# Undergravel Filter Good or Bad? Betta fish and Shipping Daily Dose 51 favorite 1185 sentiment_very_dissatisfied 29

Betta 6 years ago 51,075 views

## Most popular commentsfor Undergravel Filter Good or Bad? Betta fish and Shipping Daily Dose 51

Rich's Fishes - 6 years ago
I think the "problem" with undergravel filters is the perception from the consumer. Similar to sponge filters. When someone sees filters in the store the giant canisters with a huge price tag catch your eye first. Then you see some more affordable HOB filters. Then you see a sponge filter or UG filter which only cost a few bucks and our consumer driven attitude makes us think that the cheap option cant be nearly as good as the more expensive options. I dont see why the size of the tank would matter so long as you use an appropriate sized UG filter. The other problem I can foresee is the long term use. If you run a UG for months/years you'll probably get to a point where you need to remove it and clean underneath it.....and its just such a huge chore to have to break down the entire tank just to clean the filter. I remember way back in the day when I used UG filters how incredibly disgusting it got underneath the UG once I broke it down (which as you note may or may not be detrimental and your idea of drilling the bottom of the tank would definitely solve the issue.....but arent the bottom panels of most tanks tempered?). I'm sure a UG cant/wont trap more waste than any other filter. Its just that any other filter is a bit easier to break down and clean.
Hellish Venturi - 5 years ago
Rich's Fishes depends on tank Husbandry. I've been through the mill when it comes to Filtration..I spoke to a rep from Eheim. Heinz Shoulta.. Senior tech advisor.. he told me off the record.....their main goal is to make money! They have a team of wizzz kids in a back room at headquarters.. who's main task is to constantly modify and reinvent the existing models with the goal in mind to produce new versions with little modifications.. to catch the eye of the new inexperienced Aquarists because the old models become ...well........old! And sales go stale...And just like the ever changing mobile phone models become outdated in a short time..so it's the same in the Aquarium hobby world. The same methods are therefore ... applied.
Other industries which use his method are...
Automobiles
Washing machines
Tumble dryers
Dishwashers
Fridge freezers
Toasters
Tablets
Laptops
Electric smart meters
TVs
Hi fi systems
Microphones
Remote controls
Burglar alarms
Brevels
Cookers
LED light bulbs
Drills
Lawn mowers
Stinkers
Hedge trimmers petrol/Electric
Toothpaste
Hair jell
Shavers
Razors
And last but not least?......?????..???............. Aquarium filter systems.
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
Emmit Stewart fast growing plants will take care of most water soluble minerals introduced via the food chain. Although most people cringe at the thought of having to trim their plants. Adjusting lighting can spur forms of algae growth that actually filter out minerals not removed by other plants (algae filter boxes are great for this). Thus far in my 55 gal tank now setup for about 4 months, I have plenty of new births, plenty of nitrates, 0 ammonia levels, neutral PH levels, total dissolved solids is holding constant, snail populations have tapered off, fish population is growing, there is no odor issues, and guess what. I haven't changed any water in the tank I've just added to compensate for evaporation.

I can actually feel the difference in the water with my hand. Water samples examined under microscope show no signs of harmful bacteria. Since I don't know the source of the snails I am watching for any signs of harmful or dangerous bacteria or parasites such as schistosomiasis or amoeba.

I have lost a few fish to what I thought was probably parasites (I added fish that I did not treat or quarantine first). However the overall population is growing.

Planning on adding live plants soon, then I will get a better understanding of mineral levels in the tank (spectrographic analysis is not a cost appropriate approach at the moment). If they were rare fish I might consider other options but I certainly cannot complain.
Emmit Stewart - 6 years ago
Actually, mulm under the filter is not such a bad thing.  it is true that mulm smells bad.  But it is mostly poop and poop does smell bad.  But mulm is constantly being broken down by bacterial action.  There is no more mulm under the filter plate after six years than there is after six months.  As the mulm breaks down, it is converted into soluble minerals, which can be easily removed by regular water changes.  Regular gravel vacing can keep the mulm down to lower levels as well.
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op this is why I age water in a plastic barrel (with substrate and a circulation pump) in total darkness. After refilling aquarium from the barrel I then refill the barrel with treated water so it has a few months to age before needed again barring any emergency needs. Okay it is actually not a barrel but a Rubbermaid trash can with a lid. It works and short of using RODI water (which I used exclusively for discus in the past) it's quite the difference with water quality. My fish love it.

I do have a UV filter I can add to the barrel or the tank but I have never needed it. Water samples do not show any signs of bacterial growth in the barrel and in the tank very little if any bacteria is suspended in the water column.

I use the HOB (Topfin 60) only for the fiber and occasional carbon filtration. Reading this I'm sure some of the sterility hounds are going nuts over how I keep my tank but I defy anyone to find anything harmful in my tank.

When vacuuming the gravel I use a pump powered vacuum and the water is returned to the tank. No water changes needed for removing any excess food particles not cleaned by the cleanup crews. Currently I have about25 fish in the tank after just a few months. I expect to double that load in the next six months (yes, I do have the silver sailfin mollies like you stated you wanted wanted in a previous video Cory, one male & two females). They are aggressive towards fry though, they have consumed several swordtails born in the tank. Once I have cover plants well established then that shouldn't be an issue. The only cover currently in the tank is artificial and it doesn't lend well to stimulating reproduction.

In addition to those two there are lyre tail black mollies, neon tetras, corydoras, catfish, black skirt platties, snails (unknown where they came from but I'm not complaining), and just starting to get algae growth.

Fish are like children, some exposure to bacteria helps to build their immune system. They aren't getting near the exposure they would get in the wild but realistically none of these strains were ever in the wild and they were all bred for aquariums from many many generations back.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Rich's Fishes I personally think it's a lot of things. Temp, pH, minerals, gasses etc.
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
Brian's Opinion/Comments you are correct it's not the water change itself that causes the stress but how it is done that causes the stress.

It's like calling a carpet cleaner, would you want them to rearrange the house or pull up the carpet just to clean it? You certainly wouldn't want all your furnishings taken outside while the carpet is cleaned (in most cases).

Small increments of water changed with well prepared water and then ONLY WHEN NEEDED to control a particular issue. Try and replicate the natural environment as much as possible and you won't have issues, neither will your fish.
Brian's Opinion/Comments - 6 years ago
+Ken Paschall I agree... Why does a new tank seem so fragile? There are a lot of fish that love pristine water conditions, but put them in a new tank and you are asking for problems. Same tank 6 or 8 months later with the proper maintenance and all is good.
Brian's Opinion/Comments - 6 years ago
A couple things to add, some think their aquarium is a clock, they can set it and walk away for a year so and then change the "battery" and keep going. Not so... As for water changes, I think they might cause some stress depending on the manner they are done. But I think then benefits outweigh the stress. I have had many fish spawn within hours of a water change. I love these discussions. Keep up the great work..…
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op other than adding aged water to compensate for evaporation, water changes are only needed after medicating or after dealing with some other failure. Having the right fish to maintain all the growth is essential. Obviously having snails and other commonly perceived "nuisance" creatures have their own benefits. As a general rule one well established a tank should not need water changes but a 20% change every other month with aged water from a storage barrel helps to keep bacterial loads balanced. Loaches, corydoras, catfishes, all work together to keep the substrate appearance looking good. Pleco's and snails keep glass and plants free from unwanted algae, other fishes are primarily for appearance and to increase waste.

I've heard it said that we don't keep fish, we keep a bacterial colony and the fish, plant life, lighting, heat source, and whatever else we add to the tank just produce the food source for the bacteria we can't see with the naked eye. When it all works together it's a beautiful thing.

In my 12 year tank (120 gal) I only had to medicate two or three times due to my failing to properly quarantine fish I added. I didn't add live plants until after 8 months of prep time (waited for the tell tale signs of algae getting out of control). I started with air stones running the UG but discovered the power heads worked much better so I shed the air pump and used only the power heads. Once a week I ran a magnum 330 packed with dolomite and a carbon packet for three to four hours to polish the water. I monitored bacterial growth (with a microscope & samples) in various parts of the tank. Back then I ran T12 lighting with what claimed to be plant lights but they were not really bright enough. Later I added two halogen tubes with fans (500 watts each, custom build) that increased evaporation so I only ran them two-three hours a day and every few weeks left them off for a few days. After the first few years I found no reason to move the decor around in the tank at all. I did have to constantly prune plants, otherwise they would try to take over the tank.

I did notice placing willow branches and myrtle branches kept the fish exceptionally healthy over time and I let breeding occur naturally. Occasionally I let a freshwater crab or crayfish (wild caught, but they turned a brilliant blue in captivity) loose in the tank for short periods to handle cleaning of a carcass when needed but they resided primarily in another tank.

After nearly five years now with no tank setup I recently started establishing a 55 Gal tank to introduce my grandchildren to the hobby. Fighting back the urge to go out and buy another 120 gal tank. The wife (of five years now) has finally caved and stated I could put a 120 together IF I get rid of all my other tanks.

Smaller tanks are just high maintenance no matter how you set them up. The bigger the tank the easier it is to maintain overall. I have several tanks I have been just storing for the last 5 years, the wife wants them to go away.

I think too many people want results too quickly and that is what really feeds the marketplace. One must develop patience to be successful as a aquarium hobbyist. Success doesn't come fast.

From a retail standpoint I have always gravitated towards two things. Price and available knowledge. If a retailer tries to sell me gadgets I don't really need or doesn't really seem to know the products they do have, I'll go elsewhere. I don't mind paying little more to keep the "mom and pop" stores around where you can get information when needed.

I never really tried breeding on a commercial scale but I have thought about it. The wife would have a cow! Having young grandchildren around tends to take all my time so that aspect isn't really feasible right now. But if I get one or two of them interested in it???

I'll post another video soon of the current setup and it's progress when I get the chance to shoot one. I'm kind of like Don (aka Old School Fish Guy). I've learned what works for me. I'm not sure I'm any good at videotaping yet, that remains to be seen I guess. I'm dealing with exceptionally hard water where I live now, it may be a bit of a learning curve to get the balance right?
Rich's Fishes - 6 years ago
Do you think its the extra dissolved gases that cause stress from a h2o change or some other factor?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Ken Paschall I do believe water changes cause stress. In that system how often did you change water? I end up changing water once or twice a year out of fear on my Ultra low maintenance tanks in the past.
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op there are multiple benefits, a buffer for any potential interruption in the bacterial cycle, food sources for other things you didn't realize lived in the tank, even a natural PH buffer with proper substrate composition. It all works together.

My longest running setup was just over 12 years without disturbing the UG other than cleaning the risers. If I hadn't moved then I have no doubts it would have gone indefinitely.

Contrary to popular beliefs fresh tap water when filtered is far from healthy for fish, it weakens their immune systems over time. The best environment is one that closely resembles or replicates a natural environment.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah, I've been thinking/saying this for a few years now. I'm not convinced that mulm is a bad thing. I'm not convinced it is beneficial either, but definitely needs more investigation for me to make up my mind.
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
BluerThanBlue I think it's just difficult for some people to comprehend that the "gunk" is actually a "cleaning tool" for the water itself.
JR Patilan Gaming - 6 years ago
i had seen a tank here with a power head the blower is closed its used as a suction connected to the UG
ive never tried it but my friends petshop only has one in it ive asked him about it and he said there still some debris or gunk on the farthest sides of the UG
but near the suction its clean
still for some fishkeepers knowing Dirt or gunk is present they might want to uncover it and siphon i dunno ive seen so many clean freaks actually am also one of them thats why majority of my tanks has barebottom
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
Long term, when properly setup and with proper water flow through the UG filter there is NEVER a need to break them down for cleaning etcetera, however the riser tubes can get algae growth inside them that may need cleaning from time to time. A shotgun bore brush works wonders for this issue! You also want to be sure that the filter base does NOT have un screened holes where the riser tubes connect, just so IF you have to disconnect or replace them you can do that without having to break down the entire tank to remove the base plates.

My experience has shown that air stones rarely move enough water through the UG Filter to get maximum efficiency from them. Using power heads adds multiple benefits. First it increases the water flow through the UG filter. Second it allows you to eliminate noisy air pumps by aiming the output towards the surface of the water which oxygenates it quite effectively. There are some downsides to using power heads! I have had one fail and cause an electrical short which released toxic fumes into the water and killed my entire tank. I can't blame that entirely on the power head though because I may have had it too high in the water column causing it to get too hot?

I have used UG filters since 1987 when I setup my first tank here in the USA after having a very large tank overseas while in the military. Larger tanks are typically easier to maintain, but suppliers don't want you to know that because they are more likely to sell a hundred 29 GAL tanks during the same time they sell 5 or 6 120 GAL tanks. The money is in volume sales, they focus on products that fit the sales market.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I completely agree that it's how the consumer perceives it, that is the problem.
Brian's Opinion/Comments - 6 years ago
+Julian Morgan Depends on the tank and the bio load. But at least once a week vac the gravel. At least once a month remove decorations and clean those spots. And about every year to 18 month remove lift tub and suck detritus from under the plate. I like to alternate from side to side in larger tanks that have more than one plate. So as not to remove to much at one time. Does that make sence ????
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for the info, I love to hear long term success stories.
Brian's Opinion/Comments - 6 years ago
Rich's Fishes My local fish shop has one in all salt and fresh water tanks and they have been up and running for over 30 years.. I have had one up now since I moved into my current home and that will be 17 years this June. My discus tank has been running about 5 years next month. So with proper maintenance there is no need to break them down.
Aesyir - 5 years ago
you ever carry any newt species?
Ten Dragons - 5 years ago
I'm going thru YouTuber's videos that I missed or haven't seen because I may have just started watching them. I'm glad I saw THIS video. I'm older than most YouTubers in the hobby and I see a lot of Snobby Aquarists and they are very close minded to ONLY what they see used around them among THEIR peers & people that they're friendly with.
I'm not going to rehash the pros & cons that you covered in your video because you did a Tremendous job & I agree with you 100% on ALL POINTS ! That just doesn't happen with me......Ever ! Til NOW !
Thank You for covering this topic & doing so thoroughly. I'd really like to see younger hobbyists embrace Undergravel Filters & work to expand the horizons of others that they're trying to educate. The more options understood, the more used and the better the Hobby will be for the hobbyist & their Fish.
* The "HATE" is REAL ! Completely Unwarranted, but REAL.

Great Job Cory
JEAN GREGORY BUISSERETH - 5 years ago
I thank you for that video! I am just starting in fish hobbies and i buy a aquarium 20 gallon with under-gravel filter i use 20 lbs of gravels , i am gonna have 3-swordtails and 3-neon tetra and 1-red tails shark and 1-Pleco, do you think is dangerous for these fish, and if i add some shrimp do you think it also dangerous for them. With under-gravel filters , please let me know???
rich andy - 5 years ago
Good video. It took me a year to find it.
Mike Schwitzke Jr - 5 years ago
Cant have sand one more down fall.
Mr. Chello - 5 years ago
i have used under gravel on planted 65 gallon tall tank for several years (rainbow community tank), and it was beautiful, before i left the hobby a few years ago and now that i'm getting back into the hobby....i can't find under-gravel filters in aquarium stores near me.
i have a 94 gallon Oceanic glass corner bow aquarium i would like to use an under-gravel filter on....do you know where i can get an under-gravel filter for my tank?
Mr. Chello - 5 years ago
love the honesty!!!
John Davis - 5 years ago
Great information on undergravel filters . always used undergravel filters for many years . had no problems ..love your honesty on all aspects on fish kipping, great program.

