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Adding Trace Elements in community tank...necessary?
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Scrapper_511
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Joined: 09 Jul 2003

PostPosted: 2003.08.12(Tue)16:56    Post subject: Adding Trace Elements in community tank...necessary? Reply with quote

While organizing my aquarium stand cabinet I found a bottle of Kent's Essential Trace Elements. I was wondering if I actually need to use this stuff on my 60G community freshwater tank. It houses mostly Gouramis and lots of Tetras and I use a Magnum 350 with Marineland Black Diamond activated carbon.
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Type-R
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Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Location: East Yorkshire, UK

PostPosted: 2003.08.12(Tue)17:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scrapper,

The fact that you use activated carbon in your filter means that the trace elements in the tank will be removed anyway (despite what some makers say). So adding the trace elements will be pointless. Only my opinion but I wouldn't use the activated carbon all the time. As long as your water stays clear I would leave it out, only use it for a few days if the water starts to yellow. If you did this you could add the trace elements but to be truthful I am fairly doubtful that it will make any appreciable difference.
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Scrapper_511
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Joined: 09 Jul 2003

PostPosted: 2003.08.12(Tue)18:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent point, Type-R. But why do you say I shouldn't use activated carbon all the time? Is it bad to do so???


********************************************************
Copy added from another post by the same author while consolidating threads:

I have a Magnum 350 canister filter with which I use Marineland activated carbon full-time. It has been brought to my attention (at another thread) that using carbon full-time is not such a good idea or not necessary. I suppose I can replace the carbon/container with a Micron cartridge but consequently I am afraid ammonia and nitrite levels will develop quicker and become unmanageable without the chemical filtration. Any takers?

In addition to the Magnum 350, I have a Bio-Wheel 60 connected to it and Penn Plax Undertow UG Filter. The tank is a 60G FW community with mostly Gouramis and lots of Tetras.

Thanks in advance...
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William
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: 2003.08.13(Wed)1:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scrapper,

Using activated carbon isn't a bad thing and can be a good thing when use properly. I like to think of it as tool in the aquarist's toolbox. Before pulling a tool out of your box you need to understand how it is going to help with the project, fish tanks. So let's look at the tool.

Activated carbon is a chemical media that indiscriminately removes elements from the water, good and bad. Knowing that we are removing both good and bad elements from the water chemistry let's consider when to use the media.

Daily, probably not a good idea leave it in your toolbox, for a few reasons:

Your concern about ammonia/nitrate is a good and you need to test the water regularly to make sure the levels aren't a problem. Blindly using AC to think everything is going to be okay isn't the answer. If you do have ammonia/nitrite issues you need to pinpoint the source of the problem and fix it.

If you plan on adding the Kent Trace Elements most will be absorbed by the AC.

Over time it becomes an expensive media and has to be replaced every few weeks.

When to pull AC out of your tool box and use it, I can think of a couple:

When you want to remove medications from a treated tank.

When you really want your tank to look pristine. In a well maintained tank, AC run in the filter for a FEW days produces crystal-clear results.

As for replacing the Magnum 350 carbon media basket with the micron filter, long term that's not a good idea. The micron filter is designed to clarify the water or with diatom powder clean up green water. I can't comment on the latter function, I haven't had a green water bloom yet; however, in the former use I have tried it and it works well. I'm still not sold that it is better then AC for crystal-clear water.... Time will tell. If it was me, I would get hollow ceramic media to fill the bottom 1/2 to 2/3 of the carbon basket and top off the remaining area with polyester fiberfill.

Why do I suggest the ceramic media over A/C, while a bit more expensive at first, it offers a large surface area for the bacteria that break down the ammonia/nitrate you are concerned about. The fiberfill will catch any fine particles that manage to pass through the basket sleeve and/or ceramics.

This isn't a definition on filtration, or using the 350, just a nudge in the right direction.

Best regards,

William

Scrapper_511 wrote:
Excellent point, Type-R. But why do you say I shouldn't use activated carbon all the time? Is it bad to do so???


********************************************************
Copy added from another post by the same author while consolidating threads:

I have a Magnum 350 canister filter with which I use Marineland activated carbon full-time. It has been brought to my attention (at another thread) that using carbon full-time is not such a good idea or not necessary. I suppose I can replace the carbon/container with a Micron cartridge but consequently I am afraid ammonia and nitrite levels will develop quicker and become unmanageable without the chemical filtration. Any takers?

In addition to the Magnum 350, I have a Bio-Wheel 60 connected to it and Penn Plax Undertow UG Filter. The tank is a 60G FW community with mostly Gouramis and lots of Tetras.

Thanks in advance...

