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Old 04-17-2011, 10:46 AM   #1
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Undergravel filters??

So I am totally reaquascaping my freshwater tank for cichlids It has a undergravel filter and a hob whisper ex 45 Should I leave the under gravel or take it out??
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:04 AM   #2
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If the fish are diggers, and most cichlids do like to rescape, a UGF is not a great choice. If they dig down and expose the plates they render the filter ineffective.
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rscomia View Post
So I am totally reaquascaping my freshwater tank for cichlids It has a undergravel filter and a hob whisper ex 45 Should I leave the under gravel or take it out??
I'm not a big fan of UGF's just because them are made to collect detritus under the substrate and at some point I feel it becomes critical to remove it. IME 2 HOB filter are a much better option so i have lots of filtration and I can clean/service one and still be filtering the DT.
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:18 AM   #4
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Take it out. Go with sand, it is a better option with cichlids. It is much more natural for them.

What size tank?
What kind of cichlids?
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:21 AM   #5
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29 gallon tank with the intent of upgrades Im still resarching them to find what is best for the tank now I which ones i want
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:53 PM   #6
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I have never kept cichlids so I have no advice to add there, but I have had many UGFs over the years. If you choose to go that way, get at least 2 of the biggest powerheads you can find...don't bother with air stones. Using airstones will guarantee a build up of detritus under the plates.

Be sure to use a gravel cleaner well, and often. And have some other sort of filter too, either a HOB or a cannister. Your choice of gravel is important too. I have only ever used gravel of about 1/8th inch in size, but it has worked very well. Do not go any finer than that, or it might clog up the plates. Coarser might be ok, but I have had no experience with that.

And use tank-safe silicone to glue down any caps on the plate that will not have a riser tube and powerhead in it...especially if you have digging fish. One missing cap will give you a whole batch of troubles....
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:59 PM   #7
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Hmmm...on re-reading my post above, it sounds like I do not like UGFs! Not true! I was just going over the potential problems.

I removed a UGF plate from my 75 gallon tank last winter when I finally bought the Eheim 2028 that I had wanted for so long. But the next time I get the chance to pull the gravel out of that tank, the UGF plates will be going back in. Without the UGF in the tank, poop just lays on the surface of the gravel until it disintegrates...very pretty. When the UGF was running, that stuff vanished within a few hours. Same fish, same diet.
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:02 AM   #8
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If you aren't using sand (which is better for cichlids) I'd leave the ugf in, even if you don't run it. It acts as a built-in backup filter if your hob or cannister fails.
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Old 04-18-2011, 01:39 AM   #9
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If you aren't using sand (which is better for cichlids) I'd leave the ugf in, even if you don't run it. It acts as a built-in backup filter if your hob or cannister fails.
???

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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Old 04-18-2011, 07:54 AM   #10
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Definitely don't use UGF if you have sand, not going to end well.
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