Use of charcoal in Discus tanks

Discussion in 'Technical' started by ADW, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. ADW

    ADW

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    Morning Prof. hope u are well

    Reading many articles about setting up a proper discus tank and envoirement, I came upon a article that say that they recommend NOT to use any carbon(Charcoal) in filters, because it hold back harmfull elements that can be release and will effect the fish
    IS this a true or false statement ? what is your recommendation regarding this.

    Many thanks for all your comments we all learn a lot from it.

    Regards
    ADW
     
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  3. Nirv

    Nirv Trachelyopterus

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    I hope you don't mind if I answer, but from my experience and knowledge of charcoal I can give some pointers.

    First, carbon is only active for a few weeks at best. I haven't experienced re-release of substances into the water but many sources claim that it can happen.

    Second, in a Discus tank you want blackwater conditions. Thus you should have tannins present in your water, for the best conditions for your Discus; unfortunately tannins are removed by carbon.

    Third, some trace elements that are healthy and required by your fish may be removed by carbon. i'm not sure of this statement however.

    The main use of carbon is for short periods of time to remove medication (which it is very effective at doing). I would recommend frequent partial water changes, preferably with clean rainwater or RO (not often a possibility) but maintaining a mature aquarium that naturally keeps itself soft and acidic through usage of peat in your filtration system, driftwood etc.
     
  4. JesseG

    JesseG

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    I've read that quite a few people do large water changes and the discus fish thrive in this...how true is this? by large i mean 50%-60%...

    also, just recently we had an argument about whether charcoal/carbon release back into the water, I've read in a quite a lot of articles that it does and in others that it doesn't! Further clarity on this would be highly appreciated...
     
  5. George

    George

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    Most breeders do 100% water change per day for discus (these are relatively small tanks with a large number of fish) Obviously for home aquarium purposes a nice 50% water change per week will do nicely taking into account that you have adequate filtration etc.
     
  6. Linxie

    Linxie

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    Isn't a 100% water change harmful? Wouldn't it go through the nitrogen cycle again?

    Or does the filter media have a bigger impact than we think?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  7. George

    George

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    by doing 100% water changes everyday almost eliminates the need for any kind of filtration, these tanks will usually run on 1 or 2 small sponge filters.
     
  8. Nirv

    Nirv Trachelyopterus

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    If the tap water isn't too hard or alkaline thats probably an okay practice (though the costs of chlorine removers might get a bit much for the average fishkeeper), and the nitrogen cycle would be more affected if you were to clean the filter media too often rather than change the water too often.
     
  9. George

    George

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    I am also not 100% sure of what you mean exactly ? Filter media impact ? the bacteria doent live in the water colomn.
     
  10. Gareth

    Gareth Angel Freak

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    this might be as stupid Question but how do you do a 100% water change other than removing the fish every day and them putting them back..... why I ask is if this is the case then the fish would be stress out all the time and they would not bread at all?
    Or am I wrong here?
     
  11. Nirv

    Nirv Trachelyopterus

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    I wouldn't recommend it for that reason but I can see how it would work practically. I say do weekly 25-50% water changes, with a good filtration system and things should work well.
     
  12. George

    George

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    ok might be a bit miss leading, obviously you leave just enough water for the discus to stay submerged (they will be laying flat on their sides). Some of the "discus farms" also do like 2 x 50% water changes a day, but thats beside the point, point is they use huge amount of water changes to ensure perfect water quality. Aslo this is for the grow out tanks, dont believe the breeding pairs get such a huge amount of water changes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  13. Zoom

    Zoom Retired Moderator

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    I think the question of this thread was about using charcoal in a discus tank? (not how much water to be changed per week on a discus set up)

    I also believe we should leave this thread now until Prof Dirk can answer... and I think he will also enlighten us all on water changes for discus... as he is a very successful breader of discus!
     
  14. adrain

    adrain

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    Hi all,

    I think they do not change a huge amount at any one time or for that matter lower the tanks level, but rather add fresh water at a rate so that they add the tanks amount in 24 hours . the overflow then gets discarded. with other words the tanks volume gets replaced slowly over 24 hours.

    greetings
    Riaan
     
  15. George

    George

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    Could not be more wrong. If you do it like that you will still have nitates in the water as you will simply be diluting.

    And not using Carbon with discus is just another MYTH (which include that activated carbon causes HTH).

    Zoom, please guy, this is all usefull info ? is this your first time on a forum?
     
  16. Zoom

    Zoom Retired Moderator

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    Sometimes arguing with a "know-it-all" is not worth the headache, or the pain.

    I will leave the thread for the Prof to answer. The section of the forum is dedicated to asking questions to the Professor..
    Generally speaking these questions are quite involved, and more difficult questions where the answers are not commonly known. So you EXPECT to find professional answers in this section, and not some noob's opinion.

    I think the Porfessor is going to shock ALL of you when he returns to answer this thread. I would also believe he will moderate this thread... seeing though the other moderators are doing nothing.
     
  17. George

    George

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    You are right (for once), these kind of posts should be moderated. I did not see a rule that other members cant give their opinions in the "ask the Professor" threads, if i missed it i do apologise.
     
  18. Henk Hugo

    Henk Hugo

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    George feel free to open another thread wrt these questions - please note that questions posted in this section is for the prof.
     
  19. Dirk

    Dirk Dwarf Catfish

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    Hi Guys,

    I am back and I have read this comments on this thread with some smiles at the lack of experience.

    George, your statement that "most breeders do 100% water changes" is simply incorrect. In areas of the world where good soft water of the correct water parameters and temperature runs out of the tap you can do this, but this actually only applies to Penang and Singapore and there are many other places where discus are bred in the world and there this practice is not used. If you have good filtration, as Nirv and others have indicated this is not necessary and it would be far too expensive to do this in places where you need to heat your water or where your tap water conditions are so poor that you need to use RO to soften it. Many breeders in Germany and the USA have to prepare there water at great cost and then doing 100% water changes every day is out of the question.

    For breeding discus, you do require low concentrations of nitrates but certainly not 0%. You can also use anearobic filters to reduce nitrates, I use these very successfully and I only do about 5-10% water change per day. I have been breeding discus successfully since 1988, so I think I have a good reason for saying this.

    And then on the carbon issue, I never use activated charcoal, because you use this to remove medications and there is no benefit in using this on an ongoing basis. The activated charcoal quality sold in most LFS is of such a low quality that it is saturated in a normal aquarium in a few days in any case, so I am sorry to say, but it is a myth that activated charcoal is necessary.

    And finally, on my forum, George, I welcome different points of view and open discussions, we have had many constructive discussions, but making aggravated statements here is out of place. If you make the sort of statements such as you have, I may just moderate you away completely.

    I actually think that an apology from your side towards the other members who took part in this thread in my absence may be appropriate.

    Kind regards,

    Dirk
     

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