Habitat - Indoor :: Do I really need carbon? and other filtration questions

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:57 pm   Do I really need carbon? and other filtration questions

(Deleted original version and moved to proper forum category) ...

Got a SunSun canister filter a couple months ago for the boyfriend's YBS. I set it up with the media it came with: thick blue sponge and filter floss in the bottom basket, carbon and ceramic rings in the middle basket and bio balls in the top basket. Since setting it up, I've cleaned it a couple times.

When I first got it, I rinsed the carbon pretty thoroughly. The water runs clear through the filter, but both times I've changed it, as soon as I've put the bag of carbon in to rinse, it's turned the rinse water super-black. How is it that the water's turning so black when I put the filter bag in, but I'm not seeing that when the filter is hooked up? Is it just the difference between dropping it in a gallon or two of water vs. having ~20 gals constantly running through it? I've been rinsing the carbon bag, bio balls and ceramic rings in either dechlorinated water or tank water because they get really gross with the slime that's making its way past the mechanical filtration media. The last time I cleaned it, I used a second filter floss pad to hopefully minimize some of that bypass.

Anyway, I now have three small bags of Purigen to add to the mix. My thinking is that I'll use two, then swap one out for a fresh one in a few months and refresh that one so it's ready to go. That way I get into a rotation where I have one semi-spent bag and one fresh bag at a time.

I had planned to replace the carbon next time I clean the filter, but with the Purigen, do I need it at all? I understand the carbon is good to remove chlorine and chloramines, but I'm using Repti-safe for that in the first place (which I know bothers some people, but I don't have any other way to dechlorinate the tap water before I add it into the tank. Pre-filtering isn't an option because of space and time constraints). It's weirding me out that it's still turning the rinse water black. Maybe it's just the cheap Chinese carbon that came with the SunSun ...
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:20 am   Re: Do I really need carbon? and other filtration questions

There's a lot of dust with carbon, so when you put in a fresh bag you need to rinse it off first. As long as I've used carbon, they are all like that. I can rinse carbon the quickest under strong water flow, like from bathtub faucet.

When you use carbon, there is no need for Repti-safe or dechlorinators or conditioners... as you said the chlorine and chloramines are removed by carbon. Repti-safe and other water conditioners are not recommended as they have harmful chemicals in them.

Purigen doesn't really help with chlorine and chloramines, but will get other impurities. It's great that you can regenerate it for repeated use but it does not replace carbon.
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:51 pm   Re: Do I really need carbon? and other filtration questions

I guess I didn't explain myself terribly well. I did rinse the bag initially -- rinsed the heck out of it, but when I rinse it off during a filter change (the SAME bag, already been rinsed, that isn't turning the water in the filter or in the tank dark), it turns the water I'm rinsing it in black again. That's the bit that's weirding me out.

Relatedly, about how much carbon should I use and how often should I change it?

As for the water conditioners, Adam had been using repti-safe for years, so I've still been using it. Only recently read here that some people don't recommend it. The previous filtration definitely wasn't sufficient for me to feel comfortable leaving it out, but this canister's working awfully well.

But can I add unfiltered/untreated tap water to the tank with the turtle in and just assume the filter will get the chlorine and chloramines quickly enough not to worry about it? Or that it's a small enough amount, especially with an only partial water change, not to worry about it? I mean, this turtle's obviously pretty durable but as I said above, I don't have any way to *pre*-treat the water except the repti-safe ...
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:09 am   Re: Do I really need carbon? and other filtration questions

steve wrote:There's a lot of dust with carbon, so when you put in a fresh bag you need to rinse it off first. As long as I've used carbon, they are all like that. I can rinse carbon the quickest under strong water flow, like from bathtub faucet.

When you use carbon, there is no need for Repti-safe or dechlorinators or conditioners... as you said the chlorine and chloramines are removed by carbon. Repti-safe and other water conditioners are not recommended as they have harmful chemicals in them.

Purigen doesn't really help with chlorine and chloramines, but will get other impurities. It's great that you can regenerate it for repeated use but it does not replace carbon.


Steve,
Not to hijack this thread but I have a quick question. Why do you say that reptisafe is not recommended?
Thanks
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:29 pm   Re: Do I really need carbon? and other filtration questions

So when you rinse a dirty/used bag of carbon, the water appears dark? If that's the case, it's just some physical waste that it has collected.

I don't know the exact amount you should use, and the different brands might call for different amounts. The box should come with instructions, but I just put in a medium bag and that's it.... it's roughly 2/3 of a cup.

@kiwi - from about 5 yrs ago - viewtopic.php?f=5&t=30477&p=291934

VeipaCray wrote:Same with ReptiSafe. It's definitely not "safe"

Here's the psuedo MSDS sheet for ReptiSafe
http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cg ... d=26004003

Unfortunately the companies that produce these products are not required to disclose all of the information about them. Using phrases like "propietary chemical or substance" get's them from disclosing what's actually in the product.
Fortunately, there are a few very honest companies like API that do a full disclosure of their chemicals and a proper MSDS sheet. Sodium Theosulfate is the common universal chemical in aquarium water conditioners.
API water conditioner

Here's a few highlights...

SODIUM THIOSULFATE: ■ Very toxic to aquatic organisms.
■ Sulfide ion is very toxic to aquatic life, threshold concentration for fresh or saltwater fish is 0.5ppm. The product therefore is very toxic to aquatic life.
Harmful to aquatic organisms. May cause long term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:41 pm   Re: Do I really need carbon? and other filtration questions

steve wrote:So when you rinse a dirty/used bag of carbon, the water appears dark? If that's the case, it's just some physical waste that it has collected.

I don't know the exact amount you should use, and the different brands might call for different amounts. The box should come with instructions, but I just put in a medium bag and that's it.... it's roughly 2/3 of a cup.


Not just dark, but BLACK, like when the carbon is first rinsed. IDK, maybe it's just this bag. I'll see what happens after I put a new bag in next time, I guess.

As for the quantity, I figured it would have more to do with the size of the filter / tank than anything.

Anyway, as for the water conditioner, is there anything that *is* considered safe to use if I don't have a way to filter the water before adding it to the tank? Or is the chlorine/chloramine just generally considered to be of less concern than the substances used to remove it?
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:52 pm   Re: Do I really need carbon? and other filtration questions

Chlorine/chloramine doesn't bother RES as much as other aquatic life (could irritate eyes for a bit), and I would probably consider water conditioner as a temporary solution. You can use a prefilter setup to help remove some of that stuff before it goes into the tank. Those with larger setups might benefit from it.
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:20 pm   Re: Do I really need carbon? and other filtration questions

I did read on another thread that ReptiSafe in particular doesn't have sodium theosulfate in it but I do get your point about the "proprietary" ingredients. Then again, I figure: He'd been using it (and you only need a tiny amount) for five years before I got involved with this whole turtle-keeping endeavor. And it doesn't seem to have hurt anything.
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:39 pm   Re: Do I really need carbon? and other filtration questions

It's up to you. I do like that carbon pulls that and impurities out of the water column. A conditioner either renders chloramines inert, breaks it down, or converts it to something else. Your turtle would probably be fine if you didn't use carbon or conditioner either, though the water quality might suffer.
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