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Old 06-16-2019, 06:14 PM   #1
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Who else still likes undergravel filters?

Undergravel people unite! I know a lot of Aquarium keepers hate them but I’ve kept them for decades (early 80’s) and never had a single issue with them.

My son wants to build a small fish room to try our hand at breeding a few things and they would be a cheap and easy way of getting it going. I don’t do sponge filters and I like a little gravel in my tanks so I think we’re going to go for it.

Anyone else still a fan? Got any pics?

Thanks in advance.

-Ron
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:56 PM   #2
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I have had an undergravel filter in a 90 gallon tank for 30 years. Frankly, I have learned to dislike it. It can generate a smell if the tank isn't thoroughly cleaned, but worse, if the pump goes out while you are away, the entire tank turns into a mess of bacteria and sludge. Happened to me twice. When it works it's great, but awful when it doesn't.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:13 PM   #3
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Idk, most fish rooms Iíve seen are more sponge filters. I guess if air powered could be pretty cheap to run.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:23 PM   #4
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30 years? Wow! I could imagine that you’d have an odor issue after that long with a failure.

I don’t think I’ve ever left a tank set up for more than 2 - 3 years before I tear it down and do something different.

I also think setting them up properly makes a big difference. Fine sand won’t work because it clogs and gravel that is really coarse will let the gunk through and allow it to collect under the filter plate.

I used to use a medium grain blasting sand which worked out great. If you only run a couple inches of substrate then only the first half inch or so gets any real detritus in it and that can be easily vacuumed away. A couple inches or so let’s it flow well and allows a good bacterial colony to become established.

Running an air stone with a valve to adjust the flow works good too. I tried power heads once or twice but I think they sucked the gunk down into the gravel too much.

Just my experience of course...
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Old 06-17-2019, 01:25 PM   #5
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Actually, the odor arises after a couple of weeks if I don't clean the gravel thoroughly. If the pump quits, it's god-awful what happens to the tank - like a sewage spill. I've had the tank 30 years but I take it down and redo it every 4-5 years.
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