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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm curious, what do you think is the perfect filter media and how often do you change it?

I guess I'm a traditionalist; so, I have poly wool and charcoal in my filter. I only change it when my fish get Ich. The directions say remove the charcoal; so, I use that as an inspiration to change the whole thing after I treat the fish. I've had to do that twice last year.
 

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I have an old 403 canister filter on my 135 gallon tank. I have a sponge in the top section and bio rings in the other two sections.
 

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Running a Fluval 405 with the coarse and fine pads, and two comparments filled with ceramic media. The coarse pads get changed annually, the fine whenever they don't come clean anymore, and the ceramic, well, it's in there until it crumbles of old age.
 

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I use a product from pond filters that has the consistency of a heavy duty floor buffing pad in my AGA model 4 sump. I've read that charcoal absorbs the micros so I've never used it in my planted aquariums.
 

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Hi ray-the-pilot,

I have coarse sponges; poly; bio-balls; fine pad in that order in my filter.
 

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I have a Rena XP3 and a Rena XP1 on a 75 gallon tank. I use sponges, bio rings, a fine pad, and filter floss in that order.
 

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I have two HOB filters not sure what models on my 75 gallon. I use the std filter pads with charcoal but take out the charcoal.

I read the same thing that it is not good to have chacoal on a planted tank. I have not changed my filters in 4 months I just occasionally rinse them out when I clean the pumps.


Matt
 

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I use an Eheim 2028 on my 75.
Botton tray has efhi mech and a coarse pad.
Middle and top trays have efhi substrat pro with a fine pad on the top.
The trays and coarse pad get rinsed monthly with tank water.
The fine pad gets changed every other month and the coarse pad every four months.

I have used Purigen with this but didnt see any differences.
 

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ive never heard of charcoal in a filter im guessing you mean carbon.

i the 5 aquaclear hang on back filters i use sponge and bio rings.
wash out the sponge every few weeks but not the bio rings.

have a fluval 204 with just bio rings and sponges that come with it. had a sponge prefilter on it for shrimp so filter never gets to dirty and only needs cleaning once every few months.
 

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Lets see here...

2213 on a Mini-M (~5.5g)
Eheim polishing pads/Ehfisubstrat PRO
Clean every 3 months or so

XP3 on a 55g
Rena fine pads/Rena Course pads/Rena bio stars
Clean one a year maybe

XP1 on 37g
rena fine pads/Bioslab/rena course pads
Clean once every 2-3 months

2222 on same 37g
Eheim fine pad/eheim course pads/Ehfisubstrat PRO.

Havent cleaned in about 3 months not planning for another few either.

Maybe I missed the point of the question. I very rarely REPLACE any of my media. I finally replaced my finest pads from my XP3 after over 3 years of rinsing them off under the tap.
 

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I use seachem matrix, a purigen pouch and soon changing to bio-chem-zorb and white filter pad that gets replaced every few weeks when it turns brown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Activated carbon vs. charcoal.

Activated carbon vs. charcoal.

These are the same thing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activated_carbon

Although I've also read that activated carbon removes trace elements my experience and the Wiki article conclude that carbon is not effective in removing ionic compounds like K, PO4, NO3 and trace elements.

My plants also agree with that and I need to chop them back every 3-4 weeks.

I forgot this: I also have two (course???) Pre-filter pads in my Fluval 405 canister that I rinse out and bleach when I change the other filter elements.
 

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The carbon is capable of trapping a good amount of iron, zinc and other metals as well as any other compound that has a carbon molecule.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The carbon is capable of trapping a good amount of iron, zinc and other metals as well as any other compound that has a carbon molecule.
Can you give me a reliable link to this data as this doesn't agree with the wiki article nor my experience with using activated carbon. It is possible that wiki and I are wrong about this and I'd like to correct the article.
 

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One of the divisions where I work uses 55-gal drums of activated carbon on a waste water treatment system to 'filter out' metals such as zinc, copper, iron, etc. I will talk with the filter rep and see if he can point me to where we might find this on the internet.

Most people dont bother with carbon in their planted tanks as it is just not needed except to remove meds.
 

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in my XP's - coarse fliter sponges, then ceramic bio-media. I removed the 'polishing' pad because it would clog up in a couple weeks and virtually kill flow

in my Fluval 404's - 4 compartments of bio-media


I used to use filter floss/poly wool in my cannisters, but they would get clogged way too easily and end up just diminishing flow significantly. When I'd clean my filters, the floss would become the consistency of a wet cow-patty.
 

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In my XP3s - coarse sponges then bio max topped with polish pad. In the C-360 same configuration except I use the Bio balls. Rinse out about once-a-month.
 

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Most people dont bother with carbon in their planted tanks as it is just not needed except to remove meds.
In her book Diana Walstad also recommends it to help with algae problems. Moreover, she states, "Also, charcoal would remove any allelochemicals or toxins release by the algae that might be inhibiting the plants." That was in Chapter X. Algae Control... page 171 in the second edition.

Chapter XI. Practical Aquarium Setup and Maintenance has more information on charcoal filtration on page 184 of the same edition. It states, "Routine use of activated carbon may be detrimental, because it removes dissolved organic carbon (DOC) that provides CO2 for plants (see page 59). However, it can be useful in controlling algae (see pages 170 and 171) or removing the yellowish coloring (harmless tannins and humic acids) sometimes generated in new tanks."

The reference that she mentions is: Symons JM. Interim Treatment Guide for Controlling Organic Contaminants in Drinking Water Using Granular Activated Carbon. Water Supply Research Division (Cincinnati OH), p. 14

Because of her above information I am currently using charcoal in my new tank. I'm planning on removing it once the tank has settled down a bit. The intake on my Aquaclear HOB has a sponge covering it to prevent the shrimpies from being sucked in. The sponge within the HOB was replaced with filter floss. I'm planning on transferring the filter floss to a new tank to help with cycling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
In her book Diana Walstad also recommends it to help with algae problems. Moreover, she states, "Also, charcoal would remove any allelochemicals or toxins release by the algae that might be inhibiting the plants." That was in Chapter X. Algae Control... page 171 in the second edition.

Chapter XI. Practical Aquarium Setup and Maintenance has more information on charcoal filtration on page 184 of the same edition. It states, "Routine use of activated carbon may be detrimental, because it removes dissolved organic carbon (DOC) that provides CO2 for plants (see page 59). However, it can be useful in controlling algae (see pages 170 and 171) or removing the yellowish coloring (harmless tannins and humic acids) sometimes generated in new tanks."

The reference that she mentions is: Symons JM. Interim Treatment Guide for Controlling Organic Contaminants in Drinking Water Using Granular Activated Carbon. Water Supply Research Division (Cincinnati OH), p. 14

Because of her above information I am currently using charcoal in my new tank. I'm planning on removing it once the tank has settled down a bit. The intake on my Aquaclear HOB has a sponge covering it to prevent the shrimpies from being sucked in. The sponge within the HOB was replaced with filter floss. I'm planning on transferring the filter floss to a new tank to help with cycling.
Now that's the kind of solid information I like to see! You may not be 100% sure it is correct but since there are references, anyone can follow them up to check it out.

BTW Even dead charcoal is a great bio filter because it has a very large surface area where bacteria can live.
 
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