Originally Posted by Byron
I started in the hobby with UG filters, that was about all there was back then
. It took a lot of discussion from others to get me to change to canisters, but I did in the mid 1990's and am glad I did.
The main negative issue with the UG filter is that the substrate bed (gravel) is the filter media, and this can get clogged; and in a power outage it can be a disaster as the oxygen cannot get down to the bacteria and they die and pollute the tank.
As you have plants, they do your biological filtering. The filter equipment in a planted tank is solely there to move the water around, and strain particulate matter from the water as it passes through the pads/media. I would choose a good canister filter rated for the size of tank. I can discuss this more if you ask.
Thanks for the input, Byron (and everyone else).
I have a 33 long tank. It's the same size as a 55 but only 13" tall. Still pretty impressive but much easier to work in. I lost one of the 300GPH powerheads and didn't want to buy another one since the other 300GPH head and the 150GPH back filter was still plenty of flow. Actually, the tank was churning like a washing machine before the failure.
The fish like it much better now.
I did pipe the back filter intake to the non-working half of the UGF to compensate for the loss and it seems to be working great. REAL easy to do and only cost me 2 bucks for a piece of clear vinyl tubing at Lowe's. The only thing I like as well as my fish is saving money.
If the other head fails I might just buy another back filter and do this to the other side too. 2 bio-wheel filters sucking through the gravel would be pretty good filtration IMO.
I did some internet research and think UG filters are still ok with me. My plants are plastic and I wouldn't try to grow live ones anyway simply because of the high cost of decent lighting. I have all the equipment to clean gravel and it seems to me I would still have to do it, though admittedly not as often. I do have more time than money though.
Thanks again, and if anyone is curious, this trick did work out fine.