NANFA-L-- Functional "life" of Carbon (was "Fish Kill")

Hoover, Jan J ERDC-EL-MS (
Mon, 16 May 2005 10:46:01 -0500

>>> Personally, I use sponges and bio balls. They build a bed of bacteria
will break down the ammonia/nitrites. Carbon begins to lose it's
effectiveness as soon as it is put in the water. I have heard it is quite
inefficient in as little as 3 days.<<<

I remember as a kid reading an article on carbon in one of the aquarium
magazines. The author referenced several experts with opinions on the
lifespan of carbon that ranged from very short (hours or days) to indefinite
(it never wears out).

Its probably not possible to provide precise rules for carbon filter "life"
based on time or water volume filtered. Brands of carbon will have different
filtering capabilities (based on hardness, porosity, etc.) and aquaria will
have different waste loads (based on number and biomass of fish, diet,
feeding schedule).

"Ballpark" estimates, though, should be available from aquaculture studies.
I have never seen any experimental studies documenting the functional life of
carbon, however.
Has anyone here ?

- Jan Hoover
Vicksburg, MS

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