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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #449


 1.  Opinions on keeping the UGF?

I would remove the UGF.  I have to admit that this is mostly bias, but
they can complicate matters when dealing with plants.  First, in order
to clean them you must disturb the gravel bed.  Second, they can get
clogged spots resulting in inadequate filtration.  Third, plant roots
can grow into them and end up getting torn off when the plants are
pulled out.  I am a fan of canister filters for plant tanks, if you're
going to run a filter at all.  I prefer to run significantly undersize
filters on my tanks, simply because I don't want most of the
biological filtration they provide.  For me, they are a good way to do
some mechanical filtration and filter the water chemically.  They also
can be removed easily and cleaned in the bath tub, which is a whole
lot neater that either a UGF or back-mounted filter.  

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

I don't have any experience with UGFs and peat, but I can't see it
working all that well.  If you used plates of peat, it would created
spots in the filter where no circulation would occur.  Peat for your
tank would be a good idea, I think, because it would help bring your
ph down and would soften your water, which may or may not be an issue.
 A hardness reading would be helpful to determine why you have very
little luck with plants.  

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

I am currently shopping around and am seriously considering a sintered
glass diffuser (Ehiem or Amano).  Simple, elegant solution to your
problem.  If you prefer to not spend the money, a bottle will work
well, too.  Another option if you get a new filter is to run the CO2
into the intake of the filter and use that as your reactor.  Not quite
as efficent as a normal reactor, but it keeps unsightly junk out of
your tank.

Hope this helps...

Justin Collins
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