The Role of Activated Carbon in the Reef Aquarium

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  1. Avatar Paul Baldassano says:

    I stopped using carbon a couple of years ago as I decided that it “may” remove some things I want as well as things I don’t want. My thinking is that older tanks are much more healthier than new tanks with all new water and supposedly all the trace elements and minerals in the correct proportion.
    My theory is that algae, bacteria and maybe corals exude something in the water that may actually make it healthier which “may” be removed by carbon. Over years these substances build up in the water to actually make it better. In my very old tank there are never any diseases and almost all the fish are spawning. I do very little to the tank but everything thrives allowing some of the fish to approach 20 years old. I am not sure if carbon will remove any of this as it is just a theory but after removing carbon, I noticed no ill effects.
    One more thing, the latest research seems to say that carbon causes HLLE disease although I don’t believe that quite yet.

    1. Avatar Chris Aldrich says:

      I personally don’t run carbon on either of my systems. I have before, though, but I can’t say I stopped for any reason other than maybe a slight influence of the HLLE research. Even then, it was more because I ran out and didn’t buy more…haha!

      Thanks for bringing up that research, by the way. One of our other contributors, Jay Hemdal, has done a good bit of HLLE research here locally at The Toledo Zoo. From what I recall in our discussions when he was showing me the test systems, the risk of activated carbon causing HLLE was actually mitigated when used in an aquarium with a properly functioning skimmer. This reminds me, I need to have Jay put together an article regarding this topic for the site.

      1. Avatar Matt Bowers (Muttley000) says:

        I hope you can get Jay to expand. I first corresponded with Jay and became familiar with who he was in the middle of a heated discussion on a very large reef forum regarding this topic. I would greatly enjoy hearing his conclusion uncensored!

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