How Often Should You Change Carbon Filter in Fish Tank?

Do you have a carbon filter in your fish tank? Changing your tank’s carbon filter on a regular basis could be on your mind if that’s the case. We will get into that subject, of course, but first, let’s explore what carbon in your tank truly is.

Understanding AC, or Activated Carbon

Activated carbon, sometimes referred to as AC or even activated charcoal, is a widely used method for maintaining a clean and healthy aquarium at home.

The activated carbon is placed in your filter, and as water went through, the carbon cleans it.

Charcoal has a limited shelf life, though. Once it is done absorbing the contaminants in your tank, it simply stops operating.

Ideally, you should be replacing your activated carbon every two to four weeks, but if you see that your water is turning nasty before that, you might want to consider changing it weekly, instead.

Activated carbon is a term that can refer to a variety of different things

Activated carbon may be manufactured of a number of resources, such wood, or things that have been converted into charcoal.

When processed at exceptionally high temperatures, the carbon is believed to be “charged.” You may notice tiny holes or pores in the carbon if you look at the surface.

As a result, the carbon is able to perform like a sponge. In other words, as long as the carbon is “charged,” it may take in substances and scents from the tank.

There are a lot of different varieties of activated charcoal on the market, but only one type is acceptable to use in an aquarium. It’s called bituminous charcoal.

Granule activated charcoal (GAC) is another name for this kind of carbon, which is available in granule form.

Is Activated Carbon Necessary in an Aquarium Filter?

To begin, you may be unsure if adding activated carbon to your tank is really essential. This is what AC performs in the filter, and we’ll explain why you should use it.

The water in the aquarium often has microscopic particles floating around, as anybody who has ever looked at it will attest. The water, on the other hand, obscures some details.

Some of the things you can’t see include phenols, which generate odour from your tank, and tannins, which can affect the colour of the water. Chlorine and chloromines are also present in the water.

However, you should be aware that activated charcoal will not remove everything in the water. For example, it doesn’t eliminate any poisons like nitrate, nitrite, or ammonia.

A further disadvantage of using activated charcoal is that it does not remove heavy metals like iron from the body. If your water has any of these contaminants, you’ll need to chemically treat it.

Another item that activated charcoal will absorb is medicine. However, you want to retain your medication in the tank case the fish require it.

So, if you are treating an unwell fish, you should remove the carbon from the filter.

How Long Does Activated Carbon Last?

Activated charcoal may be kept in the filter for months, according to popular belief. Simply said, this isn’t true.

Activated carbon’s shelf life can be affected by a variety of factors, including the tank’s design and the surrounding environment.

There is also the fact that certain brands of activated carbon lasts longer than others. Some could last only two weeks; other kinds might last three or four weeks.

You also have to consider how unclean your tank is. In a tank that becomes dirty relatively rapidly, you might only want to keep your activated carbon in for one to two weeks before changing it out.

It’s possible that you’ll need to replace your AC more frequently if your aquarium has corals that produce biochemicals into the water column.

If your tank has turtles, it is highly probable that your water will become dirty more faster than if you had snails in there.

Activated carbon is an excellent water filter, but it loses its effectiveness when the pores get clogged with pollutants.

Changing Your Activated Carbon

Finally, here’s how to swap out your activated carbon if it’s worn out.

It must be contained in a mesh bag in order to be properly used. A decent rule of thumb is to put a half cup of activated carbon in the bag for every 10 gallons of water is in your tank.

It’s better to run the filter bag under water to eliminate any dust, and then set it aside.

Next, take out the old activated carbon and filter back from the filter system and trash it. The replacement filter bag may now be put into the filter’s opening.

Once it’s in place, make sure the filter is operating appropriately, and then breathe a sigh of relief! You have created your fish tank a pleasant, clean habitat for your aquatic critters.

By Stefani Igaz

Stefani Igaz is 26 years old writer and editor from Brussels, Belgium. She is writing about maritime business, shipbuilding and offshore for Europe and Asia regions.