Replaced my UGF - still seeking advice on a few things!

Bill

Member
Hi,

I haven't even set up my aquarium yet, but I'm really worried because it has an undergravel filter system (I bought the whole setup second hand from my friend), and I've read all sorts of bad things about it! I want to buy a new filter, but it's not clear to me what sort would be best. My tank is 160L. Cost is an issue - I don't want to spend hundreds of pounds on a filter system, I'd like to keep the cost at £20-£50 (about 40-100$US). I don't want it to be very high-maintenance either! I've googled filter systems, but I'm still not clear on what the regular prices are for a good filter system. The high-end ones are very expensive, but I still want one that does the job well without too much hassle ;D

I'd really like to hear from people about their experiences with filters, especially any particular sorts that you could recommend. I'm currently liking the look of the fluval plus 4:
.

I have an air pump already:

clear.gif
.

Is there anything else I need apart from an air pump, filter (such as the fluval one) and media?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

~Bill
 
  • Thread Starter

Bill

Member
Re: I want to replace my UGF - which filter should I buy?

The Penguin 170 looks promising too, as does they Hydor Prime canister filter. Any thoughts?

Oh, and I also have a powerhead. Would that help?
 

atmmachine816

Member
Re: I want to replace my UGF - which filter should I buy?

Well I wouldn't go with the fluval internal filter. There a bit hard to clean and they take up place in the tank. I would go with an aquaclear or penguin bio-wheel. If you have a walmart a aquatech would be good, do you have any in the UK? I don't know if you can get bio-wheel's in the UK but I think you should be able to get aquaclears, there made by the same company as fluval

Here's a probably pretty good filter Though you have to check your glass thickness, it has to be so thin.

I don't know of many online UK stores since I'm US based. Your best bet would be to go to a fish store and look at filters in your price range and come back research them and see if anybody has used them here.
 
  • Thread Starter

Bill

Member
Re: I want to replace my UGF - which filter should I buy?

Thanks. The Penguin one looks really nice, I can get them over here... those liberty ones are nice and cheap, too. Just discovered the air pump I have is incredibly noisy, not a good thing in my bedroom, so I might get a new air pump, too - a hydor ario. Another question: the ario 3 is "suitable for aquariums up to 150L". Mine is 160L. Would it be okay, with plenty of plants in the tank, to use one of these? Or should I get the ario 4, which is suitable for up to 200L?

Anyway, I'll visit my local fish store and see what they've got.

Thanks again

~Bill
 

atmmachine816

Member
Re: I want to replace my UGF - which filter should I buy?

If your planning on a heavily planted tank with special lights then you don't want the air pump but it sounds like your planning on just basic plants. If you are then a airpump won't be a problem. The 150L one should be fine. You plan on powering a bubble wand a airstone with it correct? If so it should be fine.

this is the filter your looking at correct?
 
  • Thread Starter

Bill

Member
Re: I want to replace my UGF - which filter should I buy?

Yeah, that's the filter. I've actually spotted one on eBay - it's the shipping to the UK which seems to be the problem. I've just cycled up to my local fish shop and they don't have a very good range of filters, but they did tell me that a UGF was ****, and they didn't sell any - only accessories for those who already have them. Re: the air pump, yeah, just basic plants and lighting... but I thought for the ario itself I could just have it under the gravel with a bubble stream coming out and no "wand" or airstone required? This is the picture:


Thanks for all your help!

*EDIT* Sorry, another question... What voltage will a Penguin Biowheel 200 be? In America I think electrical appliances are 150v while in the UK it's 240v. If it's DC it should be okay, but I'm buggered if the voltage is wrong :-\

Any filters which UK people use that are good?

Fluval 4!!

Well, I went ahead and bought the fluval 4 ;D It was cheaper than ordering the Penguin 200 from America, and looks fine; besides, if the penguin broke I wouldn't be able to repair any parts of it :-\ I've ordered that Ario 3 as well. I'm good to go pretty much, but still sliding into debt

Still need to get: Tape for retrimming the tank
Brackets for building a shelf for it
Plantamin
Stress Zyme
Food
API Master Test Kit
Fish food
Light
Heater
Thermometer
Bogwood
Gravel vacuum
Fish ;D
 

timg

Member
Re: I want to replace my UGF - which filter should I buy?

