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Old 04-18-2012, 01:34 PM   #1
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Question About Removing an UGF

Hello!

i have a faily new fishtank, been running for maybe 2 months and i have 2 female guppies, 2 corys (1 peppered, and 1 juli) and like 8 guppy fry.... dont ask. its a 10 gallon tank, i have an UGF, 2 live plants about full grown i think and about 5 plant bulbs i placed in it about 2-3 days ago. i have a big heater mainly cause my room gets real cold and i had a smaller one that couldnt keep up with the temp change. the big one works perfect. i also have a i think its called a hang in the back filter. the tank looks really clean, never cloudy, only time i see particles floating around is when i feed them, and since i just bought the 2 corys... i bought them with the plant bulbs, i havent seen alot of particles on the gravel. i still have yet to vaccum it but i rinsed the hang in he back filter once, and i do a 15% weekly water change. tanks also finished cycling.

well i read that corys dont really like gravel cause there barbs and bellys after i bought them. i also read in the long run UGF cause a whole mess of problems. so i want to get rid of it however, i really dont want to take apart my whole tank to get the plates out and i think my two full plants might have already rooted through the little holes so i dont want to risk killing them. i also want to mix sand with the gravel to gett a more natural look and make the corys happy. With that being said, instead of taking apart my tank, can i just turn the UGF off, remover the 2 clear tubes from the corners, and put an airstone somewhere in the tank for Oxygen, and just put sand in with the plates still in the tank. I also read that UGF are good biological filters, so removing it now can cause problems anyway. So can i just turn it off? or just leave it running and dont get sand.

Also one last question , my two corys, i dont think they really like each other since they normally dont hang out like i thought the would. I asked the guy at petsmart if 2 different corys would school together, he said yes so i went ahead and got two diferent kinds. Now all they do is swim on oppisite sides of the tank, up and down the glass, unless its feeding time then the stay at the bottem. Is this normal cause they are new or are they slowly dieing. I would just get a bigger tank and get more, but i dont have the space to bet even a 20 gallon. Thank you for your help guys. I like this forum btw, its seems really helpful.
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:06 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.

Corys are a species that does require a group of at least 3, preferably 5, even more is better. That's why the 2 you have are acting out. That said, a 10 gallon tank should not have either corys species that you have in it. You could do a school of pygmy corys in there.

If I were you, I'd just rip up the entire UGF. The tank isn't old enough for the roots of your plants to really have created too much of an issue. Plus, even if some roots rip off, your plants will survive.

You should be doing weekly water changes of 50%. You say you've only done one? What are your readings for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH?

Female guppies can hold onto sperm for 6 months, I believe. Don't be surprised if you have more fry.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:01 PM   #3
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Personally, I would fill a 5 gallon bucket with tank water, move the fish, plants, HOB filter and small heater to the bucket. Drain the rest of the water, remove the gravel, and then pull out the UGF. Once you've done that, then you can replace the substrate totally with sand or do a sand/gravel mix as you desire, refill with water, replant the plants and then add the fish back in.

Regardless of which way you do it, you will need to keep an eye on your ammonia and nitrite, and nitrate levels once your done, even though the tank is currently cycled, as going strictly to the HOB for filtration may require that you give the bacteria some time to catch up with the bioload. Right now with the UGF, you have a lot of bacteria working for you in the gravel bed, removing those bacteria (regardless of how you do it), is going to lead to an imbalance between the bacteria and the current bioload.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:18 PM   #4
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Well i did decide to return the cat fish to petsmart and get the smaller ones... i didnt realize how small they were... so i got 4 of them. I also noticed they had alot of 20 gallon tanks at the other store i went to... dont look much bigger in terms of space then the one i have now... so i might just buy that and start over with sand and no udf.
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