Should I take my charcoal out?


Junior Poster
Jun 26, 2008
Hey guys.

I'm about 2 months into my new planted 55 gallon tank. Things are going well.
Here's a recent shot.

I'm using Tom Barr's Excel Method. Further details of my tank set up is found here:
55 gallon low tech community tank using Excel dosing - The Planted Tank Forum

My question is as follows:

1) I am 2 months into my tank. I use a Marineland Magnum HOT filter that is filled with activated charcoal. My concern is that the charcoal will absorb the Excel that I am adding to the tank which would defeat the purose of Excel. I used charcoal for the inital set up of the tank to keep ammonia in check. Should I take out my charcoal now and just use the micron filter since the tank appears established? Should I fill it with something else. Or should I leave the charcoal in since it is now probably colonized with beneficial bacteria?

Thanks a bunch.

- Hung


Prolific Poster
Aug 11, 2006
After 2 months the carbon would be exhausted so it's not going to adsorb anything else and any affect it would have had on your ferts would have been minimal if any at all. It should be well colonized with bacteria by now so you can leave it or gradually exchange it with some type of biomedia.