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Undergravel filters are not bad

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Undergravel filters are not bad
Old 12-08-2010, 07:59 PM   #11
 
I started in tropical fish in 1964 and went to work in a lfs in Campbell California. It was one of the largest tropical fish stores in California at the time and we had fresh and saltwater tanks. We imported marine fish from Oakinawa,The Phillapines and Singapore. Every tank in the store with the exception of the quarintine tanks in the back had undergravel filters.
As my interest and particapation in the hobby blossomed I increased my tanks at home to 30 and bred and raised many fish to sell to the store I worked in and other stores in the area. I ran a 130 tank hatchery for a friend for several years from '65 to '67 raising corys, Kissers, danios and angels to name a few. I used Metaframe Hatchery flats for grow out tanks and breeding tanks for the cors. Yep they all had underegravel filters.
The tanks all got regular water changes and at the end of a grow out cycle they were torn down and the gravel rinsed out before the next brood was placed in for growing to saleable size but they did a great job. In the hatchery flats I would grow angels to saleable size in 8 weeks and put approx 30 water sprite plantlets in the tank with flourescent lights over them and have some great looking sprite to sell when the angels were ready to market. Oh what fun.
I was out of the hobby for the last 10 or 15 years and just last spring I got my hands on a 30g long tank and set it up in my dining room. Got it at a yard sale so it came with a HOB power filter. I ordered a undergravel filter from a lfs because they don't stock them anymore. It is up and running with Water sprite, Cryptocorne wendtii, Hygrophila corymbosa 'siamensis'. I am using the HOB that came with the tank but I wouldn't want to do it W/O my trusty UG.

I realize that the majority of the hobbists use power HOB or canister filters exclusively nowadays but as was stated earlier in this thread, old school isn't always bad or even worse than the new stuff.
Glad to have someware to join in. Cpt Napa
PS now where the heck is that spell checker
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:53 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt NAPA View Post
I started in tropical fish in 1964 and went to work in a lfs in Campbell California. It was one of the largest tropical fish stores in California at the time and we had fresh and saltwater tanks. We imported marine fish from Oakinawa,The Phillapines and Singapore. Every tank in the store with the exception of the quarintine tanks in the back had undergravel filters.
As my interest and particapation in the hobby blossomed I increased my tanks at home to 30 and bred and raised many fish to sell to the store I worked in and other stores in the area. I ran a 130 tank hatchery for a friend for several years from '65 to '67 raising corys, Kissers, danios and angels to name a few. I used Metaframe Hatchery flats for grow out tanks and breeding tanks for the cors. Yep they all had underegravel filters.
The tanks all got regular water changes and at the end of a grow out cycle they were torn down and the gravel rinsed out before the next brood was placed in for growing to saleable size but they did a great job. In the hatchery flats I would grow angels to saleable size in 8 weeks and put approx 30 water sprite plantlets in the tank with flourescent lights over them and have some great looking sprite to sell when the angels were ready to market. Oh what fun.
I was out of the hobby for the last 10 or 15 years and just last spring I got my hands on a 30g long tank and set it up in my dining room. Got it at a yard sale so it came with a HOB power filter. I ordered a undergravel filter from a lfs because they don't stock them anymore. It is up and running with Water sprite, Cryptocorne wendtii, Hygrophila corymbosa 'siamensis'. I am using the HOB that came with the tank but I wouldn't want to do it W/O my trusty UG.

I realize that the majority of the hobbists use power HOB or canister filters exclusively nowadays but as was stated earlier in this thread, old school isn't always bad or even worse than the new stuff.
Glad to have someware to join in. Cpt Napa
PS now where the heck is that spell checker
You're right, they are really not as bad as people make them sound. I'm taking an aquatic biology class at my school and we have a little 10 gallon with a UG filter and it does great.
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Old 01-15-2011, 11:52 AM   #13
 
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Originally Posted by catdawg426 View Post
You're right, they are really not as bad as people make them sound. I'm taking an aquatic biology class at my school and we have a little 10 gallon with a UG filter and it does great.
I forgot I posted this and just remembered to come back and check out the comments.

