Ending the Chloramines vs Carbon Block Debate! (EP1: Testing)

January 16th, 2015
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There's an idea in the reefing community that standard carbon blocks are effective solutions for treating chloramines. Rather than debate this point, we've decided to set-up a test to see the break-though on a variety of standard carbon blocks as well as our BRS Universal carbon block to evaluate the most cost-effective solution.

The gallon ratings on data sheets for carbon blocks are all based off vastly different sets of criteria. The three main things that effect how long a carbon block will last are flow rate, the on/off cycle and failure point. A common test scenario is aimed at household use with 1 gallon per minute with 10% on, 90% off with a 50% breakthrough - which doesn't really apply to how the average reefer uses a carbon block or RO/DI system.

We have elected to do 2 sets of testing to confirm results in a variety of uses. Both will evaluate the ability to treat for chloramines and will utilize the BRS Universal carbon block (which is designed specifically to treat both chloramines and chlorine) versus a few of the water industries most respected and trusted carbon blocks that are designed to treat chlorine. We'll also throw in a refillable cartridge of catalytic carbon to see how that performs.

Test 1:
This one is apples to apples. At 1 gallon a minute, we will see how many continuous gallons each block can remove at least 80% of the chloramines. We'll stop testing once the last block reaches a 20% braekthough, and then make a cost benefit evaluation.

Test 2:
The methodology for this test will be closer to how a reefer would use a RO/DI system and carbon blocks. We selected a very stringent standard of 50% on, 50% off for 12 hour cycles, which at a 1/4 gallon an hour will process 180 gallons of water per cycle. At a 3:1 product water ratio from a typical RO system, this will fill a single 45 gallon container (which is fairly typical for the average reefer).

For the results, we'll consider a 20% total chlorine or chloramine breakthrough as the failure threshold and stop the test once the last carbon block reaches 20% breakthrough. Once complete, we will evaluate the most economical and best value solution.

If you have any guesses on how each filter is going to last share them in the comments area down below.

If you haven't already be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss episode two of this series where we share the results!

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