Pros and Cons of Activated Carbon in Aquarium Filter:

Activated carbon is one of the most selling filter media. As new types of bio media are available in new filters, hobbyists are wondering if activated carbon is still useful. Some of them recommend a regular use of activated carbon in filters. Others suggest using it in time of need, & still, others do not recommend the use of activated carbon at all.

Benefits of Activated Carbon in Aquarium Filter
Benefits of Activated Carbon in Aquarium Filter

The benefits of activated carbon as filter media surpasses its cons, however, we recommended using activated carbon in case of emergency as it has a short life span.

Pros of Activated Carbon in Aquarium Filter:

Activated carbon is created from carbonaceous material, which is heat-treated at extremely high temperature to make numerous little holes, highly enhancing its surface area. These little pores & vast surface area let the activated carbon collect heaps of toxins, making it helpful for wiping out pollutants from both water & air.

Activated carbon is used for absorbing toxic chemicals including chlorine & chloramine, tannins, & phenols (that cause bad smells). It will save fish tank water from changing its colour to yellow.

Activated carbon will wipe out many medicines used for treating ill fish. Hence, before curing ill fish with medicine, it is important to remove all carbon from the aquarium filter. When treatment is completely finished, it is safe to put carbon back in the filter. The leftover medicine will be absorbed by the activated carbon.


Cons of Activated Carbon in Aquarium Filter:

Activated carbon loses its capacity of absorbing contaminants when used in filters, & need replacement after a certain period. Otherwise, it will offer a little benefit.

It is crucial to note that activated carbon cannot remove several crucial toxins. It can’t wipe out ammonia, nitrite & nitrate. Hence, it does not help in removing toxic chemicals during the initial fish tank setup. For removal of ammonia, nitrite & nitrate, water changes or bio media should be used.

Activated carbon cannot remove heavy metals including lead or copper. If the source of water contains heavy metals, it is recommended to treat water before adding it to the fish tank.

Over time the efficiency of activated carbon will be reduced quickly if it is exposed to heaps of dirt from the fish tank. Hence, it is important to add activated carbon after the mechanical filter media in the filter. It is important to note that if your aquarium water is dirty, & detritus builds up inside the filter, the effectiveness of carbon will be reduced.

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