Carbon as a Biomedia

Carbon as a Biomedia

When AquaChar was introduced, the idea of carbon as a biological media was intriguing to hobbyist. Designed to create a rapid chemical reaction for use other industries, activated carbon sold to aquarium hobbyist has developed an association with Hole-In-Head Lateral Line Disease (HLLD), therefore only recommended for short-term use. AquaChar was formulated as a biological carbon for long-term aquarium use. Our hand-crafted, batch process maintains the quality and consistency needed to avoid issues associated with activated carbon.

The following case studies by well-respected companies were done with random samples of AquaChar out of curiosity of our claims. Both show AquaChar does not leach or contain anything harmful to living animals during long-term use.

Biological Cleanliness

After learning about AquaChar through our shared distributor in Holland, Marco Breekweg – a successful bacteriologist and owner of MicroBac – joined us at Reefapalooza New York to learn more. He had been testing biochar as a biological medium but found when used in hydroponics harmful impurities would leach over time impacting the ability for microorganisms to function. He was intrigued by a carbon with enough porosity to become a biological microsite while pulling impurities from the water while maintaining a desired pH range.

At Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA) that year, we did 3,200 samples from the show. Among the interesting people we met at the show was Raul from Triton Latin America. He purchased AquaChar to run a random sampling on his personal aquarium and promised to let us know any positive or negative results.

On October 8th of 2019 we received an email from Raul. “Your AquaChar is excellent. We Tried the samples and the cup we purchased. We noticed better water clarity and longer lifespan than Activated Carbon. We haven’t seen more but we can also testify that it is completely clean. No contamination was detected on 2 ICP-OES test made 30 days apart from each other.”

We sent this information to Marco and unbeknownst to us, two days later he began an eight-month long laboratory case study with his research University to test if how his strains bacteria reacted to AquaChar as a biological medium.

Laboratory Case Study

This case study was designed to test the general interaction with AquaChar and bacillus and Nitrobacter strains of bacteria. These have a wide variety of functions and cover most of the bacteria used in aquariums and agriculture. The results presented to us was an eight-month study from October 10th, 2019 through August 24th, 2020. The pH was stable at 7.4 and temperature was maintained consistent at 25 degrees Celsius. For the first three months there was a weekly diet of hydrocarbons consisting of fish food and sugar. Then for the next month no food was added to see if AquaChar was a food source for bacteria and to see how well the colony recovers. Six months in it was needed to re-dose bacteria to see if AquaChar is an environment where new bacteria will live and maintain a population.

MicroBac Summary of the Results:


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What does this mean for Aquariums?

These results prove that AquaChar is a safe biological carbon for long term use. It does not leach or contain anything harmful to microorganisms.

Bacteria quadrupled in the first few months of the experiment.

The system’s biological consumption is tied to inputs.AquaChar is not a food source for bacteria but the ability of carbon to pull organics allows for the colonization. Adjustments to the feeding and adding new livestock can greatly impact biological stability.

Dosing of microorganisms is needed to maintain stability in long-term husbandry. Each weak there is a myriad of problems microorganisms solve that we don’t know about. Eventually dominant species emerge which creates breaks in the chain of decomposition. It is good practice to remember biological diversity.

When a system is stable and inputs are consistent, balance can be easily achieved with consistency and routine.


While testing on these projects are ongoing these results show that AquaChar not only does chemical filtration longer but also becomes a long-term biological microsite.

Bacteria have adapted over hundreds of millions of years to colonize wood-based carbon to regenerate after forest fires. While nature works on its own time, in a commercial setting time is money, The leaching and short-term use of other carbons has made ceramic media a more popular media in the hobby today.

Ceramic media tends to be broken down by CO2 and other acids created in the system over time, passive organic input provides a minimal food source for microorganisms, and the lack of internal porosity makes it hard to create anaerobic microsites to sustainably breakdown the daily waste created in your system.

The carbon bonds of AquaChar does not break down. AquaChar is designed to slow-release hydroxides to balance pH but will remain a biological microsite. It actively pull fine consumable organic from the water and has the size and internal porosity needed to allow nitrifying and decomposing bacteria to actively clarify and break down organics in your system.

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