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About Me

  1. I'm looking to build a DIY undergravel filter for a 30 gallon aquarium. Do these require a specific amount of flow to operate efficiently, or can one be operated with a gentle amount of flow provided by an air stone? Would a small powerhead be a more preferable option instead of an air stone? I'm looking to set this up in a betta tank.
  2. I am working on my first tub pond. I took inspiration from many different sources such as @Dean’s Fishroom @Cory Serpa Design etc. If you see something that you came up with and I haven't mentioned you please know that I am not claiming any of this as my own. I have mashed together ideas into a pond experiment that I'm hoping works well for my situation. I wanted to share progress and maybe get some feedback if anyone else has ideas or has tried any of this previously I live in Wisconsin so overnight lows aren't plant friendly until about mid May. I have the tub filled and cycling but I will have to add update photos once I can safely plant and add fish. I started with a 70 quart (17.5 gallons) Muck Tub from a local farm supply store. I drilled a hole for a low profile drain that I had. I added this to keep the water level several inches below the rim and if it rains heavily act as a over flow to maintain that depth. I wanted do a combination of emersed plant filtration and air driven undergravel filtration so I will be adding a plastic 12 inch pot to the center of the pond. Finding a pot that wasn't tapered so that the base was more stable was the most difficult part of this build. To get the pot sitting at the depth I wanted I had to add 2 patio paver bricks to the bottom of the tub. Using a hole saw I drilled holes around the pot. These allow water in for access to the plant roots and the undergravel filtration. I siliconed in strips of knitting mesh as a barrier to hold substrate in but maintain water exchange. Another paver was added to the inside of the pot to increase weight/stability as some of the plants im considering grow quite tall and on windy day could cause the pot to shift. I added a cheap adjustable uplift tube that I purchased online and filled in the space around it with small lava rock. Above this layer I added another piece of knitting mesh cut to fit as a barrier to keep substrate from filling in the bottom of the pot. I am using layers of extra substrate that I had on hand to fill the pot. I started with a base of Fluorite on top of the knitting mesh followed by a layer of Stratum. I only had enough spare stratum to make the 2nd layer a few inches deep so I capped the pot with more Fluorite. The goal here is that pot is driven by a small air pump that lifts water from the base of the flower pot and exits into the main pond. Water returns through the sides and surface of the pot and is filtered through the substrate and nutrients are taken out by the plants. I'm currently running a heater to keep overnight water temps up but once overnight lows increase I plan to remove the heater and only run the air pump until October. The tub is small enough that after draining down I should be able to move it indoors for the winter. If things work out I will add updates in the future. Let me know what you think
  3. Hey everyone, would love some thoughts from the community on this, thanks for the support! I am curious about having undergravel filters on my next scape and was curious if depth of substrate matters, i.e. can it be too deep? The uplift tubes will be connected to my biomaster 350. I think I can scape the tank to hide the tubes. Do plants grow well on UGFs? I'm pretty religious when it comes to my maintenence and ferts. Been in the hobby 7 months, tank below is my 55 gallon acrylic display.
  4. Hey all! I am looking to set up two under gravel filters and I was looking to use lava rock pebbles as the media/gravel for it. It is to large to fall into the plenum, but is there such thing as a gravel size that is to large? I know too small can clog on an UGF but will gravel that is to large defeat the purpose? thanks!
  5. So I’ve had this 55 Gallon tank for years...like it’s been running very well for almost ten years. I’ve always had plastic plants..sure it’s colorful and looks good. But it’s fake. About two weeks ago I purchased a canister filter (Marineland Magna Flow 220) and pitched the HOB. I’ve also always had a undergravel filter with a power head on each lift tube..breaks up the water surface well. My question is this. Ive ordered some plants and am going to slowly see how it goes..all the plants I ordered are water colume feeders..and will be using liquid fertilizer. But I do plan on getting some root feeders as well down the road. Should I remove my under gravel filter and go with a sponge filter? Will my UGF pose any problems for my plants in the substrate? I am keeping the gravel, even though it’s blue..it’s got to much good bacteria.. I would love to get a natural looking sand substrate, but I’ve got to much invested in my fish, and down want to risk the tank crashing..(not literally of course). any thoughts on the UGF and real plants? thanks everyone..
  6. What if I placed a power head with a Pre filter on the top of my gravel filter out flow and run water down pipe and through the gravel?
  7. Some people think that under-gravel filters are bad because of a build up of mulm under the filter plate. There is disagreement among the hobbyists as to whether or not this mulm build up is good or bad. I use my under-gravel filter "REVERSED". That is, I place power heads at the top of the lift tube with the output of the power head blowing down into the lift tube there by reversing the flow of water up (not down) through the gravel AND at the same time washing away any mulm that may have collected under the plates I have found that by using this "REVERSED" method there is very little need for gravel vacuuming. The water passing up through the gravel bathes the debris at that has fallen on the gravel breaking it down to be swallowed up by the filter. The result is crystal clear ammonia free water. However, I would welcome and comments about this topic..... pro or con.
