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Old 01-02-2004, 10:46 PM   #1
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UGF/Powerhead question on my buddies behalf :)

My friend has the same tank as me, AllGlass 4' 50 gallon. He has a UGF system with an uplift tube at each back corner. Each uplift tube has a Powerhead 301 at the top, each opened up to at about 1/2~3/4 of max flow.

Here is the stock list:
4 danios
3 misc tetras
2 head & tail lights tetras
4 black phantoms tetras
2 clown loaches
1 guarami
2 cory cats
1 bushy nose pleco
3 hatchet fish
1 angel fish
3 black mollys
3 big platys
4 small platys
1 bala shark

He has been having some troubles with sick fish, and has been asking me for advice. I think he is over stocked, and I have been advising:
1) No more new fish.
2) More filtration, like maybe a small HOB.
3) Open up those Powerheads so they are running max flow.

He is asking me to ask all of you if there would be any good reason not to turn up those powerheads to full flow. He wants some expert confirmation
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Old 01-02-2004, 10:59 PM   #2
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My advice:
1) NO NEW FISH!! If your friend isn't overstocked, he's right on the ragged edge.

2) Add a large HOB filter such as an Emperor 400 or a good canister.

3) I would not only open the powerheads up all the way, I'd set the UGF up to run reverse flow. I'm not a big fan of UGF filtration, but I do believe that reverse is the only way to go with them. This will eliminate a lot of the buildup under the filter plate. He'll need to run sponges on the powerhead intakes too. JMHO.
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Old 01-02-2004, 11:02 PM   #3
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The tank sure seems over crowded. I'm wondering what his water parameters are and how long the UGF has been operating. They do tend to muck up. The likelihood is he's got a significant nitrate build up in the tank.

I'm not a fan of UGFs at all. He should test his nitrates and make daily water changes. He definitely needs more filtration. Suggest something that collects and enhances nitrifying bacteria (like a bio wheel). Right now he's depending solely on bacteria in the gravel to do that and it probably can't keep up with his bio load. IMO
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Old 01-02-2004, 11:03 PM   #4
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The tank is big enough for the fish he currently has. Once the bala grows though some of the smaller fish may start becoming lunch. They can easily grow over a foot long. As far as his power heads. He will not have a problem with turning them up. The tank is big enough where if a fish wants a slow moving spot they will still be able to find one.
How long has the tank been set up? If it is still cycling his ammonia or nitrate and nitrites may be at toxic levels. A 20-30% water change would be helpful at this point and an additional HOB filter is always helpful at removing waste from the tank.
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Old 01-03-2004, 01:32 AM   #5
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Thanks everybody, I passed on your advice and he is going to turn up the powerheads, and is interested to hear more about reversing the flow.

Do you have any good articles to point to about reverse flow UGF? Is that the same thing as under-gravel jets?

The tank cycled but could be having mini-cycles when fish have died and new ones have come in.

His levels have tested good but are tested rarely. Nitrates not terrible, a bit over 20ppm last I tested for him, and he has been doing more water changes since then. I have only tested nitrates though, he takes water to the LFS, a pretty good one, where they test for free.
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Old 01-03-2004, 01:40 AM   #6
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The clown loaches will get quite huge as well...
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Old 01-03-2004, 10:20 PM   #7
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To switch the UGF to reverse flow, you just change the orientation of the powerheads so that instead of pulling water up through the tubes, they are pushing water down the tubes. You run sponge filters to keep detritus from being pumped down the tubes and under the filter plate. Basically, instead of pulling dirty water and detritus down into the gravel, you are pushing fairly clean water up through the gravel from the bottom. This not only keeps mulm from building up in the filter plate, but it tends to keep detritus lifted off the surface of the gravel where a HOB filter has a better chance of picking it up. You can get reverse flow kits or it's a fairly easy DIY project.
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Old 01-04-2004, 03:14 AM   #8
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uhh has your friend tested his nitrate level it's possible that they are leaching from the ugf to the rest of the tank even though nitrates aren't toxic right away they do become toxic.
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