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Ipsissimus 02-04-2008 12:38 PM

Confirm my first 30gallon setup?
We have just purchased a used 30 gallon that has not been used in 3 years. It came with a LOT of accessories, parts and such. I can't be certain what some of the pieces go to.

Here is a list of the major equipment I have:

33 Gallon tank (36'' x 12'' x 18'')
2x 18'' Lights (think they're 20W)
2x Whisper 3 filters (think its an older less powerful version of this
36'' Undergravel filter /w 2 tubes
Penguin 550 Powerheard
Penguin 660R Powerheard
Hagen Elite 802 Air Pump
2x Hagen Optima 807 Air Pumps

I'm planning on doing a fishless cycle using both the Whisper 3 filters and the UGF with small pebbles as substrate.

From how the previous owner had it set-up it seems that both the 550 and 660 powerheads were put on the UGF in normal flow. I think I have all the parts to change the 660 to reverse flow though.

1. Should I try to set the 660 in reverse flow with the UGF, then use the 550 to just add a current/aeration to the water? Or use both powerheads for the UGF?

2. If I use the UGF in reverse mode will it be able to provide enough aeration for the tank?

3. With the 2 Whisper filters do I even Need to use the UGF?

4. What substrate should I use? Right now I'm planning on small rocks because that's what came with my tank. I'd like to eventually have some live plants. I've read of Flourite/Laterite and gravel mix, or Eco-Complete. What substrate would be good if I plan on using a UGF?

I'm new to aquariums but I'm pedantic and have been reading a lot. Would just like suggestions and critiques.

-- Thanks

okiemavis 02-04-2008 01:26 PM

Hello, I don't know anything about reverse flow (although I'm in the process of purchasing a 55 with UGF, so I'm sure I'll learn soon enough) but I'll help you with what I can.

As far as I know, any substrate works with an UGF, especially in reverse flow. I would think about what fish you want to have, as well as plants, to determine your substrate. For instance, if you want corys, you'll have to avoid gravel, so their barbs aren't injured. If you plan on doing a heavily planted tank, putting a good plant base in from the beginning is recommended. Plants use lots of nutrients from the substrate, like iron, which normal substrate is lacking in. You could do a layer of something like Eco-Complete and then a different substrate over it, or you could use a planted aquarium substrate with nothing over it. Personally, I love sand, but a lot of people have trouble with sand compacting around plants, which is problematic. Weekly stirring up of the sand and snails will help with that.

As for filtration, I'm of the opinion that it's almost impossible to over-filter. Most people who use UGF also use other filters, so I think I would continue to use the whispers. Do you know what the UGF and whipers are rated at for gallons per hour? 5-15 times the volume of the tank per hour is always good for keeping the parameters steady, but it really depends on the bio load of your tank.

Ipsissimus 02-04-2008 02:22 PM

After doing a bit of searching is seems that my Whisper 3 filters are now called Whisper 60, each meant for up to 60 gallons and pumps 330gph it seems. At least the newer versions do.

As for substrate I guess I should spend a little money now and get something more plant friendly than just these small pebbles I have.

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