### 10. comment for Undergravel Filter Good or Bad? Betta fish and Shipping Daily Dose 51

Suellen Lines - 5 years ago
Okay so I just set up a 20 gallon long aquarium with equal complete and top decorative gravel and I am running a double Sponge Filter on my aquarium right now and so far I like it it may change may not but Corey your aquariums are gorgeous keep up the good work
Steve Osterloh - 5 years ago
Back in the late 80s, I had a 90 gallon salt water aquarium, with two 40 gallon under gravel (crushed coral) filters, no sump, no hang on back. I had no live coral was way too expensive back then. Had 15 to 20 fish, did my water changes ( about once a month), watch my temp and salinity. I had no problems never lost a fish. I'm looking now that I'm retired to start a 150 salt with coral and I will be using under gravel, with hang on back.
Service Dog In Training Chopper - 5 years ago
Back in my fish keeping days (13 to about 25) I ran mostly under gravel filters. I started canister hang on the back filters in addition for my turtle because he pooped so much but even when that 55 gal became a community tank it had an under gravel only. I did have waste build up. I did break down the entire tank to clean it out every so often. I never put live plants in. I bought one and it died and I think that's why. So, those with plants I can see the benefit as well for the waste to be right at the roots of the plants. I also think I didn't gravel vac enough or go deep enough as if you put the gravel vac right at or near the plate you will suck out all that waste and I remember getting a lot when I did gravel vac but I dont think I did a great job at gravel vacing. I think one would need to be aware of how much and how deep they are gravel vacing. I have also used it with pretty deep substrait and they work great and yes, always crystal clear water!
Anonymous User - 5 years ago
Most people shy away from undergravel filters is because they are old school. My first aquarium was an undergravel and I had tremendous success with it. I would recommend them and yes plants do thrive with them!
Hellish Venturi - 5 years ago
I can't get enough comments in ha ha...every time I come back to this episode, I think of something new to say. Ha ha ha.
Like this.
Hellish Venturi - 5 years ago
So many companies are pushing expensive filters out now..and the newbeys.. specially kids who like hi tech all in and around their Aquarium are suckered in ..and miss the simplicity and expense free gift of the under gravel biological filter plate.
Talon Wingdancer - 5 years ago
I have only used undergravel filters and had wonderful successes with the plants and critters in the tanks
Saw wil - 5 years ago
U r great, thx for all the info
Beetfarmer89 - 5 years ago
Can i use an under gravel filter and a canister? Is it bad to combine filtration types?
Don Gallagher - 5 years ago
I ran an undergravel in a 75 for years with 2 power heads on the lift tubes. bioload was a pair of severums 8 bleeding hearts 2 picture and 2 raphels and a pair of festivuns.. I gravel vaced did weekly water changes and had no problems. I had fairly thick gravel my severums spawned and dug a nice Pitt.
Don Gallagher - 5 years ago
darn auto correct, pictus cats not pictures, lol

### 20. comment for Undergravel Filter Good or Bad? Betta fish and Shipping Daily Dose 51

Lars Walker - 5 years ago
I love my under gravel filters. They operate with a large surface area, they harbor places for detritus to collect allowing for fertilization of plants. I heard something about Anaerobic not being able to propagate but get porous rock to allow for anaerobic bacteria. I also use power heads with mine which allows for more water to be filtered per hour and there is no bubble noise. Another problem is that when you vac the gravel, you're puling out bacteria so you want to vac half the tank at a time. I want to know what the issue with cichlids is. I have never had a problem.
mastmalang70hk - 5 years ago
what about if sucking the water through gravel ,push the water through gravel ,so i can use my canister filter and there is no waste keep lying on gravel ,so keep the gravel clean ,i have moderate plantation also , what are the cons and pros of this???? please reply
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
+mastmalang70hk it’s called a reverse flow under gravel filter, you can look it up, a decently common concept.
Cheryl Clemenson - 5 years ago
UGF was the standard when I got started in the hobby. I used to love them.
Kurt Field - 5 years ago
I work for a large aquarium retailer, I sell these undergravel goldmines to customers who buy starter kits that come with cartridge style internal/hang on filters.

As they throw away half of their cycle each month with the cartridge, I find the undergravel keeps a plentiful supply of nitrifying bacteria to keep the tank running :)
Leilicorn - 5 years ago
I have an under gravel filter and it has a long tube at the top that dispenses the water that has holes in the side. It tends to get blocked easily ( I have to remove the blockage with tweakers ) and I can't find a way to open the actual motor part to clean it out??
Allan H - 5 years ago
I used an under gravel filter with African Ciclids for quite a few years and never had any problems. I switched to canister filters because they are more or less silent.
Siang H - 5 years ago
Wow, glad I stumbled on this video. I got a new tank to set up and was deciding on which filter system to use. Been so long and I'd almost forgotten about it. UGF will be it. Thanks. :)
Anonymous Person - 5 years ago
my tank is 98% sponge filter filtraion and i diy mini canister filter(3 quart bottle) on my powerhead filled compleatly with carbon so i can have some chem filtration to
Anonymous Person - 5 years ago
im planing to get a undergravel filter but im worried about My 2 large plecos diging it up
felidae - 5 years ago
Yeah dude, UG's have always been great. I've never had anything but positive results with them, even with messy fish like goldies. Once the biofilter is going in them they're literally set and forget as long as you have the tank wet. I've never used them in anything larger than a 55, so there's that. And canisters and HOB's are all you really need, but I've always been pro-UGF.
Bryan Black - 5 years ago
I started up my UGF up today it has 4" of gravel though because I had set up the tank for the UGF plates to just be a plenum but it seems to be working the bubbles are solid up the tube so i guess the 4" of gravel is okay and it is circulating the water okay.

### 30. comment for Undergravel Filter Good or Bad? Betta fish and Shipping Daily Dose 51

Jason Renoux - 5 years ago
Hello, I am new to the hobby. Have been keeping fish in a 200 gallon aquaponic system. I have recently came across the Kevin Novak channel and the study of Manky Sanke. Mr Novak is talking about plenum which I guess are under gravel filters. What are your thoughts on this approach? Using a cat litter gravel (natural and odor free) with a negative molecular charge that traps the NH4- and turns it into N2... Really looking forward to reading your thoughts on that. Thanks
Deanna Ferrier - 5 years ago
I have used under gravel filters in all my tanks for over 30 years, in my community tanks, and in my angel fish tanks, i am currently running the same under gravel filter in my 33 gallon for 23 years, never a problem, cleaning is easy just remove an upright and put your siphon right down the whole sucks up as much of that brown water as you like, easy.
Deanna Ferrier - 5 years ago
I run an under gravel filter in my 33gallan, but what I did was removed the center top piece and put the intake of my aquaclear filter in it so I believe I get more stuff pulled down through the gravel to feed the plants, and it has been working well for me so far
Chicken Joe - 5 years ago
Hey Cory, I believe under gravel filters are awesome, and I am currently using on in my 20 gallon which has two bristle nose plecos assorted tetras, white cloud and a couple asassin snails. In my, and my gf's opinion it's one of the cleanest tanks in the house. And we have 4 btw. Also the fish store that we go to has been using undergravel filters and all of their tanks for over 40 years this is to include their saltwater tanks. So there is no way that they can be as bad as people Proclaim them to be. Feel free to check out their website http://fintique.home.texas.net they are just about the only fish store around that we trust
maggie72712 - 5 years ago
I have always used an underwater filters in my tank. I do siphon the water by removing one of the tubes and holding the vacuum over the hole for a minute or two. I do regular weekly maintain on my tanks too.
justin Dawson - 5 years ago
I know this video is getting old now but I thought I should add some info. One of my local fish store has run only undergravel filter for the 20+ years I have been going there. He has never had any issues apart from having to replace the air stone every now and then.
Matthew Killian - 5 years ago
I'm actually doing research on undergravel filtration. I've been secussfully breeding betas for about a year now and I'm converting a 55gal into 8 different chambers. I will let you know how it goes
mario vb - 5 years ago
how the filter doing now any updates i missed ?
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
I haven't done updates but they seem to be performing just fine, no complaints.
Martin Blake - 5 years ago
Love the subject. From what Ive read most aquatic plants take nutrients in a process called Adsortion ( changing ions through their roots with the media that sorrounds it ) if the media is water it is said that most of acuatic plants cannot "feed" themself or if so they do it poorly. So this could be another down to the U.G.Filters. Anyway I love them and that " problem " could be solved having the plants in pots with the right substrate e.g: Laterite clay. etc. Congrats. for the videos!!! From Argentina.
Martin Blake - 5 years ago
Thanx for answering!!! I keep this im mind!!!!
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
I've read about that too. The funny thing is, plants seem to do better with an undergravel filter though which goes against that science.
Bogan Phelps - 5 years ago
so I was using my undergravel lift tubes for my air pump lines to go underneath the gravel. I do have an Aqua Tech 515 hang on back filter and decided to use my lift tubes for undergravel filtration also along with Air Line routing. I realize flow might be somewhat restricted because of the airline's going down the tubes and underneath. but I figure it can't hurt to utilize that filtration along with my hang on back filter. my water looks amazing now
presouz - 5 years ago
Yep 30 years ago I used under-gravel, and yeah, got hate when I went back to the hobby few years ago so bought HOB, and I hate em, switching to sponge, just using the power head part of the HOB's. HOPE it works lol
SamMu - 5 years ago
The biggest support I can find for under gravel filters are from the shrimp keeping/breeding community
Mals Aquaholics - 5 years ago
When i was a kid , the under gravel. Filter was far superior to the dirty box filters .. nowadays there is a lot more choice , im gonna run a UGF on my next tank but i wonder how the bio load colony will do ? I generally run canister filters with expensive bio media in . Could you maybe slot some biohome ultra or similar media under the gravel ??
Daniel Merrell - 5 years ago
the best way is to run a under gravel in reverse then it doesn't collect waste underneath the plate you can do this by placing a power head in with the outlet facing down in the tube and put a strainer on the intake
Mike Ellis - 5 years ago
I had an aquarium store for a many years and used undergravel filters. Most tanks were set up for many years with these filters and were near totally broken down just regular maintenance and did great. I closed my store and actually have been in the pond business for a number of years now. I stored many of the tanks and still have the undergravel filters. I have been wanting to open a retail pond/aquarium business and have found a big change away from undergravel filters. However after watching this video and a few others if I do open a store I think I want to use undergravel filters again. I am also a bit scared of opening up a retail store because of competition from the internet. However I think next year I will give it a shot. Thanks a million. Mike
Bob Moore - 5 years ago
Cory, good to see objective discussion on underrated undergravel filters ( UGF). I note with satisfaction that other supporters are also voicing opinions. Having used a UGF in an in wall tank for thirty+ years. I can say I've never had a problem that wasn't my fault due to poor maintenance.
Ei Pi - 5 years ago
Back in the 70s when i got hooked on keeping fish , under gravel and HOBs was about all there was . I used just under gravel on both 55 gal tanks (my 1st tanks) 1 was marine and other fresh both with medium to high fish populations and never had any problems (just ones i created) Wont even consider not using them.
matthew o'dea - 5 years ago
ups, hugeee bio load,cheap,good for plnt growf,sucks crap outa site
bads,hard to clean,tubes don't look great,not gret surface agro in 4 foot tanks,bbuid up of nitrates unless heavily planted or can clean udner plate
matthew o'dea - 5 years ago
I can see why a lot of peoples anti under gravel filters but whn I bought my large tank second hand it keem with an under gravelfilter and I used it to see how it works and its a great bed fo bacteria what ever any one says bad about them no one can say theye not the biggest area or bacterias  never ustoget ammonia or nitrites when I ran a undergravelfilter but I prefer other filters the trap lot of crap under the plate which causes nitrates it hard to clean under the plate but there are ways  no longer use uder gravel a filter but I do think n unde gravel couid make on of the best filters if you put powerheads wih prefilters on them use a ravel cleaner to clean out the tubes I think you couid have tons n tons of fish in a tank with an under gravel if modified to make work easyer to remove crap n nitrates,the ubes re not nice to look at but people will allways have negitives on that filter its a great bio load
Tracy S - 5 years ago
To get rid of excess debris from under your UG filter (if you feel the need to do that), remove the tubing from the filter (leaving just the short tube attached to the body of the filter), then hold your siphon tube tightly over the filter tube and let it suck out the excess. Put it all back together, and you're good to go. Also, most UG filters have extra outlets, which would be covered by your gravel or sand. When you find them, just remove the cap and use your siphon to draw out the excess gunk. Replace the cap and re-cover the outlet.

### 50. comment for Undergravel Filter Good or Bad? Betta fish and Shipping Daily Dose 51

Mike Arnold - 5 years ago
Will under gravel filters work with sand?
Reynaldo Garnica - 5 years ago
Can you do a follow-up now that you have some more experience... Maybe even a comparison of which undergravel filter you prefer and why?

Here is my analysis:
Based on my thorough observation... It seems to me that the claim of waste settling in the bottom is not true. This is proven by the sand waterfall effect which is when you use the riser tubes and the air stones to suck up sand and spill it out through the top of the tube. What this proves is that if there was any fish poop that made its way down past the grate... Then it's probably small enough to get sucked down into the cavity of the filter at the bottom... Then it would most likely make its way back up to the top through the lift tube and be deposited back on top of the gravel. This would then be vacuumed out once you do your regular maintenance.

