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Callatya

The Undergravel Filter

Would you recommend a UGF?  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you recommend a UGF?

    • Yes, they are brilliant!
      8
    • No, they are dreadful!
      6
    • Only a reverse-flow UGF
      0
    • Only on certain types of tanks
      17
    • Only when used with another filter
      1
    • Other
      2


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I was having a chat to a friend about this the other day and discussing the pros and cons of using undergravel filtration. Thought it could do with some more opinions :lol:

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I voted "only on certain types of tanks". I used to keep large SA cichlids. Need I say more? :lol: I think that for non-breeding betta tanks, for example, as long as the bubble rate is reasonable, they are fantastic.

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Love them! I have been using one in a particular tank for the past 14 years and it still works! Just run a really strong airfilter on it. Yeh you can't clean them properly, but with a good gravel vac you can keep nitrates under control :lol:

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I've gone with only certain types of tanks mainly because there are tanks I would never use one in - a large tank for example. I've been using UGF's as long as I've been keeping fish, and although I know they are old school now I still use them in some of the smaller tanks & I've never had any problems.

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My 2nd (bigger)growout tank, the 3ft girl's community tank and my 5ft 'barracks' tank (filled with bottles) all have one but never alone, usually with an internal filter, the 5ft has a Cannister filter. I do like them along with another filter especially when I am not after a heap of water movement. I do make sure they are smaller than the tank so I can plant heavily behind them as plants don't always do well on top of one. cheers Deb

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I voted "only certain types of tanks". They certainly have their uses and we use one in a 3ft grow out tank but in conjunction with an internal canister type filter and a large sponge filter. As has been mentioned they are a pain to clean but with regular gravel suction they work really well. In this tank we have never had any problems with it even before adding the canister filter. In other tanks we have had some problems and have removed them. I think the addition of a power head to the UGF makes them more effective than just aeration but once again it depends on how much water flow you require in the tank due to the species of fish. My favourite filters are the hang on type and sponge filters. Even the old wool filled corner ones are good. Pat.

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I love them after being in the hobby so long just find them great although I do run a sponge filter with them. I have used them on big cichlids and used mosquito mesh to stop them digging past a certain point. I am currently testing a reverse flow airdriven under sand filter which will turn the whole base of the tank into a fluidised bed filter. Had one going for a month in a 2ft tank with 50 baby yellows and aonly deaths were 2 because they were the smaller ones and got beaten up.

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UG filters went out of fashion when an 'authority' on aquatic plants stated they block with roots.After that,people started blaming the filter for problems with plant growth and they became less seen in our tanks.

In fact,they increase circulation of nutrients and oxygen around the roots and are brilliant for a cheap,air driven filtration for fry tanks and even display,planted tanks.

I often use them as a prefilter for canisters so that maintenance is reduced to a vacuuming at water change time.

In a longterm set-up,they may become clogged with roots.

Simply turn it off and you have created a plenum as used in some marine tanks.The uplift tube can still be useful for root dosing ferts.

This is another case where a few misplaced comments lead to 'hobby lore'.

I could just as easily state that canisters are outdated because they need maintenance.

Edited by JUNGLE

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