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Old 11-27-2011, 10:36 AM   #41
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I graduated 3 years ago, not 25. I completely understand that science changes over time though.

Unless all of a sudden slower water keeps things moving and suspended and fast moving water drops sand, silt, and mud, that fact will not change.

NLS=New Life Spectrum. IME it is by far the best food out there. I say that and bring it up when food is discussed. Some people who are more active and disagree with it get annoyed because they see it so much. I am more vocal about it and active on the forum so other more active people (like mods and very active members) see it more (usually coming from me). Usually it stays to debates where diet is actually being discussed, but obviously not always.

Estes Marine Sand is also know as Ultra Reef and Stoney River. It is a certain type of sand that I have been using for 5-6 years now and it is the only one I recommend. It is very uniform in size and the perfect size. It also gives color options that you can't usually find in cheapo sands that are not made for aquariums (like pool filter sand). Again, I bring it up when sand is being discussed and people who are more active and disagree get annoyed when they see it.

There are many things I have learned over fifteen years of fishkeeping. I have been a hobbyist, store employee, dept manager, store manager, and now own my own aquarium maintenance company. I also had an article published in this year's Aquarium Fish International magazine and have two or three accepted by and awaiting publication in Tropical Fish Hobbyist. The things I have learned from all of this allow me to have tanks that are very easy to maintain and allow the fish to thrive. The two most important are the quality of the food and water. Without these fish simply can't thrive long term. Sand allows my tanks to stay so clean that I never have to vacuum or do any other substrate maintenance. I try to share this experience with customers, clients, and other hobbyists. The problem is that many people argue against it because other methods are not so bad that they feel they are doing things just as well. I have tried and seen just about every type of setup out there, different diets, substrates, etc. There is a reason I do things the way I do, but some people just don't want to change, and that is okay for them, and usually okay enough for their fish.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:46 AM   #42
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It is not your intelligence, it is that you think that because you can think of SOME places that naturally have gravel that it disproves basic principles of geology. As stated, most fish in the hobby do not have gravel as a substrate in nature. They have sand (or finer). The fact that there are places with gravel is not argued against, but does not prove that most of the in the hobby do not have gravel naturally.
I believe this to be untrue, based on more than a few sources , those being people who have collected in the wild. There are many areas where sand doesn't occur naturally or in any significant amount relative to the rest of the substrate. We have thousands of lakes up here that you would be hard pressed to find any sand in. The ceynotes I saw in Mexico seemed pretty much bare of sand. The videos Rusty Wessel showed us of collecting spots in Mexico showed rocky river bottoms especially where the fish were. Oliver Lucanus' photos shot in the water indicated pretty much the same thing. Most fish relate to structure, other than open water fish, which we don't keep a lot of in the hobby. Structure can be rock wood or plants. I would guess that areas that were subject to glaciers would have a more varied mix of substrates than those that weren't. If you want to look at flowing water systems, that have bottoms of rock and sand, the areas with sand are generally pretty much devoid of life unless there is a lot of structure present in the form of rocks or wood. So, I would say that sand is not a natural bottom for many or even most of the fish we keep.
If you look at the history of the hobby, sand was probably used before gravel in tanks, until someone decided the benefits of gravel made it superior. Fact is that sand compacts, and the finer the sand, the harder it compacts. My experience with plants is that they root more easily in gravel and the heavier grains keep them rooted better when first planted. As well, if you look at the specialty plant substrates, the grain size would make them gravel rather than sand. Perhaps we need to define the point at which grain size differentiates between sand and gravel.
As far as UGFs go, I used them for many years, and found from observing beneath a tank that any build up could be removed with a siphon tube placed down to the bottom of the lift tube. Powerheads are not necessary for UGFs, and may in fact be counter productive. The local Big Al's has about 100 or more tanks with UGFs, all air powered. Most of those tanks are heavily stocked. Seems to work for them, as it did for many hobbyists for many years.
I recently had a chat with a long time, expert hobbyist who has bred many hundreds of species of fish, and at one point had 650 tanks, about UGFs, and he used hundreds of them. He just laughed when I mentioned the negative view most people have of them and replied that if the fish are breeding than they are happy, and he bred hundreds of species in UGF filtered tanks.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:08 PM   #43
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wow...I hate it when I find out after 20+ years all I have been doing is wrong, good thing my fish can't read *LOL* I like my UGF's, and like renegade I try to use them when I can, that said of 4 tanks up and running atm only one has it, two are hobs making a huge racket and one small tank running one of those inside boxes(this ones almost like a hob only tweaked a bit to sit in the tank)