Again, if you can you compare the models out there Lee's, Topfin, Immagitarium and so forth I would really appreciate it. For example I like the Topfin only cause you can customize it to odd shaped tanks... But I don't like all the vertical grates that each peice has cause it seems that it may reduce flow and trap stuff.
What do you think?
Wayne's Fish World - 5 years ago
good god you were spitting in this video!! good one bud!!! you brought the truth said it better then i could....i agree 100%
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
Lol, it's dangerous when I go on a rant. Good seeing you around Wayne!
SirLancelot - 5 years ago
My dad has a fish shop since 1982, 36 20 gallons tanks, all with 10 gallons UG filters, in some cases extra internal filters to manage overpopulation... Water changes only when medicate, and refill with aged water after level drops from fish sales... And he keeps it with very low mortality and water crystal clear... PS great content Sr! Keep it up!
Weston's Fish Tanks - 5 years ago
Great rant!! We used them ALL THE TIME back in the day...never had a problem with any and I had some running for 5+ years. Don't even know why I quit using them, you have inspired me to bring them back!!
Erik B's Aquariums - 5 years ago
could you not in theory vacuum under the plate by placing a hose down the up tube and pull stuff from under plate?
Shanley Aumiller - 5 years ago
I use an UGF in conjunction with my HOB filter in my planted 29 gal and my water parameters have been pretty wonderful since quite early on. Some of my plants (like swords, crypts, vals,) however, seem to have stunted growth so I recently tried "potting" some of them. They all have great root systems when I removed them from the substrate. Since "potting" them, I saw leaf growth within the first week. My tank is only about 3.5 months old in its planted state. Maybe I am just impatient and potting was a pre-mature response? I think UGFs "make sense" biologically and would like to learn how to continue to use mine, maintain good water quality, and still get the plant growth I desire without potting them (currently all of my plants just seem to stay low and bushy but don't gain any height). I think there is probably a balance of water flow, ferts, and lighting that can be achieved with UGFs in planted tanks and I'd love to learn more about the possibilities of continuing to use them in my planted tank.
poweredbyaaron99 - 5 years ago
If anyone is here for an opinion on undergravel filters skip to 17:40
jeff johnson - 5 years ago
I have had under gravel filters in most of my tanks for fourty plus years,whenever I set up a tank I stick a plate down first,still using same filters from thirty odd years ago.Even if I don't use it at first at sometime might change my mind and stick a bubbler or powerhead on.using them right now on 120gal,75gal 12 gal all planted without co2 works great angles,corys,tetras,loaches etc.The 20 gal breeder tank has a sponge filter because the bottom is marbles.after this long in the hobby one try's everything now I like low maintance,under gravel work great for me. Jeff
cory8791 - 5 years ago
Can you over filter your tank?
NashreddeR - 5 years ago
hello! i have a (Deco O) 20L tank. i want to know whats the best undergravel for me and what would fit too.
NashreddeR - 5 years ago
awww ok thanks. :(
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
I'm not sure, we don't have that tank here in the states.
louverdudski - 5 years ago
Thanks for that! Started almost 40 years ago with undergravel and sponge filters,had a planted tank with a UG that ran 15 years,till the tank seals wore out ,then had to tear it down.
Holly Samsonator - 5 years ago
I bought an UGF at LFS because I had never used one before. LFS told me how they work, seemed OK, but I had been sucked in to the canister filter system. (It works great, don't get me wrong there but I realise I may not have needed to spend that much money) Thanks for this video, it helps my confidence to set this 'dinosaur' sucker up and have it running along side my sponge filters! I love basics! I will run the canister too (hell, I own it now! lol) These filters I talk of are over 4 tanks, I don't have them all on one tank..... not to that stage ...lol..
andrew Eland - 5 years ago
I love under gravel filters and have been using them for years
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
Yeah, I can't complain about the ones I installed yet.
2 2 - 5 years ago
you didnt mention that some plants might not like flow under its roots
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
+2 2 which plants would those be? I have never known a plant that dosing like it and all the farms only grow aquatic plants with flow on the roots.
Sean Ford - 5 years ago
at the local fish shop I go to they have under gravel filters for all there tanks and when I was planning to get my 29 gallon they recommended an under gravel filter and I find it works great.
Sean Ford - 5 years ago
it's also very easy to put together.
EngineeringAquariums - 5 years ago
Im a saltwater guy but I love your channel (dont know any of the names lol) you could try a waterproof CO2 scrubber like in you $100,000 koi shipment opening video. Just an idea, idk the price in them. louverdudski - 5 years ago Been running a undergravel on a planted shrimp tank for over 10 years. thi le - 5 years ago Love all your contents can't get enough of it.. Keep up with evrything and there is heaps more ppl out there that loves to watch ur content. Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago Will do :) thi le - 5 years ago patelike - 5 years ago I mean, the main problem people have with undergravel and sponge filters are aesthetics. People just don't like ugly bubbles, thick pipes, airline tubing, thicker substrate layers, having gravel as the only choice for substrate, and large cylinders of sponges in their tanks. And power filters definitely have more surface area for bacteria altogether because with HOB's and canisters there's the surface area in the filter AND the gravel (plus whatever other surfaces there are in the tank like decor), while UGF's only use the gravel as the surface area (plus other surfaces like i said before). Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago I agree with your first statement they can be ugly. But the second statement, typically an UGF will have more bacterica because the flow allows all the gravel to house bacteria. Where with other filtration only the top layer would have bacteria that was able to get oxygen flow. tea glass - 5 years ago undergravel filters are my favorite filter/ i grew up using them/ and there definitely the best/ now everything is sponge filter/ 20 yrs ago or 15 yrs ago everything was under gravel filter tea glass - 5 years ago undergravel filter with a bio ring substrate ftw, purigen is like aquarium crack, that stuff gives you the clearest water i ever seen in 1 day Stormy Mist - 5 years ago could I use a undergravel filter with shrimp Stormy Mist - 5 years ago Thank you Cory Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago Yes, there are a lot of breeders who plumb an undergravel with a canister filter to make it fry safe. Chavosroom - 5 years ago I have been used under gravel filter many times all my life and always run so good, hold the waste and they are clean, you can hide them and they are cheap, easy and good! The only thing is all the waste and nutrients stay down, so the plants can have a lot of nutrients. You will have to manage the waste to clean the gravel because the waste will be deep inside de gravel. Sal Brunetto - 5 years ago UG filters are great. Especially if you're using air. Good talk Cory. You're right on. Getsamarie Garcia - 5 years ago Hey there! I am having a problem with one of my neon tetras. It has a cloudy circular bump on the mouth. I have noticed it getting bigger. Can you give me some insight on how to treat him? No other tetras have this problem. Thanks! Getsamarie Garcia - 5 years ago +Aquarium Co-Op so I found something called rapid Cure. I tried it and it helped get smaller but it did not go away. I did 2 rounds of medicine for 3 days. Did a water change 24 hrs after each round. Getsamarie Garcia - 5 years ago +Aquarium Co-Op No. I searched around for answers and some people said it was probably an ulcer? Did not even think about that possibility. Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago +Getsamarie Garcia have you tried a dewormed like general cure? AquariumCop - 5 years ago under gravels RULE Nick Rose - 5 years ago Used u/g filters for over 30 years successfully , not running one now, but I like what you've said about the tendency to over kill and tech in our hobby. If a person can have a healthy tank with lower tech and lower cost, THAT is success. Nick Rose - 5 years ago I get great satisfaction out of my diy systems and avoiding marketing hype and name brand peer pressure. There may be little glory in a DIY canister filter, but the bacteria cant seem to tell the difference if its 10 bucks worth of stuff from the hardware store or a$100 bucks worth of marketing and branding on top of the ten bucks worth of plastic
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
I agree, success is when someone is happy keeping their fish and they are healthy.
Lisa Harding - 5 years ago
I used an UGF on my 30 gallon tank for years. I had a pair of angels and guppies in there. Worked like a charm and people always commented how clear my water was. Considering going back to them.
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
Thanks for the feedback Lisa.
Pa. Fish Preacher - 5 years ago
Have you used the Dr. Tim's Aquatics Beneficial food? Same principle as Repashy I think.
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
I haven't tried it yet, I should :)
34CT4149 - 5 years ago
34CT4149 - 5 years ago
Hi Cory,  thanks so much for your speedy reply.  I'm a British Ex-Pat living in the Canary Islands ( Spain )  I have no idea where i'd be likely to get some Malala mat from But I will definitely look into it. Many thanks again for the info, and once again,  good luck and best wishes.  Ray.
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
+34CT4149 I would try using some coarse Malala mat instead of the sponge
Michael Walbridge - 5 years ago
I started in the hobby in the 90's. Back then undergravel filters were all the rage. I used them in the two tanks I had back then. A 29 and 50 gallon and they worked great. Had those tanks set up for many years. I had them both set up with a single tube and a small powerhead. Just got back into it over the past year and have set up that same 29 with the same set up. Have an an aqua clear 20 on it as well just for some additional help and this tank is super crystal clear. I think I'll always use them. No problems here. Good video.
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
Thanks for the feedback. Really interested to hear that no one has really stepped up with much problems.
william wulffleff - 5 years ago
Wouldn't it be cheaper to get a o2 bottle system
Lisa T - 5 years ago
Under Gravel Filters are good IF you like to do extra maintenance on your tanks like gravel vacuuming. I prefer to have a bare bottom tank with enough flow to remove debris and a pre-filter to keep the filter clean. That being said a reverse UGF sounds great. Drilling the bottom of the tank. wish I could, tempered glass is the issue there. I also have African Cichlids mostly but a planted tank with a sand bed.
Lisa T - 5 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op Check out the king of DIY. I use filter floss and throw it in my wash machine to clean it and that saves a tonne of money. (i have only ever used all natural laundry soap inside and I do a good cleaning so it doesn't contaminate the floss) HOB filters are my favorite and you mentioned the cost of running them. Solar and wind generation is my solution. Wind is fairly easy to take advantage of but Solar is amazing here.
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
+Lisa T I have never been convinced are bottom tanks are less work. Just different work instead of gravel caving you are servicing the filtration more. So for me it comes down to which I find more enjoyable
Eric Wagter - 5 years ago
I have used them. The only thing I didn't like about it was the amount of gravel that they recommend to put on top of it. I also don't think you could have a dirted tank or a sand bottom tank with using them.
Jordan Varner - 5 years ago
lol my "breeding fish for profit" tank has an undergravel and a sponge filter and its great! parameters are always within acceptable levels and i only ever really change the water when i feel like its been a while (usually every few months) and it has a lot of microorganisms that the baby guppies eat and the mystery snails do great and i have a pet betta in there and he does great (doesnt even eat the guppy fry cuz its just choked with plants) and it does really well and i make hella profit off of it. do what works for you and dont necessarily take everyone's advise to heart because bias in the fish industry is a real thing!
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
Awesome, thanks for the input, sounds like a tank I'd like to stare at and study.
Walter Goldsmith - 5 years ago
Is the under gravel jet system a reverse and upgrade of the under gravel filter.
Because it's the answer to the problem of waste that collects under the under gravel plate
Isaac Surong - 5 years ago
how to clean a under gravel filter ??
Isaac Surong - 5 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op so every 2/3 months i have to take out the plates?
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
Gravel vacuuming is what you'd do typically.
matthew smith - 5 years ago
Probably a bit late to the party here. I've just ugfs in a few different ways. On 'larger' tanks I've used power head to use it conventionally and reverse flow and had good experiences with it, so long as when I did water changes I agitated to gravel to stop channeling. I used different gravels and even alfagrog in one if I remember. I used an air driven system on a smaller planted tank, it works similarly to a bog filter on a pond, loved it! The plants feed right off the poop. Like you said, with all filters the poop stays in the system until you as the fish keeper removers it. I only stopped using them because I started using more 'complex' substrates and genuinely just forgot about them, maybe I'll try again. I prefer to go with sand in my goldfish tank so no go there. What I will say is that the best fish store there was in Cyprus when I lived there used only ugfs, when I spoke to the owner he said they effectively all run on different systems so no cross contamination, makes sense
chantel barcomb - 5 years ago
my parents Always used an underground filter for their salt water aquariums and they would use Nothing else
Becky Porter - 5 years ago
I would just like to say, I normally don't watch long videos on YouTube, but you are very easy to watch. I enjoy your videos. now, to go along with the UG filter discussion, another plus is that UG filters don't suck up baby fish or food the way that HOB filters do. I have a 55 gallon tank with a UG filter. it's a guppy tank with a pleco and an albino cory clean up crew. I love UG filters. I always have. I also have a 10 gallon tank with a UG filter running for my future betta. :)
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
Yeah, that is a good point about UG for sure. Work well with shrimp also.
Marie-Christine - 5 years ago
I'm confused. What about expanding all the surface area and foam and bio-balls, to grow bacteria in all other types of filters? A flat piece of Plastic can be just as good?

Sorry never even saw one before. But looking into it. Getting so much education on this channel! Wich is great, for my future in the hobby. Yay fish.
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
You turn all your gravel into surface area which the water then gets pulled through.
awesomein3..2..1.. - 5 years ago
just set up a 55 gal soroity tank about a week ago (after having cycled it) and i put in an undergravel filter and i love it. my tank looks and runs great. i think it keeps good aerobic conditions which helps plant growth and stable water conditions. i also think my tank cycled faster using an ugf instead of the hobf. and for those of you who insist on having dirt for your plants, put some in a little clay pot, then plant, then cap it with gravel. just a suggestion though. thanks Corey for this video and for keeping it real.
R King - 5 years ago
I agree with everything you said except for the depth of the gravel bed. Based on my experience, a deeper gravel bed ( 3 to 4 inches) of coarse gravel works better than a shallower bed of finer gravel. Also, natural gravel with a rough surface texture seems to work better than that colored gravel with a smoother surface.
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
Thanks for the input R King.
Charlie's Angelfish - 5 years ago
I have been breading Angels for years and use UG's exclusivly in my breading tanks.Yes, I have gravel in my breading tanks.No, I'm not an idiot.the only tanks I use sponge filters in are my Fry tanks.once the fry are big enough (take on adult shape) I switch them to the grow out tanks. These are ALL UG filtered with a three inch bed of gravel Blackwater and fully planted......I have amazon swords, Wisteria water sprite Duckweed, Crypt Wendtii and Java moss.Water paramiters are awesome and I test twice weekly.I have well water and ont pay for anything more than the electricity to run the pump.That said..........I only do water changes when I feel its needed.My bigger tanks only need water changes every two or three months.my smaller 30 gallons need it more often maby every month or two.I know there are people out there that just had a heart attack, but it's the gods honest truth.My discus are also fine and breading well on the same WC schedule with UG filters too, just fewer plants or they hide all the time.Very under rated filter that needs to make a comeback. In my opinion.Good luck !!!!
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
great feedback, if you have any pics of your tanks, I'd love to see em, if you wanted to send em to store@aquariumcoop.com
Terry Coulter - 5 years ago
I have underground gravel system. I want to switch to sponge filter . I have a heavily planted tank. I also have several shrimp, do I have to up root and move the bottom plates or can I remove the tubes and close the holes
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
Why not just continue using the undergravel filter?
Thomas Fonseca - 5 years ago
After watching this video again I'm thinking about running these in my ten gallon tanks. Any updates though?
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
Seem to be working perfectly fine for me. The problem is, it's the long period of time people are worried about 5+ years etc. which just takes time.
Okie Rogue - 5 years ago
I have had an under gravel filter in my 75g sine I set it up 12 years ago. No problems at all. Don't get me wrong, I run additional sponge filtration as well but I would rather over filter than under. I run tap water with prime only (outside of your easy green, but that's does nothing but feed the plants) doing about 30% water change weekly. I have 4 angels, 5 discus, 7 panda corys, 2 albino bn plecos (and about 60 of their juveniles), 1 tiger pleco, 2 neon tetras, 10 merited snails, God only knows how many Malaysian trumpet snails, and 5 huge amano shrimp. The substrate is gravel with Malaysian driftwood, ornamental rocks and a slab of slate. It is heavily planted and I use catalpa leaves. I almost caved into peer pressure and yanked the under gravel filter from the tank about 10 yrs ago but I stuck with it. I'm glad I did. My water parameters are great and the tank is crystal clear.
Aquarium Co-Op - 5 years ago
Thanks for the input Okie Rogue :)
Mack Canady - 5 years ago
At one time, several years ago, I had 7 tanks ranging from 2 1/2 gallons to 55 gallons and I ran under gravel filters on all those tanks and ran power heads with all of tanks 10 gallons and over. I also ran back filters as well. Never used foam a filter until about 3 years ago. I currently have 1 tank, 26 gallon bow front. I am running a Hagen Aquaclear 70 with an ATI Filter Max III pre filter on the intake, two foam blocks in the media area along with two bags of Eheim Substrat Pro. Seems to work well

