If you have your heart set on an UGF
, I would suggest not using sand at all.
People have successful tanks with ugf
's. They've been used for years, so I'm sure you'll be fine. I had a 55 gallon up for a couple years with an ugf
and a HOB
filter and it was very stable. I was away from the hobby for a few years and when I came back I discovered live rock and I'd never go back.
But, coming from someone who has run both types think of these things.
1. The slits get clogged in UGF
- especially if using sand. I used crushed coral and I had clogging issues. Once the filter is in, it's very difficult to take out (since its under everything in your tank.
2. You'll have to clean your crushed coral when doing water changes, not really required with a sand bed.
3. You won't need ANY OTHER filtration if you go with live rock / protein skimmer. That's all you'll need. Forget about the HOB
filter and canister filter - its not needed. You'll need powerheads, but you'll need them to actually power your ugf
4. Live rock looks great and comes with tons of life that will flourish in your tank (star fish, shrimp, crabs, urchins, etc) and will also contain pods
which are a natural food source for your fish. YOU'd be able to get away with say 25lbs of live rock and 20lbs of base rock or even tufa rock, which is a very affordable, attractive filtration system
5. Don't forget maintenance for your filter. You'll need to replace the media in your HOB
filter regularly - nothing to replace with lr
Not trying to come across as argumentative, I'm not saying that this way is right and your way is wrong - I'm finding out that nothing in this hobby is black and white - but, consider these things before making a final decision. Basically, in my experience, maintenance with lr
/skimmer set-up is much, much easier - and, in the long run, possibly less expensive. At the very least, decide what fish you want to keep - they may require hiding places and rock work. It'd be a shame to set-up an ugf
and an expensive canister filter and then have to buy 30-40lbs of live rock anyway.