  8. Hey all, At this time I've hit my maximum on aquarium realestate. I can't find a new spot to put an aquarium without driving the people I live with mad. At the same time, I'm also enjoying the fruits of breeding fish for profit, and I'd like to continue expanding that side of my hobby. My fish for profit tank is a 40B with a fancy strain of dumbo guppies that have been very prolific as well as some bristlenose plecos I've been growing out for a year that are on the cusp of sexual maturity. I'd like to add another strain of guppies to my profiteering set up, but I don't have room for even an extra ten gallon. So, my thinking is to either put a divider in the 40B or upgrade that 40B to a 55 I have sitting in storage with one or two dividers in that one. I've been eyeing the dividers that Flip Aquatics sells, thick sponges designed to keep shrimp strains from cross breeding. I figure if they're good enough to keep baby shrimp from crossing over, it might be good enough to keep two strains of guppies from crossing in the same tank. So, my questions for the forum are: What are your experiences with Flip Aquatics' tank divider? Can they be installed on a drained but not dry tank? Would they work with undergravel filters? Would they be effective in keeping fry from crossing over? Any alternatives to this product that would have a similar effect? Pictures of your setups would also be great. Thanks!
  9. So... I going to be setting up a pair of 6 gallon nano tanks for display in a Ikea Kallax bookcase. The Kallax looks like the attached pic. The "cavities" in it measure 13" x 13" x 15" (deep), and the tanks I will be using measure 11.5" cubed. The intended inhabitants are to be soft-water nano fish (a dozen neon tetras in one, a dozen chili rasboras in the other), plus lots of shrimp and some nerite snails. Plant life will be Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus (background), with some Water Sprite for the mid-ground and moss balls scattered. Here are the details of the build: (2x) Aqueon Frameless Cube tanks - 6 Gal. each (2X) Fluval Plant 3.0 Nano Lights (2x) Aquarium Coop Nano Sponge Filters (2X) Penn-Plax UGF plates (the set intended for a 10 gallon aquarium is 2 plates measuring 9.5" each, so one in each), set up in a slow-flow plenum configuration (1X) Tetra AP60 air pump (definitely bigger than required, but I wanted dual outlets, and this is the smallest one that has them) to supply the plenums and sponges (2x) auomii Mini submersible heaters, 50W (again, bigger than needed, but I had these laying around) Substrate will be a mix of Fluval Stratum (for water softening and the shrimp) and Seachem Flourite Red (for the anoxic setup - details to follow), plus some Seachem Matrix Bio-Media for under the plenums. The goal is to establish a bio-system that requires very limited water changes, and a reduction in supplemental plant fertilization. I've had great success with this in my Walstadt Method setups, but I wanted to try something new. I'm a fan of "fish-centric" aquariums (I don't enjoy the details of being an "aquatic plant farmer"). The methods used in most setups is to heavily plant and rely on nitrate feeding by those plants (along with supplemental fertilization) to keep the environment stable. I'm not a fan of relying on plants for this, IMO you become a slave to them - and not the other forms of life. The theory here is to let the anoxic filter consume the nitrates, and feed the plants with ammonia (which they greatly prefer anyway). Stay tuned...
  10. Has anyone tried and had success with undergravel anoxic filter as described by Dr. Novak? He uses the ug filter but cuts down the lift tube to reduce flow. This low flow of water through the substrate consisting of layers of clay, iron, and gravel, is enough to deplete the o2 enough for anoxic conditions. The bacteria that thrive in anoxic conditions can successfully complete the nitrogen cycle and reduce nitrates and phosphorous. I thing I want to give it a try. I was just wondering if anyone has tried this method of filtration and if it actually works? Any tips? Any thing I should avoid? Thank you
  11. Hi everyone! Recently set up a new 10 gallon tank and wanted to try something new. Since the tank is for my endler fry and some shrimps, not a ton of bioload, I setup a "controversial" undergravel filter. So far I have to say I really like it! The water clarity is GREAT, I tend to overfeed my fry but water is always crystal clear, parameters are solid with all my tests. So I have to ask, why all the hate? Is there any hurdle I would have to cross when the tank ages? I really like the simplicity of it, only regret is that I should've put some small bio rings under the filter. Thanks!!
  12. WOW this is funny...I too am thinking of doing a new tank with an UGF. Back in the day it was all we had and we managed to do very well with them. I am thinking with live plants it would have to be very beneficial to have constant nutrient rich water being passed over the roots. The only thing I am not sure of is whether or not to use root tabs?!? @Cory what are your thoughts on UGF with live plants and the use of root tabs?
