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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love my wife so much that I bought her another tank. A colleague was selling his entire 80 gallon set up for 100 bucks!...how do you pass that up?
you're right you can't

I know I have lots of tanks, I like lots of tanks and this 80 came with an "under gravel" system. I have not used one of those since my dad handed me the keys to our family 20 gallon back in the 70's

questions:
Are they worth the effort? I have read pro's and I have read con's...so far I have found all the advice I have gotten on this site to be pretty darn good advice.

I've done all the fluvals made. I have magnums (both the H.O.T. and the deluxe versions) I have marineland emporers of all sizes...whispers...sponge, etc.... but I have never used a full "high end" UG filter system.

I am anxious to set up this new 80....please share your opinion...
thank you!
 

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For planted tanks?

- Plants don't especially like them. High velocity flow in the substrate can lead to unavailability of some nutrients.

- Plant roots grow inevitably into them and after a while, they stop working altogether

- Makes substrate enrichment problematic... anything you put into the substrate for root feeders gets leached out quickly.

I am sure there are some more downsides... :D
 

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If you run the filter as a reverse flow undergravel filter it will work pretty well, especially at keeping the water very clear. But, it really does limit you to an inert substrate, with no fertilizer tabs, and especially no nutrient rich underlayer. I'm using one on my 45 gallon tank now, with the flow through it coming from my canister filter. Soon I will be replacing that tank with probably a 57 gallon tank set up as a riparium, and I hope to use that same filter on that setup, again with pool filter sand, low light, non-CO2 this time.
 

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Hi fishdweeb (Brad),

I use them in my tanks with no problems. I don't run them at a high flow rate, just enough to keep the water in the substrate from becoming stagnant. All my plants, including my Crypts, seem do do fine with no adverse effects. The extra water agitation probably causes some loss of CO2 but my drop checker with 4 KH indicator solution indicates 30 PPM with no problem. I do suspect that the extra bacteria action does cause additional KNO3 usage as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the advice. so far your response seems to echo what I have read. about 2-1 against....
unless I hear more "Pro" I think I will toss the system.
 

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One of my 55g low tech set ups has an active UG plate in it. Works fine IMO and plants grow over it just like the other tanks without one. Trallen44 has them in use in his tanks also.
 

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I like them just fine for tanks with large gravel. With large gravel it's easy to push my gravel vac down to the bottom to suck out the mulm. Finer substrates will fall right through the plates and help clog them, plus they'll be just about impossible to clean once the plants fill in.

I wouldn't use one in a planted tank b/c they become debris traps without proper gravel washings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
IMHO sounds like a UG filter is a pile of horse ****!
I will ditch an do what I always have done......

no wonder my dad couldn't grow live plants...no light and a UG filter.....didn't have a prayer.

thanks for the affirmation!
 

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Diana Walstad's book, "ECOLOGY of the PLANTED AQUARIUM" has a very good discussion on the pros of not using an undergravel filter. However, I think the primary benefit of the undergravel filter is more oxygen to the plant roots, which theoretically can increase plant growth. This is the same principle in hydroponics systems. The downside of this is that you will have to supplement micronutrients such as CSM+B. So I guess the question is, do you want a system that you can control, get faster plant growth, or one that is more natural?
 
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