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View Full Version : Boomer, can you help with carbon question?



lynn53
12-06-2006, 10:32 PM
Hi Boomer, maybe you can shed some light this way concerning carbon and it's uses. I'm never sure if I should be adding activated carbon to my tank or not. If so, how much? For the first time last week I bought some kent's activated carbon and put some in a nylon stocking in my sump in front of the out/drain lines. It said on the carbon instructions to use for 3 days every month? Why can't I just leave it in and just change it every month or so? Appreciate your help
thanks

Krish
12-07-2006, 08:48 AM
It is fine to run your carbon 24/7. Alot of people do it...Myself included and then there are some that only run it for a few hours/days a month etc. but it's what works best for you. The only problem with running it for a month at a time before changing it is if it becomes exhausted a week or 2 in, it won't absorb anything out your water anymore until you change it out so it won't really be serving any purpose, other than a place for detritus to possibly take up residence and degrade water quality. The main purpose of carbon though is to absorb some of the nasties in the water like urine etc, but just keep in mind that if you are using some medications in your water, it will absorb it as well. Just a few thoughts till Boomer chimes in:)

lynn53
12-07-2006, 11:04 AM
thanks, I guess that must be the reason that the instructions say to use for 3 days and then remove. I suppose if a person had to really remove something...then it would be best to change it every three days.
cheers

Boomer
12-07-2006, 11:58 AM
24/7 ( Randy also does the same) and NOT that Kent crap ;) Get some Black Diamond, TLF Hydrocarbon or SeaChem Matrix. What Krish said about it getting exhausted is correct. However, the life can be extended. Once a week take out the carbon, in its mesh bag and tumble the carbon in the bad with your fingers, squeezing as you do this. This will rinse out allot of the crap ands expose new surface area. Doing this the carbon can still be used for 2 months. How much one uses is a choice. I use to use lots but that is me. I would go with al least 1 cup / 50 net gals of water. Me, I use to go with like 4 cups

dnjan
12-07-2006, 12:56 PM
I have read that one minor problem with keeping the same bag of carbon in for a long time is that the carbon, as a porous media, can develop a population of de-nitrifying bacteria. That in itself isn't bad. However, when you take it out, you could cause a significant (short-term) reduction in the de-nitrifying bacteria in your tank.

Boomer - comments?

Herefishyfishy
12-07-2006, 01:15 PM
Many Many years ago (1970-80s), we used to bake the carbon to "re-activate" it.
Was that pure hogwash or did it help anything?

DonW
12-07-2006, 02:00 PM
I have read that one minor problem with keeping the same bag of carbon in for a long time is that the carbon, as a porous media, can develop a population of de-nitrifying bacteria. That in itself isn't bad. However, when you take it out, you could cause a significant (short-term) reduction in the de-nitrifying bacteria in your tank.

Boomer - comments?

I cant see a problem like this with the small amounts we use.

Don

DonW
12-07-2006, 02:13 PM
Many Many years ago (1970-80s), we used to bake the carbon to "re-activate" it.
Was that pure hogwash or did it help anything?

I think you had to get it between 1000 and 1500 and that did part of the job and steam did the rest.
Cant remember the whole process, but the kitchen oven thing didnt do much.

Don

Boomer
12-07-2006, 02:20 PM
Don

You are correct but that is minor and will have little impact as Don has pointed out.

Here

Yes, that is true, hogwash. The baking will only drive off some of the VOC and cook some of the DOC. Same reason of cooking stuff like phosphate sponges. That does not mean by a long shoot it is reactivated but you could get a wee-tad more life out of it. The oven temp is nowhere near high enough in temp and where is the water needed to steam activate it, as that is how it is done.