Glad to see other experienced aquarists expressing opinions for and against. In the end it is all about whatever choice works for the individual and keeps their fish happy.

Cheers!

Ralph
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:13 AM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt NAPA View Post
I started in tropical fish in 1964 and went to work in a lfs in Campbell California. It was one of the largest tropical fish stores in California at the time and we had fresh and saltwater tanks. We imported marine fish from Oakinawa,The Phillapines and Singapore. Every tank in the store with the exception of the quarintine tanks in the back had undergravel filters.
As my interest and particapation in the hobby blossomed I increased my tanks at home to 30 and bred and raised many fish to sell to the store I worked in and other stores in the area. I ran a 130 tank hatchery for a friend for several years from '65 to '67 raising corys, Kissers, danios and angels to name a few. I used Metaframe Hatchery flats for grow out tanks and breeding tanks for the cors. Yep they all had underegravel filters.
The tanks all got regular water changes and at the end of a grow out cycle they were torn down and the gravel rinsed out before the next brood was placed in for growing to saleable size but they did a great job. In the hatchery flats I would grow angels to saleable size in 8 weeks and put approx 30 water sprite plantlets in the tank with flourescent lights over them and have some great looking sprite to sell when the angels were ready to market. Oh what fun.
I was out of the hobby for the last 10 or 15 years and just last spring I got my hands on a 30g long tank and set it up in my dining room. Got it at a yard sale so it came with a HOB power filter. I ordered a undergravel filter from a lfs because they don't stock them anymore. It is up and running with Water sprite, Cryptocorne wendtii, Hygrophila corymbosa 'siamensis'. I am using the HOB that came with the tank but I wouldn't want to do it W/O my trusty UG.

I realize that the majority of the hobbists use power HOB or canister filters exclusively nowadays but as was stated earlier in this thread, old school isn't always bad or even worse than the new stuff.
Glad to have someware to join in. Cpt Napa
PS now where the heck is that spell checker
Not all use the new HOB or Canister filters. Personally I do not use Under Gravel filters but that is because of issues with bacteria affecting the Caudal fin of Guppies. The build up of bacteria when a guppy goes to a gravel bed can affect or shred the Guppy Tail (speaking show stock here). There is even some books (by well known breeders) upon the subject.

However I choose to use Sponge filters or the old box filters for my breeding set ups for guppies with no substrate involved.

However for the species that you were breeding in this regard I would state that undergravel filters are a good form of biological filtration and many forget about the old ways involved in keeping fish. I too am a former pet shop employee
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:51 PM   #15
 
And that would be why guppies are loosing their status as "hardy" fish.
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:19 PM   #16
 
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I too have used UGF's on and off since the 70's.

I think UGF's are great, but can quickly fail if not setup and serviced properly.

UGF's are a great biological filter but come up short on mechanical, not because they don't do mechanical, but because they do.*
First, the UGF needs 2-3" of medium sized gravel - if the gravel is too coarse, excess food to quickly easily gets pulled under. If the gravel/sand is too fine, water flow gets restricted.
*Like all filters, the (gravel) media requires periodic cleaning to remove debris. This involves a gravel filter used at water changes.
I think where UGF's can fall down and fail for many is that they don't clean the filter and the debris decays and it becomes a nitrate factory.

What I find interesting is the lengths to which some folks go in canister and sumps in order to achieve what they believe is better bio-filtration...when it has been here all along.

I haven't used reverse flow, but see how that can work...but also see it working no better than conventional UGF with regular cleaning.
I tend to challenge the power head theory that more water faster is better. On the other hand, I subscribe to the theory that less (water) is more if/when filtration is better. I think the process works just fine/better with moving highly oxygenated water slowly through the filter bed.

Last edited by AbbeysDad; 03-29-2011 at 02:34 PM..
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:39 PM   #17
 
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Add me to the pro-UG list - at least in an non-planted tank. Had a commercial account I serviced in the 1980's with a cube 250 gallon. Pain in the butt to work in, but had 4 UG plates with 3' lift tubes (1/corner). Never had a water quality problem except when the bartenders would feed the Oscars pickled olives...

