That looks like a Marineland C-series knock-off. I wonder who makes it???
As for UGFs, I ran them for years but never did frequent enough maintenance and tore the tank down once a year (when I didn't know much better) to clean the tank. Had one crash big time when I slacked on maintenance but that was my fault. I ran it with 2 powerheads.
Last time I set it up, in 6 months the crud that built up was pretty nasty - I took it out, because I was going planted, and got a Marineland C-series canister and I'll never go back to a UGF
. 30 minutes to clean it every 3 weeks and it also could handle an immense bio-load, which I definitely had.
As for the cost, you just cannot beat a UGF
. Plates and 2 power heads and that's it. like what is stated above, you have to diligently clean down to the gravel plate to suck all the gunk out on a weekly basis, and it's best to use larger diameter gravel that will not compact and obstruct flow.
I came up with a pretty decent idea for cleaning under a UGF
plate without removing it. You take a canister filter with a diatom cartridge in it (Marineland Magnum 350 is what I have) and use some long flex hose, connect the intake hose to the UGF
riser tube, and then stick the output hose to one of the other connection points on the UGF
at the opposite end, and just blow the crud right out. You would only need to do this once about every 6 months to a year. I never tried this since I went planted and took out the UGF
plate, but it sounded like a great idea. I think it would work well with the large rectangular Penn-Plax white plate (large corrugations) but not well with the smaller square ones (do NOT buy those).
PS if you want a UGF
I've still got mine & probably won't use it again. It's 20+ years old but in perfect condition, except a little yellow. Have all caps, riser tubes, etc (for a 55 = 2x plates)