The AquaChar Difference

In The Story of AquaChar we covered the general history of charcoal and water. In this section we will cover what makes AquaChar different.

Most activated carbons are mass produced using industrial equipment designed to work below the ash point of carbon – making it only useful as short-term chemical filtration. Because of the work arounds to complete the process the effective lifespan is typically only 7-14 days before clogged with organics. Beyond this lifespan, it has been documented that long-term use of activated charcoal will cause the "pre-smoke" tars to leach into the water causing instability. This issue was addressed over 60 years ago by adding resins to activated charcoals as a way adsorb these chemicals. These issues crept up again about a decade ago when HLLD in Tangs was tied to poor quality activated charcoal use. 

There are three forms of filtration in aquariums: chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration. Chemical filtration pulls dissolved organics, medication, and other elements from the water and should be changed regularly (Examples: activated charcoal and resins). Mechanical Filtration pulls larger organics from the water and typically needs frequent cleaning and replacement (Examples: cloth refilters, filter socks, and polyfil). Biological filtration allows for the breakdown of organics by bacteria in one place and requires cleaning in aquarium water to be replaced in the filter (Examples: foam, sponges, ceramic media, and plastic bio-balls).

The main difference that makes AquaChar the perfect addition to your Aquarium is the larger size and internal porosity allows the chemical filtration aspects of activated carbon last longer while becoming a biological catalyst to balance your system for long term use.

Our earliest reviews were simply "my tank is so happy". It took us a while to realize that are the words for the moments of randomly getting lost in your aquarium without the worry of maintenance that needs to be done in the back of your mind!  

AquaChar Caridina

As hobbyist ourselves, nothing has made us more proud of our product than receiving  messages saying "I am thankful I had AquaChar on hand, I (my kids) did XYZ to my tank and thought I was going to lose everything. I added AquaChar and almost immediately things started looking better!"

For this reason we recommend keeping AquaChar on hand for these accidental emergency situations for the sake of your pets. 


Below we will get into more detail into what makes AquaChar unique.


The hand-crafted, batch manufacturing process ensures the stable temperature and environment needed to produce only top quality AquaChar.

Through a combination of chemistry and engineering, AquaChar is both chemically and biologically interactive. It is handcrafted to maintain an environment well beyond the ash point – structuring carbon to turn impurities into fuel while creating targeted slow-released reactions.

Batch production ensures quality and consistency needed for long-term beneficial impact on a wide range of biotopes that include sensitive fish, corals, plants, and invertebrates.

Once ignited, we use a 13-step proprietary process lasting for almost 24 hours with maintaining consistent temperature and pressure conditions in a low-oxygen environment.

The maximized temperature creates two and three-dimensional carbon bonds when structuring carbon together.

The large-format, natural chunk size is unique to water purification as it is not achievable with other activated charcoal manufacturing methods.

By structuring carbon internally to force out impurities, oils, and gas our process is self-fueling requiring no external energy.

Preserving the natural porosity of the wood’s vascular system greatly increasing the surface area leaving a final product one-fifth the weight of traditional activated carbon.

Drying, sifting and quality control is the only additional post-production processing needed once AquaChar is created.

The elimination of multiple rounds of burning, acid washing, and etching allows the surface of AquaChar to have carbonized layers of the fibrous material.


12-hour difference at vendors booth

12-hour difference at RAP Orlando
Within 12-48 hours AquaChar provides the type of “4K clarity” that regular users of activated charcoal are surprised by.

AquaChar holds an enhanced negative charge that magnetically attracts the fine, positively charged organics (and other dissolved materials)that catching the light and causes most water clarity issues.

The larger size and internal porosity provide several advantages:

30 days, same tank regiment and feeding; Activated Charcoal (left); AquaChar (right)

The size allows for continuous flow while the internal porosity allows AquaChar to have a water clarifying interaction that
lasts for months. Traditional activated charcoal is created for a rapid reaction before it is covered in a biofilm that reduces its lifespan to 7-14 days of interaction.

The fibrous external layers "shred" the softer external layer of organics while delivering addition bacteria to the AquaChar microsites. This allows less decomposed organics to flow back to the system to further break down as a fresh microsite to be broken down.

AquaChar Surface

Unlike other carbons, our proprietary process functionalizes AquaChar with hydroxides (OH-) much like the process for making activated charcoal uses steam to attach oxygen.

The larger size allows AquaChar to use carbon as a slow-release mechanism for hydroxides to stabilize and increase pH over time.




With fewer fine organics and additional free hydroxides in the water many people notice less cleaning of their glass and a reduction in algae growth.


The term "Chemical Filtration" is a bit misleading. Rather than using chemicals as filtration it is intended to remove dissolved chemicals and organics. With activated carbon it is designed as a quick solution to be disposed of after exhausted. 

Carbon alone is not a biological surface. When added to water it pulls organics to its surface which flatten out and layered on top of each other. This food source attracts the bacteria much like ants to crumbs -forming protective biofilm.

We often joke at shows saying, “bacteria are lazy just like us, they only want to eat and reproduce”. As food is being pulled from the water, the bacteria need less work to find food, leaving more time to multiply to create a balance.

Only 10% of bacteria in a system is free-floating in the water column. 90% of the microorganisms are inside a protective biofilm meaning that most of the biological functions occur on the surfaces within a body of water.

AquaChar is unique because as the chemical filtration features diminish it turns into a biologically active microsite (B.A.M.S.) to create a visually healthier system.

B.A.M.S. provide a constant input of food with protection through large, internal surface area to allows aerobic and anaerobic bacteria to work together. 

AquaChar does to fine organics what mechanical filtration does to larger organics. AquaChar allows these fine organics to be pulled internally where anaerobic bacteria turns to scavengers of food.

The availability of hydroxides allows for the ion exchange needed to stabilize the nitrogen cycle (ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates).

In an aquarium bacteria constantly has its food source break down to nothing, constantly having to search for a new microsite to consume. 

AquaChar provides a food source that constantly arrives. Microsites like these allow bacteria the nutrition needed to focus more on consumption and working/feeding together and less on producing harmful enzymes as a natural protection.