Shame I didn't see this thread sooner! I would have suggested that you go with the UGF. I have mainly UGF in all my tanks and they are fine. It would have released the funding for things you really needed, but never mind, I hope the fluval will serve you well.

They are not that hard to clean either, since they slide straight off the bracket to lift out of the tank. the only disadvantage I find with them is that they are bulky in the tank and take up space that could be better used for other things.

BTW... I also had one of the clearseal pumps like that and it was noisy too. I think it's the design that makes it so noisy. Saying that, I now have 4 clearseal AC9904's, which are the next one up from that one. They are also noisy, so I buried them in cupboards to muffle the noise and now they are fine!

Re: I want to replace my UGF - which filter should I buy?

Still need to get: Tape for retrimming the tank
Brackets for building a shelf for it
Plantamin
Stress Zyme
Food
API Master Test Kit
Fish food
Light
Heater
Thermometer
Bogwood
Gravel vacuum
Fish
Tape for re-trimming the tank: Are you planning on re-sealing the tank? if so, you need to make sure to do all the joints rather than just a partial re-seal, as it will avoid weaknesses and leaks later on. Cut away all the old internal silicone beading and replace with a fresh bead. You will also need aquarium-safe silicone. Don't be tempted to use anything that contains a fungicide! It will not only harm the fish, it will cause serious water condition problems too. (Cost of silicone, around £4 per tube, masking tape may cost you £1.)

Brackets? Are you planning on mounting your tank on the wall? You do realise how heavy it will be when fully loaded, don't you? At 1 kilo per litre of water, you will need some mighty strong wall brackets! You would be much better to build a stand that fixes to the wall instead. (Just imagine 90 bags of sugar on a shelf!)

Plantamin: Good luck, I have spent ages trying to find a decent substrate for planted tanks in the UK, mostly without success. even Pets at Home have never heard of any! Stress-zyme is similar, very rare, and I have always found that a small amount of methylene blue, (Interpet Number 10), gives as good a result to calm the fish, as well as conditioning the water and protecting the fish.

Food: I am assuming you are talking of plant food. easy to find in the LFS

Light: What canopy do you have with the tank? They will usually take either fluorescent strips or bayonet bulb fixtures. For cost effectiveness I have found that low energy bayonet bulbs work very well with lightly planted tanks and are very cheap to buy. (Netto sell them for around 80p each)

heater: A 150W heater should cost you around £12 - £15 from local stores, and will be quite large enough for the task.

Thermometer: Anything from £1.30 upwards, again, easy to obtain. I tend to use the disc type that just stick on the outside of the tank, are more accurate than the glass type and are easy to read. they cost around £1.40.

Bogwood: local store again, but make sure that you soak it well before putting it into the tank, or you will end up with brown water for months!

gravel vac: £5.00 anywhere for a basic one, a little more for an auto-siphon version

I assume that the tank came with gravel, but make sure that you clean it properly, since you don't know what was in the tank previously and you don't need to inherit any problems. I would lean towards buying new personally, it's less bother.

Add all this together and you could have got just about everything on the list for the price of the Fluval!

Hope this helps!
 
  • Thread Starter

Bill

Member
Re: I want to replace my UGF - which filter should I buy?

Thanks for all your help!

I was going to keep it, but when I went to another lfs (who said that UGFs were the best!) I was told that I needed to get new intake tubes (£6 ea) and a second powerhead (£18). My regular lfs told me that UGFs sucked. The fluval (off eBay) came to £23 inc p&p (rrp £50), and the silent Hydor Ario 3 air pump was £11.50 inc p&p (rrp £19.99)... so for a bit of extra money I got a much quieter system, and one that was clean - the UGD from my friend is incredibly old and manky - new and that I was more sure about. I think for me personally it was probably the best option in the end, especially as the tank is in my bedroom ;D

Tape: That is just for aesthetic purposes; the back trimming around the top of the tank was old and manky, so I stripped that off to be replaced with 100mm PVC tape, and the silicon beading is fine, I'm just trimming the edges with thin black tape to make it look nicer

Brackets: Yep! Getting 3, similar to these ones, but larger: The tank is on a hefty table right now, which really fills my room up. Water = 160kg Tank = 30kg Gravel = 20kg

Plantamin and Stress Zyme: both sold in great quantities at my LFS Plantamin is a plant food with iron etc. to help them grow.

