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I'm planning on setting up a New 60gal Aquarium. I've been looking into undergravel filters and it seems like a very simple method. I've seen a lot of reviews and some love them and some hate them.
My question is does anyone here use them or have used them, and what are the pros and cons. I understand there are two kinds of UGFs: air stones and "Headers". Whats a header, and which one is more effective?
The main problem I keep reading about is that the waster gets clogged in the gravel and the bacteria die. Wouldnt a weekly vaccuuming fix that problem?
|Posted 07-Aug-2011 18:44|
Small Fry with Ketchup
I've seen the effects an unmaintained UGF has on a fishtank and it's not pretty!
I'll never use one, I find HOB filters simple, effective and really easy to maintain.
|Posted 09-Aug-2011 00:50|
Does the combination the the UGF and HOB do better than the HOB alone?
|Posted 09-Aug-2011 03:32|
I've been using UGF's for five decades. I currently have a well planted tank, and the UGF is terrific, providing a
healthy well fertilized substrate for my plants.
There are two ways to "power" a UGF, one way is with
airstones, and the other way is with a water pump called
a power "head" that wedges in the riser tubes. As the
bubbles rise in the tube it pulls the water down through
the gravel between the slats in the plates, and up the
riser into the tank where it cycles back down through
With the power head (water pump) it can either pull
water up the riser (as the bubbles do, but much,
much, more efficiently) or, you can force the tank
water down the riser where it then goes up through
the gravel into the tank, and then back down the
riser, etc. Once pumps, "power heads" became available,
I ditched the airstones in a "New York Instant" (really
fast) as the airstones, over time, become clogged with
bacterial growth and the number of bubbles become fewer
and fewer and the flow naturally reduces to where the
filter no longer works. Some airstones have a poor glue
holding the sand grains together, and over time the
stone disintegrates. Some "airstones" are pieces of wood
with small pores that the pump has to force air through
and these too, soon clog and need to be cleaned. Another
problem is that as the airstones clog, it forms a back
pressure that the air pump has to work against and the
pumps become more noisy than normal.
The traditional way for this type of filter to work is
for water to flow down through the gravel and up through
the tube, hence the term "riser". The opposite way,
of forcing the water down the tube and then up through
the gravel is termed a Reverse Flow Under Gravel Filter
With the normal flow, a sludge develops under the plates
and this can form a huge reservoir of nutrients for the
plant roots that descend through slits in in the plates
and into the sludge. This buildup of sludge can eventually
grow so thick that the flow through the filter is reduced,
as its efficiency. The RFUGF's do not have this problem
as the water flow is up through the gravel where regular
water changes, or a second filter will remove the detritus
from the water column.
The way to keep a tank with a UGF clean and maintained
is by performing regular water changes, the volume of which,
should be determined by the bioload of the tank. The more
the fish, or the larger the fish, then the larger the
volume of the water change. While performing the water
changes, you should also clean (vacuum) the gravel in the
non planted sections and in areas where there are ornaments
resting on the gravel (pick up the ornament, vacuum the
gravel under it, and then replace it). I use a Python
Siphon and push the head of it down through the gravel to
the plate of the filter. I do weekly water changes, and
with each change, I clean a quarter of the non-planted
sections of the tank. That way, over a month, or 4 water
changes, I have vacuumed every inch of the non planted
sections of the tank.
Hope this helps...
-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
|Posted 09-Aug-2011 06:41|
Small Fry with Ketchup
I was hoping Frank would chime in on this one
|Posted 10-Aug-2011 23:13|
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