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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm returning for my fifth time in the hobby and in all my last incarnations, I would use an under gravel filter with a canister filter. I've owned a number of aquariums over my life, starting with a 5 gallon and ended with a 150 gallon. This time I'm thinking of a Tetra tank (our water here is naturally acidic so I thought I might as well take advantage of the situation), the tank will be smaller, probably a 33 gallon or 50 gallon tank set up in my bedroom.

My question is this, under gravel filters seems to be ebbing in use and I just read they are not recommended in a heavily planted aquarium such as I am contemplating. Is this information factual, and why?:BIGhmm:
 

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So far, this seems to be a Vancouverite thread. Wonder how long this will last?:)

Agree, forget the UG filter in a planted tank. It can be done, but as Karen Randall once wrote, there are limitations so from scratch avoid it. In addition to what kelly528 mentioned, substrates become too aerobic with an UG filter because it is constantly pulling the oxygen-rich water through it. Micro-nutrients like iron stay locked up in oxide precipitates and plants cannot use them. There is a complex aerobic and anaerobic process ongoing in the substrate and this should not be meddled with.

A canister will work, but on a planted tank less than 50g I always prefer a simple sponge filter. The plants do the filtration of cleaning the water better than any filter, so all the "filter" needs to do is gently move the water and remove suspended particulate matter. This assumes you have forest fish like tetras as you've mentioned; some fish prefer/need a slight current, but most of the forest fish do not; they come from quiet streams, flooded forest, pools, etc., and minimal current works best. Also for the plants, as I recently explained in a couple other threads; post #9 in this one if you're interested in the explanation: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/aquarium-plants/filtration-55-gallon-planted-tank-32359/.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
With all the rain....

Maybe with all the rain we have been getting, I'm wanting to become "one" with the fish. Today I made the decision to stick with the fifty gallon, I like the measurements of 36 x 18 x 18; the depth allows a visually deeper experience to a panted tank. I was at King Ed Pet Center and I found them helpful in advising the equipment necessary to have a decent green (non-algae) tank, seems if I take out a second mortgage, I will be able to go with their advise...lol.

The only real surprise was the price of the lighting which was about a hundred more than I anticipated. The one filter I was shown, I think the U4 was noisy, didn't like that; this is going to be in my bedroom so quiet is in order, why I don't mind losing the UGF, they can gurgle away in the aquarium.

I live in Deep Cove and I and another buddy who lives across the street each had similiar problems with hair algae so I'm hoping to avoid that this time.
 

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Maybe with all the rain we have been getting, I'm wanting to become "one" with the fish. Today I made the decision to stick with the fifty gallon, I like the measurements of 36 x 18 x 18; the depth allows a visually deeper experience to a panted tank. I was at King Ed Pet Center and I found them helpful in advising the equipment necessary to have a decent green (non-algae) tank, seems if I take out a second mortgage, I will be able to go with their advise...lol.

The only real surprise was the price of the lighting which was about a hundred more than I anticipated. The one filter I was shown, I think the U4 was noisy, didn't like that; this is going to be in my bedroom so quiet is in order, why I don't mind losing the UGF, they can gurgle away in the aquarium.

I live in Deep Cove and I and another buddy who lives across the street each had similiar problems with hair algae so I'm hoping to avoid that this time.
Stores will try to sell you whatever, whether or not you need it or it is the best thing for your setup. For the record, I rarely go to King Ed's anymore, things have changed there a lot.

The 50g is a nice tank. Suggest simple sponge filter. Assuming you need lighting, then I would go with a dual-tube regular fluorescent fixture. The length of the 50g is the same as my 33g, so the tubes will be 30-inch at 25w and two of these will work very well. One full spectrum, one cool white. I can fill in details if requested. This is along the lines of what I have on my larger tanks, the photos of my 115g, 90g and 70g under my "Aquariums" will illustrate.

B.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Your tanks look great

You obviously have been tropical fish hobbyist for some time now. Do you belong the Vancouver Aquatic Hobbyist Club?

I probably will take you up on your offer for advise. I'm doing more planning on this tank than I have in my past endeavors, so I will be going slowly at it, perhaps purchasing in two or three phases. What store locally (lower mainland) do you recommend.
 

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You obviously have been tropical fish hobbyist for some time now. Do you belong the Vancouver Aquatic Hobbyist Club?

