Hugo Kamishi Carbon filter pad
Okay, we know what carbon does, right? Carbon acts as a chemical filter, adsorbing certain pollutants from water, such as certain heavy metals, tannins and phenols (those things that eventually ‘yellow’ your water), but doesn’t touch ammonia, nitrite or nitrate — and it leaves water chemistry alone. No hardness swings from this stuff.
Filter carbon usually comes in a couple of forms. One is loose, like gravel, and you have to bag it up for use in an external (or sometimes internal) canister filter. The other main form is the carbon pad — a carbon impregnated foam filter.
The second form is where the Hugo Kamishi pad comes in to play. I’m not going to try hiding the fact — a lot of dedicated carbon pads for canisters are expensive. Like silly expensive. When I’m forking out over £10 for three meagre strips of black foam, I feel put out.
The Hugo pad is a sizeable slab of 20 x 20cm, around 12mm thick. It doesn’t have any holes, but if you’re not after too technical a shape, you can easily cut a piece out to fit most filters. Get sharp scissors though (the kind you’d want if you were fighting for your life against a bear) because the fibres put up a hell of a pushback.
Like all carbon filters, you need to swap it every 4 to 6 weeks (otherwise it can, indirectly, end up dumping some of the collected waste back into the tank) and how long a pad lasts depends entirely on how big your existing foams are. Note that the density may differ from the brand you’re currently using, which could potentially clog more slowly or quickly, and could affect flow. Monitor closely if you’re swapping over for the first time.
The biggest benefit is the price. At well under £5 for a sheet, you can afford to stock up for the year. NATHAN HILL