### 100. comment for Undergravel Filter Good or Bad? Betta fish and Shipping Daily Dose 51

Tricky Green - 6 years ago
He says that it catches debris similar to a HoB, or sponge filter but the comparison isn't apt. With HoB and sponge filter you rinse the media in dirty tank water and remove that debris periodically. Doesn't happen with an undergravel filter.
Zachary Aquatics - 6 years ago
Strongly agree bro, I have been using undergravel filter for 20 years and it works fine, my fishes are all heavy and my tank waters are great.
Dakota Brown - 6 years ago
I use ugf's in all my tanks except quarantine (it makes full take downs easier with no substrate) and I absolutely will not build a tank without one now. I still use a hob but the combination gives me plenty of filtration to have (what some consider) "overstocked" tanks. My only concern with planted tanks and ugf's is heavy rooted plants can grow into it but that's only a problem if you move your plants witch is bad in the first place.
Jason Gilsinger - 6 years ago
works best with powerhead trap as much waste if not
Dr Red Pill - 6 years ago
Just I thought, is it possible to put a sponge between the under gravel and tank?
Dr Red Pill - 6 years ago
I haven't used one in years. We used to use them when I was a kid. I really don't think any shops in Australia stock them anymore
jgrove2000 - 6 years ago
My experience is that UG filters deliver crystal clear water while the others do not.
sufficientlyoldskool - 6 years ago
Everyone's just kind of glossing over the real problem with under gravel filters. You're limited to only one type of substrate. Not everybody wants just plain gravel on the bottom of their tanks.
AquariumCop - 6 years ago
My dad used to and I still do ~TIP: A air line hose just slightly smaller then the UGF plastic tube [ the plastic uptake pipe/ tube], okay I insert that clear rubber hose all the way in the UGF pipe and siffen it into a bucket. ALL THE DIRT under the UGF comes out and into the bucket! And no mess or cloudy water in the tank. So do it on a water change day occasioning to kill 2 birds with one stone!
AquariumCop - 6 years ago
Using since 1970
AquariumCop - 6 years ago
I use UGF. since the 70's my dad did!
Frank Bruce - 6 years ago
I've had an UGF for as long as I've had my tank. 16 yrs or so. Biggest issue for me was (and is) that because it maintains soooo well, I tend to put off my tank maintenance. Laziness probably isn't a viable reason for not using them. That probably is the downfall also. When its time to do maintenance, usually because of some disaster I've put off dealing with, its a much longer process to get back on track. I use 2 PH (*160 gph) and usually what happens is that they tend to get clogged over time. I have had Cichlids and they do tend to dig. I'm in a 70 gallon and its been great. I supplement with 2 HOB mech/bio filters. thanks to your vids about sponges and maximizing surface area, I think I'll be fine. Oh and I've recently added 3 live bamboo plants. Most UGF have 2 or more holes per plate, you can use those same holes for your plants. they'll have access to more food to thrive. This is my hypothesis, as I've just planted them a few days ago, but the science is sound. hopefully...
VillagerSparky - 6 years ago
I've just started up my own experiment with an UG filter in a stupidly small 7 litre tank. Don't worry, there is nothing in there apart from a few bladder snails right now, but I am interested to see what would happen (If anything would happen) if Trumpet or Assassin snails were introduced in to a tank with an UG filter.
Ian Dalton - 6 years ago
Undergravel filters are great. I have kept tanks for 2 distinct time periods. From 1983 to 2000 I had a 6' (125 gallon) set up. I kept SA cichlids and loads of bottom feeders. When we moved, I broke down the setup and gave away my fish. Breeding pairs of gold severums and angels, a pleco that was nearly a foot long and clown loaches that were nearly eating size. When I went to reset my tank in the new house (11 years later) I tried to replace my UG filter. It took an on-line search to find suitable plates and all the local pet stores tried to tell me how bad they were. My tank has been up and running again for a few years. My water is super stable, my plants are wonderful and the fish are thriving. If you have not tried an under gravel system, give it a whirl. You'll never look back.
StudnickaAquatics - 6 years ago
I have been in the aquarium hobby for 35 years. Thanks for giving the Undergravel Filter the credit it deserves. New people to the hobby need to understand that it does not require a lot of money to have a beautiful aquarium.
rayzimmermin - 6 years ago
i have run a 10 gal with 5 goldfish and 3 guppies and way to many snails to count on an under gravel doing water changes once a month and had no problems and tank ran for about 10 years till i gave it away because of moving and water always tested good i would test once a week
tanaquil1983 - 6 years ago
Enjoying absorbing the wealth of knowledge in all of the comments! Thank you very much for this video. I fell in love with the idea of UGFs after watch a few videos on filtration options, and purchased one for my Gold fish tank. Then immediately was made to feel bad about my purchase at two LFS. The comments here just made me feel soooo much better. I'll keep sticking with my instincts. keep up the awesome info
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
T Allen - 6 years ago
I have used undergravel filters for over 40 years, and for the past 25 years I have used them in conjunction with canister filters.  I have never had a single issue with them.  They clean well and never break!  I have gone through several canister filters on my current 25 year old aquarium, and have the same functioning undergravel filter that never fails me.Your videos are very informative.  Thanks
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
That's a really interesting thing, many canisters, still the original undergravel.
Ethan Cote - 6 years ago
with the betas, have you thought of putting a large flat airstone under it? that may work better.
Ethan Cote - 6 years ago
Or possibly a bubble wall. Even though it wpuld eventually need replacing.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah it would work better, but they need replacing, still playing with it honestly.
calthmlikiseethm - 6 years ago
undergravel filters work perfectly my plants flourish my fish flourish and have for over 40 years
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+calthmlikiseethm nice, thanks for the user experience.
calthmlikiseethm - 6 years ago
I've been taking care of aquariums for 40 years I've always been to under gravel filters they are low cost and very easy to take care of and as you pointed out my plants flourish with these filters
calthmlikiseethm - 6 years ago
Most people who go into a store are influenced by the people who work in the store and are told undergravel filters don't work well.. Because there's not much money to be made by the store selling at very little cost undergravel filter rather than a high-cost alternative...
ThatFishGuy - 6 years ago
I don't understand the hate for any filters. Certain filters work for certain tanks. I use sponge filters on most of my freshwater tanks and it cleans the water perfectly.
Mrcharrio - 6 years ago
Ive used undergravel filters for decades. I use them primarily with livebearing fish like Guppies or such, it saves the fry and the pipes are very convenient to attach a power head. With regular vacuuming of the gravel and its no problem. The only issues Ive had are with plants growing down into them or making them less efficient due to growing in the way.
Jennifer J Saracino - 6 years ago
I ran UG for all the 80's & 90's. I like them more then sponge filters, way easier to clean. However all my tanks have sand for corys these days. after many floods and dead HOB due to sand I've switched to sumps.
R Witmer - 6 years ago
Under gravel filtration basically turns your tank into a giant sponge filter, and I have to admit, it's tempting considering I mostly keep low-tech aquariums for aquatic plants and aquascaping and not lots of fish. The roots would probably love the water movement and airflow. That being said, when I was a kid I bought a 55 gallon tank on CL for cheap that had UG filter system still in it. Don't know how many years it had been running (I hope many decades because, yuck), but when I took up the filter plates it was the stuff of nightmares. It took hours to scrape with a knife, vinegar, and ultimately bleach (with more scraping) about half to a quarter inch of rock hard, dried, still smelly...old stuff...off the bottom of the tank so I could use it for my herptiles. I'm not sure I could get past that experience and risk subjecting myself to that again. I'm just using a corner box filter in my big tank to maintain the water for my husband's betta and growing my plants now. I wish there were a better way to clean under the plates without destroying everything in your setup that would actually clean ALL of that out regularly. I have a suspicion I know what happened to the fish in that 55 gallon as soon as it was even slightly neglected, and it probably wasn't pretty, which is probably how the tank wound up on CL for next to nothing, and eventually in the hands of a twelve year old girl with a real mess on her hands.
Hellish Venturi - 6 years ago
I grow strawberries out back and I did a test some years back by tipping the vacuumed aquarium mulmn from the gravel and its water into one of the plants outside..massive yield and more that year. it was so good that I poured it over other outdoor plants with much success.. so I had free fertilizer this made good clean aquarium and great big juicy strawberries.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah, I always recommend people reusing the aquarium water, such good fertilizer.
Redneck Fishguy - 6 years ago
Late to the show, but I like UGF. I'm an old guy, back in the day you had two filter choices: the UGF and a box filter in the corner. If you know how to use them they work great. A few tricks I learned: 1. to clean the gunk that collects under the plates after a long time, stick your siphon tube down the lifter tube and suck it out that way. 2. If you have diggers, put some "egg crate" down on the plates before adding the gravel. This keeps the fish from digging all the way down to the filter plates.

Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Welcome to the channel :)
MrJmotero - 6 years ago
ive been using them since the eighties, my first fish were red bellied piranah and i ran an undergravel filter and a hob without any issues as a matter of fact im setting up a 55 gallon and plan to use a ugf in it along with a sunsun 302 and a fluval 306 i love to over filtrate why not take advantage of all that substrate
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I agree, so much surface area on the substrate :)
tobeconfirmed - 6 years ago
Could people avoid diggers exposing the UG filter by putting a thin layer of dense sponge over the filter and under the gravel? It would still filter even when the gravel is removed.
Andrew Chance - 6 years ago
Thank you for this. The truth needed to be told about the much maligned UGF.

The one problem that I see is that airstones clog. When a lift tube stops lifting, the other tubes mostly suck water down the dead tube and up the live tubes, bypassing the gravel.

I am still using them in most of my tanks:
55 Hex - Ancistrus
20 Tall - Guppies
20 Tall - J. transcriptus (masked julies)
85 (18x48x23 high) - Ancistrus Fry
3 Hex - Guppies

All are heavily planted. Plant roots grow down theough the plates to take advantage of the flow of nutrified water in the open area near the bottom glass.
Andrew Chance - 6 years ago
I'm not familiar with never-clog but it sounds like I should be. No one in my area (Vegas) seems to carry them so I ordered some from your store. It will probably take a while for the new stones to pay for themselves in saved diaphragms but a lot less time if I count the hassle of changing the stones in a tank running a UGF and a non-removable eclipse hood. Thanks for the tip.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah, I negate the air stone problem by using the never clog air stones.
SomewhatNiceFellow - 6 years ago
Thanks Corey! Great video!
Pitts252 - 6 years ago
What do you think about a power head driven UG in combination with a sump for a musk turtle, plus any community fish that would be possible/responsible?

PS: Great video! Thank for trying to foster an active and fact based discussion. I don't expect all of us to get degrees on the subject but I do think reading the mountains of material, NOT created by manufacturers, can help to enrich the aquarium keepers level of satisfaction with there hobby.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Pitts252 you idea would probably work just fine provided the gravel was thick enough.
Jesse Tune - 6 years ago
I like this video.. Ive never used an undergravel just due to being told that it isnt ok for plants or this or that. As I'm watching this I remember my dad having a 58 gallon oceanic throughout my entire childhood that had an undergravel filter. I cant think of once he had massive deaths or anything like that in his tank. It was always crystal clear and the fish seemed healthy. He had a huge ghostknife and tons of other fish in that tank.
Anything Anywhere Anytime # - 6 years ago
hello my name is muhammad fro india kerala i love all ur video
Larry Stevens - 6 years ago
I don't question the functionality itself, but when not properly maintained they get flat out nasty. They are also even more out of site than a Canister or HOB so people do not think to maintain it all a lot of the time. Maybe that is where it came from.

You mentioned Amazon Swords though and I remember a picture or video years ago of one that was so tangled up roots had to be cut to remove it from the UGF and it had heavily restricted the flow.

I could also see problems using a Sand Substrate with them as well.

But i agree that they have there uses and do work good.
Thashka Ranasinghe - 6 years ago
I also use an underground filter for the pass two years and it's running fine I have shrimps in a plant tank and I have no problems.
I don't run it with an air-stone, but a powerhead with additional DIY form bottle for extra filtration media in place of a spray bar.
I Gravel vacuum every second week and lightly clean my form media with tank water when needed.
No probs,
NO mess,
Cheap,
n lastly does a
Hellish Venturi - 6 years ago
plus plus plus....your right about the cloudy aquarium Thats been churned up...returning back to ultimate clarity after just a couple of hours!!! this never happens with any other filter type!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Indeed :)
Hellish Venturi - 6 years ago
apart from that..I just came off a video about under gravel filters which had 158,00 hits. so someone must be buying them ha ha.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Interesting, do you know the name of that video?
Hellish Venturi - 6 years ago
I've been keeping aquariums since 1975.. my first tank had two filter plates under coral sand..ran by a single power head. the water was always like a glass of lemonade. recently I had started up again after moving. I headed for an internal ..wasn't happy..then an external filled with Bio Home Media.?wasn't happy..eventually a hang on..know what? I still ain't happy. water constantly changing clarity from clear to hazy..then back to almost clear..then hazy again! tests of nitrite show great..great even nitrate is showing good readings. but the clarity....shit! I'm going to go out and get an underwater biological filter plate stick on a power head..and get back to lemonade clarity..because I know from a lifetime of experience its trustworthy. as long as good aquarium husbandry is ..carried out.
William Carino - 6 years ago
Under gravel filters can't be used for dirted tanks, right? I imagine that the dirt would be sucked right out of the gravel.
Robert Benzekri - 6 years ago
Hi great video , i love your approach to undergravel filters ....Here is a fascinating serie of videos from this japanese aquarist . Even if i don't aggree with all his methods , i love his experimentation with undergravel filters .. Sorry it is in japanese but i think it is worth watching ....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXeMcUj2nx4
Matthew Warfield - 5 years ago
Interesting video! Need someone to try this over here! Wheels are already spinning and smoke is coming out my ears!
kbooker67 - 6 years ago
ive been running undergravel filters for over 20 years didn't even know they were not liked but they work great in the tanks there in. Thank you for your channel
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+kbooker67 thanks for sharing your experience
Daniel Keeping Fish - 6 years ago
Thanks Cory. I like this format of video when a) it's not over done and b) it has relevance which is what you did here. Think there's a place for this conversation and you raised some your points that challenge the stays quo with a considered approach.
I had and overly stocked ug filtered tank for a year when I was starting out. Was half emptied, strapped onto the back seat of a car for 500 miles to my new address and set back up. Not only did all plants and fish survive but the Angels started breeding soon after.
Would go back to ug in a snap.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Mischievous D thanks for sharing.
David Perrin - 6 years ago
Under gravel filters work for me
Bryan Colliver - 6 years ago
i worked at a huge fish store that run on undergravel filters i still think it was the best when we moved to 1 big system we had so many problems sick fish all the time
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah one big system seems like nothing but trouble.
OregonOutdoorsChris - 6 years ago
Not sure if you read comments on older videos, but something I'd like to see is running an undergravel filter backwards; pushing water into it, so that it comes up through the gravel. That way the gravel ends up acting like the bio media. Then you would want to have a secondary filter who's sole purpose is just mechanical filtration.

No clue if that'd work, but it's just a thought that's rolled around in my head, and that I don't really have the ability to test.
Nat Bellcour - 6 years ago
hate to be a bother, but I've wondered this for months now. why don't you use the tubes that come with the sponge filters in your tanks. is there a benefit to leaving them off?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Nat Bellcour they slow down cleaning, and customers always ask if a pleco or snails are stuck inside when something is inside of them eating algae. Also slows down catching fish which we do quite a bit of.
Dawnielle Garvie - 6 years ago
I haven't used an under gravel filter, but was wondering if it old cause root tab nutrients to quickly end up in the water column.
Dawnielle Garvie - 6 years ago
That was my thought after posting. So in theory it would be a more efficient use of liquid fertilizer.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
It would yes, but the theory would be you wouldn't use root tabs as you'd have water column nutrients being delivered to the roots this way.
block5178 - 6 years ago
I know you said what kind of foam you used for the dividers in a video somewhere but I can't find it, what's the company or name?
block5178 - 6 years ago
thanks!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Matala Mat.
REX - 6 years ago
hey cory, do u have any tips to run UG filter in dirt tanks?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
My only thought is run the plate on half the tank, put dirt on the other half.
Claudiu Catuna - 6 years ago
I think one of the problems in the hobby is how far removed people are from nature. People want a tank so "clean," it is actually detrimental to life. We are trying to replicate nature, so let's look at nature. Where are the fish in the wild? Where there is enough food, oxygen, shelter, etc. Similarly, in the aquarium we have to think why we use each equipment and tool to replicate nature. If we need a certain temperature, we use a heater. In terms of lighting, most fish in the wild don't get a lot of light, so it'd mainly be for the plants. We promote oxygen with sub-surface and/or surface aeration. Now for filters, it's all about the bacteria. Whatever filter is conducive to growing a bacteria colony is good. I use sponge filters because of cost and ease. Undergravel filters are excellent as well.

