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Re: To Undergravel Filter or Not?

On Tue, 2 Jan 2001, John Pflum Jr. wrote:

> Could someone please point me to information on the pros and cons of
> having an UG filter in a planted tank?  I am considering
> removing/turning mine off but want to make an informed decision before I
> go either way.  TIA.

George Booth describes his tank setup with UGF somewhere on his website.
I can't imagine that the Krib doesn't have some discussion of the pros and
cons -- possible in the FAQ.  Our own archives contain in depth discussion
of the same topic.  Happy browsing :).

In the mean time, how about I give you a quick rundown (obviously, from my
point of view) on the pros and cons of UGF.

Both UGFs and RUGFs work in planted tanks and some people report great
success with one or both types of filter.

The principle advantage to UGF are that the setup is inexpensive and
simple; you nood no additional filtration or circulation in the tank.
They're also an easy way to get circulation to the plant roots (compare,
for instance, to the current discussion on heating cables).

The principle disadvantages to UGF are that plant roots get tangled into
the grid so plants can't be removed without damage and that the
circulation around the plant roots may be too rapid to get the best growth
in some plants.  UGF also limit your choice of substrate materials and
your ability to use substrate fertilizers and amendments.

The limitations were the clincher for me.  When I decided to stop using my
UGFs I just capped off the riser tubes near the substrate and left the UGF
plate in place.  That way (I reasoned) if it didn't work out I could just
reinstall the risers and start using the UGFs again.  Things worked out
just fine.  Now when I need to rebuild a tank for whatever reason I take
that opportunity to remove the UGF plate.  I still have unused UGF plates
in four of my six planted tanks -- I guess I don't have much need to
rebuild my setups.

Roger Miller