Lengthwise under gravel filter setup
Hi y'all. I just started an aquarium, haven't had one for years. I'm not that good at it but I'm relearning.
What I wanted to chat about was a setup I "invented" to keep white clouds. I use an under gravel filter but it is attached to an exterior filter. The external filter pulls water through the gravel. It's not difficult to make the connection between the under gravel pipe and the filter intake. Currently I'm using a modified plastic water bottle top as the fitting to match them up.
In this setup the external filter is hung at one end of the tank so the return flow goes lengthwise into the tank, creating a flow kind of like a natural stream would be. White clouds are active swimmers and they enjoy swimming in place in the flow. The flow also circulates through the tank quite nicely.
it worked pretty well in my last tank (a 20L) a few years ago. My white clouds bred and stayed pretty healthy. My new 55 gal is set up the same way with an aqua-tech 20/40 external filter pulling water through the under gravel filter plates, with about 3 inches of 1/8 to 1/4 gravel above. The smaller filter is very quiet, which is also nice.
What do y'all think of this setup?
Cool idea! I like how well the filter on the side mimics a river with a nice long tank like yours.... I could see this as an awesome riparium-style aquarium!
The only thing that really gets me is that you are probably not going to get very even suction in the gravel (if that even matters). Of course this could be achieved by having 2 hobs facing forwards, but meh--- that would ruin the awesome river motif.
But I would most definitely invest in a better filter if I were you... the Aqua-Techs are alright HOBs, but leave a lot to be desired as far as water clarity. Plus, the carbon inserts are kind of a waste of money, as they will be neutralised by wastes in about three days. From then on, they basically just become mediocre (not to mention overpriced) bio-media. You are better off with an AquaClear IMO. Just put the carbon off to the side for removing meds or something and stuff some filter wool in it's place. It will be way cheaper in the long run, not to mention better.
To emphasise the river effect, I would add a powerhead, overfilter, or both.
Have you considered weather loaches as bottom feeders?
A better filter is a great idea. As I mentioned I'm just starting to get back into having aquariums, so I'm not up on all the available equipment. Maybe a powerhead is just the thing to really carry through on the river/stream motif. I looked at a couple of ripariums on the net and they look pretty cool, kind of a dual environment. Couple of frogs and hey, its a mini-Amazon river. Thanks for the advice.
I'm planning a simple population for this tank. Just a starter colony of 20 white clouds to breed up to whatever level they can stabilize at, and for the cleanup crew I plan on ghost shrimp. They get on well together according to info I looked up. Hope the shrimp don't eat all the eggs. :shock:
ps-the corkscrew vals and the 4-leaf clover should arrive tomorrow. it will be heavily planted when i'm done.
i must say i am not a fan of UGF but i love your idea of a mini river!!! i cant wait to hear how it comes out... BTW welcome to the forum :)
Using an UGF is fine. I've been using them for over 20 years. Never had one leak or break. I also like the idea of a river-like flow for the fish.
Having a flow for fish that come from faster flowing streams is perfect. You asked if this could be done with another type of filter, so I would suggest a good canister. The outflow from the filter can be either a spraybar of a direct current, and you can adjust it to shoot down the tank. Rena XP canisters have a control on the flow volume, I believe the new Eheims also do.
I used UG filters for years, but there is one very big drawback. If the filter should stop, say during a power outage, the aerobic bacteria in the substrate will fairly quickly die off, and pollute the aquarium seriously once the power is back on (and even before this). With an external canister, this can be prevented; after a power outage, simply shut it off and clean it out. Can't do that with a UG. But otherwise, they do a good job of clearing the water because the entire substrate is the media.
I went and got an aquaclear 70 outside filter. Currently fabricating 1 elbow and 1 tee from 1" tubing to connect the two end openings of the UGF to it as a sort of double intake on the filter end. YaY for dremel tools! When the silicone cures I'll put it in. I figure the double intake will get better filtration through he gravel and the larger pump will be stronger flow for the "stream effect."
@Byron - thanks for the tip on power outages and the die-off effect. It could easily happen.Yes i planned on the substrate being the main filter and even had an idea that it would be dynamic... meaning when the area that has the most flow now (perhaps closer to the intake) begins to fill with material, the intake would shift to the areas that were perhaps a bit less porous in the beginning. Just hope the power doesn't go out and kill all the poor liddle bacteria :roll:
I had the power go out for 1.5 days two years ago but I didn't lose any fish.
Anyway, you got my interest up.
I did find one article on this subject, although it's not the one I was thinking of; anyway, in her article "When the Power Goes Out" in the March 2009 issue of AFI, Lisa Newman mentions that canister filters (sealed from the air basically) can become anoxic in as little as 4 to 6 hours, depending upon how dirty the filter was when power went out.
If I am able to track down the other articles, I'll post again.
That makes sense to me. UGFs on the other hand have access to the Oxygen in the tank which means at least some of the bacteria should remain alive. If the power stayed out too long I suppose a gravel vac could be used to remove the toxins and avoid any issues. No matter what the filter, the "filter material" would need to be cleaned if the power were out for too long.
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