I probably will take you up on your offer for advise. I'm doing more planning on this tank than I have in my past endeavors, so I will be going slowly at it, perhaps purchasing in two or three phases. What store locally (lower mainland) do you recommend.
When I was living in Van (West End) I belonged to the Hobbyist group, a very good club; Lee Newman was in it then, he gave me tremendous help with a problem I was having at the time. Now I'm in Pitt Meadows and the distance is something of a problem. I should join up though, even if I can't get to all meetings.

For fish, you have a good store in N Van, Pet Boutique. I don't get over there much, again the distance, but I have had nice chats with the owner and picked up some nice fish the couple times I've been in during the past year. There is also April's Aquarium [Pets Beautiful] on Dunbar, very good quality fish and very reasonable prices. The new Island Pets Unlimited (former Big Al's outlets) are looking very promising. I know the owner, and bought all my large tanks and equipment from him in the 1990's. I also like Petland because they are the nearest larger store to me now, Tuesday's all fish are half price to members (no cost for membership). And there's Aquariums West on Burrard, a bit higher prices but a well run store (I also know Jeanne the owner), and Graham's store Noah's Pet Ark on West Broadway has good quality fish reasonably priced. Roger's out in Surrey is good, I almost never get there due to the distance.

B.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have done King Ed Pet Center a disservice if I imply they drove the price up, or suggested they steered me in a more expensive direction. The reverse was true, I asked about the 50 gallon tank and was told there was a special on for their 55 gallon tank, fully equipped. Without seeing it, I knew it would have many "budget" items included, so I asked if the hood was the same single fluorescent tube found in so many large aquariums which I knew would lead to problems, he said yes. I then said I was interested in a heavily planted tank and lighting would be an issue, I wanted a light that wouldn't give me problems by being insufficient.

In all my aquarium expenditures, I'm sure both you and I have had the same experience. I purchase the "special" only to find out it did the job but was noisy, it did the job but died one year latter, or it didn't really do the job. I would then have to buy the "quality" item to replace the cheapo I had purchased.

In my past, I never really looked at the water available locally to see what PH it had and use the natural PH as an asset rather than a liability. So this time, I want to go slower, know more the issues I'm dealing with, and purchase quality items that don't have to be replaced because I saved $70.

I do like Pet Boutique and they have a 46 gallon tank, bowed front combo that is appealing. The canopy has three lights, it comes with a trickle filter in stages, heater, etc. I don't know if you remember Winston, he was the original owner. I bought my Red Parrots from him when they were first available in Vancouver (this was when the store was on Lonsdale), I remember him telling me he didn't like these fish. Years latter I had to return them as my house was being torn down and fully remodeled inside. Winston took the fish back and finally kept them in the large demo tank you still see running today at the store. Eventually they became his favourite fish. Our kitten is from Pet Boutique.

When I Google the "Hobbyist/Vancouver" nothing comes up, I'm wondering if this group is still around.

I'm also a model railroader - N scale - so there goes my "tank room."
 

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Ok I need to break this Vancouver thread here :)
So did you already buy a 50g or still shopping around?
As Byron suggested already, a sponge filter is an option, however since you said you want it in your bedrm, be aware it will "bubble" and you need to know for yourself if you can handle the sound or not. Personally I'd rather buy a internal filter, my personal pref there are the Cascade models, well built, do a good job and most of all SILENT (I have these in the tanks that are in the livingrm/ dining area, zero sounds wonderful).
So let's talk business now : What plants are you planning on having, what type of set up are you dreaming of????
 

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I kind of like UGF myself. I'm using one in my 55g planted tank. I don't think the bubble set up is enough for a UGF so I attached it to an external filter (aqua clear 70) to pull more water through the UGF. As far as plant roots, my old 20l with UGF had happy little roots growing down into the UGF space and loving it.

Because of the noise I switched from the aqua clear 70 to a power head. My set up is mimicking a flowing stream so the strong flow is desired. Good luck with your new tank. UGF is not all bad if you know how to use them!
 

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I have done King Ed Pet Center a disservice if I imply they drove the price up, or suggested they steered me in a more expensive direction. The reverse was true, I asked about the 50 gallon tank and was told there was a special on for their 55 gallon tank, fully equipped. Without seeing it, I knew it would have many "budget" items included, so I asked if the hood was the same single fluorescent tube found in so many large aquariums which I knew would lead to problems, he said yes. I then said I was interested in a heavily planted tank and lighting would be an issue, I wanted a light that wouldn't give me problems by being insufficient.

