Undergravel Filter

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Mothercrow, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. MothercrowWell Known MemberMember

    I purchased a tank that came with an undergravel filter, so I'm doing research before I set up the tank. The lady at the LFS said to just throw it away, but I would like to use it. I saw a mention of reverse undergravel filter, and I thought that looked interesting. Anyone have any thoughts and/or experiences that they would be willing to share?
  2. Redshark1Well Known MemberMember

    I have always had undergravel filters with my Clown Loaches. They are suitable because I don't keep plants with them. In planted tanks I prefer internal filters.

    I vacuum half the gravel each week. I have had the undergravel filters for 22 years and don't strip them down. I have replaced them once in that time as the plastic of the first ones became brittle. I believe the latest ones are made of better plastic which may last longer than the 15 years the first ones did.

    My nitrate is low enough at 10ppm so they can easily be used for good water quality. They need no media as the gravel is the media. I use powerheads to power them rather than airpumps. Good quality ones are important, I use aquaclear. cheap ones rattle or don't last long and are a false economy.

    Having the filters inside the aquarium reduces the chance of leaks which is very important. I don't like external filters for this reason.

    I tried the reverse flow thing but it didn't work as well. It's better the particles get trapped in the gravel and vacuumed out. The reverse flow put the particles into the water which looked bad.

    People sometimes badmouth undergravel filters but their objections are based on ignorance and predjudice. Its horses for courses. They can be very suitable in the right situation. Of course, manufacturers do not make very much money from them as they cannot sell you replacement media etc. plus they are very cheap to begin with.

    Let us know how you plan to go ahead and we'll give you some feedback. Good luck!
  3. MothercrowWell Known MemberMember

    I have plants, but right now we're pretty happy with plants that don't go in the gravel. I saw a post where someone put a lining of filter floss on the filter under the gravel, and I thought I might do that. I was thinking that if I got a HOB filter, the two could work in conjunction. I intend to keep three goldfish and possibly a mystery snail in the tank.
  4. Redshark1Well Known MemberMember

    A few thoughts:

    Sorry, but I would not recommend putting floss under the gravel as it will probably obstruct the flow of water when it gets blocked with dirt.

    Deeper than usual gravel may allow plants to grow acceptably.

    No problem adding more filters as long as the total flow is not excessive, but not necessary if you set up the undergravel efficiently with a powerhead.

    I feel that goldfish belong in ponds not tanks unless you mean fancy goldfish which are shorter bodied. I would check what is recommended for them as regards tank size.

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