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Using Carbon When Starting Up A Planted Tank?


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Hi all, I was watching this video from MD Fish Tanks, where he is learning from someone who studied under Takashi Amano.

Amano used a lot of carbon in his new tanks to absorb extra organics while the plants established themselves. Once the plants starting growing, he would remove the carbon and basically pack the filter with bio media, and use a water polishing pad as the only mechanical filtration.

I find this interesting, esp since I'll be starting up a new tank soon and have a some carbon lying around. 

It's around the 31:00 mark:


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While I’m not an aquascaper and don’t use active soils, I don’t really see a need for carbon. If something was in the tank and I wanted it out, then I would absolutely use it. Outside of that though, I don’t really see a use. 

Any idea what the “extra organics” are? I would assume it’s extra nutrients from the active soil, but again, that’s just my thought and not from my personal experience. 

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Here's a picture of water from a lightly planted, no wood, fairly heavily stocked tank (usually do about a 2/3 water change each week) without carbon:


With carbon, I'd expect it to look clear, like tap water.

I see the same result from heavily planted, heavily stocked and heavily planted, lightly stocked tanks.  If you want clear water, you need carbon (or something similar).

Edited by Galabar
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