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RE: Undergravel filters and plant roots

Hi Everyone,

> I addressing this question to two list for a good reason.  I am going to
> set up a 110 gal tank this weekend.  I am putting a lot of Rainbowfish
> (for show not breeding) and hopefully to plant it also.  The question is
> that I am going to set up an undergravel filter using reverse flow.  I
> have gone to the APD archives and read all I could and now I am getting
> ready.  Are there any comments on this matter?  Any thoughts on
> planting.  Years ago (20+) I was into undergravel filters and plants and
> it worked great until I took a plant out and it was rooted into the
> plate.  Now I want to try something different.

A large tank, well planted and full of Rainbowfish is a beautiful sight -
they have become my favourite group of fish, so get ready for a treat. I
hope that the tank is situated where you will be able to enjoy it.

As for the filtration method you propose, the only way I can think of that
would prevent plant roots from becoming entangled in the filter plate would
be to put them in pots and bury them to their rims in the gravel. This
method works, people have been doing it for years. It would also allow you
to rearrange your tank as you see fit, without disturbing the plant roots,
as they would be safely contained within the small containers. You can even
custom mix the material in each pot specifically for the plants you want to
keep. The containers can be anything from new clay pots to plastic storage
containers from the kitchen store.

I just don't like undergravel filters - they are dirt magnets and I prefer
to get the wastes OUT of my tank, not sequestered within the substrate (that
goes for both regular flow and reverse flow undergravel filters). But there
is no doubt that an undergravel filter, if properly maintained, will provide
a huge area for biological filtration. But in most of my tanks, the plants
do the biological filtration, not the substrate, or even the Eheim.

James Purchase
Toronto, Ontario