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Old 02-08-2005, 08:44 PM   #1
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Undergravel Filters: Yes or No

Do you use or like under gravel filters? Do you find them neccesary or dramatically helpful? I'm deciding on a filtration system for my 55g tank, and I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts over them.
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Old 02-08-2005, 08:47 PM   #2
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If you can afford it get yourself a canister. You can add a HOB filter and do without the UGF.
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Old 02-08-2005, 08:48 PM   #3
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Id say no

they make more of a (hidden) mess than being productive
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Old 02-08-2005, 08:53 PM   #4
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I know that they are pretty unpopular with many people but I have used undergravel filters almost exclusively in all of my freshwater tanks. With regular vacuuming, I've had good luck with them.
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Old 02-08-2005, 09:03 PM   #5
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I use them in every tank I have.

The reason the are unpopular is because people do not know how to use one properly. They take weekly maintenance or even bi weekly depending on bio load. If your not into vaccuming and changing water at least once a week then UGF's prbably are not for you.

Using a power head(s) with a UGF an excellent way togo. one of the keys is water flow through the gravel and plates. Having a hanging filter to clean up solid wastes also helps.

Also having a few trumpet cone snails helps with keeping the garbage cleaned up in the gravel and turning it over.

Anyhow UGF's provide excellent Bio filtration if cared for properly. I have two tanks that having been going for over 3 years with no problems.
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Old 02-08-2005, 09:28 PM   #6
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UGF's are pretty much disliked by most it seems, but they do have their Proponents, e.g. FancyGuppyGuy, who swear by'em.
IMO it seems the general consensus has swung to the negative about UGF's and I personally don't use'em any longer.

I prefer HOB power filters with bio-wheels for my current tanks and if I go larger (120/125gal dreams) I'll add canister filtration alongside the HBO's.
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Old 02-08-2005, 09:31 PM   #7
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Also if you are planning on having live plants an ugf would not be a good idea
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Old 02-08-2005, 09:36 PM   #8
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I know people with UGF that have Live plants and it works just fine.

Once again this seems to be a choice and not a fact.

I will say this UGF's offer more Bio-filtration than just about any filter out there.

2-3 inches thick and the entire bottom of the tank. Thats the amount of bio filtration you get.

Of course I guess I am abit different than alot of people

I use Carbon.
I use UGF's.
I use extra filters ( HOB and Sponge on intakes ).
I use lots of aireation.
I change water and vaccum 1-2 times a week or more.
I feed my fish 4-5 times daily.
I keep about 4-5" of fish per gallon.
I turn off filtration and aireation when feeding.
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Old 02-08-2005, 09:47 PM   #9
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UGF's also do not go well with fish that like to dig.
e.g. Cichlids, Loaches and so on...

Planted tanks -n- UGF's... Thats like religion -n- politics, guaranteed to start arguements amongst planted tank aficionados.
I think that for some types of plants and some types of substrate it may work just fine.
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Old 02-08-2005, 10:01 PM   #10
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Well UGF's and sand substrates do not do well together I have had loaches with gravel and UGF's they did fine even though thats not the perfect set up for them.

As far as plants go thats up to choice. some plants may not do well with UGF's but I think its more about the roots growing into the UGF that causes some problems for people. It may be there isnt enough nutrients for some plants in the gravel which is always vaccumed with a UGF.
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Old 02-08-2005, 10:25 PM   #11
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I just took out the ugf from my 10 gal tank and what a horrid mess that was. i change the cartidges regularly and do everything that I'm supposed to do, but it just didn't work for me. Like it's been said before, it's just a matter of opinion.
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Old 02-09-2005, 01:08 AM   #12
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I've always have good luck with UGF when used with a power head or some kind of mechanical suction (like a cannister filter). I don't think the air bubble drive that most of them come with can provide enough water movement through the grave to be effective. I don't think I would use a UGF by itself, only as an adjunct to another filter. When I've torn down tanks, I've never found a bunch of junk or unknown creatures under my UGF. I've always lightly vaccumed and done PWC. JMO
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Old 02-09-2005, 03:05 PM   #13
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I used to have cichlids in a tank with UGF <<<dummy . They would dig all the way to UGF and if there is no gravel in one spot where do you thing the water flow is. You get no filtration if the water is not pulled over the gravel.

But that is not to say UGF has no value, I think in a nice community tank it is great. You have to set the tank to fit your fish. Or get fish that fit your setup. UGF is not for every fish or everybody. Some are not as religious about PWC's as FGG.
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Ray

90 gal
9 L. Cearuleus
5 C. Moorii
4 P. Acei
2 N. Venustus
2 I. Sprengerae
1 unidentified Mbuna
1 Peacock with a slightly deformed tail.
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Old 02-09-2005, 06:00 PM   #14
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would Cory Cats have a problem with UGF?
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