10-22-2008, 08:33 AM
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I'll repost my reply from the equipment section.
I've had an undergravel filter before, quite a long time ago, and they're not something you use unless you have no other choice. They do an acceptable job filtering but are impossible to clean. The flow of water down through the gravel progressively draws gunk down through the gravel and eventually down into the plenum beneath the plates. No matter how much you vac the gravel you will still get crap building up underneath the plates. It becomes a nitrate factory and the only way to clean it out is to break down the entire tank, clean, and rebuild it. This is a lot of work, a complete pain, and your fish won't enjoy it either. Once you factor in the cost of an air pump, fittings, and air line I think you'll find that a good quality hang on back like a Penguin or Emperor from Marineland costs about the same and they'll do a better job for you.
Oh, if you have conventional 55 gallon tank that's four feet long I'd recommend getting two smaller filters instead of one large one. Two Penguin 200s or Emperor 280's. I have issues that my Penguin 300's intake tube is biased way to one side of my aquarium and I have a bit of a dead spot on the far side from it.
I just priced it out on Dr. Foster's. You can buy two Emperor 280's for the price of an undergravel set up. I'd pick up their specialty filter cartridges as well in order to save a lot of money compared to marineland's replaceable ones.
Last edited by Tyyrlym; 10-22-2008 at 08:40 AM..
Reason: Even More Info