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So experts, tell me do i understand correct that under gravel filter systems suck and are out dated- that one should go with a canister ...???

Give me the info. Going to set up a 55 this summer and renovate a 29 gal. I am only used to under gravel systems. Fill Me in as I am flash frozen in the 70's - 80's

Thanks
 

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back in the day when i started keeping fish underground filters were all the rage. but now i wouldnt put one in my tanks because there are better ways to filter your tank. i usually go with a HOB on smaller tanks, say 30g and less. but with bigger tanks canisters are definately the way to go. or maybe even a combination of both canister and HOB, you cant have too much filtration and its always good to have a back up cycled filter on hand. also it is best to get double the recommeded filtration, for a 55g i would want enough filtration for at least a 100g tank.

for a 55g i would look into the rena xp3 canister filter and maybe an aquaclear HOB rated for a 55g to add too it.
 

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When I drained my 55 gallon & pulled the undergravel filter out, the remaining water turned mud brown from the stuff trapped. They are horrible.
 

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Reverse flow works great on them as well.

I use a dab of GE-1 to secure my uplifts to my plate and when vacuum time comes next week I will be able send the hose down the tube under the plate a bit and suck out the crud while using the 660R powerhead to help direct the crap to the hose. They might be old but they still work great for what they were designed for. UGF's dont really have competition.
 

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I am still trying to find the article on UG's but what it said in a nutshell is they are comparable to Wet Dry filters in that they both do one thing better than other filters and that is convert ammonia to nitrite and finally nitrate. The only issue with them is the maintance needed to keep them in good working order. I will say this I would never use one on a planted tank or a reef tank.
 

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I got mine on a planted tank and have no issues but I use iron flourite substrate not soils.

I would use one in reverse mode with a soil base tank.
Thanks for the help,
I am not sure I can reverse the flow on my head- is that what you all mean? And tell me more about this flourite substrate...


Thanks all- for the feed back it is great help!


Vinny:)
 

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Thanks for the help,
I am not sure I can reverse the flow on my head- is that what you all mean? And tell me more about this flourite substrate...


Thanks all- for the feed back it is great help!


Vinny:)
Reverse flow is where the flow in the vertical tubes is down instead of up. That way the crud is pushed down under the plates. When you do a water change you can simply drain the water from the riser tubes and effectively back flush the UGF.

Paul B has a marine reef tank that uses a reverse flow UGF that has been operating for 39 years. So UGFs can be very successful long term. He also has algae that conditions the water as well in a pvc pipe.

If I had to absolutely choose between a ugf or canister filter I would choose the UGF. I had a simple 10g UGF marine that ran for years.

But to me the important thing is getting live thriving plant life in the tank. That simply trumps everything else.

I use a substrate which is 1" peat moss, 1" play sand, 1" pro choice select red in my fw tanks. I have found the plants root better with a sand substrate. The peat moss prevents hardening of the water as reflected in constant kh and gh values. Plus neon tetras do well with that substrate but not well with just sand. With just sand kh and gh increase over years. I put in one layer, fill that layer with water, level the layer and clean the tank. Then do the next layer.


Pc select is a red baked clay used for sports infields. More for decoration then anythings else. So normal aquarium gravel would probably work as well.

Finally, I plant the plants and then fill the tank with water poured over a dish.

With that I have found the tank is much clearer during the initial setup. By other methods I have a very cloudy tank which clears up over a couple of days. The clearing up actually is very rewarding. I remember my first tank and how worried I was at the initial cloudiness.

I also use no filters and no mechanical circulation. So the "crud" settles down in a day or two. With circulation it might stay suspended longer. Filters would probably plug up very fast with the peat also.

Then I let everything set for a week to get the plants extablished and in control. I then add (10g tank) a single platty. and not add food for a week. (when I feed the tank the platty dies on the 5th day). Then I add a couple of females and start feeding a single flake per day.

The result is that in 6 months I have 10-20 platys and a stable population of platys that lasts for years. The initial snail bloom reduces to just a few over the first year. If the tank gets cloudy I kill the lights and stop adding food until the tank is clear. Usually 3 days or so. Then resume with less duration lighting and less feeding.

No water changes just replace evaporative. Tap water no water conditioners.

What happens is you establish a balanced eco system that more or less just takes care of itself. I have left these tanks alone for up to 2 weeks with no fish losses. So after vacation I just had fish glad to see me.

Costs are $10 for a bale of peat moss with no added fertilizers, $3 for 50 pounds of play sand, $8 for a 50 pounds bag of pc select. That is enough for many many 10 and 20g aquariums.


my .02
 

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Paul B has a marine reef tank that uses a reverse flow UGF that has been operating for 39 years.
Yes, I think at age 40 I may have a problem but the first 39 years were no problem. *old dude
 
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