05-25-2010, 07:58 PM
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I'm still fairly new myself, but I think a big part missing from this picture is what the tank has for inhabitants?
If it's not overstocked, the HOB should probably be able to manage, and especially if the tank is planted it should be fine.
As far as the UGF, I would say if you want to get rid of it, if I personally were doing it, i would think about rearranging the tank at the same time to make it a bit less annoying of a task, I would probably grab a 5 gallon bucket or two, and fill it with the tank water, grab all the decorations and store them in the water so the bacteria doesn't die, leaving just the substrate and the UGF, and pull the ugf out from under the substrate letting the gravel settle back to the bottom of the tank letting you pull the UGF out. I don't know how your UGF is, but it seems to me(again, someone who really doesn't have much knowledge on the subject) that this would be the best way to keep the bacteria from dying outside of the tankwater if that's even an issue.
Don't know if it would be necessary to take the UGF out one piece at a time over time to stop the bacteria colony from being cut short too quickly, but depending on the hardiness of the fish, and how much bacteria is on the gravel and decor I would imagine it would be just fine.
After 5 months I would also speculate that the HOB is well seeded now so that should also be good to go if you lose the UGF, and just how I am, if there was room to add more filtration to it, I would probably just add it to have it, since it's already there and won't take any space to be more efficient.
Again, I'm really still new myself, but from my view, it would seem the best thing would be to take out all the decor and store it in water from the tank, pull out the ugf leaving the substrate, redecorate the tank, and it would seem that would work just fine, the biggest factor from my thoughts are the fish in the tank being hardy enough to handle if there is a small ammonia spike, which I really don't see happening.
If you did that it'd also be a good time to add live plants to the tank if you did decide to do them, and redecorating a tank always sounds like a fun day to me.
And of course if you pulled out the UGF a good gravel vac of all the gravel would probably be a good idea.