Some info about AC

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by lanzo, 27 May 2008.

  1. lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

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    ACTIVATED CARBON...probably one of the best weapons of chemical filtration and possibly one of the least understood. There are several different materials used to make activated carbon (AC). Probably the most common is bituminous coal. Lignite and coconut shells are also used. The base product is heated to about 900 deg F. This first heating is done with no air. This results in the material being charred. Then, it is heated a second time with air to a temp of about 1600 deg F. The remaining hydrocarbons are removed with this step and lots of tiny passages and holes are left in the carbon. It is now "activated".

    The carbon is much like a sponge...large holes on the outside lead into smaller and smaller passages on the inside. Basically, through a process called adsorption, molecules enter the large holes and are eventually trapped as the passages get too small for them to travel any further. Single molecules can enter through the smaller pores while the larger pores allow complex molecules to enter.
    A few examples of the stuff that the carbon will remove ...iodine, phenols (yellow water), amino acids, copper, chromium, iron, mercury, chlorine, chloramine, hydrogen sulfide, sulfa, and antibiotics.
    AC can't remove ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

    How do you tell whether you're getting good carbon?

    First, make sure the container says "Activated Carbon". Some of the cheaper carbon may be plain anthracite coal. A dull black color is preferable to a shiny appearance. The dull color indicates a higher porosity. A rounded particle will enhance water flow and therefore is preferable to a flat sided particle. Another indication that you have a good grade of carbon is, when submerged in water, it gives a hissing sound as the cavities fill with water. It should also float at first...sinking slowly.
    Secondly, look for labeling that states that the carbon is "phosphate free".

    The most effective use of carbon in the aquarium is to have it in a bag in a place where it receives a constant slow flow of water, or place AC in reactor with a small powerhead. Blasting the carbon with the stream from a high powered pump can wash the contaminants right out of the carbon.


    How long will it last?

    Impossible to accurately predict. A good system to start with is to have two bags of carbon in the system and change one every3-4 weeks and better to change it more often because the carbon, upon reaching saturation, can begin to leach the compounds back into the water. It's especially important to change the carbon quickly if you've used it to remove antibiotics or other medications from the water.
    If you see that water is turning a yellowish color, then it is time to have replaced it.
     
    jacquesb and viper357 like this.
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  3. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    GREAT Info Lanzo - thanks!
     
  4. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    thanks for the info Lanzo - really helpful stuff.
     
  5. lanzo

    lanzo Thread Starter Sponsor

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    pleasure:thumbup:
     
  6. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    you saving me alot of time - now i dont have to research it myself :)
    you must be on study leave
     
  7. lanzo

    lanzo Thread Starter Sponsor

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    yip,i must study accounting but, i'll rather study marines:yeahdude:
     
  8. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    good stuff Lanzo :)
     
  9. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    oh yeah and i dig your avatar ;)
     
  10. lanzo

    lanzo Thread Starter Sponsor

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    hehe sweet,thanks mekaeel,keeping it real!:thumbup:
     
  11. lanzo

    lanzo Thread Starter Sponsor

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    refreshing thread for newbies;)
     
  12. Jaak

    Jaak

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    Nice one Lanzo, first time i've seen this thread!
     
  13. Tony

    Tony

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    Thanks Lanzo
     
  14. Kavir

    Kavir

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    Really good read. Thanks lanzo

    Where would be the ideal place for AC? Before or after skimming?
     
  15. lIghty

    lIghty

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    I would say after skimmer, "cleaner" water.....
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  16. Travis1

    Travis1 (wilsontravy)

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    great read, thanks lanzo.
    i will be using an external skimmer, could i use the activated carbon on the oulet of the skimmer? would that be effective enough?
     
  17. RUAN

    RUAN

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    thanks for the info
     
  18. Andreas

    Andreas

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    Great read. Thanks Lanzo

    Mechanical filtration first, chemical last;)
     
  19. Kavir

    Kavir

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    Shot guys.now i must start singin a song. Mechanical 1st, chemical last,Mechanical 1st, chemical last. Memory's like a gold fish
     
  20. Andreas

    Andreas

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    :lol:and when you get to the chorus "and biological is in between:p
     
  21. lanzo

    lanzo Thread Starter Sponsor

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    :lol:

    yip carbon last chamber;)
     
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