Only trick when servicing was to vacuum/siphon out the mulm under the plates each and every time! Also used a gravel cleaner.
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Old 03-31-2011, 12:23 AM   #18
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
I too have used UGF's on and off since the 70's.

I think UGF's are great, but can quickly fail if not setup and serviced properly.

UGF's are a great biological filter but come up short on mechanical, not because they don't do mechanical, but because they do.*
First, the UGF needs 2-3" of medium sized gravel - if the gravel is too coarse, excess food to quickly easily gets pulled under. If the gravel/sand is too fine, water flow gets restricted.
*Like all filters, the (gravel) media requires periodic cleaning to remove debris. This involves a gravel filter used at water changes.
I think where UGF's can fall down and fail for many is that they don't clean the filter and the debris decays and it becomes a nitrate factory.

What I find interesting is the lengths to which some folks go in canister and sumps in order to achieve what they believe is better bio-filtration...when it has been here all along.

I haven't used reverse flow, but see how that can work...but also see it working no better than conventional UGF with regular cleaning.
I tend to challenge the power head theory that more water faster is better. On the other hand, I subscribe to the theory that less (water) is more if/when filtration is better. I think the process works just fine/better with moving highly oxygenated water slowly through the filter bed.

Don't know why you would not favor
(Challenge) powerhead's with reverse flow capabilities(Have you tried it?) In undergravel filtration,
with traditional UG filter,dirt and debrii is pulled down into and under the plate which requires the reg maint you speak of to remove the crud( Anaerobic condition's)) that finds it's way under the plate.
With powerheads capable of reverse flow,, the water is pulled from the aquarium from atop the lift tubes via the powerheads in reverse flow, and water is pushed down and up under and through the plate, and no crud can collect there depending on the GPH rating of powerhead's used.
Does require pre-filter over the intake /output of powerheads assuming you wish for the inner workings of powerhead's to stay cleaner,longer.
Also need canister or HOB filter to clean the water that is being pushed back up through the substrate and once again pushed back down and under the plate. This is /should be,oxygen rich water.
Is very effective filtration for large fishes that produce a lot of waste both while eating,,and excretement. This waste is prevented from gathering on the substrate, down in substrate,/under filter plate, and water turnover is usually sufficient to keep particulates in the water coulmn for afore mentioned canister or HOB filter to clean.Just need to keep mechanical material in filter clean but otherwise,,no more difficult than other filter maint which should be cleaned regularly.
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:36 PM   #19
 
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Originally Posted by Mikaila31 View Post
And that would be why guppies are loosing their status as "hardy" fish.
The wild form guppy adapts to many water conditions in the wild and the aquarium world. However for show ornamental stock biological filtration affects many long finned species. More harm is actually done to many species in the case of fish farms using antibiotics and chemicals that have affected many species and not just the guppy as these situations affect many species immunity. This is more of a cause of the guppy loosing the hardy status as a lot of ornamental fishes that are bred by commercial fish farms that use this practice are affected. NOT JUST THE GUPPY!
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Old 04-05-2011, 03:26 PM   #20
 
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Originally Posted by fan4guppy View Post
The wild form guppy adapts to many water conditions in the wild and the aquarium world. However for show ornamental stock biological filtration affects many long finned species. More harm is actually done to many species in the case of fish farms using antibiotics and chemicals that have affected many species and not just the guppy as these situations affect many species immunity. This is more of a cause of the guppy loosing the hardy status as a lot of ornamental fishes that are bred by commercial fish farms that use this practice are affected. NOT JUST THE GUPPY!
Concur - Folks (and commercial fish breeding industry) concentrate on breeding for specific traits and neglect the issue of inbreeding depression and overall species hardiness - same issue with many dog breeds. The expression "hybrid vigor" comes to mind. Less "pure" strains of dogs, and fish (= the "mutts") are often hardier.
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