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.