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FAQs on Carbon Filtration, Placement

Related FAQs: Carbon 1, Carbon 2, & FAQs on Carbon: Rationale/Use, Types/Qualities/Selection, Renewal, Negative Reactions, Sources/Brands, & Marine Chemical Filtrants

Related Articles: Selection and Placement of Activated Carbon in Marine Aquaria by Adam Jenkins,  Phosphates in Carbon; An analysis of the phosphate content of activated Carbon by Steven Pro, Marine Chemical Filtrants,

In a convenient, porous setting... in an area of continuous water flow

Reactor question       4/12/18
Hey Bob. Hope you’re doing well.
<Thanks John; still hobbling about>
I wanted your opinion on something. I have a reef Octopus 2 chamber CA reactor that I’m going to convert into a bio pellet and carbon reactor.
<Can be done>
My plan is to use chamber one which is a recirculating chamber to tumble the pellets. Chamber one will drain into chamber 2 which is NOT a recirculating chamber and fill it with carbon.
Is there any down side into pushing effluent from bio pellets over carbon? Would it decrease the desired effect of the pellet effluent?
<No real downside here in the short or long haul. I myself prefer to use the carbon in Dacron bags (better for changing and keeping in place; trust me here), or just buy it in bags, like Chemi-pure. If you're using more than one bag, you can switch out the older one next interval.>
Thanks for the great advice.
<Always glad to toss in my dos centavos. Bob Fenner>
Re: Reactor question       4/12/18

Great. Thanks Bob. The only real reservation I had was that I know most people like to run the pellet effluent near the skimmer intake and that would really be <not?> possible with this application. Also I didn’t know if the slime that the pellets sometimes sloth off would gum the carbon up.
<All good questions, concerns. The only "proof" here will be putting all the gear in place and running it John. There is still some credible percentage of art vs. technology in ornamental aquaristics>
Thanks again! Take care of that knee.
<Out to the Sports Med. doc. in the AM; thank you. B>
Re: Reactor question       4/12/18

I don’t know the nature of the injury with your knee, but if you haven’t already done so, try some Tiger Balm. The stuff is amazing.
<Am a fan of this product, line>
It really took away the pain in my shoulders far better than any pill. It’s anti-inflammatory properties are incredible.
Good luck,
<Thank you for your input, concern John. Means much. BobF>

Carbon (How to employ without a sump?) -- 10/23/09
I know you have yet to get back to me from my last query,
but I have a quick one here.
My water is yellowish, bulbs are brand new 10000K daylight PC's. It is a newer tank with ammonia = 0, nitrate = 5, and nitrite = 0. My filtration consists of an AquaC Remora using a MaxiJet 1200, 60lbs of live rock, and 3 Koralia powerheads. I want to use carbon on this system but have no flow path to place it into.
<<Mmm'¦no sump eh'¦perhaps then a canister filter?>>
If I buy a canister filter, can I remove all the media and just leave the carbon in there and replace monthly?
<<Ah! Yes indeed'¦though there's often debate as to the length of time carbon remains effective. There seems to be a growing understanding that carbon is 'used up' very quickly'¦and depending on the type/quality'¦is no longer effective within hours to days of introduction to the system. It is also thought that as an adsorbent versus an absorbent, that the carbon can begin to 'release trapped molecules' once it becomes 'saturated.' So'¦ Some hobbyists prefer to remove the carbon after a few days to a week and then let the canister filter just run empty (for the added flow) for a few weeks until the next batch of carbon goes in. Just something to consider'¦>>
If not, where could I place the carbon? I have no sump because all sides of the tank are tempered and cannot be drilled and I don't trust a siphon overflow. Thanks for your input.
<<The canister filter sounds like your best option here>>
<<Cheers'¦ EricR>> 

Re Carbon (How to employ without a sump?) -- 10/23/09- 10/25/09
Just my two cents to add.  I find that the Marineland HOB filter is a great way to use carbon in a sumpless set-up.  Is more convenient to service than a canister filter and very reasonably priced.