However, we had a guy do some microwave tests, as there are methods in the carbon industry where they now microwave GAC to reactivated it. In home microwave you get it about 50 % reactivation. However, the GAC must be soaked and rinsed in RO/DI water first to remove any salt. During the MV you may need to stop it from time to time to add some water. Tests were based on MV 5 ml / 1 teaspoon of very wet GAC @ 20 min total time duration with a 850W MW, then soak for 30 min in cold RO/DI water. Fresh GAC will remove a dye test in 2 min, old GAC 7 min and MV GAC 3 min.

oliver
12-07-2006, 02:25 PM
Could someone please explain the issues with kent carbon.:confused:

Herefishyfishy
12-07-2006, 02:25 PM
Nuking it with the wave sounds like it would be almost worth the electricity, but no way worth the time. Thanks guys, will continue doing what I have been: enriching my garden's soil with it.

What's the cheapest sourse for medium quantity of high quality carbon, as in 10 pounds or so?

Boomer
12-07-2006, 02:31 PM
Don that 1,000 is 1,000C = 1,800 F

This takes place once the new material has already gone through carbonization at 550C.


Steam Activation
C + H2O => CO + H2

C + CO2 => 2 CO

DonW
12-07-2006, 02:32 PM
Could someone please explain the issues with kent carbon.:confused:

Phosphates are my complaint. But I think I read somewhere that the kent stuff is the type used to filter air and not water but dont know if that is accurate.

Don

Boomer
12-07-2006, 02:34 PM
Kent carbon is a VPC (Vapor Phase Carbon) and we like to or want to use LPC (Liquid Phase Carbon). It is fine to use it, it is just not very good GAC. This proves my piont. The worst on the list

http://web.archive.org/web/20010628182425/www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1998/may/art0501/f1fig1lg.jpg

DonW
12-07-2006, 02:36 PM
Don that 1,000 is 1,000C = 1,800 F

This takes place once the new material has already gone through carbonization at 550C.


Steam Activation
C + H2O => CO + H2

C + CO2 => 2 CO

You just made some usefull info overflow out of my little brain. :D

Don

dnjan
12-07-2006, 02:37 PM
I cant see a problem like this with the small amounts we use.

Don

I was thinking about the amount of surface area in the pores of even just a cup or two of carbon, as compared to the surface available for bacteria in a tank, especially BB. Would probably at least be on the same order of magnitude a a bunch of those plastic bioballs, and people using them are often advised to remove them gradually ...

TexasTodd
12-11-2006, 07:41 PM
Hey Boomer, I have two questions from the plot graph.

1. Who makes the "super activated" is this the API Black Magic Super Activated, or, something else?

2. What is Calgon and where can you get it?!

Any issues with PO4 on either of these brands...or is it ever really an issue with any?

Thanks,

Todd

Damsel13
12-11-2006, 08:19 PM
Yea, me too. What he said :)

Thanks,
Debbie



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Boomer
12-12-2006, 01:45 AM
Tod

1. Yes

2. Calgon is not the name of a carbon but a company that makes carbon and a gia-zilion other chemicals. Think Dupont. Calgon is like saying buy a GMC or a Dupont.

Almost all Bitum GAC is Calgon but they do have some Liginte. Almost all Lignite GAC is American Norit but they do have some Bitum.

Where can you get it is not that easy.

First, which one of the many Calgon GAC's is it. The number of GAC typies they make will fill a book ;) You are lucky it is Lignite or it would take you a year to figure out which one :) You will not be able to buy it direct, so you are stuck with a supplier. Second, will they sell you a small amount. These guys sell it by the truck load or 55 gal drums or 25 lb bags or so.

This is Calgon's GAC page

http://www.calgoncarbon.com/

And the Liginte comes form Barnebey Sutcliffe. Their new website sucks, as 75 % of the GAC types they make are not even there. Barnebey Sutcliffe specializes in Lignite, Wood and Coconut GAC. You will have to e-mail or call them to see which one it "might" be :lol:



Never seen any PO4 issues to worry about. Make sure you rinse well all GAC.

TexasTodd
12-12-2006, 07:58 AM
Thanks Boomer. I'll stick with the API then, especially since it's on sale at Dr.'s Foster and Smith right now!

:)

Todd