Should I use activated carbon in saltwater filter?

SwegMaster64

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I am very new to saltwater aquariums and I wanted to ask if activated carbon is needed in my filter.
 

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I know about carbon and its use in freshwater systems, but can't direct you concerning saltwater applications. My guess is that it is likely a personal choice, much like in freshwater, but that is just a guess.

Hopefully some of our saltier members can point you in the right direction.
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What equipment are you using? What kind of tank (reef, fish only, etc.)?

Many saltwater setups with a good protein skimmer do not use activated carbon, since the skimmer does the job of carbon and more. However, if you are going skimmer-less, IMO activated carbon is both a good idea for everyday water quality and also an important safeguard against potential tank nukes. I always run carbon in some form on my skimmerless tanks these days. Phosphate remover can also be a good idea on some tanks, although it depends what you're keeping. On my current tanks I have no skimmers but keep inverts and corals, and therefore run both carbon and GFO phosphate remover.
 
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SwegMaster64

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What equipment are you using? What kind of tank (reef, fish only, etc.)?

Many saltwater setups with a good protein skimmer do not use activated carbon, since the skimmer does the job of carbon and more. However, if you are going skimmer-less, IMO activated carbon is both a good idea for everyday water quality and also an important safeguard against potential tank nukes. I always run carbon in some form on my skimmerless tanks these days. Phosphate remover can also be a good idea on some tanks, although it depends what you're keeping. On my current tanks I have no skimmers but keep inverts and corals, and therefore run both carbon and GFO phosphate remover.
It is actually a freshwater filter with new filter media (new sponge and carbon) and its a fish only aquarium.
 

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If you just have a freshwater kit then I would recommend having a look at these two threads if you haven't already seen them:
http://www.fishforums.net/threads/common-marine-tank-equipment.421015/
http://www.fishforums.net/threads/marine-aquarium-faq.410541/

While you can do a saltwater tank with just the fw kit and nothing else but a difference in water and fish, it's a lot harder than if you go the live rock rout. Even a little live rock can make a big difference, and it increases the bioload that the tank can handle.

You may or may not want the sponge in the filter. Removing can be useful to free of space for other chemical media, although in some filters that doesn't work too well. Many marine folks have a very strict no sponges policy, although it's for less than great reasons (will go off on a bit of a tangent on that shortly). Sometimes sponges are useful, but it depends on the individual tank. I have a lot of sponges in the canister filters on my current marine tanks, and they are great. Basically I just run the filters as they were for fw but with the addition of carbon and phosphate remover. However, I've had a couple tanks in the past where sponges got filled with bristleworms, so I had to ditch those and use other, coarser media. Bristleworms aside, the reason many folks dislike sponges for saltwater is that sponges often get accused of being "nitrate factories," but the reasoning behind that claim doesn't really hold up. Sponges and many other kinds of non-chemical media can become a problem if you overfeed, particularly with meaty frozen foods rather than flake: food gets sucked into filter, clogs sponge, decays, lots of waste made, waste causes bad water quality, and so on...this can happen in fresh or salt really, the problem is just typically more obvious in saltwater since the animals are more sensitive to poor water quality. If you keep the media cleaned weekly and don't over-feed, it's typically a non-issue and the sponge will act just like it would in freshwater.
 
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SwegMaster64

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If you just have a freshwater kit then I would recommend having a look at these two threads if you haven't already seen them:
http://www.fishforums.net/threads/common-marine-tank-equipment.421015/
http://www.fishforums.net/threads/marine-aquarium-faq.410541/

While you can do a saltwater tank with just the fw kit and nothing else but a difference in water and fish, it's a lot harder than if you go the live rock rout. Even a little live rock can make a big difference, and it increases the bioload that the tank can handle.

You may or may not want the sponge in the filter. Removing can be useful to free of space for other chemical media, although in some filters that doesn't work too well. Many marine folks have a very strict no sponges policy, although it's for less than great reasons (will go off on a bit of a tangent on that shortly). Sometimes sponges are useful, but it depends on the individual tank. I have a lot of sponges in the canister filters on my current marine tanks, and they are great. Basically I just run the filters as they were for fw but with the addition of carbon and phosphate remover. However, I've had a couple tanks in the past where sponges got filled with bristleworms, so I had to ditch those and use other, coarser media. Bristleworms aside, the reason many folks dislike sponges for saltwater is that sponges often get accused of being "nitrate factories," but the reasoning behind that claim doesn't really hold up. Sponges and many other kinds of non-chemical media can become a problem if you overfeed, particularly with meaty frozen foods rather than flake: food gets sucked into filter, clogs sponge, decays, lots of waste made, waste causes bad water quality, and so on...this can happen in fresh or salt really, the problem is just typically more obvious in saltwater since the animals are more sensitive to poor water quality. If you keep the media cleaned weekly and don't over-feed, it's typically a non-issue and the sponge will act just like it would in freshwater.
Thank you a lot! I will invest in live rock its just that a I thought carbon and the sponge could somehow affect my aquarium parameters but now I know! And sorry if I am answering late its just that you probably live in the States while I live in Europe thats why.
 
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