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Old 11-24-2011, 10:17 PM   #11
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The old corner filters are still in use, just not as popular since hob's and canisters have come along. They are good for picking up debris along with sponge filters for biofiltration if you're running a large number of tanks on a central air system.
Way back when I was a child and they were the standard item I remember the chinese algae eaters (that EVERY tank was supposed to need...) invariably found their way inside, and were usually dead when discovered.
I used UG filters for many years until I started switching to sand substrates. Set up with an aquaclear hob drawing water through the lift tube/s or reverse-flow with powerheads they don't accumulate debris under the filter plate/s. IMO sand is easier to keep clean though, food doesn't get wasted or get as deep into the substrate.
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Old 11-24-2011, 10:33 PM   #12
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The box filters are rare to find, usually only when dealing with a lot of tanks and therefore have to be cheap as possible, and willing to do extra work if needed (store, wholesaler, or breeder). The average hobbyist will prefer more effective filtration that doesn't ugly up the tank.
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Old 11-25-2011, 12:23 AM   #13
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Believe it or not, those corner box filters are found everywhere over here. At least most people have the common sense to get a HOB, cannister or even a sump.

But for me they work good for a small setup. I use to have them packed with floss with 4 goldfish in a 10 gal tank. I was 12 years old and didn't know as much as I do now. But those fish survived.

As for UGF, I never really grasped the whole idea of it. Seemed to me it just about cycled everything over in the tank.
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishguy2727 View Post
HOBs and canisters are better filters, more effective with less maintenance.

UGFs are not maintenance free. They usually cause more harm than good long term.

I agree, sand is definitely the way to go.
That my friend, is totally dependent upon how well you maintain any of the filters. I think it also depends on how you set up and run the undergravel filters. Personally I run undergravel filters on the vast majority of my aquariums, over 20 ranging in size from 15 to 100gal, and they are very effective with no more maintenance than any HOB or canister filter I've ever owned including the aquaclears. In 20+ years I've never had to replace a single one, can you say the same?

That said, I have and still use the aquaclears as well, and I think they are one of the better if not the best HOB filter that is out there. If you want a nice planted tank with soil or sand, they are probably a must.

Personally I absolutely hate canisters, can't understand why anyone would ever want to expose their nose or stomachs to those disgusting things.

The biggest thing in regards to undergravel filters, is that you have to understand that unlike a HOB (or a canister if they are properly maintained), the UGF doesn't actually remove anything from the system - just as people do today with other filter systems, that has to be accomplished with PWCs. So long as you have a regular schedule that you follow and are consistent with your water changes combined with a thorough gravel vac, a UGF that is properly set up is just as effective as any of the other types of filters.
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Old 11-25-2011, 09:14 AM   #15
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HOBs and canisters do not remove anything from the system. They also just collect it in one place for the fish keeper to clean it out.

The problem with UGFs is that they do require work every single week, ever. Even then they usually 'go bad' eventually. If you ever neglect them it gets even worse. With HOBs and canisters if they are ever neglected you can drag the whole thing over to the sink and clean it out without dumping anything into the tank, not so with UGFs.

IMO the point is moot since sand is a better substrate in almost every situation anyways. It is A LOT cleaner, much more natural, better for plants, and better for most fish. All my tanks have sand now and I don't have to vacuum it at all, ever. I haven't had to for five years or so now. My water changes are much easier because of this.
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Old 11-25-2011, 09:28 AM   #16
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Wow, this is a great discussion!!!
I only started keeping fish again in April, and the Hobs I have are doing a good job. I see no reason to switch unless I have another one break.
It was just such an interesting thing to me, because when I replaced the one that broke I really couldn't even find some of the "old" types.

In regards to all the gunk that gets stuck under an ugf, when I would do a complete breakdown back in the day, I found surprisingly little under there to clean up. Once I got everything out of the tank, there just seemed to be a small amount of muddy water left.

I've actually had good results with all of the types of filters I've used, maybe I've just been lucky so far! But I do still want to try a planted tank with sand, so I'll stick with hob for now.
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Old 11-25-2011, 06:09 PM   #17
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If you are collecting ANY gunk under the plates, then you are not getting enough circulation down thru the gravel and under the plates. This is the CLASSIC reason for a UGF system going bad (closely followed by not cleaning the gravel well, and on a regular basis). You can not run a UGF with air power...don't even try. Put an appropriately sized powerhead on each plate, the bigger the better, (within reason of course). They are also best used along with another type of filter, like a HOB or cannister.
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishguy2727 View Post
HOBs and canisters do not remove anything from the system. They also just collect it in one place for the fish keeper to clean it out.
True enough, but since cleaning them out on a regular basis is required, they do remove things from the system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishguy2727 View Post
The problem with UGFs is that they do require work every single week, ever. Even then they usually 'go bad' eventually. If you ever neglect them it gets even worse. With HOBs and canisters if they are ever neglected you can drag the whole thing over to the sink and clean it out without dumping anything into the tank, not so with UGFs.
Not true, if they are properly set -up, and in 20 years I've never had one "go bad" so I have to disagree with this statement. As for HOBs and canisters, they also go bad when you neglect them . Just out of curiosity, have you ever actually run a UGF that was properly set up (not with air, but with appropriately sized powerheads)?

