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Carbon Sponge Vs Carbon Pellets
December 7, 2010
1:45 pm
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Daddyfish
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Hi Guys,

I'm guessing Carbon Filter Sponges do the same job as Carbon Pellets…correct?

If so, which am I better off using? If there wasn't a difference I'd go for the sponge as it's easier to change, but I'd rather get the best results.

Thanks in advance! /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

Neil

December 8, 2010
1:08 pm
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Bully
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I don't know the answer. I would expect pellets to have more surface area, by volume, than a sponge. Personally, I don't use carbon in any of my tanks, and the only time I would use it, would be to remove medication. You need to be vigilant when using carbon as you cannot really put a time limit on when it should be changed. There's no reliable way of determining when it has effectively stopped adsorbing, and if you leave it in a tank for too long it will soon go biological and each time you remove it, you would be removing a portion of your biological filtration - causing potential spikes until the remaining bacteria can repopulate.

December 8, 2010
4:29 pm
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Daddyfish
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Ok Bully, thanks for the advice. So what is the combination you use? I currently have a nano cube for my Betta and that uses Cotton Wool Sponge > Course Sponge > Fine Sponge > Biopur (clay tubes). I'm setting up a new 60L tank that I'd like to get it right from the off.

Cheers again! /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

December 8, 2010
6:45 pm
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Eyrie
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My personal preference would be a normal filter sponge in the space intended for carbon. This will provide additional media for the bacteria to colonise and can be easily transferred to a small filter if you require a q-tank (eg for quarantining new additions).

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December 8, 2010
7:48 pm
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Daddyfish
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So if the sponge is growing good bacteria what happens when it's replaced…does it course problems? Should you if this is the case use as little sponge as possible?

December 8, 2010
7:51 pm
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Bully
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For me it depends on what filter you are going to use on the 60l, if it's an internal filter you may only be limited to using a sponge and if that is the case then, as above, I would go with a standard sponge. If you are opting for an external filter, nearly always better in my opinion - space permitting - then I would use a ceramic type media. I use Eheim Substrat Pro in all my filters, there are other similar types of media available, I just happen to use the Eheim version. This media is all about biological filtration, and won't provide the mechanical filtration that a sponge would.

If you already have the carbon sponge, and want to save a couple of pounds, then you could just leave it in the filter and let it go biological anyway.

I'm running 3 externals at the moment, and they have differing configurations/my-aquarium but, they follow the same format of coarse media first, through to the biological media which is topped by filter wool (pond floss and cut to size).

December 8, 2010
7:57 pm
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Bully
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Looks like we cross posted /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

If you only have a single sponge, it's good practice to cut it in half, when the time comes to replace it then replace half at a time about a month apart. Much of it depends on the amount of media you have in the tank in the first place. In practice, a sponge should last for years before it needs replacing, ignore manufacturers recommendations to replace sponges on a regular basis - they only need rinsing in tank water for maintenance.

December 9, 2010
1:26 pm
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Bluedave
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All good advice from Bully and Eyrie - nothing to add really other than to agree that carbon is not really needed unless removing meds or you have a specific heavy metal problem.

I replaced mine with ceramic noodles - another sponge is an option as well.

December 9, 2010
3:00 pm
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Daddyfish
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QUOTE (Bully @ Dec 8 2010, 07:40 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Looks like we cross posted /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

If you only have a single sponge, it's good practice to cut it in half, when the time comes to replace it then replace half at a time about a month apart. Much of it depends on the amount of media you have in the tank in the first place. In practice, a sponge should last for years before it needs replacing, ignore manufacturers recommendations to replace sponges on a regular basis - they only need rinsing in tank water for maintenance.

That's good advice about the frequency of changing sponges!

No, as I posted above, I have three sponges Cotton Wool Stuff > Course Sponge > Fine Sponge > Ceramic Media. So tha's and ok setup…right?

Thanks for the help guys. I just thought that Carbon polished the water and made it clearer, so as it's also course I'd replace the course sponge with a carbon sponge.

Cheers again! /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

P.S. It's an external filter system.

December 9, 2010
4:57 pm
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Plaamoo
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"If you already have the carbon sponge, and want to save a couple of pounds, then you could just leave it in the filter and let it go biological anyway."

I've read, though i can't remember where, that carbon can reach a point of saturation and start returning nasties to aquarium. Any opinions on this?

December 9, 2010
7:21 pm
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Eyrie
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QUOTE (Daddyfish @ Dec 9 2010, 02:43 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's good advice about the frequency of changing sponges!


It's not so much about changing the sponge as simply giving it a quick rinse in old tank water to ensure that it doesn't become blocked. In theory the filter floss should do all the mechanical filtration but I find if I leave my filters too long that crud can build up on the sponges as well. If the flow is impeded then the bacteria colonies become less efficient due to receiving less oxygen and ammonia/nitrIte, with the potential consequence that ammonia/nitrIte levels could rise.

QUOTE (plaamoo @ Dec 9 2010, 04:40 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've read, though i can't remember where, that carbon can reach a point of saturation and start returning nasties to aquarium. Any opinions on this?


I've heard that as well.

I'd assume that the leakage could only take place after a water change when there will be a lower concentration of medicine etc in the water. So on that basis if carbon is used at the outset when there aren't any issues it can safely be left to function as biological media. However if it's been added for a specific purpose it should always be removed afterwards.

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December 9, 2010
9:26 pm
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Bully
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QUOTE (plaamoo @ Dec 9 2010, 04:40 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've read, though i can't remember where, that carbon can reach a point of saturation and start returning nasties to aquarium. Any opinions on this?

The subject is highly debated but, I have yet to come across scientific evidence (that was not provided by a manufacturer) that proves that carbon leaches nasties back into the aquarium, especially freshwater.

There appears to anecdotal evidence, and a report provided by Seachem, that demonstrates that Phosphate can leach from carbon back into the water column but, this appears to happen only in a marine environment. I once researched this heavily, quite some time ago admittedly, and drew the conclusion that carbon does not return any of the compounds that it has adsorbed back into the water once it has reached capacity - in a freshwater environment /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

December 9, 2010
10:26 pm
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MatsP
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QUOTE (Bully @ Dec 9 2010, 09:09 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
The subject is highly debated but, I have yet to come across scientific evidence (that was not provided by a manufacturer) that proves that carbon leaches nasties back into the aquarium, especially freshwater.

There appears to anecdotal evidence, and a report provided by Seachem, that demonstrates that Phosphate can leach from carbon back into the water column but, this appears to happen only in a marine environment. I once researched this heavily, quite some time ago admittedly, and drew the conclusion that carbon does not return any of the compounds that it has adsorbed back into the water once it has reached capacity - in a freshwater environment /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

I agree with all of the above, and would go as far as saying that carbon will not adsorb phosphate, and thus, any phospate eminating from carbon would have been introduced during production, or some such.

I found an article recently which essentially said that "under some circumstances, carbon can be made to release it's captured substances, but it requires extreme changes in pH or temperature". And by extreme, we're talking about 6 pH levels - so from pH 8 to pH 2 or vice versa. Now, if your tank goes to pH 8 to 2 or 4 to 10 or some such, then you probably have more problems to worry about than the carbon releasing it's adsorbed minerals.

--
Mats

December 10, 2010
1:14 am
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Plaamoo
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Good info & opinions^, thanks. I also only use carbon in the rare occasion I have to medicate, But it's good to know.

December 10, 2010
6:41 pm
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Eyrie
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There's always something new to learn on here - thanks guys /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

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