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Old 04-06-2005, 04:07 AM   #1
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Moving tank, filter change

Alright, in May I am moving out of my apartment into a house with some guys and I am going to be moving my 37 gal tank along with me. I have read a ton fo posts on how to properly move the tank so I dont really have any questions about that. My real question is this. I didnt know a thing when I bought the tank and the LFS had a package deal with a UGF so thats what I am running right now, with no other filtration at all. From what it sounds like, another kind of filter would be better than the UGF, and since Im moving the tank, its a perfect opportunity to take it out.

Now, I dont really know anything about filters so what should I do? Im in a small town so the LFS here doesnt really have much so I will probably order it online so specific brand names would be great.. Also, the thing I like about the UGF is that it is almost 100% quiet, so I really dont want to get something loud. The tank will be in my bedroom. The setup I have now is just the UGF with a big plastic tube coming out with a Penguin Powerhead. Can I use any of it?

Thanks for any help, as you can see, Im a newbie so if I didnt make myself clear, sorry.
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Old 04-06-2005, 04:54 AM   #2
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you can get a canister like a fluval, rena filstar, or eheim. sorry i only have HOBs so i cant tell you anything about canisters. supposedly eheims are the best but cost the most and fluvals are the most commonly found in lfs. if you get a cannister there's no need for your ugf but then again idk how you're gonna get the bacteria in the canister other than running it for awhile before removing the ugf plate. sorry if i just restated the obvious
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Old 04-06-2005, 05:07 AM   #3
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was your ugf not working for you before? If it was, why get something new? I like to go with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach. Any filter is going to make "some" noise, especially one with a motor. A ugf is the quietest, second to that is probably an expensive canister filter. Some good quiet HOB are Whisper, and Aquaclear. Bio-wheel models I don't recommend because they are noisy as heck. I really regret getting my emperor 400, its the noisiest filter I've ever had. (plus the cost of the replacement pads are a total rip off) I like ugf's, they work great are dirt cheap and are almost silent.
If you wanted to add some chemical or mechanical filtration, you could get a small HOB filter in addition to your UGF. I use whisper filters mainly, theyre cheap (have a good warranty), easy to find, pretty quiet, and the media is cheap also.
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Old 04-06-2005, 05:14 AM   #4
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Well one of the main reasons was that moving the UGF seemed a little difficult, but maybe I dont need the change at all? I do a water change every week or so and I always dig up all the grossest stuff too, so I was thinking the UGF was not doing its job that well. By the way, I dont have an overstocked tank, its very far understocked.. Lately the top fo the gravel has been turning brown/orange before the week is over, which it has never done before, despite a bristlenose pleco cleaning stuff up. Also, how much gravel should be in the bottom of the tank on an UGF? The LFS gave me 40 lbs and I think its way too much, I just dumped it all in because I didnt know any better. Theres probably 2 inches of gravel on the plate. Maybe this is why my gravel is gross?

Thanks for the replies
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Old 04-06-2005, 06:49 AM   #5
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UGFs work by housing the bacteria and crap underneath the plate so you're actually trying to keep a good amount of poo there. reverse flow powerheads are supposed to be better than the regular ones when used with UGFs because they push water up through the gravel rather than sucking through it but even if you have one of those you still have to do gravel vacs pretty often to prevent clogs and anaerobic pockets from forming. you need at least 2 inches of gravel for the ugf to work and it has to be gravel that cant slip through the slits in the plate so it sounds like you have enough.

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Some good quiet HOB are Whisper, and Aquaclear. Bio-wheel models I don't recommend because they are noisy as heck. I really regret getting my emperor 400, its the noisiest filter I've ever had. (plus the cost of the replacement pads are a total rip off)
i have penguins but they hardly make any noise at all as long as the water level is high enough and the cartridges are a rip off but you dont need to replace them as often as the package says because frankly you dont even need the carbon in them (even if you do need the carbon you can make a tiny incision and replace it with new carbon), you just need something that fits in that slot that can perform mechanical filtration as well as biological such as the blue filter pad on the cartridge. people have connected HOBs to UGFs with success but it'd be a whole lot easier just to get a canister which isnt really that expensive for how efficient they are plus it's better to have a canister filter if you have or plan to have live plants in the tank since there isnt as much surface agitation as with an HOB. most people on this forum will tell you that you should get a canister with a tank that size and UGFs "CAN BE" more trouble than they're worth.

rena filstar xp2 $99
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$79
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fluval 304 $89
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$69
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Old 04-06-2005, 11:04 AM   #6
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I wouldn't bother with the UGF, I think your tank will be way cleaner with a HOB or canister. If you don't want to spend the $$$ on a canister, I would go for an Aquaclear- the Aquaclear 70 (300 gph) should be fine for an understocked tank such as yours. If you want to go nuts, there's always the Aquaclear 110 (500 gph) but that is probably overkill for your tank. www.bigalsonline.com has the Aquaclear 70 for about $20. The ACs are very quiet for a HOB type filter. Don't bother with the Whisper IMO, I've heard of lots of people that have had problems with them. The least stressful way to change out your filter is to run the new filter on your tank for a few weeks before you move the tank. Then when you move it, remove your UGF but save most of your gravel- you may not need all 40 lbs. but there is nitrifying bacteria in there, so to avoid a cycle don't change out all the substrate. When you are moving the tank be sure to keep the media wet in the new filter, and don't let it sit without an ammonia source (fish) for more than a couple hours or your bacteria in the filter will start to die. When you move the tank go ahead and set everything up without the UGF, and put the new filter on the tank by itself. Your tank should be ok. HTH
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Old 04-06-2005, 06:27 PM   #7
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well wizfiz I am sorry if someone already made this suggestion but Ididn't read all the later posts. I too have my tank in my bedroom and was very concerned with noise as a factor. I bought a rena xp3 canister and it is pretty quite after about 3 weeks. Most say that once the canister has had a chance to run awhile they get really quiet. Do you have a cabinet under the tank you could put a canister in?
Ever thought of internal filters. (fluvol 3,4 might be options to consider)

As far as getting bacteria in the new filter, yuo could always take some of your gravel ,place it in a filter media bag and into the filter and you shouldn't see any cycle since the gravel is the biological filtration in a ugf setup such as yours.
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Old 04-07-2005, 04:58 AM   #8
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Thanks for the ideas, Im gonna look into it a little more and figure out what the verdict is.. And yeah the tank is understocked now, but only because of a mishap where some fish died, after teh move I plan on restocking. I just figured why get a bunch of fish right now when I have to move them in a month anyways, the less fish to move, the better.
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Old 04-07-2005, 05:12 PM   #9
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I've been using Whisper filters for years. There really easy to fix, most of the time you'll find that the impeller is dirty with debris. In fact you can even disasemble the impeller part and thoroughly clean that too.
However on the flip side as time goes on they seem to make more noise and sound like a coffee grinder machine. They run fine, but sometimes the noise is a bit unbearable especially for a bedroom. I know your not suppose to do this because of the nitrifying bacteria, but my DAD did this all the time. He'd run the UGF and shut the whisper off at night. How much of the nitrifying bacteria would you lose from the whisper if you left it off for 8 hours ?
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Old 04-07-2005, 07:30 PM   #10
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probably not that much considering the water would just sit in the filter even after being turned off but i could be wrong. if you have more questions then make another thread.
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