Now, do you have a lot of nitrogen in the water? Good! Plant growers kill to get nitrogen. Put plants in the tank (a lot!). Nitrogen will help the plants grow, and it will in turn also help the tank. Many problem that arise in a fish tank are because some element from nature is missing, or is out of balance.

It's neat to go to a small pond in nature that has life in it and see the balanced ecosystem. Everything is working together to promote life. But for the most part, it looks nothing like what I see in most people's fish tank. The pond will have algae and mulm (which is good!). The water will have particulates in it. The parameters can fluctuate. Sometimes the fish go days without eating a significant amount of food. The lighting will be darker. And so on. Now, we may not want to completely replicate all those conditions to the same degree since we are keeping the fish as a hobby and would like to see them and make sure they have the optimal living conditions. But when I hear people say they forgot to feed their fish one day and are freaking out, I realize how out of touch they are with nature. Or when their water temperature will dip, as if the fish in Mexico in a small pond will not experience some fluctuations. Winter happens in these tropical places where the outside temperature will be similar to the indoor temperature of our homes too.

I think getting back to basics and keeping the natural perspective in mind will go a long way. And the information you are providing Cory is conducive to that!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I agree with what you've said. I justify a lot of my radical ideas I try with, well in nature I think it would be similar, so it might be worth exploring.
Claudiu Catuna - 6 years ago
Cory, you are a great asset to the hobby! Many thanks for your work and information.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for the kind words Claudiu :)
Bob's Fish tanks - 6 years ago
i think the biggest problem with underwater filters is it is dependent on your tank set up. if you are using soil or sand they aren't really an option. Plus if you want to use live plants. I dont really think the fish, even fish that move the substrate around, are a big consideration. If you are doing the normal upkeep on the tank that substrate is getting moved around every week anyways.
Chris Starnes - 6 years ago
how do u breed shrimp and Plecos?
Crazy Guppy Lady - 6 years ago
And because it's not new and fancy
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
True, it's not a shiny new toy.
Crazy Guppy Lady - 6 years ago
Undergravel filters are what we used when I first started in the hobby. I was about 13. A LOOoong time ago. I'm not sure what's wrong with them. I guess it's what your used too.
John Martin - 6 years ago
Things I have found with UGFs over the years that make them not worth it to me is:
1) The Perfecto brand UGF is hard to gravel vac with the pleated plates and the slits clog up with small grained gravel causing hindered flow. I have seen this happen in old 500 gallon custom displays where the UGF was built with a screen as well.
2) Perfecto brand UGF has extra riser holes with caps for the holes you don't use. These caps degrade over time, break, and let gravel through, destroying the effectiveness of the filter.
3) With those two things said, UGF is also a problem when something goes wrong with it and you have to replace it; you have to tear the whole tank down to fix the filter.
4) Water will pull through the UGF unequally because water will flow the path of least resistance. So usually only a small area near the uprights actually pulls water through it. There are usually dead zones from the pull of the air stones or powerheads and wastes will accumulate in small sections under the plates. When you do end up cleaning it it often stirs into the uprights and pollutes the tank while you're cleaning just like squeezing a Sponge Filter under the water without bagging it first will do.
5) Unsightly, and take up valuable space. Algae magnets and hard to clean algae off of them.
6) Bad with diggers, creates holes that bypass gravel. thus, no filter.
7) Can't use them with sand, which means you shouldn't use them with certain types of fish, like earth eaters.
8) Plants roots will clog the holes over time, depending on brand.
9) Plants roots will intertwine with the plates making uprooting near impossible or very messy or take the whole plate with it.
10) This is anecdotal, but when I used to clean fish tanks for a living all the tanks that had undergravel filters would get algae all over the glass much quicker than any other type of filter. After removal of the UGFs, with nothing else changing on the tank, I would see much less algae.
Walter Goldsmith - 5 years ago
John Martin
That was very convincing
Thank you.
Do you have any experience with the under gravel jet system with a prefilter.
If so I'd appreciate your opinion for or against the above.
I was thinking of building a under gravel jet system with 3/4" PVC pipe on the bottom of a 150 gal long tank.
I'm using a small 400gph pump with filter floss on top, put inside a 4" PVC pipe with slits on the top that will do surface skimming. The above will be built on each end of the tank.
I got this idea from::
LOW TECH TANK (U tube)
Thanks again
Adam Morrell - 6 years ago
I run them in a planted tank and it works amazing. the only problem I run into is if I want to move a plant, many times the roots are in the undergravel and some of them break off. I have not lost a plant from this yet.
T_On3 YaBoi Phimma - 6 years ago
the trout whatia tank?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+T_On3 YaBoi Phimma goodeid
Ben - 6 years ago
Efficacy aside, I believe for the majority of folks it's aesthetics.
BD98 - 6 years ago
I have had an under gravel filter in one of my tanks for 6+ years and have never had a problem. Never pulled it up and apart and still works just as well as the day I got it. Had no idea they had such a bad rep.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for sharing your experiences. It cements the fact that I think I will love them.
Altzercrast - 6 years ago
Is is possible for guppies to adapt to cooler waters like 70 degrees Ferenhight?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I believe so yes. I've run them in unheated tanks inside my house before.
Saralynne Tsiaku - 6 years ago
I used an undergravel filter in conjunction with two sponge filters for 6 years on my 120 gallon tank with large goldfish. By which I mean 10-14", so easily able to dig and love to do so. They never got down to the filter plate, and you actually can easily clean underneath the filter plate. Because it has those tubes that stick up pretty far, all you need to do is remove the cap and airstone from one of them ( I always did one in the middle of the tank but either edge would be fine too) Attach some tubing from the hardware store to this upright tube, and you can siphon directly from under the plate. You don't even need to turn off the air pumps. I only did this every six months or so, probably could have gone a lot longer though. My fish were never unhappy and were always really healthy with excellent water parameters. I've also used them in 80 gallon and 55 gallon tanks with no problems either. I prefer them to HOB or canister filters, especially when combined with a sponge filter.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Saralynne Tsiaku awesome. Glad to hear it worked well with larger goldfish.
drakkan88 - 6 years ago
Wow, love the video, lol. I was looked down on for asking about UGFs and optimization. 10g tank literally has 1 betta in it and that's it - wanted a UGF to limit the amount of equipment in the aquarium so the focus could be on the betta and not all the equipment. As well, thusfar I really like the UGF (sponge filters do fine here too) for the gentle flow it provides, very good for bettas with long fins (my betta's fins are massive, so with HOBs and god forbid canisters he got pushed around a lot).

Don't have any big root plants in there yet, only java fern and anubias, was thinking about planting some crypts and reporting results with the roots after a few months. I am however worried about the roots clogging up the air holes and limiting flow through the gravel though. Time will tell with that. Worst case, I have to pull up some plates in a 10 gallon and redo it, figured I'd start small with it and see how it does.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah, I've only been using the never clogs in the uplift tubes, work great, never need to service em :)
drakkan88 - 6 years ago
Nice - 3 years is probably enough time for me to want to redo the tank anyway. I think I'll run out and grab some swords and crypts based on that. Good luck with your experimentation! Love the videos! I'll be sure to get some never clog airstones for this setup, mine are getting kinda shoddy.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I never experienced the undergravel getting too clogged from plant roots, but only had the tank up for 3 years with crypts before I took that one down in the past.
Marc Geolingo - 6 years ago
I have a UG filter powered by two pumps that feed into two over head filters and I have to say they're awesome
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Sounds super efficient.
Cottage Garden Adventures - 6 years ago
I think their hated for psychological reasons in the sense that you can't see any sort of mechanical water exchange and everything is basically internal with nothing being removed. If a person can't see something happening they just don't know if it's working. I'm with you tho, they do keep the water crystal clear and most definitely is beneficial to plants.

However they do collect a lot of crap, I ran one for about 6 years that housed my goldfish during winter months, when I did eventually drain it and check it, (was always curious) the bottom of it had black crap under the trays, my fist thought was plant food.. After draining the tank I planted clones directly into the substrate with no rock wool/ferts/soil or anything else added and the clones took off like crazy. That stuff was basically plant fert gold.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Cottage Garden Adventures interesting about the clones. Leads me to believe it is plant gold as well.
MeinnameistDreck - 6 years ago
Not sure why the "hate" on under gravel filters. These were standard fare back when I started fishkeeping  in the mid 1980's. EVERYBODY had them. They worked just fine. I have one on my 29 gallon community tank and I have crystal clear water...
MeinnameistDreck - 6 years ago
There's no reason why they won't work for you like they did for everybody else back then. People usually had a power filter of some kind to augment the mechanical filtration, as did I, and the fish did just fine.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I'm hoping they work out well for me, I see no reason they wont :)
Jay's Aquariums - 6 years ago
Nothing wrong with UG filters. Only one I can think of is some people don't see a filter and they don't clean it, which rarely happens. I think UG filters get so much hate for how simple they are, for me simplicity is the best option, UG and sponge filters are the filters I would run in relatively smaller tanks, it won't for my 150 gallon
Jay's Aquariums - 6 years ago
Not yet, i just think it might not work, but, i hope someone can prove me wrong :)
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Jay's Aquariums why are you against them for the 150 gallon. Have you tried them on large tanks before?
Kite OrDie - 6 years ago
Wow you're relentless! Do you have a video every day? I'm kinda new.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Kite OrDie not at the moment due to the holidays. I've got family I. Town and it's the busy season at the shop. So currently I put out videos Wed, Fri, Sunday.
CannibalAngel - 6 years ago
I have undergravel filter for my tanganyika tank... Works awesome for me
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+CannibalAngel I bet, a lot of the tanks aren't that big of diggers. Thanks for the input.
JediSuPhu - 6 years ago
I think an undergravel filter would be great if in a tank where you had drilled bulkheads into the bottom and affixed a couple 1-1.5" drain valves. I plan on doing this with a 50g tote I intend to setup outside as a small endler pond.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+JediSuPhu yeah should work well, I just haven't found a design I like yet to build a rack of tanks that way yet.
Kevin V - 6 years ago
I will give it a shot with some guppies
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Kevin Vaquerano let us know how it goes for ya down the road.
Aidan Michie - 6 years ago
Aquarium coop jut wondering if you have ever tried to breed betta fish before and also if you have any female bettas
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Only bred mouth brooding bettas. We don't stock any females.
HobbitHabits / Bri Bri - 6 years ago
In my community tank i have an under-gravel filter with a VERY thin layer of cheese cloth between the layers of gravel. Therefore if my fish decide to dig they wont hit the filter. I do have to change the cheese cloth once a week though. I dont find it catches much other than the larger particles which is fine because i change it once a week.
Paul Chippington - 6 years ago
As ever I love watching your posts Corey
LOLWUT? - 6 years ago
How much buns cichlids for a 54 g corner tank you think?
ryan rogers - 5 years ago
Google 55 gallon cichlid tank stocking to get an answer from some pros. I got this from Cory on one of his videos in the past.
LOLWUT? - 6 years ago
*mbuna
The amazing Walker - 6 years ago
The amazing Walker - 6 years ago
thank you
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Walker Warden Edmonds washington
The amazing Walker - 6 years ago
Chris Starnes - 6 years ago
Did a 50% wc 2 days and water is still cloudy looking would should I do? Just let it run or what.... This is what it looks like
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Chris Starnes store@aquariumcoop.com
Chris Starnes - 6 years ago
what's the email to send you pics to
Ron Griese - 6 years ago
Ok I am going to try this.  I will use It with my upcoming breeding project; apistogrammas.  I think in about 1 month I will start the tank and plant it. I will use Fluval stradum for substrate.  Slowly bring the ph down and set it for 6.5 ph.  This is what I was thinking of doing anyways but you just give me the confidence I needed. lol. For me a great video.
Ron Griese - 6 years ago
+Aquarium Co-Op will do.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Let us know how it goes.
Holly Hoof - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I typically don't carry Female bettas.
shawn craib - 6 years ago
I think the "problem " with ug is that you have to explain how it works and people have short attention spans and you can't see how it works.
Steven Miller - 6 years ago
how can you tell the gender on pleco's
Steven Miller - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op thanks
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Steven Miller depends on the pleco. For bristlenose. Only male's have the enlarged bristles.
Dwain Kitchel - 6 years ago
also thought i might add this bibliography on this subject from wet media pets:

Channel, Robert, 1987. Floggin' that old horse
again. FAMA 10/87.

Dewey, Don. 1979. How-to: Here's how to build
your own highly efficient undergravel filter for those large tanks, or
the odd sized aquariums for which no standard size filter is available.
FAMA 6/79.
Dow, Steven. 1991. Educate your staff on
undergravel filters. The Pet Dealer 12/91.
Edmonds, Les. 1989. Understanding the undergravel
filter. TFH 1/89.
Goemans, Bob. Undergravel filters. TFH
4/01.
Helwig, Dan. 1983. How-to: Construct undergravel
filters. FAMA 2/83.
Hovlid, Norman G. 1959. The case for the
under-gravel filter. TFH 7/59.
King, John M & William E. Kelley. 1973.
Efficiency of subgravel filters. Marine Aquarist 4:3, 73.
Nichol, Red & Jim Cooper. 1978. The
undergravel filter: the debate goes on. FAMA 4/78.
Ostrow, Marshall E. 1981. A filtration system with
a difference. TFH 9/81.
Parker, Nancy J. 1974. Eggcrate Filter. Marine
Aquarist 5:2, 74.
Schiff, Steven J. 1990. Undergravel filters:
maintenance and alternatives. Tips and techniques for obtaining
efficient, effective biological filtration for aquariums. AFM 5/90.
Schiff, Steven J. 1993. Undergravel filters, pt.s
1 & 2. FAMA 10 & 11/93.
Volkart, Bill 1991. Understanding undergravel
filters. TFH 6/91.
Watson, Thomas T. 1983. Understanding undergravel
filtration. TFH 6/83
Wilster Phung - 6 years ago
So cory, I have a 90-gallon tank that I'm thinking of converting to a long tail goldfishes and clown loach school, would you suggest an under gravel filter? along with or without canister filter?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I'd recommend it with a canister filter. In my experience clown loaches wouldn't leave the fins of the goldfish alone.
Kevan King - 6 years ago
Thank you for talking about UG filters, "back in the day" for me 30+ years ago UG and HOB that used air stones for the uplift tube... was all there was, I remember getting my first " power HOB, saved my allowance a whole summer to get, that was the BOMB!!!... I currently have a 65G with Swordtails and Plattys along with all the fry, (thanks to Joey "King of DIY") I use an IG with pea gravel from "Home Depot" and 2 SunSun canisters... Plants AND fish are doing great!!!  Cant be happier!!!
Marcio Goncalves - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I think it could work well.
torim1988 - 6 years ago
I've never used them (ugf), so I don't have an opinion. A few things came to mind listening to Corey, so maybe someone has some thoughts. Questions:
1) Does it take longer to cycle a tank with a new undergravel filter than with other types of filters?
2) Would you want to use courser gravel with it as opposed to sand or aragonite?
3) Is it a necessity to clean under it every so often, or can you leave it be?
4) What if you have a heavily planted tank with carpeting? Wouldn't that make it a lot harder if you still had to gravel vacuum due to having an undergravel filter?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I'm not sure if coarse or normal gravel is best, fine sand wouldn't well in theory. As for plants, I believe that when you have plants so dense that vacuuming would be a problem, you don't need to vacuum anymore.
L.R.Bretz's Aquatics - 6 years ago
I know of a lot of shrimp breeders, mostly overseas that use UGF (undergravel filter) for all there tanks. Switching POS system that can be a pain sometimes but sounds worth it in the long run.
L.R.Bretz's Aquatics - 6 years ago
I could imagine
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+L.R.Bretz's Aquatics yeah, was a nightmare in the phone with tech support yesterday.
Tom C - 6 years ago
Stopped using UG 25 years ago when my 3 year old said the fancy goldfishes were sleeping (upside down). Without scheduled maintenance, it's easy to forget to vacuum UG unless the fishes show symptoms or you can see the tank bottom. It's easier to monitor the decreased HOB filter water flow or dirty bubble filter polyester in a bare bottom tank. Using a UG is OK depending on your situation and how much work you can put in. Will not work in a pleco tank.
BZ Dad - 6 years ago
Really interested in seeing what you conclude about live plants with UG.

