon adsorption into the body, clog gills)?
 

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That's fascinating. I've never heard that neglected carbon can actually lead to lateral line erosion... I assumed that the neglected carbon would become inert, and act as a media bed for micro organisms in the filter. Do you know why it causes lateral line erosion (stress, carbon adsorption into the body, clog gills)?
Actually no I don't know exactly why. From experience I can assure you that this is so. Carbon will dissolve over time which seems to have something to do with it.
 

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If a tank is newly set up, wouldn't adding zeolite to absorb ammonia prevent the development of the nitrogen cycle, that depends upon ammonia? Or does it leave enough in the tank to do that? I have never used it.

However, once I added something to my filter that was supposed to absorb nitrites. My tank was perfectly fine before I added that but it had a bit of algae and I thought for some reason that might help. Within a few days, all my plants were brown and dead, even the indestructible java ferns. Since then (this was a few years ago), I've never added anything to my tanks that is designed to remove something from the water column. If there's a question about the water, I just change the water. But -- maybe I'm missing something new!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Morainy, that is the exact reason why I asked. As I believe adding chemicals to fix something is not a good idea as you treat the result without solving the problem.
From the chemistry I know carbon should be fine in the tank, not that I used it on a regular basic years ago when I was a teenager, it was expensive and not as easy to find back then. So I kept it for when I really needed it (like after there is a dead fish under a rock that I see a couple of days later, etc.).

Now there is additive for every issue in the tank and I am not that fond and knowledgeable to use them. This Zeo Carb sounded like a magic substance to have in your tank that would clean up the most dangerous stuff. For carbon I know and I was hoping it was OK with the plants. But I had no idea of the zeolite. Sounds like a pretty neutral thing though, so I'll do some more research before making the final decision.

Sorry for the long posting, but this topic is very interesting for me.
 

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i'd more see zeolite as a solution to the people who enter the hobby, and overstock right off the bat before the nitrogen cycle is through. It'll reduce stress to fish at the expense of a prolonged nitrogen cycle, more of a oops my bad bandaid fix then an alternative to proper cycling.
 
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