UG filter driven by back-hanging power filter? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 14 Old 11-13-2010, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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UG filter driven by back-hanging power filter?

This may be a dumb question, but has anyone ever piped the suction tube from their power filter on the back of the tank to the under gravel filter? Looks like a simple thing to do and I can't see why it wouldn't work.

Unless someone can tell me why this is a bad idea I think I might try it.

Ralph
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-13-2010, 11:28 PM
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My mother ran hers like that all the time! seemed to work great i think some are setup to run like that! i just would use a corse substrate for it!
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post #3 of 14 Old 11-13-2010, 11:32 PM
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HOB&UG Filter

yeah they work great if you like the under gravel filter...especialy if you can adjust the intake length...

...........
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post #4 of 14 Old 11-14-2010, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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yeah they work great if you like the under gravel filter...especialy if you can adjust the intake length...
Thanks, I thought it would work. I don't see why someone doesn't make a system for this already.

Now that you mention it, I do hate cleaning the gravel all the time and uprooting all the plants and decorations. What works as well for biological filtration but is easier to keep clean?

Maybe it's time I did a little research into the matter. I'm sure there are different options since I started using UG filters over 35 years ago. I've just been sticking with what I know and probably haven't kept up with the times. I'll surf the site a little for answers too.

Ralph
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post #5 of 14 Old 11-14-2010, 12:56 PM
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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.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

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 #6 of 14 Old 11-15-2010, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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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.

Byron.
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.

Ralph
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post #7 of 14 Old 11-16-2010, 02:44 AM
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Glad to hear that that works. It does seem a bit...genius.

I do want to point out that there are several well known and hardy plants that you can work with that don't require an expensive lighting setup. Check out Java Fern, Java Moss, and Anubius if/when you have a tank you want to try live plants in.

30g SE Asian Tank
15 Lambchop Rasbora
2 Gold White Cloud Minnows
3 Dwarf Chain Loaches
2 Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami

55g Amazon Tank
2 Wild Type Angels
1 Marble Angel
1 Black Angel
1 Koi Angel
2 Bolivian Rams
14 Pristella Tetra
10 Dwarf Pencilfish
2-3 Twig Catfish (to come)
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post #8 of 14 Old 11-21-2010, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Glad to hear that that works. It does seem a bit...genius.

I do want to point out that there are several well known and hardy plants that you can work with that don't require an expensive lighting setup. Check out Java Fern, Java Moss, and Anubius if/when you have a tank you want to try live plants in.
Thanks. I will look into those. I'm not against live plants; only against spending the money for fancy lights.

38 years in the hobby and counting
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post #9 of 14 Old 11-21-2010, 11:05 AM
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Thanks. I will look into those. I'm not against live plants; only against spending the money for fancy lights.
All you need is a good tube/bulbs. The existing fixture, assuming you have one, is sufficient. Fluorescent tubes or for incandescent fixtures compact fluorescent bulbs can be purchased in hardware stores for a fraction of the cost of so-called "aquarium" lights which often are less good anyway. Just make sure they are "daylight" or full spectrum with a kelvin rating around 6500K. I use hardware store tubes in my fluorescent fixtures and CF bulbs in my incandescent, and my photos show the lush plant growth I get.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

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 #10 of 14 Old 11-21-2010, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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All you need is a good tube/bulbs. The existing fixture, assuming you have one, is sufficient. Fluorescent tubes or for incandescent fixtures compact fluorescent bulbs can be purchased in hardware stores for a fraction of the cost of so-called "aquarium" lights which often are less good anyway. Just make sure they are "daylight" or full spectrum with a kelvin rating around 6500K. I use hardware store tubes in my fluorescent fixtures and CF bulbs in my incandescent, and my photos show the lush plant growth I get.

Byron.
Thanks, Byron. Your knowledge is impressive and your willingness to share it is appreciated.

I do have the standard light fixture that came with the hood. It houses one very old 48" full spectum bulb I bought at the aquarium store. These bulbs last a very long time and work great for showing off the fish for years, but I was under the impression that in order to grow full, healthy plants you had to change them often - something I am just not willing to do. They do seem to lose their "luster" after 6 months or so.

It is also a constant struggle for me to keep the glass underneath it clean enough to allow maximum light to penetrate the tank. Not a problem for viewing fish, but I felt not doing this all the time had to be bad for plants.

Am I wrong about any of this? How often do you change a bulb that is not completely blown?

Ralph

38 years in the hobby and counting
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