Here's how I think about UG in general.....I don't think about it as a debate about which filtration system is best, I think about all the filtration as a "system". When I think about various ways to "super charge" -like you're recommendations on pre-filter sponges I also think about UG. In my 125g tank With dual sun-sun 704 canisters I also have close to 2600 cubic inches of gravel sitting there.....why not put it to good/better use? For an extra 20% or so on my filtration "system" cost? The main guiding principle though is none of this replaces keeping up with tank maintenance but each step makes the ecosystem more stable and/or a little less labor intensive.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+BZ Dad I think you are right. The main thing that any system still needs to be serviced.
Misty Schillaci - 6 years ago
I used under gravel systems years ago. When I started keeping fish again, I went for a UGF and I was told that with plants, that it's bad due to the roots growing into the filter system, therefore making it hard to re-plant or change the tank if needed. What are your thoughts on that?I didn't have live plants when I used them before. I just recently switched all of my tanks from HOB to canister filters. Now I'm kicking myself for spending too much when I could have used a UGF instead... UGH! Thanks for your video's Cory! I follow often!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Misty Schillaci well I do think it'll be harder to replant some plants. That being said I think it'll be a non issue long term. Time will tell for me.
pothuss - 6 years ago
my first tank back in the 80s had an UGF. it worked well i still have that same filter on my 20 gal quarantine tank. i all so have one on my 40 breeder. the pros are they never wear out. no moving parts. you do not have to buy media and they just work. i do have a canister on my 150 gal. but i would bet if i could find one big enough it would work on that to. just my 2 cents worth
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+pothuss thanks for the insight.
PreciousMetalStacker 2000 - 6 years ago
You should use an under gravel filter in the tank with the divisions
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+PreciousMetalStacker 2000 yeah, that tank was a weird size so I didn't but o do have plans to try it with some other tanks that way.
Vicki K - 6 years ago
New Co-Op t-shirt idea:
Front: Aquarium Co-op logo
Back: (in giant, 80's WHAM style lettering)
RANT
FAN

I'll take a size XL please.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Vicki K lol
colinbarsby - 6 years ago
My community planted tank runs UG in reverse trickle flow, and has done since the 1980's. Works just fine I think. Mulm in my substrate is part of my nutrient system for my plants.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+colinbarsby nice. Thanks for the insight.
Corona Ken - 6 years ago
Excellent vid. Look forward to seeing the ug filter test results, some interesting comments below. Slow and steady wins. Happy December
aaron kimberley - 6 years ago
It's always good to hear your opinion about the hobby. It takes confidence to say these sort of things sometimes and it is better when you take the time to talk it through as you have, rather than acting as if these things are laws to be obeyed. Thanks as always Cory.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+aaron kimberley it's how I learn, I have to experiment to put my mind at rest.
I have used under-gravel filters in live bearer 5 & 10 gal. aquariums with good luck back in the 70s and 80s
Baby fish don't get caught in under gravel filters
Ruthlyss Targaryen - 6 years ago
I don't get the undergravel filter "hate", I ran an UGF for years in a nano aquarium which happened to be my very first aquarium. I cleaned it out every week, it was so easy! Now that I'm a thousand years older and running 7 larger aquariums all with HOBs and sponge filters, I miss the clarity and ease of use of the UGF. Especially now that all my tanks (except my quarantine tank) are planted, I'll bet my sword plants would take off!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Ruthlyss Targaryen yeah, it's the clarity that I am most after.
804 Kountyboy - 6 years ago
At the fish store I work at we mostly only use undergravel filters exclusively. They work great but can be a pain if they get knocked over if loaches go inside the tube, making it impossible to catch them. Once knocked off, when the air starts to reflow through the tubes it spits out quite a bit of debris, much like how if you unplugged a HOB. I think they will work great with small amounts of substrate, but with thick layers of substrate it can be a hassle. Not any worse they any other filter though. Jus wouldn't do with large cichlids and some loaches.
Jwhiser1302 - 6 years ago
Fantastic video my friend! I'm with you on UGF's, love those filters and feel they're one of the top 3 filters available to date hands down!
Anthony Ragan - 6 years ago
At last. I can come out of the closet and admit I like undergravel filters! I used to run them on all my tanks in the 70s an early 80s -- they ran great. I had a planted 29g tank with an undergravel, and the plants developed the strongest root structure in that tank I've ever seen. I also souped it up by fitting a powerhead to the lift tube. Worked perfectly. It would be interesting to go through the magazine article from then in journals like TFH and FAMA to see what the growing arguments against them were. In fact, I seem to recall that back then the prejudice was against sponge filters...
Anthony Ragan - 6 years ago
Metal frames and slate bottoms #FTW!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Anthony Ragan time to bring back the retro aquarium :p
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
You will NEVER have an under gravel filter malfunction that results in water being siphoned out of the tank!

My personal testing and use has shown that over a 5 year period in two tanks, one using two risers at both rear corners and the other using only one riser tube in one rear corner, the use of both risers is essential EVEN WHEN using a power head on the single riser.

Suction to the far side of a 39 gal tank with a 170 GPH power head was NOT sufficient to draw water through the gravel at the far side of the tank. That being said, water conditions did not suffer any noticeable changes in the single riser tank. The dual riser tank used two 170 GPH power heads and maintained superb water conditions. Directing the power head outputs to disturb the surface of the water maintained excellent oxygen saturation in both tanks. It is imperative the plates are properly joined together to ensure proper flow through the gravel.

You CANNOT use sand substrates efficiently with under gravel filters, even if you use polyfill on top of the filter under the sand substrate (seriously don't try this). I have used under gravel filters in both fresh water and marine tanks. Once the filter is established (about six months) the necessity of water change decreases dramatically (beware PH crashes before 6 months). The longer the under gravel filter is in use (with a balanced substrate) the more stable the PH becomes. You can add some crushed coral medial to sandblasting gravel and get a well balanced PH in your tank. Use only a little crushed coral or you may experience a PH spike!

Gravel vacuuming is essential but frequency depends on tank load and plant load. With some practice you can obtain a well balanced system that does not require plant foods and rarely requires water changes. Water quality should be closely monitored after three weeks up to about the 6-8 month mark when it becomes stable. After which it becomes very simple to maintain with very low maintenance required.
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
I have been maintaining my own aquariums since 1987 here in the USA and even had a ginormous tank when I was serving overseas in the US Navy. Like everyone else who keeps aquariums I have had successes and failures. There are things that work, things that claim to work but don't, and then there are some of the crazy stuff I see on YouTube which is no doubt absolute garbage.

I have kept marine aquariums, brackish water aquariums, freshwater aquariums (both PH High and PH Low). I have learned that just a little understanding of the actual chemistry in the aquarium and basic causes of common aquarium issues lends a great deal towards preventing ever seeing those same issues in my own tanks.

Cory (hope I spelled that right "Cory") AKA "AquariumCoOp" is by far a cut above the rest MOST of the time. I have absolutely no doubts in his expertise with plants or goldfish. He has some of the the most beautiful goldfish I've seen on YouTube actually. I would pick his brain on lighting issues and current equipment available before keeping some fishes I have not kept before or haven't kept in a long long time. No doubt he is a wealth of information and a benefit to ALL of us who actually keep aquariums.

I would really like to see Cory getting more into explaining the actual chemistry going on and why some things are the way they are when he is diving into an issue being discussed.

Although I am quite sure Cory believes the majority of his audience is not interested in the details of the actual chemistry in the aquarium when it comes to water quality issues they just want something that works and like any self respecting businessman he has a solution readily available for them. Sadly, they will never be educated on the details of PH balancing or "Fish Load" vs "Plant Load" (He did do a video on this subject I think?) unless someone with his knowledge explains it to them in terms they understand OR they spend hours and hours going through the plethora of books (half of which are pure and absolute garbage) available. In fact I wonder based on some of the comments if some of his followers have any idea of the benefits of nitrAtes in the water or why they should watch for nitrite spikes after adding anything to their aquarium water?

I digress, back on the subject of under gravel filters, simple rule applies, if you want plants, either with low light or bright light, use an under gravel filter, you will be glad you did in the long run.
Martin Proietti - 6 years ago
Excellent summary ... thank you for the info!
quepiid - 6 years ago
I love the aqua clears. I have 2 (they are to expensive to be on all my tanks) but it's basically a hang on the back canister. I do my own media. Sachem matrix , poly fiber , different stuff for chemicals depending on my tank. Sea gel would be my main one if it was less \$
quepiid - 6 years ago
Under gravel filters and sand? Possible?

I'm the guy who does the fish keeping stuff against what most people say. Like my saltwater tank. I do not run ro di water in them.
Frank Vergara - 6 years ago
Any filter is a good filter. Better than no filter.
unholyorders - 6 years ago
That is a awesome shrimp, panda guppy, snail, bristol nose pleco and snail tank!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Hieu Nguyen yes, they are out of stock.
Hieu Nguyen - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op the panda guppies are out of stock?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yep, I love it.
KG cichlids - 6 years ago
You don't like my aqeuon hob filters? Lol jk
KG cichlids - 6 years ago
I used to have a tank that drained from the bottom, never used it lol, my opinion on undergravel filters is that I've never used them and I believe that the efficiency of it has potential but mostly in smaller tanks, I don't see how it could hurt adding it to a big tank with the rest of your filtration. Now if your over feeding, could it get stuck in the under gravel and create a nitrate problem? But I also think it comes down to maintenance on it. Maybe I should give it a try to better understand it, stick it in the 20 gallon.
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
KG cichlids with that FX4 and FX6 you're running over there you don't need UG filters, except maybe in that planted tank you have. Unless of course you actually like being dependent on plant foods? I've wondered about setting up a cichlids only tank using a sump (with plants in the sump) do you think it could be feasible? I hate doing water changes and would much rather replicate my previous success with discus and South American tropicals.

I know everyone preaches about frequent water changes, but I am of the belief that replicating the natural filtration processes found in nature are much healthier for the tanks occupants. I don't see an UG as an option for a cichlids only tank. In the mean time, I'm still working on a South American Tropicals tank. I would like to do a Texas Native (freshwater)Tank, but the fish are difficult to get since you have to catch them in the wild. I'm not sure how large of a tank I would need just to keep the threadfin & gizzard shad healthy, I'm sure 400-600 Gallons won't be near big enough though. It's going to take something the size of a swimming pool for that endeavor (not likely any time soon). The Bass, Crappie, Perch, Pickerel, Catfish, and all the different minnow species wouldn't pose much of a challenge other than size, but the two shad species are a different story altogether. Setting up a self sustaining environment for shad that isn't completely clouded or green would be a real challenge I think.

You know if you're going to go big you might as well go really big.
KG cichlids - 6 years ago
Ken Paschall don't muck with it! Lol
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
KG cichlids I've used UG Filter in tanks over 1200 Gal and they are quite effective. The biggest thing people don't seem to understand is nitrates are not the issue, nitrites are an issue. Once you have a healthy nitrobacter colony in the UG leave it alone! Cleaning it will affect nitrite levels causing a spike. If you're getting muck under the UG then increase water flow through the UG, let the bacteria do its job.
Reid Smith - 6 years ago
And what about putting a 90 degree elbow into a long air stone running longways at inside the bottom of the matala
Reid Smith - 6 years ago
My LFS uses them in all of their tanks
KG cichlids - 6 years ago
I think your on to something with the sponge dividers. Better patent that when you get it on lock down brother.
KG cichlids - 6 years ago
Great video Cory, I see you 5 years from now with a second store and helping "tanked" do a large planted tank on the show, this is my prediction lol if that show lasts that long
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I hope to just have a huge online store instead of 2 retail stores :P
Catfish Cave - 6 years ago
I started with undergravel filters... they work. But... they can work better.... the secret.... Reverse Flow. Have the powerhead direct the water down the "uplift" tubes and force the water up through the gravel - no collection of mulm etc. If you add a prefilter on the powerhead, the water will be mechanically filtered BEFORE it goes through the substrate. And if you want the ultimate undergravel filter.... power them by having the outlet of a canister filter be aimed down the "uplift" tubes. Fill the canister with mechanical media only (all the various sponge filter porosities).... superclean water and a bio filter the size of your aquarium footprint... and with normal fish digging (not a big cichlid), the digging will ensure your biofilm are younger bacteria... which are more efficient at converting NH3 & NO2 than older bacteria. . Nice job Cory on becoming a mythbuster! More ranting mythbusting!!!!!
Hellish Venturi - 5 years ago
ebruddah here's more crazy.. went out yesterday to buy a spare filter plate. 1st shop..had only three left at £20 each. 2nd shop had 1 which was crumbling due to being in shop window in sunlight..3rd shop..none at all and the young man did his best to sell me the massive Fluval canister attempting to blind me with Scientific bulshit tech talk.. ha ha.. I asked him how long he'd been working there.. he told me 2 years. I smiled and said...well you know the big fish store down the road a bit? He nodded. I said.....well the first time I went in there it was July 1976. He said..wow you must know your stuff when it comes to Aquarium tech. I said No! I just need an under gravel filter .ha ha so I went back to the 1st shop and got it.
Moral of the story? Fuck knows.
ebruddah - 5 years ago
That's pretty crazy because I have this dinky novelty 3.5 gallon tank and the undergravel filter is shaped like a 3 pronged star. It does reverse on its own. I started on little tanks as a kid, you know the kind that you get at gift store that are hexagonal and 2 gallons. They had full surface undergravel filters yet never witnessed it do that. I've also had large tanks 20 to 80 gallons but never used undergravel. I was a big boy 30 years ago and wanted that shiny new Penguin power filter. I would have loved to back then have an undergravel with power filter on one end and a powerhead on the other. That was my wet dream as a kid.... hahhahhah
Hellish Venturi - 5 years ago
Catfish Cave I tried reverse flow back in 1980..of course it works ..only trouble being..the sediment which gets trapped under the filter is almost impossible to draw out. Some can be..but some always got left there. I could monitor it by looking from underneath since the tank was supported on its edges by a metal frame. So at the end?! I wasn't too impressed. And went the reverse right way round again.
Walter Goldsmith - 5 years ago
Catfish Cave
How would you compare the under gravel jet system VS
your reverse under gravel filter with prefilter
dean7500 - 6 years ago

Next on to the tank with the betta dividers, start with an undergravel filter, this will ensure water flow through all the chambers. Put your dividers in down into the gravel but take it a step further. Using a 20 gallon tank is way too much tank real estate for holding three or four bettas, especially since you purpose is to bring them in to sell. So in those dividers which I would go with three of them cut some vertical slots, dados are what they are officially called, then cut some glass or plexiglas dividers that slide into the slots to further divide the tank up. I would try to make the tank so that it would have 12 separate compartments. The only issue you’d have is still the surface agitation which bettas don’t have to have but you could just use a couple airstones on flexible tubing that you move into each section from time to time.

