Jump to content
GaryD

Carbon Filters

Recommended Posts

Hi,

Inadvertently, in hindsight and to my advantage it appears, I may have addressed any potential styrene toxicity issue already in my system...

Here - is an Assessment of Styrene Emission Controls prepared for the USA EPA.

You will find activated carbon is the key ingredient used for absorption filtering controls of Styrene. (p.12-14)

When I was assembling and filling 2x200ltr bio filters with bio-balls for my system, I noticed I had a couple huge 25kg bags of high quality activated carbon pellets left over from a previous business. Knowing the brilliant filtering & chemical absorption qualities of activated carbon when used filtering water, I thought, why not? ... and put a bag into one of the barrel filters.

Like a micro sponge, activated carbon is extremely porous. It has a brilliant high surface area structure for bacterial growth, high physical particle / solids removal as well as its massively high chemical absorption / filtration properties.

Activated carbon's high points are also its weak points.

It can quickly become full of fine solids and blocks up, creating water channeling through filter media and potential reduction of O2 supply to bacteria. Thus it requires regular cleaning. When 4 cups of dirty carbon is washed in a 20ltr bucket of clean water, you will be blown away by the filth of sludge that is released.

Cleaning / recharging carbon of its chemical waste build up is a different matter.

In commercial circles, specialized high temperature steam machines and / or curing ovens are used.

For smaller home scale quantities you can boil it, then bake it @250c for an hour .... another way I have used in the past to recharge carbon used in fresh water, is to run it in marine water for a couple weeks, then replace onto a fresh water system. (and visa-versa - marine to fresh does not work as well)

In home scale use & cleaning methods you can never expect to fully recharge the carbon of its chemical filtration properties. Periodic replacement with fresh carbon is highly recommended, every 6-12 months or so.

Carbon retains is solids filtering capacity for many many years, when cleaned regularly.

I use to recommend approx 1kilo of carbon per 1000ltrs (1g/ltr) of water to be filtered.

Using special filters, Diatom Carbon turns clear clean water into crystal diamond clear.

Definitely Not Recommended At All, without weighing up your personal system & potential risks.....

I have even used with great results, years ago in a large koi pond filter, carbon chips & chunks left over after a bonfire party.

Some 'Permaculture' circles produce & recommend a 'bio-char' for its great natural benefits as a purifying & cleansing agent for air, soil & water.

Addition of activated carbon to a home aquaponics system can be as easy as placing a stocking / net of it on top of your grow bed where the water first enters. $5 / 250g from most aquarium shops, small investment for huge piece of mind.

Cheers

Toga

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yep i used carbon aswell, to filter water put into new and washed 1 month old drinking water fibreglass tanks, cause i´m cautious.

I also use it in the form of chikutan charcoal tubes (bamboo charcoal) in my expensive crystal red shrimp tanks. I also use seachem purigen. Good stuff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi mopa,

I also use it in the form of chikutan charcoal tubes (bamboo charcoal) in my expensive crystal red shrimp tanks.

Excellent - I use to breed crs, even managed some gold & platinum mosura & hino's... stunning little creatures.

PS - Platinum SSS grade Mosura sell for $750 - $1000 ea here. :eek:

Cheers

Toga

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wow !! between this[ATTACH=CONFIG]4460[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]4461[/ATTACH] and my other tanks i would probably be a aus millionaire. darn chose wrong country to live in lol

post-4979-13795789610978_thumb.jpg

post-4979-13795789613099_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow mopa,

Stunning collection !

... they are an illegal import to AU, hence the price. Not many quality shrimp breeders here.... and as you would know, they can be very sensitive.

Yes yes, back on topic .... that Sir is a fine example of achievable water quality when using carbon in a filter.

From memory, the highest grades of bone carbon are capable of filtering a very large % of most toxins, contaminants & elements. You can filter out the minute traces of gold that are found in marine water using carbon, you just cant extract it from the carbon afterwards :rolleyes:

... and yes, that does also mean that too much carbon could / would filter out some / heaps of the micro & macro elements that the plants require.

Cheers

Toga

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yep, i use osmosis water for them, then reconstitute water to ideal levels with additives, turn off carbon filtration, and dose microelements and calcium. lol

they live better than i do! Sometimes I feel i am not a keeper of shrimp but a maintainer of best water quality !

Do agree i find them stunning still- 5 years later. regards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

This is an important subject given that many people operate "closed loop" systems where the main way for any toxins to leave the system is through uptake by fish or plants and subsequent consumption by humans.

If activated carbon adsorbs toxins (styrenes, heavy metals, etc) its use in aquaponics would be highly desirable.

Toga....a few questions....

  • Does it work in highly stocked aquaponics systems? (as distinct from very lightly stocked aquarium tanks).
  • How do we use it?
  • How much do we need for a given volume of water?
  • Once it's no longer effective (that is, that it's soaked up all the impurities), can it easily be re-activated at the backyard level?
  • What's the most cost effective way to buy it? Any local sources that you're aware of?

