UGF on my new tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by LabRat38, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. LabRat38New MemberMember

    I have setup a 30 gal aquarium a couple months ago. It has been cycled and has fish currently enjoying it. My concern is that it came with a UGF. I haven't heard anybody say anything good about UGFs. Would it be a mistake at this point to remove it and leave the tank with only the Penguin Bio Wheel filter. The Penquin has been operating throughout the cycle so it should have a pretty good size colony on it. If I should remove how is the best way to do it. Thanks.
  2. sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    I've actually said good stuff about UGFs (however, the topic hasn't come up in around a year, so all of those posts are in the archives by now. ;)
    UGFs can work. I have one that's been running on a powerhead for a couple of years now, and it's great.
    However, they are normally run by the air-pump setup, which runs bubbles up the tubes to create water movement. This doesn't provide enough draw to keep the garbage out of the space under the gravel, and they'll eventually get blocked up.

    My opinion, either tear the thing out (you'll have to watch your ammonia levels, but it shouldn't be too bad) or hook up a powerhead or two, if that's not how it's already being run. Setting the powerheads up in reverse (so they're pushing water down the shafts) is even better, because that has the advantage of pushing some debris up from the substrate.
  3. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    To add to what Sirdarksol has written, if you intend to have live plants at any point, tear the thing out. They are horrible with live plants as the roots are always blocking up the filter plates. They are pretty useless with fish that do lots of digging to as the substrate needs to be mostly even for them to work efficiently.

    So if you plan on having either live plants or fish that dig, throw it out. If your not having any of those things run it with powerheads using the reverse flow method as Sirdarksol has suggested.
  4. sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    Gonna disagree on both the plants and the substrate-digging fish. With the powerheads, the plants' roots aren't terribly likely to fully block the plates. And substrate-digging fish don't move tons of substrate around at a time. I have had kuhlis and cories and both actually keep the substrate more even than in my normal tanks, where the little hills from my vacuuming usually last the better part of the week.
  5. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    I'll agree to disagree on the plants. :)
    When I said digging fish I wasn't refering to little things like Corys. They would be fine with UGF. I was more refering to larger digging fish like geos & many of the other varieties of cichlids along with several species of catfish that like to make a depression in the substrate to call home.

    I forgot to mention earlier that UGF is also only suitable for gravel substrates. It's no good with sand or anything like Eco-Complete or ADA soils.