View Full Version : How much carbon is TOO MUCH??

07-23-2008, 04:10 PM
I run a Emperor 400 filter on my 55gal Giant Blue Gourami tank. Im trying to use those refillable filter media containers that came with my Emperor. But seems every time I use them I get backflow around the intake tube. My only guess is i have too much carbon in the media baskets. But how much is too much/too little for a tank my size? (Yes, of course like a noob, i filled the slots with carbon and yes, i also added the filter batting as well)

Also, I do in fact run all 4 filter slots. 2 throw away cartridges and the 2 refillable cartridges. And my tank has been running now since 2005 so it's WELL cycled ;)

Anyone know much about this feel free to clue me in :) Thanks!

- Tanya

07-23-2008, 04:21 PM
Carbon isn't necessary in many situations.

But in situations where carbon can play a beneficial role, in my opinion the carbon provided in those cartridges isn't enough.

If I understand correctly, the additional media in the cartridges is slowing the outflow, causing the by-pass you're seeing. Depending on how much debris the pads are capturing that bypass might occur with or without carbon being a factor.

If carbon 'must' be used, remove one of the filter cartridges to allow placement of a small mesh media bag (which will be the sole placement of carbon; the role of the other cartridges will be solely biological and mechanical filtration). In the media bag you could use a quantity of carbon which would be more effective.

07-23-2008, 10:23 PM
I just recently cleaned out EVERYTHING in that filter because i thought maybe it was a sludge buildup .. but actually everything looked fine. I rinsed out the cartidges (all 4) of debris and whatnot.

And i still have backflow :( I can't figure it out. Everything's clean, nothings clogged, and i just took out some of the carbon from the baskets.

Now you say Carbon isn't always neccessary...WHEN is it and isn't it neccessary to use carbon??

I think my tank might be 1 or 2 fish over stocked if that says anything. No sickness and no death though so far..

07-23-2008, 11:00 PM
Carbon can be used for specific purposes such as removing toxins, medications, odors, dissolved organics, impurities, excess fish-generated hormones, etc, as well as to improve water clarity.

Some of these purposes can be attained via regular water changes alone, or identifying and resolving the situation which is creating the necessity for carbon use (which would render carbon unnecessary).

In other cases, though, carbon use may be required in conjuction with regular water changes (depending on the dynamics of the set up involved).

Carbon is so efficient in its impurity removal that it may be considered an indiscriminating impurity exporter (removing the harmful as well as the potentially beneficial such as trace elements and other compounds).

07-24-2008, 04:52 AM
Oh yeah, I should probably mention that im not using straight Carbon. It's actually Ammo-carb. (half white half black bits) if that makes any difference.

If carbon takes everything out of the water then whats the point of the white chips in this stuff? Only reason i bought was because it was on sale and the cheapest stuff on the shelf.

Thanks again.

Lady Hobbs
07-24-2008, 11:36 AM
The back is just too full of media. You may have to remove some of the fiber filling. Those carbon trays, IMO, are useless. Easier to fill a nylon stocking with carbon, if you wish to use it, or some bio-balls in a nylon and put it on top of the fiber filling. Those baskets take up too much room. Next time you get a filter, get an AC, if you are buying a HOTB. No media to buy and those filters never slow down. IMO, the Emporer has been the worse filter of the different ones I've had.

07-24-2008, 01:00 PM
Don't use ammonia absorbing medias. There are tons of nitrifying bacteria in the tank that are happy to do that for you for free. The only use I can think of for them is to put in bags or buckets for transporting fish. Other than that they are a waste of money.

Carbon does not take out everything. It does remove many beneficial things though. Almost all the bad things it deals with could be better dealth with using a proper water change schedule. There are few cases that actually NEED carbon use. The most common is removing medications after treatment.

There is a whole article on carbon in my blog that you may want to check out.

07-24-2008, 06:27 PM
Uhh .. im a noob so what's an "AC" and what's an "HOTB?" lol sorry.

So now i ask ... What should i do for filtering as im obviously going about this like a Noob in the dark here. Im trying to cut my costs down hence why i was trying to use the refillable baskets.

Can anyone guide me on filtering? Or is there a post on this already??

Thanks again.

07-24-2008, 09:25 PM
I made a sticky of filtration, I think it is in the Technical section. It may be in my blog too. Let me know if you can't find it.

ACs are AquaClears (a brand of filter) which are a hang on the back (HOTB) style filter. This refers to any filter that hangs on the back, which your Emperor does.

What are all the types of fish you have? How many? What size?
What is your water change schedule?
What is the nitrate concentration?