Activated Carbon and its use in the Aquarium

Activated Carbon is used in the aquarium to absorb odors and other substances in the water such as excess medication, tannins can color the water, phenols which can create odors in the water and other impurities. Activated Carbon filters the water by the process of adsorption and absorption.

Activated Carbon, however, does not remove ammonia, nitrites or nitrates. These have to be removed only by water changes.

Activated Carbon is produced by heating carbon to high temperatures and increasing its surface area.

Absorption is the process of absorbing the toxins mechanically such as a sponge. Adsorption refers to the formation of chemical bonds between the surface atoms and
the contaminants in the aquarium water. This makes Activated Carbon very effective as a purifier.

Activated Carbon can be used to remove excess medication in the water after the fish have recovered after a treatment schedule.

Almost all the effects of activated carbon can be done with periodic water changes in the aquarium. Hence, Activated carbon is not necessary. The use and
effectiveness of Activated Carbon is still debated within the among aquarium hobbyists. Some insist that Activated Carbon "polishes" the water by making it more

Activated Carbon is available at all pet stores. Activated Carbon needs to be replaced once a month. It loses its effectiveness after it absorbs to its full capacity.

Activated Carbon should be placed after a mechanical filter in the aquarium. If there is no filter before the activated carbon, the debris will clog the carbon
surface and make it ineffective.

Can Activated Carbon be reactivated

Activated Carbon cannot be reactivated at home. In Theory, activated carbon can be reactivated at high pressure and Temperature. However, these temperatures cannot be attained at home.

Hence, carbon which has been used should be replaced with new carbon, about once a month.