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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
what is a refugium?
what is the purpose of an under-gravel filter?

as of now my 20g is overstocked and my fish poop a lot... now i do my weekly water changes, but my pictus cat wont eat as much as it did because of the constant poop being dropped. and yes, i do siphon the gravel weekly, but sometimes i have no time (college) - even so, they are just big crappers!

also;

i've searched up videos on youtube and even googled it. my other question is:

how can i make myself a sump?
i have a 10g i could use.
 

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Hi,
To me it doesn't sound like you have too many fish in there for a 20 gallon. It looks about right. Fish are always going to crap a lot. I do weekly water changes, too. But it does get annoying. I know some people do a 40% water change every month. You could try that if you want to save time. The idea of the UG filter is to suck the waste from underneath the gravel and it can cover the entire bottom of your aquarium.

From what I know, a refugium is basically a separate aquarium that serves as a "Refuge" like a quarantine tank for sick fish or to raise food for your fish. They are most popular among marine setups to raise complex meals for picky eaters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
well i have three more fish in my tank. i just haven't noted them.

i might consider getting the UGfilter if it'll help clean the waste problem. and making myself a sump out of my 10g, but i have yet to find a decent tutorial on how... -- without drilling holes and such.
 

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What other fish do you have in there?

For a 20 gal that is probably a bit overstocked. This is why you have so much waste. With that bioload you'll probably need to do 2 water changes per week to keep the gravel clean. An UGF will not clean the gravel for you.

As a side note, once your CAE grows fully he'll find the gourami's fun to chase around and latch on to.
 

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what is a refugium?

refugiums are generally reserved for SW tanks, but do have their purpose in FW as well. In a SW tank, the refugium usually holds live rock and chaeto to provide filtration. This section of your sump can also he used to house your haters and other equipment. In a FW sump, the refugium section would house live plants to help aid nitrogen removal between WC. It is not a necessity for a dump to have a refugium section, but it can be a helpful addition.

what is the purpose of an under-gravel filter?

the purpose of a UGF is, absolutely nothing. While the UGF was a staple form of filtration decades ago, advancements in consumer availible filters have rendered them obsolete and all but completely useless. There are many more efficiant filters availible and some of which are even cheaper. While some people still use them (for whatever reason), I would just stay away from them all together.

as of now my 20g is overstocked and my fish poop a lot... now i do my weekly water changes, but my pictus cat wont eat as much as it did because of the constant poop being dropped. and yes, i do siphon the gravel weekly, but sometimes i have no time (college) - even so, they are just big crappers!

I completely understand what you mean about being really busy. I work 2 jobs 6 days a week and have other extra things I participate in regularly. However, one thing you need to keep in mind is that your fish rely solely on your care. 25-30% WC on a tank as small as 20g is only a matter of a few minutes out of your day, and is a very small sacrifice to make. If 1 WC weekly is not enough because of your high bio-load, you should look into doing a second midway through the week. It should Not be hard to make time. After all, you're only talking about 15minutes out of your day max. That can be done before bed or between classes easily. Your fish deserve 15minutes of your time.

also;

i've searched up videos on youtube and even googled it. my other question is:

how can i make myself a sump?

it really depends what you want to accomplish. There are many different designs for both wet/dry and submerged media sumps on the web. You have to figure out what type you want, and go from there.

i have a 10g i could use.

based on volume, yes. A 10g sump will be more than enough for a 20g display
hope this has helped answer some of your concerns
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What other fish do you have in there?

For a 20 gal that is probably a bit overstocked. This is why you have so much waste. With that bioload you'll probably need to do 2 water changes per week to keep the gravel clean. An UGF will not clean the gravel for you.
aside from the fish on my sig i have a pictus cat and a CAE. they like each other a lot from what it seems, haha.

hope this has helped answer some of your concerns
what are some of the "filters" that have rendered the UGF useless?
are they regular tank filters, or something else?

i also know it doesn't take much to clean the tank, but i meant it as a hassle because of the expanding bioload on the gravel. i'm o.c.d when it comes to my fish and since i don't have a lot of time i can't clean the gravel sufficiently enough to have the tank 100% clean. but i completely agree.

what are the diffrences between a wet/dry sump and a submerged one?
 