In all my aquarium expenditures, I'm sure both you and I have had the same experience. I purchase the "special" only to find out it did the job but was noisy, it did the job but died one year latter, or it didn't really do the job. I would then have to buy the "quality" item to replace the cheapo I had purchased.

In my past, I never really looked at the water available locally to see what PH it had and use the natural PH as an asset rather than a liability. So this time, I want to go slower, know more the issues I'm dealing with, and purchase quality items that don't have to be replaced because I saved $70.

I do like Pet Boutique and they have a 46 gallon tank, bowed front combo that is appealing. The canopy has three lights, it comes with a trickle filter in stages, heater, etc. I don't know if you remember Winston, he was the original owner. I bought my Red Parrots from him when they were first available in Vancouver (this was when the store was on Lonsdale), I remember him telling me he didn't like these fish. Years latter I had to return them as my house was being torn down and fully remodeled inside. Winston took the fish back and finally kept them in the large demo tank you still see running today at the store. Eventually they became his favourite fish. Our kitten is from Pet Boutique.

When I Google the "Hobbyist/Vancouver" nothing comes up, I'm wondering if this group is still around.

I'm also a model railroader - N scale - so there goes my "tank room."
Following up first on a couple points from subsequent posters re the filter. As I said, UG will work, but I still do not recommend it for the reasons I mentioned. Also, there is the fact that the substrate is the filter bed, and if the flow of oxygen (via the water) should stop, say due to a power outage, problems can arise fairly quickly. Having used UG filters in planted tanks for several years, and having used sponge in smaller tanks and canisters in larger for several years, I have no hesitation whatever is recommending the latter.

As for sponge, which is adequate for a 50g, there are internal sponge filters in a case with a small motor. I have one by Eheim on my 33g, and it is so quiet you cannot hearing anything, no motor, no bubble, nothing. And in a planted tank it provides all that is needed--gentle water movement and clarification. If I direct mine down the tank, I could get a nice current; I point it toward the rear wall to minimize the current. If the type of fish require currents, a different filter is the way to go. You need to know what fish you intend, then build the tank around their requirements. A successful community planted tank occurs when everything is planned with the fish in mind, from the filter, to the light, to the plants. And the fish must share the same water parameter requirements, and be compatible in behaviour.

I knew Winston, though not personally. That has always been a good store, handy for me when I was in the West End.

I would not buy a "kit" myself. It is better to buy what you need/want. The tank, then a glass cover, then a light fixture, then a filter and heater. You get what's needed. My three large tanks, a 115g, 90g and 70g, were purchased between 1995-7 from one (then very reputable) store; the filters and heaters are still running without a hitch. The light fixtures on two tanks have been replaced this year, the ballasts gave out. But that's pretty good reliability. But I bought what I needed for what I wanted, and I bought good quality.

You don't need trickle filters in a planted tank, so that's a waste of money. And if the light has three tubes full length, that's too much on a 46g. Decide what tank you want, then outfit it.

I have been in King Ed's and heard some pretty disturbing advice being given to someone about adjusting water parameters. I bit my tongue, because I don't want to negatively affect someone's livelihood; but one really must be cautious with advice given by store employees. There have been real horror stories in other threads on this forum about that. I have had tanks like those in my photos for 20 years; and I do considerable research before buying any fish that I don't know about thoroughly. We all need to know before we buy, whether equipment or fish.

Here's the website for the Van club: VAHC - Vancouver Aquatic Hobbyist Club

Byron.
 

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I have one by Eheim on my 33g,
Sorry to interrupt again - But I'd be interested in this filter ..do you have a model number for me or a link to an online place that sell the same ones by chance??

As Byron suggested, its far easier to consider now what you want as an end result and do your shopping from there. Lots times folks buy the 10 or 20g sets and then realize once they start planting or having fish that's not what they want/ need. Also it may be worth while mentioning (IMO) that a lot of times in these combo-set's you wind up with good light fixtures but the bulbs that come with them are just not good enough for plants and you wind up replacing them with a full spectrum anyway.
 

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Sorry to interrupt again - But I'd be interested in this filter ..do you have a model number for me or a link to an online place that sell the same ones by chance??

