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Im from the old school and havent set up a tank in 15-20 yrs..i found my old equipment and ready to set up tank. 55gallon..marineland canister filer....undergravel filter with 2 power heads...i want to get into LIVE PLANTS...Can i use mu UNDERGRAVEL FILTER and still have live plants...?? I am A NEWJACK when it comes to live plants...
 

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Most UG application's use fairly thin layer of substrate to be most effective.(water moves better).
Might leave some stem plant's or plant's with large root structure wanting for more substrate to keep themselves anchored?
 

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I'd just skip the undergravel.

If you plant the tank fairly heavily, the plants will do a lot of the filtration for you. The cannister filter would probably pick up the slack, and provide circulation. In the event that the cannister filter isn't enough, just use one (or both) of the powerheads with a sponge/prefilter attachment.

As well as being too deep for effective undergravel filtration, a lot of the substrates are also too fine-grained.

For setting it up in reverse, you would reverse the powerheads, so that they push the water down the tubes, and into the filter, and then up through the gravel.

If you really do want to use the UGF, maybe stick to plants like java fern, anubias, bolbitis, moss, etc., that attach to the hardscape. And floaters.
 

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Ditto the above... when I first got started with live plants I left my UGF in place. **Fast forward 6 months** when I cleaned out that tank, my bigger plants had completely snarrled their roots into the filter plates. It ended up being a huge hassle and I threw away the UGF (once I cut my plants free).
 
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