Using activated carbon


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i threw some in my filter sock where the water flows into my this ok?
i did it figuring it would get a lot of flow through it

geaux xman

New member
i did this and got carbon leaking all over my sump. i'm draining about 1000gph into a 7" 200micron felt sock filter. my 75g sump is setup as return pump/skimmer/sock filter

i had about 3/4" cup of carbon in a mesh bag and threw it inside the sock filter.

any other suggestions? i imagine i could hang it in the mesh bag off the wall of the sump, but would i get decent flow thru the carbon that way?

geaux xman

New member
yeah i did.... perhaps i didnt do it adequately. i rinsed it about as much as all the previous times i've used carbon and place it in a hob aquaclear filter.

i thought that maybe the water flow was too violently in the sock filter. i could try it again... and maybe double up on the mesh bag. i think the pores in the mesh bag might've been too big.

it was these fostersmith mesh media bags.

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Fluidized bed filters are far superior to running media in a mesh bag, why not install one? They can run most any type of media, are fairly inexpensive, and easy to install....


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geaux you could always try a smaller sock that has the drawstring and put your carbon in that and put that in the sock--basically a bag in a bag. This is of course if you don't want to run the media filter as Chris27 suggested. I've got the BRS type and love it.


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Yeah a filter sock is just fine in a sump for carbon... supposedly it doesn't even need brisk flow over it as the media itself attracts contaminants. GFO is probably less effective in a sock however.

It is probably better though to use less carbon and change more frequently than to put a huge bag of it in and let it sit for long periods of time. After a while it can develop a bacterial slime coat and be less effective.

I use a TLF reactor for carbon and GFO these days (mixed together.. not layered.. as it will clump that way). It has been very effective. Before that I did use a filter sock. I went with the reactor mainly for the gfo. I change out about every 4 weeks.. though I have lapsed for up to 6 weeks.

I rinse my carbon and GFO very well, but even then for the first day after a change the tank water takes on a bit of a color. I think it is just something that isn't easily avoided. It clears up soon enough. Settles, gets skimmed out.. etc.

I wash my carbon with cold tap water in the kitchen sink (this is ok!). I put it in a bucket.. fill up with water. Swish it around with my hand. Pour most of it out.. repeat. If you want stick some RO in there and let it soak for a while, but I don't usually do that. After a good rinse and the water runs clear to mostly clear I do a final drain and it goes into the tank (reactor or sock.. depending on case).


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Years ago I tried to put carbon in a bag on the drain to my sump and the carbon was pummeled by the flow and I ended up with a black film all over the display tank. If you have a sump, then a reactor is really the most effective way to use carbon.

geaux xman

New member
okay i'm looking at the my polyester filter bag, it is 800microns. i think that the pores in the bag is too big so the carbon granules leaks thru. it was all in my sock filter, my skimmer, all over the sump.