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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm strongly considering updating my aquarium and adding an under-gravel filter. My reason for doing so is that I would like to add a bunch more live plants without having to worry about siphoning all the gravel around them and accidentally sucking them up or disturbing the roots. This is a big undertaking and I have a couple of questions.

During the process of installing my new filter, should I take all 23 of my fish out of the tank along with all the gravel and substrate? I want to make sure that I don't stress my fish too much, but I'm not sure if leaving them in during the commotion or chasing them into a net and taking them out will be more stressful.

Will I still need to use my siphon to vacuum the gravel during water changes even with the undergravel filter?

Should I get rid of my trickle filter after installing the new one? Or keep it to aid the undergravel filter?

Thanks!

Wil
 

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You will get mixed results on here as to use or not to use UG filter. Many people don't like them or use them. Years ago they were everywhere, now not as popular. If you do decide to go with one I would think it would be hard to install after the fact without taking the tank completely down.

If I were going to do it I would move the fish into a cooler, then using a NEW CLEAN bucket I would move the gravel and decorations over and keep them wet with the old tank water. Also keep the filter media wet with tank water. Put the UG and then put the gravel and decorations back in. Others might have ideas on how much old water to keep and put in and how much new water to refill with. Definitely want a good conditioner ( I like Prime). Let us know how it turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the advice. If a lot of people don't use UG filters, then how do they get away with covering the bottom of their tank with live plants? I know if I don't use my sucker on the gravel, then it gets filthy.
 

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Most have inverts that clean as well as certain algae eaters and corydoras.

I do use a UGF plate in my heavily planted tank and have no issues, But I dont have it on UGF I reversed the flow with the help of a few elbows from marineland, Now it pumps water from the tank to under the plate then back thru the plate into the tank. It grows alot better not then it did without a plate under it.
 

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Many plants will use the debri in the bottom of the tank as a source of food. It depends on what type of plants you have/want to have that will determine if they need to be planted in substrate or tied to a decoration or rock with the roots exposed. Also lighting and CO2 requirements change with different types of plants.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The owner of the local fish store talked me out of getting one. She said that UGF are actually bad for live plants because the suck at the roots and hinder growth. She sold me a smaller siphoning hose to get in between the plants and said to stick with my wet/dry filter. Thanks for the input.
 
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