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what are some of the "filters" that have rendered the UGF useless?
are they regular tank filters, or something else?

every filter on the market. like i said, they serve no purpose.
any HOB or canister filter will provide superior mechanical filtration (as the UGF provides absolutely NO mechanical filtration).
as far as cheaper filters. a properly sized sponge filter or box (or corner) filter will provide all the same function of a UGF, with none of the downfalls, and cost only a couple of dollars. these filters will not trap detritus in the tank, will not obstruct gravel vacuuming, will not obstruct root growth, and can be used with sand substrate (or no substrate at all). and that sjust to name a few.
there is absolutely no reason to use a UGF these days.


i also know it doesn't take much to clean the tank, but i meant it as a hassle because of the expanding bioload on the gravel. i'm o.c.d when it comes to my fish and since i don't have a lot of time i can't clean the gravel sufficiently enough to have the tank 100% clean. but i completely agree.

i understand. remember though, the water parameters are much more important than the visible waste on your substrate. i personally would just remove it if i saw it, but as long as your water parameters are in check, youre ok.

what are the diffrences between a wet/dry sump and a submerged one?

a wet/dry filter keeps your bio-media suspended over the sump. water trickles over the bio media and into the sump where its returned to the tank via return pump. this is by far the best option when it comes to biological filtration. the suspended media allows more oxygen to get to your aerobic bacteria, and maximizes nitrification.
a submerged media sump, is pretty self explanatory. rather than having a bio-tower like a wet/dry, this type of filter holds all your biological media in the sump under the water line. this allows you to run a more compact set up, and usually they offer quieter operation than a wet/dry. (though this is really dependent on how the system is built. my wet/dry filters are all pretty silent)
*h/b
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
would a HOB canister work better than a wet/dry sump? i'm saying this because my stand doesn't have doors, and is pretty much out in the open, but my 10g fits in perfectly inside. i can't have a wet/dry out in the open because of small children being in the house.

my parameters are checked every two weeks, with no dangerous levels 80% of the time.
 

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would a HOB canister work better than a wet/dry sump? i'm saying this because my stand doesn't have doors, and is pretty much out in the open, but my 10g fits in perfectly inside. i can't have a wet/dry out in the open because of small children being in the house.

my parameters are checked every two weeks, with no dangerous levels 80% of the time.
A wet/dry sump will give you the best possible biological filtration. As long as it has a cover, it should be safe from little fingers. I'm not sure what exactly you're co concerned about with tthe kids, but I'm sure there's a way around it if you went with the wet/dry.
If you're decided against the wet/dry, the next best option would be a canister with wet/dry function like the eheim 2227/2229. Though these are made for much larger ranks and tend to be a bit pricey.

For your tank, I would suggest going with an AquaClear50 HOB. All the functionality of a canister filter in an easy to use HOB package. Also much easier to maintain. quite frankly, I prefer my AC110s over most of my canisters. it has the same media volume as comparable canisters, but offers a higher flow rate for increased mechanical filtration.
The AC50 may just be the answer for you. There are smaller versions (AC20/ AC30) but I never use anything smaller than an AC50 on my 20g tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A wet/dry sump will give you the best possible biological filtration. As long as it has a cover, it should be safe from little fingers. I'm not sure what exactly you're co concerned about with tthe kids, but I'm sure there's a way around it if you went with the wet/dry.
If you're decided against the wet/dry, the next best option would be a canister with wet/dry function like the eheim 2227/2229. Though these are made for much larger ranks and tend to be a bit pricey.

For your tank, I would suggest going with an AquaClear50 HOB. All the functionality of a canister filter in an easy to use HOB package. Also much easier to maintain. quite frankly, I prefer my AC110s over most of my canisters. it has the same media volume as comparable canisters, but offers a higher flow rate for increased mechanical filtration.
The AC50 may just be the answer for you. There are smaller versions (AC20/ AC30) but I never use anything smaller than an AC50 on my 20g tanks.
i have an AC20 for my 20g. but like i said before i have a problem with the waste. i'm just trying to find something that will help filtrate the water more than i already do, while it being easily obtainable or made(economically-wise).

the only reason i'm afraid of making a wet/dry system is because my stand has no doors, but i assume that can easily be covered -- perhaps a small drape over the table would help.

i'm leaning towards the wet/dry, but i'm clueless as to how to make one. i will perhaps make a relatively small wet/dry and buy another AC20 - or just make a big enough wet/dry to take up all the space under my tank stand.
 
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