Undergravel Filtration
Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources » Freshwater Fish and Aquariums » Beginner Freshwater Aquarium » Freshwater Aquarium Equipment » Undergravel Filtration

Undergravel Filtration

This is a discussion on Undergravel Filtration within the Freshwater Aquarium Equipment forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Hi, I'm starting up my new 55 gallon tank and getting it ready to be cycled. I just had a few questions if anyone ...

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools vBmenu Seperating Image Search this Thread vBmenu Seperating Image
Undergravel Filtration
Old 10-22-2008, 01:36 AM   #1
 
Undergravel Filtration

Hi, I'm starting up my new 55 gallon tank and getting it ready to be cycled. I just had a few questions if anyone knew about it or if they experienced undergravel filtration. I was reading online that there is a controversy about using it and wanted to know how others felt before I bought one. If I don't need it, then I will just disregard it and use a regular filter such as Aquaclear. Appreciate any suggestions or advice.
lokalboy808 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2008, 07:33 AM   #2
 
Tyyrlym's Avatar
 
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.
Tyyrlym is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2008, 12:53 PM   #3
 
WisFish's Avatar
 
Undergravel filters work fine. That's the primary filter I've used on my 55gal tank for the last 25 years. It works great as a biological filter. The pros are it's never leaked, it's cheap, easy to maintain, I've never had a problem with surface scum and it provides great surface area for the biological filter since it uses the gravel for this medium. All you have to do is vacuum the gravel with a suction hose when you do your water changes.
Undergravel filters are not great however for MOST planted tanks. That because some plants don't like their roots disturbed by the vacuuming. And if you don't vacuum the gravel, the filter basically starts to clog.
So if you look at my pictures in my profile, you'll see that I added a canister filter two months ago because I decided to add more varieties of plants. That made it more difficult to vacuum the gravel. But I still use the UGF.
WisFish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2008, 05:01 PM   #4
 
Twistersmom's Avatar
 
I have a 65gal with undergravel filter, and a 210 without. Both cycled in about the same amount of time. I prefer the tank without the underground filter. Not nearly as much dirt in the gravel. Easier to clean out. Would rather have most of my dirt in the filter. Both tanks maintain a good biological cycle with weekly water changes.
Twistersmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2008, 07:53 AM   #5
 
Twistersmom's Avatar
 
Thought I would ramble on a little more. When my power went out for 5 days, ammonia and nitrites where higher in my 65gal with underground filter. Both tanks are evenly stocked for their size. I felt all the dirt that was no longer being sucked into the gravel, may had contributed to the problem. If your buying a new filter, might want to consider an Emperor or Marineland Bio-wheel filter. Great filters!

Last edited by Twistersmom; 10-07-2009 at 07:45 PM..
Twistersmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2008, 10:19 AM   #6
 
WisFish's Avatar
 
I'll ramble too. I wasn't necessarily recommending an UGF. But like any filter, they work great if you clean them as recommended. I've never had any problems with them. All I do is change the air stones every other month. I also have a HOB and Canister filter. Each have their pros and cons. I just wanted to make sure people understood that UGFs are not obsolete.
WisFish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2009, 03:29 PM   #7
 
bearwithfish's Avatar
 
if i may add to this one, we had an UGF and it did help the tank look good but it also became very difficult to get rid of Ick when some thoughtful relative gave us a fish from a store that had contaminated tanks! besides if you get a good HOB filter and utilize a secondary filter you will have an easier time maintaining them. :)
bearwithfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2009, 03:18 PM   #8
 
I like to use a power head with my UGF. They are not that expensive and they provide better filtering and more stock. I used a air pump for two months and found that I had to change the water every other day. With the powerhead I noticed better quality of water less water changes. I upgraded to a powerhead for only $20 bucks @ walmart and its garenteeded 170 GPH. The vacuum once every other week to prevent build up. I have not had a problem yet. I love my UGF I enjoy my super clear tank.
GOURAMIKEEPER83 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2009, 03:21 PM   #9
 
Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOURAMIKEEPER83 View Post
I like to use a power head with my UGF. They are not that expensive and they provide better filtering and more stock. I used a air pump for two months and found that I had to change the water every other day. With the powerhead I noticed better quality of water less water changes. I upgraded to a powerhead for only $20 bucks @ walmart and its garenteeded 170 GPH. The vacuum once every other week to prevent build up. I have not had a problem yet. I love my UGF I enjoy my super clear tank.
I also still use my air pump to provide lovley looking bubbles to also aid in oxygen exchange. Looks really good. I got pictures on profile.
GOURAMIKEEPER83 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2009, 03:43 PM   #10
 
adiumroot's Avatar
 
UGFs work for biological filtration, no question about that. However, there's the cleaning issue. That's why I'd rather stick with the other types of filters. Sponge filters for smaller tanks while overhead or canister for larger tanks. HOBs are kinda expensive here so I don't include them in my options.

Kinda off topic, but I've seen a planted tank owner who uses UGFs and swears by it. I don't know. I'm not into planteds. (I have plants but they're stuck in pots or tied to driftwood/rocks)
adiumroot is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
undergravel cannister esteenson88 Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 6 12-29-2008 01:43 PM
Undergravel Filtration lokalboy808 Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 15 10-27-2008 12:14 AM
Undergravel filters azzajay Freshwater Aquarium Equipment 1 05-11-2008 05:54 AM
DIY undergravel filter help Monsterpony DIY Aquarium 3 03-19-2008 10:58 PM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:27 AM.