gravel doesn't ALWAYS need fast moving water in nature, and several slow moving streams where I came from in CO-NE area prove this. Some plants work fine with a ugf IF you are willing to deal with them, heavy rooters have issues, but by and large any plant that gets the bulk of its needs from the water column will be fine in gravel.

and no matter what you put on the bottom of a tank, it WILL need vac'ed sooner or later... sorry only got 3 pages in and not going to read all of them *S*
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:54 PM   #44
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We have plenty of slow and fast moving streams/rivers out here in Colorado that have, ohmygosh, gravel!!!! Gravel, huge chunks of rock, more gravel, maybe silt along the sides, but yep, pretty sure the little pebble looking things are gravel.

Now on to the OP.

I've used UGFs and never had problems with them other than with my sword plant roots. I still have one going in a tank now while all my others have been removed. I've used them with power heads, pumps and even had one of my HOBs intake tube down in the UGFs filter tube.

I took them out due to preference, HOBs and canisters do a great job keeping the water column clean, it's easier now to keep my gravel clean, and my sword plants don't grow roots around them.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:57 PM   #45
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I get that OP has something to do with the topic posted...what does it mean exactly.
Is there a page or document somewhere with all these abbreviations on it?!!!!

I think after all the lively discussion I have decided I will definitely stick with the hob on my 20 gallon... I want to get some live plants, and try sand eventually too. I've never done either of those things. I would like to get a nice dark sand, to show off the silver color of the 5 year old black skirt tetras I was given not too long ago. But until I get the sand I had my husband buy some black gravel while he was out today...he's on his way home with it right now...Yay! Redecorating!
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:00 PM   #46
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While I'm on the topic of redecorating, I've got a really, really shy dwarf gourami. Should I leave him in the tank or put him in a separate bucket while I do all this?
Or am I opening up a whole new can of worms now?!!!
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:22 PM   #47
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I will stick to my easier to maintain, more natural, more enjoyable tanks. Others can stick to not changing anything.
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:18 PM   #48
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Most aquarium fish don't come from higher flow mountain streams, or Colorado. Most come from rivers that are too slow moving to have gravel. A sand substrate doesn't imply no decor, so that is irrelevant.

Yes, people use UGFs. Yes, obviously the people who do use them like them. That example is perfect to show the reasons why people like it. It is cheap. When you run a facility with hundreds of tanks, it is nice and cheap to use only air powered filtration. One huge air pump/blower/compressor and you can power your entire facility. When you run a facility you also have a staff of full time employees who have the time to vacuum those tanks enough to keep the UGFs clean. This however does not mean it is the best option for a hobbyist who wants an easily maintained tank. In addition, it also shows what I have seen, that most people who use UGFs have been using them since they were considered the best or one of the best options. They have been using them, figured out how to manage them well enough, and stick with them. They work, no one is arguing that. But that doesn't mean they are the best, especially in a hobbyist's tank. The only customers I have had ask about them are ones who have been out of the hobby for 10-20 years or more.

Sand doesn't compact, at least not the type I use and recommend. IME the usual complaints about sand have everything to do with the type of sand used, not sand in general, and are frequently just regurgitated by people who haven't even used sand at all.
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:02 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sisserydoo
While I'm on the topic of redecorating, I've got a really, really shy dwarf gourami. Should I leave him in the tank or put him in a separate bucket while I do all this?
Or am I opening up a whole new can of worms now?!!!
Please start a new thread instead of taking this one over.

And i agree with fishguys first paragraph, and never argued that
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:08 AM   #50
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Please start a new thread instead of taking this one over.

And i agree with fishguys first paragraph, and never argued that
As the OP, they have every right to ask that question in this thread.


I always think it's best to remove fish when making big changes like this in an aquarium... much less stressful that way, and you don't have to worry about them while you're moving everything around.
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