OK this may be a stupid queston but what does carbon remove from the water? I am still using carbon and I also use a protein skimmer. I don't see any of you saying anything about running carbon. Just wondering
i run carbon on occasion. i use it to clean up any free floating toxins in the water. carbon is a great chemical sponge. once it grabs a hold of something it will not let go of it. once it is full, it is done. but will not leach it back out into the tank.
hopefully one of the chemsters will chime in here.
It will also "polish" (clearify the color of the water) the water by removing "colors" such as pigment leached out by algaes. It will remove odors and it is great for removing toxins, such as those created by corals for chemical warfare.
The only thing to watch out for is that some of the cheaper ones can leach either Nitrates or phosphates (can't remember which one at the moment... ) back into the water column. This can be tested by placing some of your carbon into a container of RO/DI water, let it sit for a few days and then test the water.
to add to the question, i read that running carbon constantly could be bad in that it also removes beneficial things from the water and thus could contribute to head and lateral line erosion. I think I read this in aquarium fish magazine, but dont hold me to that. it recommended that you only run carbon occasionally. does anyone else have any opinions or info on this?
Actually carbon can reach a no more point and start to leach stuff back in the water, not to mention when used too long it becomes a nitrifying surface'FWIW i have always had good results from Black Diamond brand carbon
Or you could just do a water change
Nor skimmer nor water changes can remove nasty stuff which discolored the water and represent potentional danger for aquarium inhabitants or aquarium itself,only quality activated carbon can do that(used in proper way).
Activated carbon dont remove trace elements or iodine nor he can cause hlle or similar disease in fishes.He is also prefect place for both nitrification or denitrification if he is used properly,particulary hydrocarbon 2 gac is good for that and that is the way how Peter Wilkens filtering his 20-25 years old aquarium.
Bluereef brings up a good point, carbon is good for removing certain chemicals and such, it shouldn't affect trace elements.(actually in the nearly 30 yrs I have done marine tanks I have yet to see the definitive list of needed trace elements and how much.) As far a HLLE anything that removes irratating chemicals will prolly help. AC removes alot of the dyes, and other chemicals that corals use dfensivly as well as contaminents that maybe introduced accidently.
Skimmers tend to remove more organics that will bond to the bubbles, and water changes , if done to remove either chemical or ganics buildup, requires a nearly complete change in order to work well. It does replace some lost elements and dilute the others if done on a schedule. If one has the ability to pump in Seawater(uncontaminated) then of course it will acomplish all the outlined goals. In a closed system however I feel that an intellegently approach using combinations of methods should yield acceptable results. There is no magik pill or potient that will guarentee a perfect reef, its always a compromise based on the best info you can get regarding the setup you choose to go with