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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone tried the traditional Japanese white charcoal for filtering purpose?
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Binchōtan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This charcoal is pretty hard, and emit metallic sound when you strike it.

The product is used widely in Japan for absorbing odors and other chemicals. Some people even drop them in tea and wine or other cooking to change flavor. If they are safe for human use, it should be safe for aquarium too.

The question is whether it is a good choice compared to other products in the market.
 

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i wouldnt risk it and i would just go with carbon you buy from the store to be safe
 

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Discussion Starter #3
One advantage is that you can pick some with a nice shape. It can also serve as decoration like a piece of driftwood. I don't know how long this kind of charcoal last before it loses its effectiveness as an absorbent.
 

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Just reading through that Wiki page, it looks like it is just a name for a particular kind of charcoal made from oak. The activated carbon that you buy at the fish shop will be marked as being special because of the particular wood that it is made of and I see no reason to be afraid to try another wood source for charcoal. If the statement about having no smoke when it burns is correct, it probably has less contaminants than the charcoal that we usually would use.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just reading through that Wiki page, it looks like it is just a name for a particular kind of charcoal made form oak. The activated carbon that you buy at the fish shop will be marked as being special because of the particular wood that it is made of and I see no reason to be afraid to try another wood source for charcoal. If the statement about having no smoke when it burns is correct, it probably has less contaminants than the charcoal that we usually would use.
According to another wikipedia article on Active Carbon, there are two ways to activate the carbon, one through high temperature heating and another through chemical. The chemical process would have chemical residue left behind.

Another wikipedia article on bamboo charcoal explains that bamboo provides more surface areas for adsorption than other kind of charcoal. So it is another option to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I know the main use of active carbon is to adsorb and remove chemicals from the water due to its large surface area. Just because of that, I am wondering if the large surface area also provide the place for good bacteria to grow. i.e. does it make sense to leave used active carbon in the tank and use them like gravel?
 

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Carbon will house some beneficial bacteria and act much like other biomedia but has a distinct disadvantage. As it is left in the water, it will gradually break down and fall apart. For that reason we usually don't try to use it as a biofilter.
 
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