As Byron suggested, its far easier to consider now what you want as an end result and do your shopping from there. Lots times folks buy the 10 or 20g sets and then realize once they start planting or having fish that's not what they want/ need. Also it may be worth while mentioning (IMO) that a lot of times in these combo-set's you wind up with good light fixtures but the bulbs that come with them are just not good enough for plants and you wind up replacing them with a full spectrum anyway.
Natalie, the Eheim filter is 2007 39, Kleinst-Filter [Ultra Small Filter]. It is rates for up to a 15g, but I've had it on my 33g for years. Sits in a bracket in a top corner (or anywhere you want it), a small motor in the head, and a circular sponge fits over a tube inside the case. Just rinse the sponge and there it is.

I bought this 15 years ago, it was $50 then (Canadian). Still have the box.

Byron.
 

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I can't find corresponding pictures on the web, but you're NOT talking about their Aquaball filter, you're talking about the lil square one's that are pretty much set up like a HMF filter in a casing right???
(Eheim is extremely popular where we were stationed overseas, I think that's how I felt in love with the brand too)
 

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Although I have used Eheim for long time, I dont know if this model 2007 39 is still in production.

I think one can modify what's avail on the market to devise something similar to Ehim with same function.

Hagen Powerhead with Quick filter attachment. One can change the media to sponge/foam and Voila there it is, I think.
Byron, Any pic of Eheim 2007 39?

Even any internal filters (used mainly for vivarium) made by Ehiem/Supreme or other mfrs would achieve same results.
 

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Although I have used Eheim for long time, I dont know if this model 2007 39 is still in production.

I think one can modify what's avail on the market to devise something similar to Ehim with same function.

Hagen Powerhead with Quick filter attachment. One can change the media to sponge/foam and Voila there it is, I think.
Byron, Any pic of Eheim 2007 39?

Even any internal filters (used mainly for vivarium) made by Ehiem/Supreme or other mfrs would achieve same results.
Here's the filter in my present 33g "spare plant" tank. The nice thing about this filter is the flow is not that much if directed against the tank wall; a pwerhead might be more than wanted, but may be workable. I have some in a box but haven't used them since I discontinued by UG filters in 1996. B.
 

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I thought that was the one you spoke about. I actually hadn't seen these since we moved from overseas, so I don't know if the stores here just discontinued them or what...Its set up and use is a lot like the Cascade internal filter I just bought for the 45g (just a little larger scale, but same set up inside).
What is a nice work-around for small tanks, that I had built before rather then a powerhead (since I wanted to use it in a shrimp tank) I used a pump that's commonly used in any given small scale set up of water fountains for the house (you know them lil decorations things you can get) used that pump, added a hose in which I drilled random small holes about 2-2.5" long to its bottom, cut a long & square piece of foam, placed the hose inside of it worked wonderful for yrs. Needless to say shrimps lovedddd eating off of the exposed sponge :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The ongoing saga

First an answer to whether I have purchased a tank yet - No. I was mostly out of work over the last three years due to three surgeries and an unexpected emergency hospitalization (massive blood clot in my groin) due to the last of one of two hip replacements. This time last year I was bedridden and could barely walk ten meters. It took me a long time to recouperate and walking didn't return to normal until April of 2009.

I have been working in Whitehorse, Yukon with the Royal Canadian Army Cadets each summer for a few months as a Reserve Officer working in Operations. So income was on and off, but the good news is that I am back to "normal" and I have just acquired another job that will provide income until I go to Whitehorse again in the late spring. I will be working as a "Venue Manager" at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler so if you see me on TV - wave, I'll wave back...lol!

The reason for this prolegomena is to say I won't be gainfully employed until almost a week today, then I will have income to acquire my goodies. This isn't a bad thing as a store employee told me about a great sale that will sell quality kit aquariums at half price, so I might up my gallon wishes.

A fish that caught my eye at King Ed's is the Red Line Torpedo Barb (Puntius denisonii), an excellent fish with a gentle personality. The bad news is that it can grow up to 6 inches and if I purchased this fish, I'd probably want 5 of them so a larger tank would be in order:

[links] Red line torpedo barb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Red-Lined Torpedo Barb - Puntius denisonii

This is a fish that looks better a little older in a well planted aquarium, then you see its dramatic colours. The picture in the wiki link provided doesn't do the fish justice, the second link is better.