Toga, thanks for introducing the subject. Like many other people, no doubt, I was aware of the use of carbon filters in a variety of situations (fish-keepers, distillers, etc) but I'd never thought much about its use in an aquaponics context.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jobney,

That wouldn't bother me. I'm happy to run separate loops for fish and growing systems.....and to dose the plant system with anything that it needs. That allows me to avoid the compromises and to provide the optimum conditions for both fish and plants.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

Today, I picked up a 1kg box of Jebo Activated Carbon.

The spiel on the box tells me that it's "high grade pelletised (in a fine mesh bag - for easy use)."

So, I'm all dressed up but I don't know where to go.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

Gary - Good idea to create a new thread for carbon filters. IMO carbon is overlooked far too often.

Yes, I have used carbon in very heavily stocked tanks, mainly ornamental / aquarium species & including natives. I think 1000 rainbow fish / 10x 1kg Barra in a 6x2x2 is considered very heavily stocked.

I think I covered most of your questions in the previous post.

Its so easy to use, the aquarium varieties usually come in a mesh bag as you have mentioned. Give the bag a good rinse in a bucket of fish water, fresh carbon usually has a heap of fine carbon dust in it. I prefer not to use tap water as the chlorine etc in tap water use up that little bit extra of chemical filtration I would prefer to use for the fish. The mesh bag can be placed anywhere along the water flow path, from the pre-filter / strainer, the top layer of a trickle filter, inside a canister filter, inside a basic air operated corner filter, in a filter sock prior to sump, hanging in a barrel filter... anywhere. The best place for it would be in the 'cleanest water flow', the outlet water flow from a filter, on top of grow bed... thus reducing cleaning frequency.

Cleaning / recharging carbon I touched on above, end of the day.... its a down wright pain in the tush.

What I didnt mention regarding baking / heating, obviously what ever toxins the carbon has filtered out of the water is then gassed off during the baking... the vapors & fumes of this process are not healthy ... and quite frankly, stench. Dont do it when the miss's is baking... or in the house for that matter. Im thinking I will put this bag into a metal 200ltr drum over a fire and do it outside.

Its usually too easy and affordable to simply replace the 1 or 2 bags every 5-6 months.The worst your water is, then more frequent replacement would be advised.

Jobney - yes it does remove chelated iron... to the point of maximum saturation then that is it. Over the first 8 weeks, the 25kg of carbon I put into my 10,000 ltr system absorbed nearly 400g chelated iron before it started to register on test kits. 5g / week keeps it stable and that would be plant uptake, not carbon removal of it.

Another benefit is although the carbon may have reached maximum saturation of chlorine, chelated iron, manganese or any other micro / macro elements ... it still remains active towards other 'toxins' that have not reached max saturation.

In commercial aquaculture, carbon filters are more likely to be found on fresh incoming & discharge water circulations. Other filter process's deal with daily solids removal & nitrification for water quality.

Gary - It will be very interesting to see how much extra benefit it has on your megabin system... I recon even after going through your nexus & huge bio filter... you will be blown away by how much fine solids it removes after even 2 weeks. Keep us in touch with that one... interesting indeed.

Cheers

Toga

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Toga,

I think I covered most of your questions in the previous post.

And when I actually took the time to read it properly, I discovered that you had done exactly that. Thanks.

I'm keen to see what difference it makes. I love the idea that it captures toxins and heavy metals in addition to attracting micro-solids. With the poop that finds its way into our mains water systems (in addition to any introduced toxins embedded during the component manufacture), something that achieves that has got to be a good thing.

Thanks again, mate.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We use carbon filters on some of our installations. In what we do, the filters are almost always used on a single pass for supply water. Within the systems there is not a great deal of chance for toxins to get into them and carbon is not very useful on a multiple pass system especially with organic load.

But useful just the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

But useful just the same.

Given that it does nothing but lie there until its capacity to soak up toxins and micro-solids is exhausted, I'm keen to try it.

While nobody sets out to introduce toxins into a system, they can still occur. Even if only minute quantities of plasticisers, styrenes and other nasties end up (or start off) in a system, it would be good to know that activated charcoal will trap them.

Who's to know what someone might drop into a batch of feed?

My concern about small looped AP systems is just that........they are small looped systems.....and there are only two ways that things get out of such a system......we either take them out (via filtration of some type) or we ingest them when we eat the fish or plants.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi! I just wanted to ask. The nitrite content in water of our Media Bed aquaponics is higher than the acceptable range of ppm, however the other parameters were desirable. I had check the possible reasons that might contribute to this problem. It might be the water spinach but found out that in some articles regarding about it says, it actually enhances water quality. I've been thinking it might be the condition of our charcoal filter. When does occasionally the charcoal need to change or replace? 

Your help is highly appreciated☺️

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HiJecha,

What are all of your readings? 

pH 

Ammonia

Fish tank temp

Nitrates

Nitrites.

Also, if you could describe your system and maybe post it in the aquaponics systems section so we can see what you have in it, that would be helpful.

Cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...