The purpose of an aquarium carbon & Online suppliers
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How activated carbon media work
For many years, carbon has been used as an agent to remove impurities from air and water. Activated carbon is one of the most effective absorbents currently used. Activated carbon is carbon which has a positive charge added to it, which makes it much more effective at absorbing impurities and chemicals. An activated carbon filter works by the law of attraction. When water passes over the positively charged carbon, the impurities in the water which have a negative charge will be locked into the activated carbon filter.
Usually activated carbon filters use either granular activated carbon or powdered block carbon. Both types of filters are effective, however the powdered block carbon filters do tend to remove more impurities than its counterpart. Activated carbon is the best carbon media to use, there are cheaper versions of carbon that are not activated, but this compound is not up to the job and not as efficient as the more expensive activated one.
The Use and Efficiency
The activated carbon is added to the filtration system to perform chemical filtration, some keepers use it all of the time, while other keepers only add this to their filters when removing medications from the water after a full treatment course, this is purely a matter of choice. It is up to you if you feel that you need to run carbon in the aquarium, often it can help to polish the water to a clear grade.
The efficiency of activated carbon filters are dependant on two factors. First, the amount of activated carbon which is contained in the filter and second, the amount of time the impurities stay in contact with the carbon. Of course the more carbon there is in the filter, the better it will do its job. Contact time of the impurities and the carbon can be affected by the flow rate of the water, thus slower running water is best. Activated carbon has to be placed in running water, it can only filter the water that passes over it, and it cannot reach the aquarium water indirectly. Foam filters are designed to perform mechanical and biological filtration, and they are not designed to perform chemical filtration.
The more carbon you have, the better your results will be. If you set your water to a lower flow rate, the carbon will have more time in contact with the water contaminants, enabling the carbon to absorb the contaminants much better.
When you purchase your activated carbon filter, keep in mind that they are rated based upon the average size of the particles they are able to remove, the most effective one being rated at 0.5 microns. The least effective activated carbon filter you can buy is rated at 50 microns.
Most counter top activated carbon filter systems contain between twelve and twenty-four ounces of actual carbon. There are three main carbon types that can be used for the purpose of water filtration: coconut shell, wood, and bituminous carbons. The most expensive of the three is the coconut shell carbon; however, it has been proven to be the best out of the three types.
Activated carbon in filtration chambers
Nowadays most of the modern filtration systems will allow you space to add the activated carbon to them; this is particularly true of the external filters, although some of the internal filters can also offer you this advantage, and this reduces the need to have two separate filters in the aquarium. It is possible to purchase the activated carbon in porous bags that are simply placed into the media baskets of the filter, if you are only running internal filters then you can add some activated carbon by placing the carbon in a small muslin bag and sandwiching this between the two sponges that the filter holds. If your filters contain no activated carbon, this simply means that there is no chemical filtration taking place when the filter is run.
The Purification process
Activated carbon is able to remove contaminants from your fish tank via two different methods, either through absorbing the contaminants, or through catalytic reduction, in which the negative ions contained in the contaminant are drawn to the positive ions that make up the carbon. Generally, organic particles can be removed via absorption, while chemical contaminants, such as chlorine, are removed by catalytic reduction. There is no such thing as too much carbon in the fish tank, the activated carbon will only remove the impurities present in the water column, it will not remove any thing else therefore if you feel happier adding extra carbon for piece of mind it will not affect your fish tank in any way.
Many home water purifying systems use activated carbon filtration. Activated carbon filtration helps to remove the chemical bad taste from your tap water, absorbs unpleasant odors, and takes out many of the chemicals used in the water treatment process, such as chlorine. It also helps to remove many organic water contaminants as well.
Activated carbon filters can also help remove many of the heavy metal compounds that are found in your tap water. Some more expensive activated carbon filters have been proven effective at removing some of the iron, hydrogen sulfide, and manganese that live in tap water. In no way they're dangerous or bad for inhabitants of a fish tank.
Activated carbon filters are not designed to carry out the same filtration as internal or external power filters, they are designed to filtrate the water with compounds that act as chemical filtration, because of this you cannot compare the filters as they are both in the aquarium for different reasons, each filter does its job in different ways.
There are some inorganic particles that cannot be absorbed by activated carbon filters, such as arsenic, asbestos, cadmium, chromium, copper, fluoride, thallium, and mercury. To remove these kinds of contaminants you have to have either a reverse osmosis filter system or a water distiller.
Adding a sediment filter can help make your activated carbon cartridge last much longer as it removes larger particles that can possibly cause a clog, limiting the effectiveness of your activated carbon. To remove large quantities of sediment, you should consider using a carbon block filter rather than an activated carbon filter.
Maintenance and Replacement
The good thing is that you don’t have to do very much maintenance for your activated carbon filter, other than make certain it gets replaced as needed. To prevent your water quality from being effected, make sure that you change the filter promptly as recommended by the manufacturer. The activated carbon will need replacing every 4-6 weeks, the carbon becomes saturated with the impurities that it has removed from the water column and will start to leach them back into the aquarium. Activated carbon will not affect the health of your fish; it is placed in the filter to benefit the fish and to aid in keeping the water quality high. The carbon will only affect your fish if it is old carbon that has not been replaced at regular intervals which is usually once a month.
Online suppliers of activated carbon for aquariums
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