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.
I haven't bothered using an under gravel filter. So I can't really give you my opinion on it other then I haven't bothered with one due to the controversy I've heard about it. On a 55 gallon tank I would get a huge HOB and probably a canister filter too. But I really like over filtration. What are you planning on stocking the tank with?
Better you didn't get it, especially if you have fine substrate. It's supposed to be more for larger substrate, 4mm + ... This allows the filtration system to pick up all the crud that falls to the bottom to get filtered through. If your planting your aquarium don't get it, it will most likely damage the roots of all your plants. Otherwise you could always get it for added filtration:-)
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.
Right now, my 20 gallon tank houses an albino bichir, senegal bichir, albino rainbow shark, and a pleco. I'm going to eventually 5 tiger barbs, a clown loach, and debating whether or not an african brown knife. I am going to be planting my tank, so the undergravel filtration is out of the picture now. Plus, if it gets clogged and I would have to clean the whole tank just makes it seem like its not worth it. I was planning on getting AquaClear filters because that is what I have on my 20 gallon but how is the Penguin 200s amd Emperor 280's? Do you think that those filters are better than AquaClear? Thanks a lot for your guys help, really helped with my decision.
Loose the clown loach for sure. They need to be in shoals and your tank is not big enough for that. I wouldn't get the knife either, I'm pretty sure he would try to eat your bichirs. Unless they are bigger then the knife you would be bringing home.
Also the Senegal Bichir, lose it.... Way too big for a 20G. They can grow up to 15 inches long. That goes for both Bichirs. Also the Shark will need more space...... And so will a common Pleco...
Wow, that's is really bad man... None of the fish you currently have are suited to your size aquarium. Your going to need at least a 75G to house those guys.... Forget a Clown loach, no chance of putting one of those in even a 75G. They need 100G +.
You have a lot of bottom dwelling fish as it is. I would not add any more, infact trimming down is a good idea. I think once the tank is cycled the barbs will be a good idea.
Forget the fact that their bottom dwelling fish Crisseh... The fish can't even fit in his tank! I think we need proper sized fish first before we can even start to complaing about to many bottom dwellers (and for your information, all the coolest fish are bottom dwellers, lol!)
I agree with those above. Most of the fish you listed would be much better suited for a larger tank. you might consider one of the smaller plecos such as a clown pleco or bristlenose and if you were to go with fine gravel or sand a school of five or six pygmey cory cats would be entertaining as well as help clean the bottom.:-D
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