Undergravel filters do work great, give them a try.
dean7500 - 6 years ago
You can bet that virtually everything has be tried in the past with some success and some failure. I've tried sponge over the filter plates with gravel on top (would be like a matten filter laying down), various type of thin filter mats over the plates, various media like carbon, peat moss, etc. in nylon bags over the filter plates covered by gravel. All with some success but. . . just using gravel seems to work the best and is by far the easiest to maintain. If anything just mix a little crushed coral into the gravel for some buffering, especially with our soft acid PNW water, you don't want a pH crash.

If you want to use rooted plants in the tank and you use some sort of mat, sponge, peat bag, etc. The roots are going to entangle in that and if you ever want to re-arrange it is a royal pain, most of the time the roots just end up breaking off only left to decay in the substrate and the mat or whatever. I feel that just plain natural gravel works the best like what your shop can buy from the supplier in Renton. I would not use the epoxy coated gravels, first of all because they are not as rough for bacteria to colonize, and secondly because the process of gravel cleaning will eventually wear that epoxy off and who knows what is under it.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for all the insight Dean. Do you know if say the matala mat over the filter vs the gravel will cause flow issues?
burningfyra - 6 years ago
how much do undergravel filters contribute to surface water flow? never used one but that could be a reason to not use one. also the option to customize what is in it eg filter media its the same with build your on gaming pc you can go way lower to get great results but people spend more because it 1 there hobby 2 people like to have options and the ability to customize eg having a canister or hob also the ability to add charcoal or purigen (if you belive in those things)
collo121 - 6 years ago
I use a tube system for my UGF. I "hot rod" it using lava rock with a layer of gravel over for plants. I have also been thinking about putting some floss in the risers as I get a popping sound if the air is too high. In 30 some years of keeping fish on and off I have only set up one tank with out an UGF. I am new to plants though and will have to wait and see but my thought was the same as yours in the the UGF extends the water column under the gravel supplying more nutrients to the root systems. Also there is a consistent flow so no worries about anaerobic bacteria.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for the input.
Will Rinehart - 6 years ago
I got my first aquarium when I was 12 or 13 in the early 90s. I had an undergravel filter. I didn't do any live plants back then, only fish and decor, but when I left for college many of the the fish I started with were still very much thriving. Never tsted water quality. Never had ich or wide spread illness even once... no problems... crystal clear water. Long-lived fish. I wasn't even the BEST at water change...MAYBE once a month to every six weeks. I am so much more diligent about water quality testing, water changes today then I was back then that's for sure. The more educated I have become, the more work that goes into it, yet back then when I was 13-19 years old, I did it with almost zero knowledge (well I had books that I checked out at the library, but not an internet community) and an undergravel filter and my fish lived long happy lives, and I was very succesful at keeping my fish healthy for many years. hehe
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Tony Wang - 6 years ago
Everything I knew about under gravel filters was a lie... I wonder what else is in the aquarium hobby?
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
I have used an under-gravel filter for many many years, always with a hang on back filter (for carbon and water polishing) and a power head. The under gravel filter is a solid filter for almost all situations I've run into. I didn't care for it when just air stones powered it. The hang on back will destroy any fry unless you add a sponge to the intake tube. I generally just use a pair of store bought filters in the hob and rinse one or the other with water changes. Remove and replace the carbon ONLY when needed.

They do take longer to establish but once established the work really well. My tank was empty for a while after a move but once I get the under-gavel filter stabilized again I'll add some live plants again.
Phillyfisherman - 6 years ago
Have you had any issues with moving plants and damaging roots with an UG filter?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
The roots can get caught up but in general has never been a problem for my plants when moving em, never cause any die off or anything.
Michael Tette - 6 years ago
those goodeids are badass... nothing wrong with undergravel in my opinion. I do a lot of things in fish keeping you arent supposed to. If it works, who cares! :)
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
They are awesome indeed.
Russ B. - 6 years ago
great video tonight I loved the rant I've been using undergravel filters for about 50 years and hang on the back filter for about 50 years I think both are about equal but I do love the undergravel filters again good job on this video tonight.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks.
Steenfott Aquatics - 6 years ago
You need more trout goodieds to keep up with that algae. Group Order =D
Something Fishy - 6 years ago
my only beef is that they are under GRAVEL filters, and not under SAND filters. i prefer the look of sand, and have been slowly transitions all my tanks to either sand or bare bottom. That being said, i am currently running an UG filter in my 46 bowfront. I also run a couple HOB filters on it at the same time, so cant really say one way or the other if they are truly effective.
Josh F - 6 years ago
Not really related to this topic, but hoping you can help. I just picked up 4 new livebearers by the name of limia nigrofasciata. I plan to breed them. If they are put in a tank with other livebearers such as guppies, mollies or swords, do I run a chance of cross breeding?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Congrats, that is awesome :)
Josh F - 6 years ago
Thanks for the tip. I must have purchased one that was already pregnant. I have FRY already!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I don't believe they can cross, but generally they want much cleaner water than those other livebearers.
Fishing Pulse - 6 years ago
Hey Cory , how many tanks do you run on your single hi output air pump ? I'm thinking of getting a 900 to cut down on single pumps an outlets.
Fishing Pulse - 6 years ago
that is awesome
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I generally run 75 tanks off of 1 air pump.
Patrick Goncalves - 6 years ago
My dream would be to manufacture acrylic tanks that had bottom drain built in to design, and whole bottom would be tappered to slope down to drain in middle, and the gravel plates would sit on top of this design. And the bottom drain would pump water either to a sump and then back to top of tank lije waterfalls or to a Hang on Back filter, that was the length and height of the tank almost.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
That would be neat indeed.
jc cote - 6 years ago
Forty years ago when I started in the hobby, I used undergravel. It was great. I used a powerhead for a more positive flow. Water clarity was awesome. I did not even know that they were making them still. Maybe I should think about it for me next tank.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
They still make em, just have to order em online.
Patrick Goncalves - 6 years ago
My experience with my undergravel filter is that the circulation is better, the water tests better, looks better, and doing gravel vacuuming totalling does clean it out of bottom. No more maintenance than any other filter, maybe less. Also, I am thinking you could use a small wetvac and connect it to uplift tubes and suck underneath that way. But I don't think you need to.
Patrick Goncalves - 6 years ago
I have an undergravel filter in my 29 gallon with two Goldfish, (it also has a HOB aquaclear.) Compared to my other two goldfish tanks that have HOB filter and Sponge filter set up, I think the 29 gallon tank with the undergravel filter is superior and I wish I had set the other two tanks up with the undergravel filter as well. The water is visably clearer, it always tests better, it is easy to gravel vac too.  I agree with everything Cory said, I would ideally like to use all three, HOB, undergravel and spongefilter, and I do water changes often. I am a goldfish lover. I also have as many plants as I can. Java fern, Anubias, Banana Plant, Appongeton Crispus, Water Sprite, and Anacharis are my favorite and in every tank. (I float Water Sptite and Anacharis.). They look great. I am interested in sumps, especially in learning about making or buying a algea scrubber. I am new, and that interests me. I always dream about the exact idea Cory said about hot rodding the under gravel filter, only I dream of connecting the bottom drain either to a sump (above or below the tank that filters more and adds volume and then returns water to top of tank like water falls, or bottom drain is connected to a "Hang on Back Sump", that basically pumps it up thru a big HOB filter that returns water to tank like waterfall.
Tina Cuppernell - 6 years ago
On the undergravel filter would the " pull " of the water be strong enough to pull shrimp eggs through the gravel.?
Tina Cuppernell - 6 years ago
Ok, thanks.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
In general the flow is very mild, but most shrimp you'd breed in an aquarium, have the eggs carried by the adult female until they hatch.
Chris Diehl - 6 years ago
another great video. you are quickly becoming my go to youtuber for aquarium content and i cant wait to see what you find after setting up your ugf. makes me want to go buy a 10 gallon and an ugf to run some tests myself. thanks for the awesome content
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Testing for me is really fun so I tend to do it a lot.
Ian Johnson - 6 years ago
the 1st undergravel filter i used was on one of my 2 gallon beta tanks i noticed the water parameters were very hard to maintain when i just had fake decor in the tank as soon as i added some dwarf hairgrass the water leveled right out now with a 30% water change 1 time a week stays crystal clear and water stays in great shape
Gavin Kralik - 6 years ago
what are your thoughts on a eastern mosquito fish tank ?
Gavin Kralik - 6 years ago
Oh thanks
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Gavin Kralik I've never kept them because they are illegal in my state.
Gavin Kralik - 6 years ago
Yes it is a Gambusia
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I'm not sure what an eastern mosquit fish is? Gambusia?
Danielle Saunders - 6 years ago
Very interesting. I admit most of my bias towards undergravel filters is due to warnings from others with no evidence to back them up. Your point about bringing mulm and waste down to plant roots makes sense; I can imagine plants thriving with this sort of filtration as well as beneficial bacteria, as the surface area for their habitat would be quite large.

Detriments (you asked!): Can't use with sand (and probably aquasoil, as it breaks down), harder to access if clogged or trying to deep clean the filter (although gravel vacuuming should be enough to maintain the filter). In particular, I have heard horror stories about having to completely take out the UGF after experiencing a problem, uprooting plants and substrate and generally being a huge pain. I think the easy access of HOB and canister filters puts worrying hobbyist minds at ease. Otherwise I'm drawing a blank.

Thanks for challenging my preconceived notions! I'm a huge believer in evidence-based practice. You have the courage to try things others don't do just because "That's not how it's done." Big reason why this channel is awesome. Keep thinking, keep experimenting, I'll keep watching!
Blair Stewart - 6 years ago
can you do a segment over your angels?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Maybe in the future, I keep waiting to do something with an angel breeder.
Blair Stewart - 6 years ago
i just got 3 young angels two female one male last week and wondering if you have any tips would love to see how you raise your angels
jmaxbeat1 - 6 years ago
Thoughts on using lava rock for biological filtration in a sump?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Works great, does best with a pre filter pad to keep the gunk out of the lava rock.
Ryan Zanello - 6 years ago
I love undergrave filter, and I feel that they can be used for all size tanks even monster tanks. Check out this video to see a hotrod option. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPaDFjuyE-I&t=215s
Emmit Stewart - 6 years ago
I have been using undergravel filters in all my tanks since 1960.  They are the least expensive and most efficient filtration system available.  Aquatic plants love them and so do most fish.  The only exception would be large digging fish.  I have known of one case where a six inch goldfish was in the habit of moving enough gravel to uncover the plates,  causing the water flow to bypass the gravel and cause huge ammonia spikes.  I don't recommend UG filters for diggers, but for anything else, it's the best way to go unless you have a spare hundred or so dollars to spend.
One thing I can say from experience.  I have never had an undergravel filter take more than ten days to completely cycle even starting with fresh gravel out of the bag.  If you have used gravel to mix in, it can take less than five.
I prefer to use powerheads to run my filters for two reasons.  First, because the produce a stronger movement of water.  Second, I have hard (325 ppm) water, and the spray from an airlift coats the sides and lids on my tanks with a crust of calcite.
Let's talk about mulm.  Yes, mulm does build up under the plates of an undergravel filter.  But is that a bad thing?  For a fish only tank, my answer is; maybe - if you neglect your water changes.  For a planted tank, the answer is a big, capitalized, NO.  Let me explain:
What is mulm?  Where does it come from and how does it get under the filter plates?  Every tank contains some mulm.  It will be there until someone breeds a fish or invertebrate that doesn't poop and makes a food that won't decompose if it the doesn't get eaten .  Mulm is decomposing organic matter.  It originates from three sources.  One, poop from fish, shrimp, snails, and any other aquatic animal you have in your tank.  Two, uneaten food.  Three, leaves, stems, and other plant parts that break off and die.  All of these things are heavier than water, so they naturally fall to the bottom of the tank.  Even before they fall, microorganisms living in the tank start to work on them.  If there are any gardeners out there, this will sound familiar, It is exactly what happens to the stuff you throw into your compost heap, and the end result is the same thing- humus.  Yes, mulm is aquatic humus, and it has the same benefits for aquatic plants as terrestrial humus has for your garden and potted plants.  As the stuff decomposes, it breaks down into finer and finer particles and drops through the spaces between grains of gravel until it reaches the solid bottom of the tank.  If there is no undergravel filter, It would still find its way through the substrate, just not as quickly.  As the mulm decomposes, it releases the minerals stored in the food or poop back into the water.  If the substrate is filled with living plant roots, it is quickly absorbed and used by the plants.  If there are no plants present, that is why every sensible aquarist does water changes and gravel vac.  The mulm will decompose, and the minerals will be released, regardless of the filtration system used.  Whether it happens in the sump, the canister, the sponge, the sand, the gravel, or the floss is up to you and what kind of filter you use.  In an undergravel filter, it happens in the gravel or under the plates where it can be easily be absorbed by the plants.
Another, seldom mentioned, benefit of undergravel filters is their effect on the oxygen - carbon dioxide cycle.  Everyone knows about photosynthesis and how plants turn CO2 into O2.  Most know that under bright light in a heavily planted tank, this can result in over oxygenation and a deficiency of CO2.  What is less well known is that this process stops at the top of the gravel.  The roots of plants do not receive any light and do not perform photosynthesis.   They must absorb oxygen and release
CO2 or die.  By circulating water through the gravel, UG filters bring oxygen down to the plant roots, and move the carbon dioxide produced by the roots up to the top of the tank, where the leaves and stems can use it in photosynthesis.  One result of this is that with an undergravel filter, you find that the substrate is filled with a luxuriant growth of clean white roots.  This is particularly obvious with Amazon sword plants, which will send huge masses of roots down through the filter plate and into the mulm below.
I will always use undergravel filters, and if they stop making them, I will make my own out of cpvc pipe.  Don't worry about the haters.  Hate is the result of ignorance.  I know that the UG filters work and so do you.
Hellish Venturi - 5 years ago
David A correct. The times I've said that! Lost count. It's the kids..they all want hi tech show off wires tubes and gizmos to Impress their pals. Right?
Hellish Venturi - 5 years ago
Emmit Stewart 1960 wow....I was just starting grammar school. Ha ha my tank adventure started around 1976 and you're correct in everything thing you wrote and wrote a shed full
Zelph Ernide - 5 years ago
I'm planning on using a ug in a 29g tank. I don't know if 1 powerhead is enough to pull water throughout the gravel bed. I feel that the far end of the tank wouldn't get any water movement through the bed.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+David A no complaints from my ugfs so far.
Emmit Stewart - 6 years ago
It is interesting to listen to so many of these people who do not use ugf say that it takes them over a month to cycle their tanks.  When I start a tank with an ugf and new gravel, it takes me about seven to ten days.  Nitrisomonas bacteria are established in about four days and once they start providing nitrite, nitrobacter become established in another four.  I attribute this to the fact that oxygenated water is flowing freely through the substrate.  With other systems,  no water flows through the substrate and oxygen penetrates through osmosis only, resulting in a relatively anoxic condition.  maybe not anoxic enough to promote anaerobic bacteria, but certainly enough to retard growth of nitrosomonas and nitrobacter.
David A - 6 years ago
i agree 100% i have been using undergravel filters love them it does every thing these idots are trying to recreate started 1972 and will use ugf until i die this high tech stuff is just another way to keep you buying more stuff
Jim Hande - 6 years ago
Emmit Stewart
Spot on!
I used an undergravel filter powered by airstones for years. Never had a problem with my 55g Amazon community tank.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for the post. I enjoyed reading it and agree with a lot of it.
No Bowl lRl Consulting - 6 years ago
what's with the tube that's in the tank, it looks like it can't get any water.
Added Life - 6 years ago
Greg Jones - 6 years ago
try stabbing a rigid airline down the middle of the matala?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
That's a good idea Greg. I'll get some of that, could be the ticket
Jared Runner - 6 years ago
gr8 vid
Ryan McCullough - 6 years ago
Jared Runner dose every other day at first
Derek Drobenak - 6 years ago
Completely agree with you on under gravel filters. I feel there are too many positives for there to be so much hate towards this type of filter. It wouldn't be my top choice but they are definitely a consideration for me when I'm starting a new tank especially for a planted tank. Looking forward to seeing how the under gravel filters work out in your tanks!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah, I've always gone with other filtration, but recently I've been wanting to experiment.
Rj L - 6 years ago
I always ran undergravel filters with powerheads reversed to push water through a medium size pebbles. It worked out well for me. The bioload was heavy with fish and turtles, turtles being messy critters. This helped a lot.
Boredom - 6 years ago
Ok, so I have a problem with my goldfish tank. I did a water change because the water looked a little dirty(even though I did a water change 4 days ago), and it still looks exactly the same. And I don't know what's wrong, any advice on what I can do?
Boredom - 6 years ago
Oh ok great :)
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Is your water cloudy? You may have a bacterial bloom. With time it should settle and fix itself.
Aloysius MacGlumpfer - 6 years ago
I think it is a horrible idea to collect detritus in the same media where I am trying to grow beneficial bacteria for the simple reason that anaerobic heterotrophic bacteria divide much faster and will overwhelm autotrophic aerobic bacteria and out-compete them (they are friends when lactofermenting sauerkraut but foes in the fish tank).