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IMO the point is moot since sand is a better substrate in almost every situation anyways. It is A LOT cleaner, much more natural, better for plants, and better for most fish. All my tanks have sand now and I don't have to vacuum it at all, ever. I haven't had to for five years or so now. My water changes are much easier because of this.
While I will agree with you on the sand as far as the plants (although from what I've read many are also having luck with soil), I'm really curious as to the cleaner part? What in your opinion makes the sand cleaner? As for the fish, I have to say it is totally dependent once again on what fish you are keeping. I would also argue that the same is true as far as the vacuuming, from what I've seen, most on here who are keeping cichlids still vacuum their tanks regardless of their substrate. As for the natural part, once again, I think that is totally a matter of personal opinion - out here most of our streams have rubble and gravel bottoms, so to me the gravel looks a lot more "natural" than the sand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sisserydoo View Post
Wow, this is a great discussion!!!
I only started keeping fish again in April, and the Hobs I have are doing a good job. I see no reason to switch unless I have another one break.
It was just such an interesting thing to me, because when I replaced the one that broke I really couldn't even find some of the "old" types.

In regards to all the gunk that gets stuck under an ugf, when I would do a complete breakdown back in the day, I found surprisingly little under there to clean up. Once I got everything out of the tank, there just seemed to be a small amount of muddy water left.

I've actually had good results with all of the types of filters I've used, maybe I've just been lucky so far! But I do still want to try a planted tank with sand, so I'll stick with hob for now.
Agreed, if the UGF is properly set-up and maintained. However, I have also taken apart some very nasty ones that were not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glassbird View Post
If you are collecting ANY gunk under the plates, then you are not getting enough circulation down thru the gravel and under the plates. This is the CLASSIC reason for a UGF system going bad (closely followed by not cleaning the gravel well, and on a regular basis). You can not run a UGF with air power...don't even try. Put an appropriately sized powerhead on each plate, the bigger the better, (within reason of course). They are also best used along with another type of filter, like a HOB or cannister.
Agree, you should never try to run one with air. Powerheads are the only way to go.
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:34 PM   #19
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Sand is cleaner because it requires no cleaning ever. That makes it cleaner than gravel which does require cleaning ever.

The gunk trapped in HOBs and canisters is still in the system. It is still exposed to the water column. As it rots away it still effects water quality. The only filter that actually removes the waste from the system is a protein skimmer because the skimmate is no longer in contact with the water column and therefore is actually removed from the system (but they don't work in freshwater, so not really relevant).

Natural is not an opinion. It is basic geology. In order for gravel to be a substrate in nature the water has to be moving so fast that sand can't settle. Very few of the fish in the hobby are from waters that move this fast. Almost all the fish in the hobby are from waters that naturally have sand (or finer, like silt or even mud) as a substrate.

I have been using sand for 5-6 years now and you do not have to clean it. Sand keeps everything on top so that one of two things happen. If you have enough flow debris keeps moving until the filters trap it. If you don't have enough flow you end up with a couple spots where debris settles. Those spots are easily siphoned in a few seconds at the very beginning of a water change. So, yes, you may have to spend a few seconds siphoning if you don't have enough flow. Or you can stick with gravel and spend the entire water change vacuuming the gravel.

Yes, I have run UGFs and RUGFs with proper flow. They need to be vacuumed every single week. When neglected they do more harm and it is almost impossible to catch up again without major work in the tank.

With all the better options out there, and sand, it simply makes no sense to me to use UGFs anymore.

Have you ever used sand?
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishguy2727
Sand is cleaner because it requires no cleaning ever. That makes it cleaner than gravel which does require cleaning ever.

The gunk trapped in HOBs and canisters is still in the system. It is still exposed to the water column. As it rots away it still effects water quality. The only filter that actually removes the waste from the system is a protein skimmer because the skimmate is no longer in contact with the water column and therefore is actually removed from the system (but they don't work in freshwater, so not really relevant).

Natural is not an opinion. It is basic geology. In order for gravel to be a substrate in nature the water has to be moving so fast that sand can't settle. Very few of the fish in the hobby are from waters that move this fast. Almost all the fish in the hobby are from waters that naturally have sand (or finer, like silt or even mud) as a substrate.

I have been using sand for 5-6 years now and you do not have to clean it. Sand keeps everything on top so that one of two things happen. If you have enough flow debris keeps moving until the filters trap it. If you don't have enough flow you end up with a couple spots where debris settles. Those spots are easily siphoned in a few seconds at the very beginning of a water change. So, yes, you may have to spend a few seconds siphoning if you don't have enough flow. Or you can stick with gravel and spend the entire water change vacuuming the gravel.

Yes, I have run UGFs and RUGFs with proper flow. They need to be vacuumed every single week. When neglected they do more harm and it is almost impossible to catch up again without major work in the tank.

With all the better options out there, and sand, it simply makes no sense to me to use UGFs anymore.

Have you ever used sand?
..lake ouachita is all rock/ pebble bottom and its a deep lake not a rushing river.

And i dont understand how sand doesnt ever need cleaning? I still vacuum mine
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