Food: Nope, I'm talking about fish food! I need some algae wafers and some regular food.

Light: My tank doesn't have a hood, as such... here are a couple of pics:

25.jpg



26.jpg

Basically just some slidey things on top, with a sort of cradle to put things in :-\

And the light I have at the moment (gives of a sort of pink/purple light):

27.jpg

I want to get a light which will give off natural/white light. They have 4ft ones similar to this in my lfs for around £15. Any ideas? Would I be able to use a low-energy bayonet in this setup?

Heater: There are some very cheap visitherm ones on eBay at the moment, so I'm waiting to buy one of them.

Thermometer: Free! ;D My dad has several hundred at work!

Bogwood: Yeah, there are a couple of stores which have it. Nice and cheap too!

Gravel vac: Got my eye on a £9 one in my 2nd lfs...

Gravel: How much would some new gravel cost, and do you know of any good places for getting it? ???


Cheers
 

atmmachine816

Member
You want about a two inch layer of gravel. A pound per gallon is a general rule but I don't know how that converts to UK????

When buying the bulb buy a 6,700Kelvin bulb are right around there. That is the type plants need and like and if you go up or down you will get a unatural look and a light that is geared for growing algae.
 

timg

Member
wasn't that far off then!

wasn't sure about the tape, thought you might be looking at the edges, but went for the re-trimming of silicone instead, sorry! I get the impression that you have now returned the fluval, yes? You mention powerheads on the UGF, but I have always used standard airstones for mine, with great effect. It is also easier and a lot less wiring to worry about.

Just a suggestion about the air pump. you could fit it away from the tank and just run a few extra meters of air piping into your room. that way, you'd never hear it!

the bayonet low energy bulbs are brilliant for cost effectiveness. If you take a look at the video of
you'll see that I have a lot of tanks of various sizes and most are using these bulbs. I have two on my 3's and my new 8' will have 4. At the cost of the florescent tubes and starter, I can equip all the tanks with this type of lighting. The plants just love them too. they give a full range of light, and also give areas of shade which the fish enjoy. It gives some really great effects in the tanks!

I am still a little concerned about mounting this tank on a wall though. the brackets you have chosen are good, but the fixings to the wall will need to be very substantial too to support the brackets. A suggestion would be to fit two upside down, running up behind the tank, with the other running down under. this would spread the load on the brackets and the wall. just be prepared to look at propping it up from the floor at the slightest sign of distortion!

I would suggest that you make a canopy for the top of the tank. this is simple to make and very effective. Again, look at the weight when making it and use as light materials as you can. You could fix this directly to the wall, taking all the additional weight off the tank.

just a few suggestions.

just been looking at your pics and is that a crack I see? It looks like it is on one of the stress bars. This could be a serious weekness, so if it is what it looks like, a patch would be a very good idea!
 

Gargoyle

Member
Honestly everything looks good to me except for that mounting idea... That would really scare me to have a tank of that size hanging on a wall. Other than that and the possible crack your looking good!! ;D
 

timg

Member
that makes two of us! I really think it would be wise to re-think the wall business.
 
  • Thread Starter

Bill

Member
Thank you for all the suggestions

TimG: Nope, I haven't returned the fluval ??? Like I said, it's a much better option for me than keeping the UGF - the position in my room would make it unfeasible to have loads of piping for the air pump too, so an Ario and Fluval combo wins out basically in terms of my peace of mind, quality of sleep and budget ;D

As for the crack I don't know what a support bar is, but as far as I've been told the place where the crack is has nothing to do with the tank's structural integrity, it's just there for holding lights and switches etc.

And mounting on the wall... my dad is a DIY expert, so I'm pretty sure he knows what he's talking about -\).... I'll discuss everything with him a little further

And making a hood sounds great, but I have no idea how to go about it. It would be great to have a bulb for 80p rather than a 4ft light for £15 from my lfs, so TimG, it'd be great if you could post a few pics of your hood and how the light fits in it.

Thanks!

~Bill
 

timg

Member
I have posted a design in the DIY section for a simple canopy suitable for your tank.

this will work very well and it can be adapted for almost any tank.

I am pleased to hear that your father is on the case, I have had some experience with young people trying to diy!
 
  • Thread Starter

Bill

Member
LOL Thanks a lot for all your help, I really appreciate it. This is a wonderful forum!
 

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