Biorb filter - running biorb filters without activated carbon
biorb forum method 1
It is possible and often very popular to run aquarium filters with out chemical filtration such as activated carbon (in the Biorb, it is the the black carbon pellets located under the sponge). An aquarium can still thrive as a healthy environment with just the filter sponge in place.
Correct feeding and stocking levels together with regular 10% weekly water changes will ensure all the trace elements are replenished and levels kept in check. A how to video can be seen at the biorb forum sponge shop here:http://www.orbitfilters.co.uk/index.php ... 0&Itemid=2
If running a Biorb with real plants which is beneficial as real plants consume nitrates it is often advantageous to add a liquid plant food, having the filter activated carbon free has a benefit as carbon will strip liquid plant food from the water.
When fishless cycling a Biorb, Biube or Life tank which is recommended to create a safe environment for your fish, a popular fishless cycling method on the biorbforum is to use the Waterlife Biomature and Bacterlife products, it is important before starting the fishless cycle that any activated carbon should be removed from the Biorb filter as this will strip the Waterlife products from the water. If you are running the standard Biorb filter with the white Zeolite pellets located under the biorb filter sponge these should also be removed from the filter as Zeolite will remove the Ammonia needed to create a fishless cycle. Once the fishless cycle is completed your fish can be safely and slowly added, meaning zeolite is not required as Ammonia levels will always be processed safely for the increased bioload you add to your tank.
We recommend to keep and use the initial biorb filter sponge for the first three months this will ensure that beneficial bacteria has time to colonise on any decor, media in the Biorb. If the biorb sponge gets dirty simply give it a swish in removed tank water when doing your 10% weekly water change. After that time there is adequate bacteria present and a fresh orb-it sponge can safely be added every one to two months.
Whether running activated carbon or not it is advisable to have some carbon pellets (must be carbon pellets with the biorb filter) to hand should you ever need to remove any medications after a treatment period or to remove any discolouration from the water which can sometimes occur when adding bog wood for instance.