power heads and undergravel filters
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power heads and undergravel filters

This is a discussion on power heads and undergravel filters within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I am starting up a 55 gallon tank, and am curious as to how an undergravel filter might work. I am going to have ...

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power heads and undergravel filters
Old 07-17-2010, 06:05 PM   #1
 
power heads and undergravel filters

I am starting up a 55 gallon tank, and am curious as to how an undergravel filter might work. I am going to have a powerhead running anyway, and figured I might give it a shot.

I also plan on using a HOB filter. The more filtration the better, right!

Does anyone use UG Filters anymore? Any complaints, or suggestions? Thanks!

Also, if I go with an UG Filter, how much gravel do you put on it? Right now I have 55pouds of gravel, but I guess that would be too much on the filter.

BTW: plan on having danios, corys, and maybe a few pearl gouramis in the tank.

Last edited by notromt; 07-17-2010 at 06:10 PM..
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:22 PM   #2
 
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Hello, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Several issues here, and in one post. First I need to dispel the myth that more filtration is better for the fish. It plainly is not depending upon the fish species. Filtration depends (or should) on the fish that are to be housed in the aquarium. It is one of many things that determine compatibility of different fish in a community tank. But not to digress, the fish you mention are basically all from slow-moving streams and flooded forests. Some species of Corydoras occur in flowing streams, many do not, so the specific species makes a difference. Same with the danios. If you check our fish profiles [second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top, or within posts if the name is shaded you can click that to go to the profile for that fish] for the several Corydoras and danio species given, you will see some variation in water flow needs, so which ever you intend, that should be your guide. As for gourami, they all occur in still, often stagnant, ponds, ditches, pools in rice paddies, swamps--you get the picture. No water flow for them; it unnerves them, some species very much so.

I've mentioned water flow, and that is the critical issue; but more filters increases water flow, so they are related. Plus, with these fish you should have live plants. And that is another thing again. I discuss planted tank filtration in part 3 of the 4-part series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" so that will explain this further. Here's a direct link:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...um-part-34858/

Personally I would never use a HOB filter with a planted tank or these types of fish. The flow is basically uncontrollable. A canister works better, or even a sponge filter. The plants do most of the filtration (keeping the water clean) so the filter's job is merely to circulate it and remove suspended particles (the "clear" aspect). And gentle currents help plants too, as noted in that article.

As for undergravel filtration, I would not recommend it for a planted tank. In non-planted tanks it is a good filtration system, with some issues that must be recognized. If the power goes off for extended periods (a few hours) the bacteria in the substrate can die from lack of oxygen. That can pollute the tank and kill the fish. With external canisters you can always clean them before re-starting to avoid this.

Hope this makes sense; follow-up questions gladly welcomed.

Byron.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:32 PM   #3
 
Hmm... with the different flow levels, I suppose that I will shy away from the pearl gouramis then. I do not plan on having live plants, I will be using artificial.

So, now without the gouramis, and knowing that I will be having danios and corys, is a UGF a good idea? I do plan on using a HOB filter. I had this tank set up for about 4 years with danios and corys before, using only the HOB filter and had no problems at all.

I could not use a powerhead and use an airstone bar, and a couple small airstones if that would be better. I do have some extra equipment around.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:45 PM   #4
 
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Originally Posted by notromt View Post
Hmm... with the different flow levels, I suppose that I will shy away from the pearl gouramis then. I do not plan on having live plants, I will be using artificial.

So, now without the gouramis, and knowing that I will be having danios and corys, is a UGF a good idea? I do plan on using a HOB filter. I had this tank set up for about 4 years with danios and corys before, using only the HOB filter and had no problems at all.

I could not use a powerhead and use an airstone bar, and a couple small airstones if that would be better. I do have some extra equipment around.
Are the fish from the previous setup still alive?
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:53 PM   #5
 
I guess I should have made it clear. The tank was up and running for about 4 years, but was taken down about a year ago. Some of the fish died, but the ones that were still alive I was able to transfer to a friends tank.

So, right now the tank is empty, no water in it even. I am about to go on vacation, and plan on starting a fishless cycle as soon as I get back.
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:17 PM   #6
 
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I asked "tongue in cheek" so to speak. I was picking up on your comment that with all the water flow the fish had no problems. How do we know that? I believe it does make a difference, and one we can't see except when the fish dies before its time and we put it down to something unknown. Fish fighting a current 24/7 are under considerable stress.

Is there a reason you want all this filtration? The fish you name are not that much of an impact on the bioload, not above average anyway.
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:47 PM   #7
 
In another thread, someone mentioned that danios like to swim with a current, so since I was thinking about putting in a powerhead I figured I might as well see if a UGF would help.

So, I guess I won't use a UGF or powerhead, and just stick with my HOB, air pump, and some airstones.

Thanks for all the help. I appreciate you taking the time to give me some answers.
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:43 PM   #8
 
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Originally Posted by notromt View Post
In another thread, someone mentioned that danios like to swim with a current, so since I was thinking about putting in a powerhead I figured I might as well see if a UGF would help.

So, I guess I won't use a UGF or powerhead, and just stick with my HOB, air pump, and some airstones.

Thanks for all the help. I appreciate you taking the time to give me some answers.
Who mentioned danios like a current? If you read the profiles of the Danio species here, you will see this is not true. For example, under the Zebra Danio it cites a study by a biologist in their habitat that clearly shows this fish prefers quiet shaded pools.

I'm not meaning to belabour this, it is just that there is so much misinformation floating around and it is high time it was corrected. I too grew up thinking that danios are fast-water fish...but the evidence from those who observe these fish in their natural environments does not support this erroneous thinking.

For years books told us that marble hatchets like to swim in the current from the filter. Well, that is false. Not only do we have knowledgeable ichthyologists saying so, but I have this beautiful fish in my 115g which is set up to provide a slight current at one end (I have some fish that need this, like my spotted woodcats) and I can assure you the hatchets remain in the half of the tank where the water is calm, and rarely, very rarely, do they venture where there is even a slight current.

I appreciate you putting up with this; I have a well-founded belief that fish will be healthiest when we provide the environment they are programmed by nature to live in. And that is not difficult if we just research the fish.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:27 AM   #9
 
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As for undergravel filtration, I would not recommend it for a planted tank.

Hope this makes sense; follow-up questions gladly welcomed.

Byron.

I am going to have to disagree with you on this. I have always had UG filters in my planted tanks and the plants always do far better with them. I have one with two powerheads in my planted 60 right now and I didn't interconnect one center plate. Above that non-functioning plate the plants are 3-4 times SMALLER than the plants that are over functioning plates.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:21 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notromt View Post
I could not use a powerhead and use an airstone bar, and a couple small airstones if that would be better. I do have some extra equipment around.
A powerhead makes an UGF much more efficient but yes using airstones in the lifters would reduce the current.

I haven't used UGFs in years, I've become a canister and/or HOB waterfall style fan. Then again with my keeping oscars they tend to destroy UGF by digging into the gravel down to the plastic all the time.
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