do I really need 2 filters? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 19 Old 05-23-2010, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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do I really need 2 filters?

I have a 55g tank that I've had for close to 20 years. I have an undergravel filter that I have had for the life of the tank, and I replaced my outside filter with a bio-filter about 5 months ago. When I do water changes I have a syphon that gets down in the gravel, but I noticed the caps on the undergravel filter are starting to crack so they come off periodically. I know gravel has gotten under the filter. Do you think the bio filter will be able to handle the job?
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post #2 of 19 Old 05-23-2010, 02:05 PM
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Hmm, hard to say, I'd try removing it slowly, or in pieces, to avoid a mini cycle.
PS, kinda weird you asking that in my thread.

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post #3 of 19 Old 05-23-2010, 03:18 PM
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Redpup, I've moved this to a new thread; more members will now see it and be able to contribute.

For my part, just a comment on the UG; if you decide to discontinue it, you will basically have to pull the tank apart because the substrate will need cleaning and the UG plate removed. The aerobic bacteria that has colonized the substrate all these years will die if deprived of oxygen.


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The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 19 Old 05-23-2010, 03:32 PM
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When you say you added a 'biofilter' what do you mean?

If you mean one of those HOB biofilters then it may be enough.

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post #5 of 19 Old 05-23-2010, 06:30 PM
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what size and type of HOB bio-filter are you talking about??

Before my conversion to a planted tank, I ran two Marineland 350's filters.

Letting us know what kind of filter you're talking about and we can all go from there. and I see you recently joined, so welcome!!!!!

“The space between the tears we cry is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more...."-- Dave Matthews
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post #6 of 19 Old 05-24-2010, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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My filter is an outside unit with a bio wheel. It has 2 filters in it, one on each side of the water tube and flow, and has the option of using 4 filters instead of just 2. My undergravel filter has a tube in each back corner of the tank. Each tube has a power head to filter water. All plants in tank are artifial, and I have been thinking of replacing with live plants.
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post #7 of 19 Old 05-25-2010, 05:54 AM
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Do you know the name of your filter? That would make life alot easier. It sounds like it could be a Marineland 350 HOB. Mine had a biowheel on either side and 4 slots of filter cartridges. If thats the case, you could get away with one, but two will work much better. It's better to have two filters working at half speed that one filter working overtime. Plus this way, if one were to fail you, you'd have a back up.

If you're contimplating a live plant aquaria, and you're looking at filters righ tnow anyway....if you have any ideas of going to a live planted tank, you should consider a cansiter filter.

“The space between the tears we cry is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more...."-- Dave Matthews
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post #8 of 19 Old 05-25-2010, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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It's a penguin Bio-Wheel 350. Right now I only have 2 filters in it, but it can hold 4.
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post #9 of 19 Old 05-25-2010, 06:58 PM
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.

Good luck.

And of course if you pulled out the UGF a good gravel vac of all the gravel would probably be a good idea.
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post #10 of 19 Old 05-25-2010, 07:22 PM
Yeah I removed a UGF from an old 55gal tank once, it was not fun. The tank was also neglected an their was a nice thick black sludge under the UGF trays. I would also remove the UGF though as they have some major draw backs. Or switch and run it as a "reverse UGF" this way it doesn't suck crap under the trays.

.... I'm probably drunk.

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