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Old 10-24-2003, 02:31 PM   #1
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Need your input

There is a used aquarium available that I've got my eye on. I called the guy who's selling it, and got answers to my questions. It's an 80 liter/ 21 gallon tank with an aluminum frame. It hasn't been used for a year (empty of water for 1 year). Apparently it's in good condition, no scratches, etc. It's got an under gravel filter (run by an air pump) which I have no previous experience on, but it sounds like a good idea for this particular tank that I'm planning for one or two Gouramis, who apparently don't like a lot of surface movement in the water, which the internal power filters used around here cause a lot. It's got a 20 Watt submersible heater, and a lighting fixture that holds one fluorescent tube. I'm gonna go check the tank out on Sunday before making my decision. My questions to you are:

- Does the UGF sound good?
- Should I worry about leaking when the tank hasn't been used for a year? (I could supposedly test leakage by filling it up in my bathroom) He said it used to hold water just fine when it was in use still

Edited to add: He's asking 80 Euros for it, which is roughly the same in $. That's less than half the price of a similar brand new setup, which I consider a very good price if the tank really is in good condition.
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Old 10-24-2003, 02:37 PM   #2
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It may hold just fine If it was left outside I would be worried but if it was in a temperate invironment it could be fine. The old tanks with black sealer dry rot some. I have an old 15 gallon with a slate bottom it leaks but Ill seal it later with a 2 part marine epoxy. I dont like the ugf and the air will still disturb the surface some.
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Old 10-24-2003, 02:42 PM   #3
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Thanks . If the UGF sounds like a bad idea, I might as well get a filter separately. I don't know if it was kept in warm or not. There is a chance it's been kept in a garage of some kind, which in Finland tend to get quite cold in the winter. I didn't ask about that, unfortunately.
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Old 10-24-2003, 02:50 PM   #4
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I just took the UGF out of my tank, and even though I change water and vacuum the gravel weekly, there was so much crap under those plates - I couldn't believe it! I am amazed that my fish are as healthy as they are having lived with all that under their gravel. I'm sticking with my HOB filter.

If I were you, I'd remove the UGF plates and stick with the in-tank filter that's worked well for you in the past. I have a small one of those that I keep cycled in case I need it on the QT, and the current from it isn't too bad as long as I keep it well submerged and off to one side of the tank.

Good luck with the gouramis!
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Old 10-24-2003, 03:09 PM   #5
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I've also recently taken a UGF out of one of my tanks. It really doesn't accomplish what it sets out to, which defeats the very concept of using one. UGFs were all the crazy 10 years ago, and now ppl have pretty much realized how ineffective they are. The real problem with them is that they are not powerful enough to suck the crud out from under the filter plate. As a result, the crap will rot, and you will have to dismantle the whole tank to clean it (NOT worth it). I did this several times, and got completely fed up. As per the tank, heater and light, that's a decent price, but not a great one. I've seen 20Gs for $30 usually, and light fixtures for as little as $30. A 20 W heater is really cheap. I guess the stand would be at least $30, so you're probably getting a fairly good deal. Bargain him down to $70, and you're doin' fine! I usually find that ppl will allow you to bargain them down on such items.
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Old 10-24-2003, 03:16 PM   #6
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BTW, Sinuhe, I love how neat your tanks are. Do they always look that clean and sparkling? I find that after I take the pictures, the tanks usually get a little messier But the truth of it is that the tanks are really the cleanest part of my house--I keep them in great shape and forget to put my clothes away, do the dishes, etc.... My girlfriend always says that my fish live better lives than I do as a result!
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Old 10-24-2003, 03:52 PM   #7
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Thanks for your input, people

I think the tank setups in Finland are a bit more expensive than in the states. For a new 21 gallon tank alone I'd probably have to pay something around 50-60 Euros (or $). Also wouldn't get the light for 30. A good 20W heater costs about 20 Euros. There is no stand included in this one (and neither is it included in the regular tank setup sold from pet stores). The stand is going to be my main dilemma. I could ask my dad to make one just like he did for my other tank, but it was so recently I feel bad asking again .

My tanks look clean in the pics because they are still so new, and because you can't see all the details in the pics . There is a good amount of different types of algae growing in the 33 gallon by now.
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Old 10-25-2003, 07:30 AM   #8
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Sinuhe,

what you should do is ask the guy that is selling the tank to fill it with water so that you can make sure it doesn't leak. That way you will know that it is OK.
As for undergravel filtration, what can i say in there defence, they are one of the oldest types of filtration. Before all these externals and internal filtrations come out there wasn't anything better and people used them for years without any bad things to say about them.
Now with technology and the way this hobby is going undergravels are old hat and no body wants them anymore. They have there down sides i agree, they are not very good if you want to grow plants.
As for maintanance on them, i have never striped one down to get the crud from under the plate. What i do is put my syphon tube down my uplift tubes and draw all the sludge out that way, without disturbing the gravel. And i do that about once a year.

But my advice to you would be to *GO WITH WHAT YOU KNOW*
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Old 10-25-2003, 08:32 AM   #9
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I agree, if you want plants, the roots will grow into the filter plate and block the water flow. The UGF has had its day I belivee. A good HOB will not hurt a gourami. They are quite tough customers. I have 2 in my parents 20 gallon tank with a AC 200 and they do fine. Just make a place for them to go if they need a rest, like a big rock or an ornament. Heck ours sometimes hide in the fly fox's cave (very funny to watch that little fight).

As long as the glass is in good condition it is very easy to reapply some aquarium silicon and make it water tight again. If it sounds liek a good deal and you are handy then go for it. I had a tank at home sit unused for 5 years or more. I ran a thin bead of silicon just in case, but it works great.
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Old 10-25-2003, 10:30 AM   #10
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If you are setting a tank up on a budget, then I personally will suggest that you stick with the UGF you already have. I use an UGF and know of a LFS that runs on them and they have a long and proven track record.

See these UGF articles
for http://www.petlibrary.com/fw_trops_ugfilter.htm
against http://www.bestfish.com/ug.html
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