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Running carbon

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  • Running carbon

    Hi all I have been considering picking up a carbon reactor to run on my tank once or twice a month. I was just curious what everyone runs if any? What are the down falls , do you run it all the time or just a few times a month ect.. And input is appreciated.

  • #2
    I have a hang on canister filter that I just run carbon in. I have a fair amount of soft corals in the tank, so I run it all the time. I change it out every couple months. I have, in the past, also used a 2 little fishies reactor. If the lps start not extending the way they usually are, it usually means its time to change the carbon, for me. So sometimes it is sooner than the normal 60 days.
    PEACE.....from Zeppelin


    • #3
      Mitch, There is significant research conducted by the Toledo Zoo (Jay Hemdal) indicating a link between the use of carbon and hole-in-the head disorder.
      I believe (but do not have credible evidence) that certain fish are more susceptible to the disorder. I think the fish that most experienced keepers would have come to mind is the tang fish group. But, I do not think that there is a limit to which fish can be affected.

      My advice is to use carbon judiciously, use as hard of a carbon pellet as you can find (The study suggests that the "dust" of broken pellets may be the cause).

      I believe Larry is spot on with his advice to use the health indicators of your creatures as indication of when to change the carbon out. And to keep the flow slow and smooth as it will reduce damage to the pellets in your reactor


      • #4
        I've run carbon, pretty much continuously from day 1, always will. Currently running it in a reactor after GFO in a separate reactor.

        That's interesting about the Tangs Dave , I've also always kept Tangs and never had one get HLLE. I do feed a lot always making sure my Tangs get their veggies. But then again never really tried to use the carbon to "polish" the water.

        I wonder what was the correlation between carbon use and feeding was. I would imagine that a lot of reefers who run carbon are doing so in an attempt to keep the water pristine which may include feeding less.


        • #5
          I put some in my filter sock a while back...big mistake...the sock got filled up and they spilled over into my sump, and then got shot back up into my tank...what a mess.

          Anyway, as a general matter, I've noticed it does increase water quality. That being said, I am not running any at the moment.


          • #6
            what about chemipure elite briney dave??


            • #7
              That is a very good question and one I can not answer as the research and interpretations are not mine. From conversations with Jay, I believe that he means the power coming off the carbon is the real problem. With that assumption: I would suggest that chemipure would not have the same problems. But please know this is nothing but straight speculation. I would guess that low flow through the reactor and hard carbon would be the safest combination but again its a guess.

              I do not doubt at all that carbon can be run in some situations but urge caution.


              • #8
                I would love to see info on the study at Toledo. I'll weigh in with an opinion based on 37 years of experience with Marine fish. I believe the causes are:
                1. Stray voltage / current in the system.
                2. Diet
                3. Sh@! Happens
                4. Maybe carbon
                How I formed my opinion:
                - Work in pet shop that specialized in marine fish for 8 years (during 70's & 80's).
                -- Carbon was not used in Salt Water tanks at that time
                -- Tanks were very steril - no live rock, dead coral was bleached frequently to kill algae. So there was not an abundance of live food in your tank.
                -- Many customers had tangs with this problem.
                -- Most of these customers had stray voltage (test with hand meter)
                - Serviced marine aquariums for 15 years
                -- always used ground probes
                -- never used carbon
                -- always fed tangs a good green flake and romaine lettuce
                - Managed the "Wet labs" at my college for several years
                -- had stray voltage when I arrived and fish with issues
                -- No new fish got HLLE after

                My 16 year old hippo tang passed away last year with no sign of HLLE

                Again, no scientific data to back up my observations. I participated in a decent amount of scientific phycology and ichthyology research while in school but never studied HLLE. I think it would make a great study.

                Just my 2 cents


                • #9
                  @As, so do you recommend ground probes? If so which one? Always wondered about them but never used one.

                  Thanks, Steve


                  • #10
                    Yes I do recommend:
                    I use these

                    Heaters, power heads, etc all eventually start to leak some juice into your system.

                    If big tank:
                    - 1 in sump
                    - 1 in Refugium
                    - 1 in Display
                    Last edited by AS; 11-04-2014, 09:06 PM. Reason: Clarity


                    • #11
                      If I remove the carbon reactor, will my tangs with HLLE symptoms get better? I noticed the lateral lines lightening on a couple and black spots on my hippo. Thanks in advance.