05-08-2008, 11:42 PM
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Well, you have entered a subject that is very controversial and has many on all sides at odds. The subject of filtration is as diverse as the stars in the sky. And opinions number about the same.
Let's first identify the different types of filtration. They can be described as mechanical and biological. These can be further subdivided into air driven and pump driven. There is also chemical filtration but but this is usually use with mechanical filters.(example would be activated charcoal)
Many plant growers frown on the use of undergravel filters in planted tanks. Personally, I do use them in some of my tanks. I see no difference in the tanks that have ugf's and those that do not. But. I must also state that I am a promoter for the use of reverse flow. That may make a difference. I feel that the added filtration is better for the ecosystem than not having the bonus of an additional source of filtration. I also like using th reverse flow scheme in planted tanks as it keeps the bottom of the tank much cleaner and devoid of mulm. It creates an upward current that suspends particles for the other filters to trap.
I have used a "layered" system of filters and filtration for over 20 years and have promoted the use of such systems in all tanks, planted or unplanted. I "layer" the systems by utilizing a ugf w/ reverse flow, canisters, power filters, both internal and external. I do not use activated charcoal unless I am filtering out meds or some other treatment that has been used in the tank.
Layering the system allows you to do maintenance on a particular element of the system with out compromising the entire balance of the ecosystem. You can perform regular maintenance to the canisters and not potentially harm the biological balance of the bio-filter. layering also allows you to downsize the gph of each filter. Although you are using more filters each of these may be smaller due to the fact that you have more of them. I'm anal about filtration and don't downsize as much as I could.
To finally answer your question, yes, you can use an internal power filter, like a Fluval 2+ or 3+. But, I would suggest using a layered system with another type of filter. It could be an external power filter, canister, or a ugf.