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Old 04-18-2011, 02:49 PM   #11
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Do you mean leave the plates in place, but don't have any powerheads running the UGF? I would not suggest that. Crud will build up under the plates, and provide a prime breeding place for some very undesirable bacteria.

A UGF system with a high volume of water being pulled through the gravel IS a good backup filter if the HOB or cannister fails...but it can do nothing if water is not actively being pulled thru the gravel.
Do you mean leave the plates in place, but don't have any powerheads running the UGF? I would not suggest that. Crud will build up under the plates, and provide a prime breeding place for some very undesirable bacteria.

A UGF system with a high volume of water being pulled through the gravel IS a good backup filter if the HOB or cannister fails...but it can do nothing if water is not actively being pulled thru the gravel.
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Do you mean leave the plates in place, but don't have any powerheads running the UGF? I would not suggest that. Crud will build up under the plates, and provide a prime breeding place for some very undesirable bacteria. A UGF system with a high volume of water being pulled through the gravel IS a good backup filter if the HOB or cannister fails...but it can do nothing if water is not actively being pulled thru the gravel
What I should have written is: It can be set up almost instantly as a backup filtration system.

Debris under a ugf that is not in use (no powerhead, airstone, etc.) are very easily vacuumed out by removing a cap and placing the vac's nozzle over the hole.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:07 PM   #12
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I had a UGF on a 10 gallon tank years ago, with a HOB. The powerhead died, and I had no money to replace it, so I capped the hole and sort of forgot about it. The tank was on a metal stand that allowed me to see thru the bottom of the tank, and gave a perfect view of the underside of the UGF plate. About two months after the powerhead died, I was cleaning the floor under the stand and just happened to look up...and was treated to the lovely sight of a thick layer of brown scum under the plate. I knew that had to be bad, so I removed the fish and tried to suck it out with a basic gravel cleaner (not a python), placed over the hole. That cleared a half circle of about 6 inches, so I removed the other cap and repeated the process. Nothing I could do would get the crud at the front of the tank, away from the hole. I even tried threading airline tubing under the plate, as a mini siphon...no success. Eventually, I took everything out of the tank, and rinsed everything, replaced the plate, bought a cheap powerhead, and put the fish back. Big pain in the butt.

BUT, I learned something from it all. Without a powerhead, crud will build up, fast, and it is hard to get it all out. (And it would be just as hard with a bigger tank, even with a python at full blast.) That amount of rotting biological material has to be a ticking time bomb in an enclosed ecosystem, like a tank. I, personally, would never leave a UGF plate in a tank without a serious powerhead (or 2) on it.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glassbird View Post
???

Do you mean leave the plates in place, but don't have any powerheads running the UGF? I would not suggest that. Crud will build up under the plates, and provide a prime breeding place for some very undesirable bacteria.

A UGF system with a high volume of water being pulled through the gravel IS a good backup filter if the HOB or cannister fails...but it can do nothing if water is not actively being pulled thru the gravel.
I agree, either keep the UGF running or remove it.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:26 PM   #14
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+1 on removing the UGF. I had one in my 84 gallon tank with 4 ph's on it. It still built up a layer of scum, despite water changes and gravel vac's. When I decided to get rid of the UGF for a cannister (not knowing the scum was under there, so didnt take the fish out) I stirred it up and killed my fish before I could even do a water change to get the stuff out. Get a good HOB and be diligent about vaccing and water changes and you will be golden. You could even go with one of the smaller canisters on a 29G.
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