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Old 09-11-2003, 04:09 AM   #1
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Undergravel Filter

It's prob too late now, since my tank is already setup, but the guy at the LFS said he does not 'promote' UGF. I questioned him at first but ended up not putting one in my setup. How will this affect the biological filteration? I have a Filstar XP2 doing the work now. I guess I'll need to use a gravel filter more often during water changes. Any ideas? Do you guys use a UGF?
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Old 09-11-2003, 10:13 AM   #2
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Quote:
I questioned him at first but ended up not putting one in my setup.
Good on both accounts. Its good to question the advice you get. Why? Because IMO it helps you learn. Good that you did not put on in because IMO UGF should not be in a salty setup because the substrate we use is often smaller in size than freshwater tanks and the small particles can clog the undergravel plate and cause the filter plate to operate ineffecently.

Most of us use sand for a substrate and live rock for our filtration. I personally dont have any extra filter mechinisums on my tank other than a DSB and an ample amount of LR.
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Old 09-11-2003, 11:15 AM   #3
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Good thing on not getting a UGF. Trying to clean that thing in a freshwater tank is a pain, but trying to do it in a salty or worse reef tank would be a nightmare. 8O
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Old 09-11-2003, 12:28 PM   #4
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DSB and live rock work the best in a salty set-up. I almost got a UGF too, that's what my friend and the LFS told me to get. With patience and plenty of research, I ended up with a DSB and LR, and it is working good right now.
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Old 09-11-2003, 02:33 PM   #5
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Well, I don't have a DSB, but I have crushed coral, about 60 lbs in a 50 gal...The guy at the LFS tried to sell me the 'live sand' but I got the crushed coral instead and began my cycling process. The term 'Live Rock' still gets me confused, is this like the live coral in a reef system? I have the rocks that look like coral...but I know they're not 'live'. anyway, thanks for the advice.
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Old 09-11-2003, 02:58 PM   #6
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Live rock is just a porus, generally carbonacious rock that you buy for a saltwater tank. It is called live because it generally supports various forms of life. There is some bacteria, maybe some algaes, sometimes fetherdusters, anemones, corlas and even shrimp. Dead rock can also be purcahsed and will eventually turn into LR as things colonize it. Corals can be added later assuming your tank can support them (enough lights etc...). But Live Rock is just simply rock. It will be pretty much the most important part of any saltwater tank.

LS is also a good idea and works the same way. Eventually bacteria will grow in it and help to filter the tank. Coral doesn't have as much surface area as sand.
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Old 09-11-2003, 07:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for the great explanation tkos. The term had me thinkin differently. Now I know I have a FOWLR system. :P
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Crushed Coral 60lbs
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Old 09-11-2003, 07:57 PM   #8
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Cool. I hope the tank goes well for you. Careful with overstocking. those saltwater fish are often so small when you buy them but can get rather large and aggressive when older. This is also a great place to ask questions about stocking and how different fish interact with each other.
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Old 09-12-2003, 02:46 AM   #9
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The problem with UGFs are they are TOO efficient. They typically move to much water to get any anerobic nitrate reduction, and will out-compete LR when it comes to ammonia/nitrite reduction.

The main advantage of LR and DSBs is they can perform other decomposition other than ammonia/nitrite, while UFG's can't. Heck , a 5" biowheel on a Emperor 280 can do just as much ammonia/nitrite reduction as a 55gallon tank with UFG, so that part is a solution in search of a problem. One advantage of UFG's is they tend to act as a mechanical filter and hence keep your water pretty clear though. The bad is you can't change the filer unless you like gravel sucking.

For me, the verdict is still out on DSB's, but lots of LR and some strong water flow is a 'no-brainer' in my book. I'm currently experimenting with a DSB with a slow flow plumbing system embedded deeply, the rig installed in a tank that's pushing high nitrate levels. My theory being that DSB's need a little help to do what they are designed to
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