  13. I am really happy for Cory and the fact he has his own sponge product, but UGFs are so much better, IMHO. They NEVER go bad, they never wear out, they don't eat baby fish or shrimp (not that Cory's sponges do, but we all know sponge can be carnivorous) The list of PROs is SO long and the list of CONs, is well most of the CONs, proper use and education will remove. This is very similar to the 30 plus year old UGF I have in several tanks. Don't remember it being this expensive. https://www.amazon.com/Lees-Premium-Undrgravel-18-Inch-48-Inch/dp/B0002APVAW I have may like this one https://www.amazon.com/Penn-Plax-Undergravel-Filter-Aquarium/dp/B003UTNOU6/ But these break easy! I made one like this using PVC and https://www.amazon.com/Undergravel-Filteration-Bottom-Circular-Aquarium/dp/B00ZUIRGOU/ using lava rock and it works very well! Going to watch some videos that I might want to share in this thread. BRB!
  14. I have always used UGF filters with powerheads in combination with the HOBs. The idea being that extra filtration, aeration, and circulation is a good thing. If I remember correctly, in one of his videos Cory mentioned that the UGF also gives the root and water column feeders the best of both worlds. When I put my 29 gallon back in service, I found the powerhead was too much for the small fish, so I switched to air driven. The first question is how much air is required to be effective? The second would be: do tiny air stone bubbles draw more water than bubbles from an open air line? I have no doubts about the UGF/powerhead combination., but I often wonder about how much water is actually being drawn through the gravel by rising air bubbles.
  15. I've started to get fascinated with undergravel filters. But if my next tank project happens, I was planning on using Black Diamond Blasting Sand, and plants. Is there a way to make it work? I've read a few threads on here, and I saw a mention of putting something between the sand and filter. But would that eventually get clogged? Or do you count on waste breaking down faster so it won't clog?
  16. I'm setting up a new 20L. I like what sponge filters do in my other tanks (no ammonia or nitrite ever) but I don't want to try to hide them in this tank. I am not going to spend the money or put up with the cleaning headaches of a canister. HOB's are quite limited (in my mind) for biological filtration. So it seems to me under gravel filters fill the bill. So, why not? Is there something even better and easier I'm missing?
  17. Is anoxic filtration worth investing with an undergravel filter ? just started learning about it
  18. I’m not going to pretend to be an engineer, but I put and Undergravel filter in my new play tank and have a question about effectiveness. In my mind, wouldn’t it just pull water from the area immediately around the uplift tubes (the two circles on my fancy picture) and ignore the rest of the Undergravel area? I’m just trying to get a better understanding as I learn about it.
  19. Fun discussion on Opinions on Under Gravel Filters started by @Goosedub. Funnily enough, I just finished a UGF modification that I hope will help avoid channeling, clogging, and trapped fry issues. This build provides some mechanical filtration, boosts filtration media surface area, reduces weight of the substrate (because foam weighs so much less than gravel), and lets me use coarse substrate (pea gravel). Disclaimer: I installed this in a small, 10-gal, vertical (tall), hemispherical tank, which helps alleviate the problem of diminishing flow:distance ratio that would be more problematic in a larger volume, horizontal (low and wide, aka breeder) tank. Note: I purchased the Penn-Plax Premium UGF for 40-55 Gallons ($17.99), which comes with four plates and four uplift tubes. That's enough to outfit two of my 10-gal tanks. Okey dokey, here is what I did. 😎 Step 1: Trim coarse foam to fit the bottom of the tank, leaving a 1/2" margin. Step 2: Trim UGF plate to fit bottom of the tank, again leaving 1/2" margin. The Penn-Plax plate is relatively soft plastic, so I used sharp scissors. Step 3: Install uplift tubes, no-clog air stones, and vinyl tubing. I like the Penn-Plax UGF because the uplift tubes twist and lock into the plate. This helps keep me from accidently dislodging them when I gravel vacuum, embed root tabs, or move plants around. Step 4: Cover with approx. 1 inch of gravel. Trimming the foam and UGF plate with a 1/2" margin lets me hide them behind the gravel. Add water, plants. Hook up air pump. Voila! With such a small tank, I decided against using a powerhead. The photo was taken after running air for about 24 hours. The water cleared up over the next couple of days. The blue line marks the level of the UGF filter plate. Here is what the tank looks like today, roughly 2 weeks later. So far, so good! 🤓
  20. Hey all, wondering if anyone out there uses under gravel filters. Opinions? Actual experience? I’m thinking About a planted set up that has minimal energy requirements while also being visually appealing. UGFs seem like they would work well in this circumstance.
  21. Has anyone combined biorings (ceramic) with undergravel filters?
  22. I was thinking about an undergravel filter, with the outlet connected to overflow plumbing, then down to an ordinary sump.
  23. Because of a video Cory did I am starting a new tank,with an under gravel filter what is the best way to cycle it?
  24. Decided to play with under gravel filtration to see if it's as terrible as I was led to believe. I'm using this 3.4 gallon tank made by Penn Plax . I couldn't find a small UG plate that would fit well enough to my liking. So I improvised . And this is how far I've gotten today.
  25. Do I turn off my Undergravel filter when using Paracleanse?
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