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UGF Variation

Posted By: Mr Leadfoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Saturday, 27 April 2002, at 3:35 a.m.

Although this post could be considered more of a continuation on an existing thread, I thought this topic might be of interest to more than just the parties involved in the original thread, and I also really wanted to hear from as many of you as possible on this, because I value ALL of your opinions. Hope this forum doesn't mind.

I ran into someone today (not an LFS for once), that has been an aquarist for 25 years. He told me something that's always worked well for him with UGFs that I thought I would share with all of you, because I liked his creativity, and it seemed to make sense, yet I have concern.

This person used a UGF with a powerhead on one uplift tube, and the intake of a power filter on another uplift tube. He claims that although powerheads are supposed to circulate all water under the filter, they often only suck water from half the area. He said that the power filter intake is plenty strong to serve as an additional powerhead-like device, with a major advantage. He says that the power filter will also provide mechanical filtration for the stuff that DOES manage to pass through the gravel. He added that you actually WANT the stuff to pass through so the power filter can pick it up.

Although it makes sense, I expressed my concern of LACK of a mechanical filter before the gravel bed. I said one of the reasons I have a power filter in addition to the UGF is to catch free debris that collects in the mid-water column BEFORE it gets to the gravel bed, thereby reducing the chances of "loading up" the gravel and risking the "nasties" as Nikki put it.

His response was that you want the gravel to pick up ALL the debris, which is more natural, and compared that to river rocks filtering streams and the like. He also stated once again that any particles that pass through the gravel will be picked up by the powerfilter and collected.

My concern is that my powerfilter seems to be picking up quite a bit of debris as it is, and I'm afraid that without it's intake being "in front" of the gravel bed and UGF, there may be too much waste being filtered by the gravel, which could cause me a problem later, and I told him as much. He said that it wouldn't matter how much matter passed through the gravel, that either the powerhead or the powerfilter would pick it up. And, if the powerhead were to pick it up, it would be circulated back into the tank, eventually the matter would get sucked back under the gravel and be picked up by the powerfilter, which of course would remove it completely from the tank.

I said I guess that would be OK, provided that I keep up with my gravel vaccuming (which I actually enjoy doing anyway). His response to that was that there will be LESS crud in the gravel because the flow through the gravel will be much higher, that the particles will not be trapped by the gravel completely, and that the particles would be collected in the power filter.

He said gravel vaccuming would actually be greatly reduced, and that he only had to vaccum once every 3 months.

Like I said, I like his idea, but since I actually enjoy cleaning my gravel anyway, even if the gravel were to get more "dirty", no problem.

But, I'm posting this for feedback from you, my trusted "allies", because I'm still concerned.

1) If this is such a good technique, how come no one ever talks about it? I haven't seen anything about this setup anywhere, even on the 'Web, and believe me there are plenty of sites with oodles of hints, tips and opinions on UGFs.

2) If I try this and stuff DOES start to go through the gravel, and for some reason doesn't get sucked up, I'd be in deep crap (literally), wouldn't I?

3) Would it be better to just keep my power filter as it is, and get another powerhead to ensure that water on the opposite side of the tanks is indeed being circulated under the gravel, or am I fine the way I am? 29 gal., AquaClear 150, UGF with Hagen Powerhead 201, 1.5 inches of standard-sized, gravel.

Thanks again,
Kelvin

 

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