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General Advice WTD

Hello everyone,

I've been reading the digest for about a month now and have learned a
great deal.  I've always had horrible luck with live plants, but continue
to strive for better stuff.  Now I'm moving so I've gotta chance to start
again from "scratch".

Here's my situation:

55 Gallon
2 4' tubes, just the standard type
UGF - Undertow.  It's the kind with the big bubble walls.

I've purchased a 5lb canister of CO2 for the new set-up, so I'm looking at
ways to incorporate it into the water.  Currently, I'm leaning toward the
upside down bottle suction-cupped to the wall of the tank.  But I've also
thought of replacing the UGF with some sort of power-wheel or external

I'm strongly thinking of changing my filtration technique.  I've done some
reading and ruled out the sump model, as it's too expensive/difficult for
someone of my experience.  From the FAQ, it seems like UGF get a bad name,
but I've seen several very nice tanks that use them with great success.
I've also thought about a simple canister, but it's tough to get a clear
picture of how to set one up from scratch.

Problems I've had in the past were generally related to extremely high pH
(>8.2) and generally bad looking plants.

Ok, enough rambling.  Here's my questions:

1.  Opinions on keeping the UGF?

2.  When I redo the substrate with the move, I was thinking of layering
peat in with the gravel.  Problematic with UGF?

3.  CO2 injection method?  I figured I'd just get a bubble counter to make
sure I'm not overdoing it.

4.  A Minneapolis, Minnesota source for regulators/needle valves would
also be nice.  I've called almost every place in the Yellow Pages under
"Valves" but I haven't checked the Brew/Grow stores yet.  I'm trying to
stay simple.

Thanks again, I hope this all made sense.  This group is a great source of


Dave .Cecchi |  cecc0003 at gold_tc.umn.edu  |   http://umn.edu/~cecc0003
Univ of Minn | Geology  and  Computer Sci | Jerry Garcia  He's Gone 1942-95