's may not be the best filters out there , but they are not useless . They provide excellant biological filtration if maintained . The maintenance only involves the thorough churning/vacuming of the gravel every 4-5 weeks , which is something most people do anyways . As for the gunk under the plates , it is not toxic to your fish . By the time it gets there , the bacteria in the gravel have broken it down into mostly harmless waste . If you are that concerned about it , simply push the gravel away from the uptake tubes , remove the tubes , & stick a thin hose in it to vacumn the gunk from under the plates .
's are not good for live plants unless you have java ferns , anubius , ect tied to rocks & driftwood . I also wouldn't use a UGF
in a tank over 30 gallons . UGF
's are also not good for cichlids , which are messy & like to dig in the gravel thereby rendering the UGF
useless . Nor are they recommended for large messy fish like plecos , tinfoilbarbs , & oscars . They are perfectly fine for smaller fish like tetras , danios , rasboras , the smaller barbs , platys , ottos , cories , guppies , & for raising fry .
Like I've said before , I've had absolutely no problems with UGF
's with smaller fish . I've had the so called "toxic gunk" come up into a tank with fry in it & suffered no ill effects . So UGF
's aren't the best choice out there , but they certainly aren't the fishkillers that some of you out there portray them as . Have any of you actually used UGF
's for more than 2 years ? I say 2 years because it probably takes that long for most people to get a good grounding in this hobby . Any deaths/problems during this period can probably be attributed to newbie mistakes , not to UGF
Just to be clear , if you are new to this hobby , or are setting up a new tank , buy a cannister or power filter , not a UGF
. But UGF
's are not as bad as some of you seem to believe they are .