Filter Selection 7/5/09
Hi crew,
<Hello Marc>
I have a 75 gallon reef tank that has no sump. I just want to run some carbon to assist my Remora Pro. What do you think would be the best filter to run activated carbon? I'm not looking for any mechanical filtration, I don't want the nitrate build up, I just want to run carbon.
<I've always liked the Marineland Magnum HOT. See here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Salifert -All in one con ASM Media reactor chem media use f'  6/28/09
I've been thinking of switching to Salifert- All in One from ESV -B Ionic as it says that you only have to add this once a week , compare to ESV's everyday dosing. I've been searching the accuracy of this product in your site and could not find, if this really work as stated on its label...or this is just one of those advertising gimmicks?
<Really any Ca/Alk supplement can be dosed once a week. But think of your coral's needs. The more they use, the larger the swing in your water make up when you dose once a week. Dosing daily keeps your water much more consistent.>
Also, I have purchase a media reactor (ASM med 1000) , and I'm wondering if I could use Chemi pure with this?
Just take it out of the bag and pour it on the reactor chamber?
<I would leave it in the bag to keep it all together.>
The instruction said to use pump that has a 150 gph , do you think I can get away with Maxi Jet 1200 w/ a 140 gph?
<Yes, but the MJ 1200 is rated for 395 I believe. You may wish to choke this back a bit with a valve, but not life or death with the Chemipure left in the bag.>
Because I have 2 of these units that I have in my garage (used this long time ago before the Hydor's came along).
And lastly, does the media has to be sandwiched by the two foams ?
<Not if left in a bag.>
And where is the best way to place the intake and out take tubing?
<Ideally intake before your pump return chamber, outtake in the pump return chamber.>
I have a 30g sump and 100g main tank.
Pls advise...and thanks in advance. KEEP ON REEFING !
<Welcome, you too, Scott V.>

Activated carbon optimal flow rate for removing Cupramine
Activated Carbon Flow Rate 6/1/09

Is there a certain flow rate that works best for activated carbon? I'm setting up my own PVC construction which will basically hook to a Rio submersible pump that does about 600 gph. I want to run the pump
through just a small piece of vinyl tubing, then into a chamber constructed out of a 4" piece of PVC with an end cap that has a couple small holes drilled in the cap, real small holes actually so that the carbon cant get pushed out.
< Sounds good so far.>
The PVC chamber will be filled with carbon then dropped into the sump.
I'm basically just trying to get a good way to move a lot of water through carbon, I want to clean all the Cupramine out of my tank within a day or two, or at least really significantly reduce the levels...
< Could take longer than a day or two. Depends on the levels present. Even then you will probably never fully remove it. >
So my question is about flow, will activated carbon work as well at high speed water flow as it would at low speed? If not, I'll have to figure out an easy way to throttle it back, which shouldn't be hard through use of a splitter and a gate valve on the other end to control how much is actually pumped through the carbon.
< No, activated carbons efficiency is dependent on contact time and surface area. With lower flow and smaller particles being the most efficient.>
I'd love an answer to this question, I've searched Google and WWM and cant seem to find one. Grant
< I would install the gate valve and throttle it back to a moderate to lower flow. With the amount flow being partially dependent on the size of the aquarium. GA Jenkins>

Activated Carbon Placement 5/3/09
Hello there peeps.
< Frank >
Had a quick question for you if you don't mind.
< Don't mind a bit. >
Can I put a bag of activated carbon inside my filter sock where my water enters my sump from a overflow or should I put it in the return area of the sump near the pump that returns water to display? I thought putting in the filter sock might work best but as always , I value your opinions. Thanks for all your hard work. Frank
< Putting it in a filter sock is the way to go. The more water you can force the activated carbon to come in contact with the better. Hanging it in near the return pump will work but will not be as efficient. G A
Jenkins >  

Chemical Reactor, JamesG endorsement    2/16/08 Bob, Just a note here regarding those who want to incorporate chemical media into their system without using canister filters, etc. I've been using this reactor for about one week and it's the best thing I've seen since sliced bread, very well designed. Will easily hold two units of Chemi Pure and etails for 39.95. http://www.aquariumfiltration.us/simplicity-fbr.html James <Thank you for sharing James. BobF>

Carbon placement 6/16/08 Happy daddy's day to all!!! <Yikes... am looking in the mail box for cards from far away as usual...> Three quick questions... is it better to put the carbon bag (Chemi pure) in the overflow box, in the sump under the drain by the sack or put it in the sump and place a power head (Maxi Jet 600 or 900) for added flow? Thanks/Jun <I like to keep "things" out of overflow boxes... too much chance of disasters with reducing, blocking flow there... I like to place some sort of mechanical media (Dacron batting or such) over this fine product and other chemical filtrants (to reduce clogging)... Bob Fenner>