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Irons
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Joined: 27 Feb 2003
Location: Buffalo, NY

PostPosted: 2003.08.13(Wed)14:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't use the mirco filter unless your trying to polish your water. I had mine become clogged in a nearly empty tank in 3 days. If your going to show off your tank you may want to throw that micron filter in about an hour before anyone gets there. Don't forget to clean it when your done. If you run a search here I believe there is a post talking about how to do that.
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Scrapper_511
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Joined: 09 Jul 2003

PostPosted: 2003.08.13(Wed)15:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

William, thank you so much for your very insightful reply. I really had no idea that using AC on a daily basis was out of the norm! As for using the Micron cartridge, you are right; It's meant to be used during medication or with diatom powder for water "polishing". Anyhow, from my experience, as Iron pointed out too, the cartridge clogs up very, very quickly. Cleaning them requires soaking them in bleach and I've ruined clothes from being splashed in the process. Needless to say, I am not about to clean/replace this cartridge every three days and so I must look into other substitute filter media.

I remember an incident where I did not fill the carbon container with enough carbon and when I turned on the filter water started to spurt from the canister! I assumed that because the carbon container was not packed sufficiently there resulted a lack of back-pressure where the canister was taking in water faster than it was able to spit it out. I am afraid that an equal result will occur if I use the hollow ceramic media (or any other such media at that). Any takers?

Thanks again, please keep it comin'...
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Irons
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Location: Buffalo, NY

PostPosted: 2003.08.13(Wed)19:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are running the Magnum, you can leave the hopper empty. The only time I had my spurt is when the top ring wasn't set right or the 2 of the clips were off. I put some AC in my 75 for a few days, only about 1 cup or so. Other than that it stays empty.
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Steve Hampton
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: 2003.08.13(Wed)19:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scrapper_511 wrote:
I assumed that because the carbon container was not packed sufficiently there resulted a lack of back-pressure where the canister was taking in water faster than it was able to spit it out. I am afraid that an equal result will occur if I use the hollow ceramic media (or any other such media at that). Any takers?

Thanks again, please keep it comin'...


I have three Magnum 350's and one is run with the media basket half filled with Fluval Ceramic Bio-Max rings, topped with poly-fil. I've run Magnums for several years in just about every combination imaginable. Personally I prefer Seachem Purigen to AC, with Purigen you know when it's "full", unlike AC where you have to guess. I'm finding Purigen is better at "water polishing" than the Micron filter. Note that Purigen does remove nitrate so that planted tanks need to have frequent doses of nitrate to avoid nitrogen deficiencies.
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William
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PostPosted: 2003.08.13(Wed)23:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scrapper,

Scrapper_511 wrote:
William, thank you so much for your very insightful reply.


You are most welcome!

Scrapper_511 wrote:
I really had no idea that using AC on a daily basis was out of the norm!


In a prior fish keeping life (many moons ago) neither did I. Back then the norm was to buy activated carbon in bulk and change it out every two weeks or so. How the times and the understanding of aquarium chemistry has changed. Hang around this board and you will learn volumes from people much smarter than me.

Scrapper_511 wrote:
Anyhow, from my experience, as Iron pointed out too, the cartridge clogs up very, very quickly. Cleaning them requires soaking them in bleach and I've ruined clothes from being splashed in the process. Needless to say, I am not about to clean/replace this cartridge every three days and so I must look into other substitute filter media.


Sorry if my post confused you. I never meant to suggest using the micron cartridge for day-to-day filtration. It's purpose is to polish water. When used in conjunction with diatom powder it's purpose is to clean up green water or Ich. Yes it does clog up but if you soak it in 3/1 water-to-bleach solution for a day or two, then soak it in water with a dechlorinater for a day or two, and then dry it in the sun, presto you have a Micron filter good as new (thanks Steve!). I am curious what part of my post suggested you should employ the Micron filter on a regular basis. I only ask so I can better explain the topic when it arises again.


Scrapper_511 wrote:
I remember an incident where I did not fill the carbon container with enough carbon and when I turned on the filter water started to spurt from the canister! I assumed that because the carbon container was not packed sufficiently there resulted a lack of back-pressure where the canister was taking in water faster than it was able to spit it out. I am afraid that an equal result will occur if I use the hollow ceramic media (or any other such media at that). Any takers?


No, your water spurting problem wasn't caused by a lack of media in the carbon basket. I can only guess that the o-ring at the top of the canister was misaligned or not in place.

Get yourself some ceramic media, some poly fiberfill and the most out of your filter.

Best regards,

William
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Scrapper_511
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PostPosted: 2003.08.14(Thu)14:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

William, your replies were clear and my comment regarding the micron cartridge was not referring to it in such a way. I was merely throwing in a bit of personal experience. Sorry for the confusion. Thanks again.

Oh, so are we doing away with chemical filtration altogether then??? Wow, this is really news to me!
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