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Re: Undergravel Filter

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 1999 20:55:59 +0700
From: "Alexander Yohannes Suhendra" <tiger at personal_telkom.net.id>
Subject: under-gravel  filter

is using  under-gravel filter  promote plant growth ?
can  someone  explain  the  advantage/disadvantage in using  under-gravel

Planting plants directly above the plates has never worked very well for me.  The
plants tend to wither away over a period of time.  I don't know why, but I wish I
knew.  I would have expected the circulation would be beneficial (ala the Dupla
theory), but it just doesnt.

I have reached a compromise - I use a power head driven plates which cover only a
third of the tank bottom and plant my most sensitive plants in the other 2/3rds.
The area above the plate gets gravel churned a couple of times a year to avoid
packing (the filtration would then shift over laterally to the planted area).  I
use 4" coarse sand blast grit as my substrate, fertilize with Jobes, and generally
transplant with the mud/sand gook on the roots intact.  Works for me.

Two things about UG filters:

1) Losing the water circulation due to a pump failure or power failure can be bad
to disasterous, depending on how much bio-load is in the tank.  Very densely loaded
tanks (like african cichlids show cases) can be wiped out in a day or two.  I got
through a three day power outage following a hurricane by doing daily water

2) Adding antibiotics to the tank will wipe out the beneficial bacteria and foul
the water quickly.  The fish will wind up a lot sicker as a result.

I like UG filters because they are simple and keep my water very clear with no
measurable nitrites. I also have outside filters with biowheels, but the water just
doesn't stay as clear.   There are other options with cannister filters or  wet/dry
systems that also work well, but they are a lot more expensive.

Erdos (the aquatic plant heretic)