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Old 01-30-2008, 12:30 AM   #1
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UGF or Not?

I want to start a 20 gallon long, and I'm unsure of what to do. So many people swear by under gravel filters, and some people hate them. I'm sure most of you have probably been through this. What are your opinions?

Go with a UGF, good power head, and a normal HOB filter?

or

2 or 3 times the recommended strength for a HOB filter and nothing else?

I don't mind maintenance, and I really want to keep a clean, balanced tank.

Thanks a lot!
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Old 01-30-2008, 04:35 AM   #2
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UGFs will get clogged eventually, and since it's on the bottom, there is no way to clean it without pulling it out. It's not worth the maintenance. What will go in the tank? You can get away with an HOB on each end if you want, but a single well sized filter should do.
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:03 AM   #3
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You can clean the underside of the ugf easily by putting a thin flexibe tube down the uplift tubes and syphoning out.

I ran a tank for years with a UGF with very few maintance issues. I had a 3ft tank that must have been 20" high.... never stopped to measure it. It only ran on a box filter with carbon and floss and an air driven UGF. I couldn't for the life of me get many plants to last, but that may have been compounded by the low light levels I had. At the time I was a 17 or so and then ran the tank for 5 years or so and had no problems at all. This was in the days when I was cash strapped and could not afford more advanced filtration.

If you plan on having live plants then go HOB. If not UGF by itself will suffice.

I know that most will advise you to go HOB. Don't worry about 2 or 3 X recommended filtration rate, unless there is a specific reason for it ie Discus or planning to slightly over-stock the tank. All you need is it filled with sponge media. Don't worry about anything else as filter media, promise it works.
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Old 01-30-2008, 02:45 PM   #4
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Thank you all very much for your input! While I've got your ears let me ask you a few more things please.

I think I am going to go with:

20 Gallon long (30x12x12)
1 Whisper 40
1 UGF
1 Maxi-Jet Power Head (160gph)

Do you think 160gph is enough for the tank size? Or should I go a little higher?

And is a 24in 20watt light enough for this tank size?

I probably wont stock it to heavy. I was thinking maybe about 5 cories, one smaller pleco (like a zebra?). And about 6 or 8 neons. Do you think that is to much?
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:11 PM   #5
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160 GPH is fine. You're turning the tank over 8 times an hour. What kind of light do you have? Are you trying to grow plants? Fish could really care less about the lighting. The stock sounds fine, but a Zebra Pleco is going to cost you a whole lot of money. You might want to go with a bushy nose instead.
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