Red Sea Reef-Spec carbon is a new high quality activated carbon that Red Sea believes is one of the best on the market. Red Sea is very particular about what products they label as Reef-Spec and they vetted many different sources of activated carbon to select one for their own catalog.
If you thought granular activated carbons were all the same, well think again. Many leading brands of activated carbon actually come in a range of granule sizes and one look at even bulk offerings of carbon reveals that they are not the same, either in price or in overall capacity to clear up our reef aquarium water.
How did Red Sea come to this conclusion about their Reef-Spec Carbon? A number of factors can be used when evaluating the performance and quality of activated carbon including product density, surface area, pore size, mesh size, ash level and leachable phosphate. These are very important metrics but what is even more important is the adsorption tests Red Sea performed on the Reef-Spec carbon.
They used actual laboratory testing to determine the adsorption potential of this particular source of activated carbon and compared it to what is widely available to aquarists. The Iodine number and Methylene Blue number are existing protocols for testing the adsorption capacity of a given substance, and in their testing the Red Sea Reef-Spec carbon outperformed ‘other leading brands’.
We tend to think of activated carbon in terms of their overall capacity to clean aquarium water. Not only does Red Sea Reef-Spec have a high capacity, it also adsorbs and removes compounds faster than many others tested, meaning that it will remove unwanted byproducts from reef aquarium water before they have a chance to break down.
Having high performance carbon is great for the discriminating reefer but mostly we want our activated carbon to be free from ash and phosphate. More importantly, we want to use a carbon that is free from heavy metal contaminants that have plagued cheap carbons in the past, ruining many reef tanks in the process. We have no doubt that Red Sea’s Reef-Spec carbon will meet these high expectations but we’ll have to see how the value of this high quality activated carbon compares to the high grade carbon we’re already using, dollar for dollar. [Red Sea]