Carbon placement Hello to all.  I have a question about the use of carbon filtration.  We have a 40 gal. tank and currently use the Amiracle 150 Wet/Dry Filter and the AquaC Remora hang-on skimmer.  I do 2-3 water changes of 4 gal. each a week.  I read all the postings I could find on the site about this before bothering you with a question, so I know the recommendation appears to be 1x month use of carbon filtration.  Right now I have Fluval carbon filter pads just laying on top of the biomedia, directly underneath the plastic diffusion plate (which has the filter pad on it).  I can't think of another place to have it that would put it in the direct flow of water. << That would be fine. >> My preference would be to use the TMC High Retentive Activated Carbon product in a filter bag, but I definitely wouldn't know where to put that except the sump, which obviously wouldn't really be in a flow.  Any thoughts? << Yep, anywhere is better than nowhere.  I'd put it there and just leaveCarbonFAQ2e it there all the time.  But high flow is certainly best. >> Thanks for all the help.  I get information from you site all the time.  You guys are the best. Laura <<  Blundell  >>

Carbon placement Dear Bob and Crew, I have a 90 gallon reef with a wet/dry and newly added refugium with a DSB. I thought I would start using some carbon in my system. Do you think it would be a better idea to place a bag of carbon in the top of the drip tray or should I use a mechanical filter (Hot Magnum) with carbon in it for an occasional overnight cleaning? Thanks! <Mmm, would work fine in either placement... I'd likely go with the canister filter for the added circulation and mechanical filtration. Bob Fenner> 

Anemone/ Turtle Weed tank, GAC use, Chlorodesmis comp.   2/27/07 I tried what you suggested, but despite the searches I still couldn't find anything relevant. Can you please just give me a direct answer or at least refer me to a specific FAQ?                             Thanks in Advance,                                        CCS <Mmm, perhaps more of a specific response... There is some value in the use of activated carbon in a setting as you propose... some for absorption, more for an adjunct to bio-filtration... I would use "a few ounces" of GAC in a Dacron bag (that can be easily re-used), changed out once a month or so... Sandwich this twixt some mechanical filter media (to keep off detritus)... And the Chlorophyte genus Chlorodesmis ranks low in relative allelopathogenic properties... perhaps a 3 out of 10... I would not be concerned here with potential effects with Catalaphyllia... BobF>

Chemical filtration placement question for a hang-on refugium   6/24/07 Good evening, I first want to thank you for your site and all the great information, I don't know if I could have survived this hobby without it. My question is as follows: When adding chemical filtration, specifically Chemi-pure, where should I place it in a CPR hang on refugium/ skimmer unit. I just purchased Chemi-pure and had it in the compartment after the skimmer and now it seems that the Caulerpa in the refugium is turning white and breaking apart. I thought about putting it in front of the return portion of the unit, <Mmm> but I am fearful that the copepods and stuff that is supposed to leak into the main tank from the refugium wont. <Not to worry re this...> The only filtration I currently have is live rock and the CPR and would love to add the Chemical filtration, but the only option I have is to place it in the refugium. I used to use carbon in my Prizm and thought it really helped. I would therefore like to continue with the added filtration with my new set-up. Thank you in advance for all of your help!! Cory <Somewhere in the filter flow path, though not blocking same... toward the exit, return, though most anywhere in this unit would be fine... I would only switch such a product out once a month... using two would be best, leaving one in while changing the oldest each interval. Bob Fenner>

Carbon in Prizm Many thanks for your help so far. I wanted to know if I can put a small bag of carbon in my Prizm skimmer. Will this effect skimming? <Yes, probably for the worse.> I know the skimmer is not the best but I bought it anyway do to only using it on a 20gal. <Will be fine for a 20 gallon tank.> I already have a Fluval 204 for mechanical and filled with TBPC for bio filtration. I have just removed all of my crushed coral except for about 1 inch and I am going to add 20lbs of LR if I can get it past my wife. Shaun Nelson <It would probably be easier/better to place carbon in the Fluval if you do not already have it packed. I prefer to use Boyd's Chemi-Pure in canister filters. If not, a simple hang-on filter is a cheap alternative. -Steven Pro>

Carbon In your book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" you say it is best to place chemical filtration media such as carbon in polyester bags and arrange there placement in a pressurized water flow. <And I would agree.> You also say the worst is to just throw the bag and contents into the sump. If all I have is an overflow box and a sump is it better to put it in the sump than to not have any at all? <You can probably rig something so that the overflow water is directed into the carbon. Just do so such that if and when the carbon becomes clogged the water can continue to drain down unobstructed. -Steven Pro>

- New Tank Set-up, Follow-up - Thanks for the reply.  <My pleasure.>  With this setup, do I need to add any kind of carbon filtration, and if I do, how would I incorporate it into this system.  <You can... I did... is quite easy to just place a micron bag filled with carbon in the sump, leave there for a little while... couple of days.> Thanks again. Mitch
<Cheers, J -- >

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