So currently I'm like a kid in the candy store with no money, big dreams and empty pockets, but using the philosophy "turn lemons into lemonade" I have a chance to figure out what I'm doing well in advance. The only real challenge I see currently and its one of those tasks that will never go away is that according to Pet Boutique, our water on the North Shore tests out at a PH of 5.

And along with my planning, I get to meet nice people here! Forums didn't exist when I was in the hobby in my past "lives." I remember I joined the Ottawa Aquarium club that used to meet at the University of Ottawa. When I went to sign up as a member, I was so excited I couldn't remember my name - how embarrassing to admit, but true. I won't tell you what year it was but John Diefenbaker was Prime Minister.:BIGwinky:
 

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First an answer to whether I have purchased a tank yet - No. I was mostly out of work over the last three years due to three surgeries and an unexpected emergency hospitalization (massive blood clot in my groin) due to the last of one of two hip replacements. This time last year I was bedridden and could barely walk ten meters. It took me a long time to recouperate and walking didn't return to normal until April of 2009.

I have been working in Whitehorse, Yukon with the Royal Canadian Army Cadets each summer for a few months as a Reserve Officer working in Operations. So income was on and off, but the good news is that I am back to "normal" and I have just acquired another job that will provide income until I go to Whitehorse again in the late spring. I will be working as a "Venue Manager" at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler so if you see me on TV - wave, I'll wave back...lol!

The reason for this prolegomena is to say I won't be gainfully employed until almost a week today, then I will have income to acquire my goodies. This isn't a bad thing as a store employee told me about a great sale that will sell quality kit aquariums at half price, so I might up my gallon wishes.

A fish that caught my eye at King Ed's is the Red Line Torpedo Barb (Puntius denisonii), an excellent fish with a gentle personality. The bad news is that it can grow up to 6 inches and if I purchased this fish, I'd probably want 5 of them so a larger tank would be in order:

[links] Red line torpedo barb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Red-Lined Torpedo Barb - Puntius denisonii

This is a fish that looks better a little older in a well planted aquarium, then you see its dramatic colours. The picture in the wiki link provided doesn't do the fish justice, the second link is better.

So currently I'm like a kid in the candy store with no money, big dreams and empty pockets, but using the philosophy "turn lemons into lemonade" I have a chance to figure out what I'm doing well in advance. The only real challenge I see currently and its one of those tasks that will never go away is that according to Pet Boutique, our water on the North Shore tests out at a PH of 5.

And along with my planning, I get to meet nice people here! Forums didn't exist when I was in the hobby in my past "lives." I remember I joined the Ottawa Aquarium club that used to meet at the University of Ottawa. When I went to sign up as a member, I was so excited I couldn't remember my name - how embarrassing to admit, but true. I won't tell you what year it was but John Diefenbaker was Prime Minister.:BIGwinky:
Interesting on the pH. Up until 2001 the pH in Vancouver was around 5. People comploained about the acidic water eating fixtures and pipes, so the Water Board decided to raise the pH. It now varies around 7, mine has been 6.8 but was 7.0 when tested the other day. I've forgotten what they add, but it doesn't alter the hardness.

When I had tanks in the 1990's with the pH of 5 (and no hardness watsoever), I had dolomite in the filters, just a half cup or so, and it kept the pH stable around 6 and added about 1 dGH. I still do this, as with no hardness the pH in the established tanks will keep lowering; I keep it around 6.0 so when I do the 50% pwc every week the pH adjusts up to about 6.4 which is no different that the regular daily diurnal variation anyway.

Byron.

P.S. Sorry to hear about the health issues. Not much fun, I know. I hope things stay good for you. B.
 

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See that's why its always advisable to plan the stocking first and THEN buy the tank accordingly.
Them torpedo barb's are just plain WONDERFUL have you seen them in their adult fully grown version? Wonderful animals, I'd stare at them ALL DAY. So far I never had a tank set up they really fitted in.
But for those, specially a group of them, I'd go no smaller then a 60g (so like 250 liters).

Since you want to consider your Budget (and maybe get a larger tank) had you considered buying a used tank? I can't recommand any Canadian places since I don't know 'em, but it sure save a LOT money right there, for example I got my 55&45g with stand hoods and all for $100 and they were in great shape, only thing I replaced was the bulbs. And money safed there can go into nice (and a lot) fish :)
 
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