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Old 08-22-2005, 12:42 AM   #1
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UGFs are nitrate factories?

I know that UGFs are the old fashioned filter systems and people here advise against them. 8O I just wanted to understand better why. I have a UGF running on a 30 gallon (with HOB) and I'm going to revamp the entire tank. Is it really a good idea to just ditch the UGF?

1. Nitrates. People call UGFs nitrate factories. How do they produce more nitrates than other filtration? (links?)

2. Nitrifing bacteria. I was told that UGFs provide great nitrification because it uses the entire gravel bed to house bacteria -- superior to what any HOB could provide. For tanks w/o UGF, are there fewer places the house nitrifying bacteria?

3. HOB. I have a whisper 20-40 gallon power filter. Will this alone provide adequate or better filtration than a UGF?

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Old 08-22-2005, 01:21 AM   #2
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Re: UGFs are nitrate factories?

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolchinchilla
Is it really a good idea to just ditch the UGF?
Yep.

Quote:
1. Nitrates. People call UGFs nitrate factories. How do they produce more nitrates than other filtration? (links?)
Mulm...its all in the mulm. The mulm that builds up under a UGF becomes a souerce of nitrate...you don't get this sort of volume build-up with a power or canister filter.

Quote:
2. Nitrifing bacteria. I was told that UGFs provide great nitrification because it uses the entire gravel bed to house bacteria -- superior to what any HOB could provide. For tanks w/o UGF, are there fewer places the house nitrifying bacteria?
Yes and no. using a UGF (particulatly when powered by powerheads and in a larger tank), there is a lot of gravel to provide surface area for bacterial population, but this is lessened with more smooth gravel. You can come close so long as your power/canister filter has a lot of volume for media and you fill it up with sponges and biomedia (which have a far greater surface area than even 5x the same volume of gravel).

Quote:
3. HOB. I have a whisper 20-40 gallon power filter. Will this alone provide adequate or better filtration than a UGF?
Likely better, since it is moving more water. Personally, I prefer HOBs that allow you to fill ample media areas with lots of sponge blocks and biomedia (like an AquaClear 300 would).
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Old 08-22-2005, 10:03 AM   #3
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In addition, HOB's and other filters provide more circulation in the water, that an airstone driven UGF just can't do.
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Old 08-22-2005, 12:21 PM   #4
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Even with reverse flow and powerheads with pre-filter sponges.. the gravel just doesnt have that much surfase area to go through all that work to utilize IMO..
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Old 08-22-2005, 01:15 PM   #5
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Question(again lol): What's mulm? o.o
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Old 08-22-2005, 01:18 PM   #6
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Mulm is the fish poop and old food etc. that builds up in the gravel. It is the stuff you vacuum out.
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Old 08-22-2005, 08:34 PM   #7
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Ok... Thanks for your responses everyone. I'm definately going to get rid of the UGF. Even so, I'm still missing something in the logic here.

So the problem with the mulm is that it isn't vacummed out that well so stays in the gravel. Mulm breaks down into ammonia and the nitrification bacteria break it down into nitrite and then nitrate. Then water changes remove the nitrates. This is the normal process. Why is it that the mulm with a UGF produces more nitrates than with any other filter? The amount of fish waste/food is the same. Wouldn't the tank bacteria have to deal with the same amount of mulm regardless of filtration?
Thanks for your help.
a dense chinchilla here.
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:05 PM   #8
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Because of that 1-2cm space under the filter plate where great quantities of mulm can build-up.
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:38 PM   #9
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Coolchinchilla, this same question plagued me for a while. My only guess is that without a UGF, more poop/mulm is removed when vacuuming - this would lower the total bio-load on the tank.
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Old 08-23-2005, 01:19 AM   #10
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Ahhhhhhhhh..... Ok I get it now. Thanks for the replies. It helps me justify the work to re-do everything.

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