You want your mechanical filtration to be easy to clean so that you can remove physical waste quickly & easily before it breaks down to toxic byproducts while not disturbing your biological media (this is why protein skimmers are so popular). I concede that a fully plated tank may be a different story. UGF can work, but there is a difference between surviving and thriving. Dissolved oxygen is the difference.
j0ey725 - 6 years ago
can i just use a sponge filter for my 60gallon tank?
j0ey725 - 6 years ago
parts i mean
j0ey725 - 6 years ago
Josh F can u tell me whats the best sponge filter for a 60gallon and what other past i need thanks
Josh F - 6 years ago
j0ey725 I would disagree. Did you watch the sponge filter video? It talks about the pros and the cons. At the end of the day it is your tank. Not mine and not the pet stores. Do what makes you happy. That is what is so great about the hobby. If you do decided to do it, make a video and send it in to Cory for his Home Show Series.
j0ey725 - 6 years ago
Josh F i want one but pet stores say it just good for a fry tank not a main tank
j0ey725 - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op can you tell me the best sponge filter for a 60gallon tank and do you sell it on your website
Josh F - 6 years ago
j0ey725 the video Cory and Lamont did on Sponge Filters is amazing! Totally changed the way I looked at them. I switched all my breeder tanks and love it. So many benefits.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Sure.
Donald Gantz - 6 years ago
sell me the orange flash pair...
Anson Clark - 6 years ago
Hey Corey, I am 48 years old and I have been keeping fish since I was 8. The first 28 years ish I exclusively used under gravel filters. They always worked just fine, the only con was when I was told I needed to clean underneath it, and I scratched the heck out of my glass while lifting it up, other than that nothing but positive feedback on this end. I have since succomed to the fancy new stuff, not necessary new stuff in my opinion.
Andrei Dones - 6 years ago
Haha! You released the underGravel filter! I remember asking you about this. PS: I have an anubias plant that I put next to my airstone(don't know if this is good) and I have a fish bullying all of the others, destroying half of my angel
Fish's back tail! I don't have any place to put the fish, so it continues to bully my fish. Any tips to lower aggression!?
Robert Merle - 6 years ago
Back in the 70's I ran under gravel filters, and used a syphon tube in the lift tubes to remove the detritus from the bottom of the tank. The amount of Bio filtration was insane. It was a low tech tank with WaterSprite, Ferns and Anubias.
Robert Merle - 6 years ago
I should have said 80's, I'm not that old.
RustyLagoon - 6 years ago
Love the video! What type of anubias is at 7:35. I love how tall that is and would love some for my 65 tall.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Anubias Barteri
Old School Fish Guy - 6 years ago
As always, a great video, love the sharing.
Interesting thoughts on the goldfish and the breather bags and it makes a lot of sense.
I'm a huge UG fan but I love my cory cats more and they love the sand.
When I finally reset all of my tanks, I am going to have an UG in half a tank that will have a Matten on the other end. I'm playing with the idea of a UG in another tank but I haven't settled on what fish are going in there. I may even convert one 55g to a goldfish tank and make that UG. UG gives such a large filter bed and I'm looking for easier maintenance because I just can't keep up with all of the work.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Good to hear everyone who likes them talking about em :)
Stephen Bamber - 6 years ago
Good video I like the longer ones. Under gravel filters are good used them when I was a kid.
osei thomas - 6 years ago
your video encourages me to try new things in my tanks
osei thomas - 6 years ago
i bought sinking pelets my plecos not eating it
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
What type of pleco and what type of pellets?
Seth Moore - 6 years ago
Great video thanks foe the info on the under gravel filter maybe more people will start to use them more
Jack Betz - 6 years ago
I agree that UG filters get a bad rap. Back in the 80's, I used UG filter w/ power heads in a reef tank w/ live rock and it was awesome. So many 'pods, shrimps, worms lived in the in coral sand bed that I could keep mandarins alive with no effort. Now, SPS did not grow well but LPS and leather corals did fine.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah kinda nice that the UGF are pod safe :)
Robert Cheever - 6 years ago
Cory,had an undergravel filter for 10 years.Work perfect.The out put was hooked into an undertank bulkhead,then into a canister filter and back out.Clearest water i have ever seen.The fish were swimming in air! The plates were home made from egg crate light diffusers.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Nice, I feel like I should try that.
Austin mckee - 6 years ago
I likes sand bottom tanks, is there any way to use an under gravel filter for sand
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Not that I know of.
Pure Americana TV - 6 years ago
I would like to see a video on how to hatch mystery snail eggs
Laura - 6 years ago
Ive had success 'back in the day' with under-gravel filters... ! I hope your new shipping system serves you well! Rough-drafts are the best place to start (betta barracks)!
rich andy - 6 years ago
I have had aquariums since 1972. I'm old. You have good video's. I like your view on undergravel filters and agree.
solar clapson - 6 years ago
I soooo hope you can secure a better shipping method to Canada. You seem like a knowledgeable, decent businessman. A rarity these days. Good winds mate.
MandarTheMousey - 6 years ago
Watching your videos inspired me to try to start a fish tank for myself. I'm starting with a tiny 2.6 gallon tank to house just a betta fish, and once the tank is cycled and ready to accept a fish, I would love to buy it from you, (even though the local petstore is much cheaper)
Keep up with the great videos. It's awesome to hear things from someone who knows lots about what he works with.
calub klob - 6 years ago
Hey Cory why don't you try drilling a hole and putting one of the curtain air stones in there.
Tropical MN - 6 years ago
UG's are great. Use them as needed as the setup calls for. Not perfect for everything, but good for a lot of applications. Maybe people don't like them because they see them as a "beginners" filter. Not as sexy as a big green Eheim under the tank. Maybe it's a marketing issue. People go for the glitz more than the function, often times. For say a 10-55 gallon community tank a UG is perfect. Throw a powerhead in the lift tube for excitement.
Jason Galasso - 6 years ago
Cory u truly inspire me as a 15 year old kid. i love the fish hobby and always wanted to have multiple tanks or a fishroom but unfortunately my mom can't afford it i have a 30 gallon tank with a couple dwarf goramis white clouds pleco bala shark and a couple other fish. I've always wanted to buy from ur online store or visit ur store. maybe one day I can. my mom has recently quit her job BC it stressed her out and wanted to spend more time with me. if u respond Cory u will make my day. I love ur channel and store have a good day
Joe Hoffer - 6 years ago
I used to use a UG filter for years around 20 years ago with my first tank. Never had a problem with it. I still have the plates but the lift tubes are gone. Like you said in your video, UG filters are a viable option for some types of tanks.
Patrick Gale - 6 years ago
I think sand may stop the under gravel filter from working
Jeff K - 6 years ago
I like this type of video actually and the back and forth arguments in the comment section. I think you get a lot of different views and information that way.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah, I think good healthy discussion is a good thing.
dan linek - 6 years ago
I have used UG filters before with no problems but I have asked about it before and I would love to see you do a video about the "hot rod" drilling the bottom of the tank. After watching the video where you mentioned seeing that in Japan I have been dying to see more info. It's been eating at me and have been wanting to try it myself.
b.a. Warman - 6 years ago
What is the problem with HMFs?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I just find that they trap waste, and then when I gravel vac and the water level lowers, it releases the gunk back into the tank.
Freshwater Aquariums - 6 years ago
love your opinions Cory, a living encyclopedia
Backyard Aquatics - 6 years ago
I've used under gravel filters for years, used & maintained them on retail tanks also (even on some saltwater). The trick is knowing the limitations of any equipment.
Backyard Aquatics - 6 years ago
A couple things I've noticed from my own experience is sand seems to compact easily (if you can keep it from going threw) which obviously will reduce flow, on planted tanks the root system gets tangled in the under gravel plates and slows the flow down and makes for dead spots, depending on flow some fry will get stuck and I have seen them travel half way through the gravel. And you can't forget about doing a reverse flow under gravel.
b.a. Warman - 6 years ago
What do you think about reverse flow undergravel filter?
pia a - 6 years ago
30 years ago I had African Ciclids with undergravel filters and 50 lbs of crushed oyster shell. They lived for years in that tank.
Hellish Venturi - 6 years ago
pia a yes I believe that! I had some pretty fiercely bobble headed Convicts in same conditions. they lived so long one almost had a grey beard. ....almost!
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
pia a take it from a grumpy old man, NEVER apologize for being honest. It makes you appear weak. No offense taken here, I have a thick skin.
pia a - 6 years ago
+Ken Paschall sorry...
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
pia a "polite"? Naw I'm a grumpy old man.
pia a - 6 years ago
Ken Paschall Oh I get it. Just being polite!
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
pia a "listen to what I mean not what I said" comes to mind. I grew up hearing that phrase, I despise grammar police too.
pia a - 6 years ago
Hey I have no room to speak at this point since I can' t text worth a hoot!!! Statute vs Statue of limitationS! LOL
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
pia a There is a statute of limitations on ignorance? Quick someone tell the "Darwin Awards" people before they figure it out.
pia a - 6 years ago
+Ken Paschall. Aw man, I thought the statue of limitationS was out on that info!! My BAD!!
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
pia a you're giving away too many secrets!

People today don't want to actually know about substrate composition and how it reacts with the water itself. Just like they don't know about dolomite water polishing or just using nylon panty hose for adding carbon to a HOB. Heaven forbid they understand how a piece of myrtle wood can really benefit their tank (most tanks anyway).

Rarely do people even consider the substrate IS actually decomposing in the water column as part of the complete system. A good measure of the right materials and inhabitants and the tank pretty much runs itself.
Nik Marren - 6 years ago
Hey Cory,
My question is a bit off topic of what you discussed int he video. I have been looking high and low for Red Eye Red Tail puffer fish (Carinotetraodon irrubesco). I was wondering if you knew anything about the fish and if you had any experience keeping them.
Thanks
Nik Marren - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op Okay. Thanks foo r responding Cory
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I haven't kept one personally.
Brian's Opinion/Comments - 6 years ago
Cory this falls into the category, "the internet says so, it must be true". Well I have been keeping fish for 40 years and I still have and use some UGF with power heads. I will say there are times when a sponge filter or other means of filtration are better or as good but it all depends on the hobbyist, their skill set and the fish and what they want to accomplish. Also, as for large digging fish, I have had the filter plate save the bottom of a tank when a large rock has fallen because of the fish digging. Check out some of my current videos, I have a 125 gallon tank with discus and I am using UGF along with a emperor 400 and aqua top 500. Find what works for the individual and the fish they keep and as always be open to and listen to new ideas....Great Job.
Bailey Cowen - 6 years ago
I got green beans potatoes tomatoes you name it
bmxlife132 - 6 years ago
hey cory this question has been aching me for a few months now, what got you into fish loving??
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Well mostly it started out with "i'll try it" I fell in love with it when I had my first set of black molly fry show up in a tank without knowing it would do that!
The Water Box - 6 years ago
I think UFG works fine and one of the great advantages is keep the substrate from getting anaerobic. It does help plants in the root level a lot. But I think it's mainly what you said, the advent of new tech is what's pushing it out of the market. That and the ever so "Because someone said so so it must be true" syndrome . Like how everyone takes Meme they see as actual "news".

For me, it's mainly because of the new tech and for ME it's easier to maintain using a canister or sump. I'm not too hot on HOB filter either but again, that's a preference thing. At the end, it does work fine, it's just a matter of preference.
Willie the king pets 28 production - 6 years ago
I NEED A BETTA LIVE STREAM
Elijah Petersen - 6 years ago
I made the mistake of using an undergravel filter in my Cichlid tank, but I do have 2 fluval fx-4 canister filters.
Elijah Petersen - 6 years ago
In a 55 gallon
Willie the king pets 28 production - 6 years ago
amcluesent - 6 years ago
I highlighted the risks of over-trading a few months ago
couldnt decide - 6 years ago
every tank i have 55 and under without a sand substrate is simply Hob and UG i do run a sump for a larger tank but its too much money to buy canisters or set up multiple sumps for smaller sized tanks, never used sponge filters and i would pick a UG over a sponge any day just as my personal choice . i agree 100% that UG filter helps plants grow!!
Rob Jamieson - 6 years ago
used under ground filters for 10 years on goldfish, Oscar's and different tropicals. never had a problem..I don't know why people these days don't like..it was one of the main filter people used...I did change to a canisters & sumps about 12 years ago only because I was running 6ft and 8ft tanks
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I find myself wanting to always make things more simple, so maybe that is why I try all these old things like old fish food :P
Daryl Alltop - 6 years ago
I've been using undergravel filters for over 3 years in 2 of my 75 gallon tanks. Both African cichlid tanks. I've never had any issues with them other than all the hate I've gotten for using them. But I do what works for me and could really care less what anyone else thinks.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for the feedback Daryl.
Gabriel V - 6 years ago
My thought process on UGF's is that the mulm or debris created due to fish food and waste would cause a higher amount of ammonia meaning higher nitrites then nitrates. Yea in a wild life setting its fine and the way it works is that systems like a river or stream is there is always fresh water flowing in and older water out which you replicate in your fish room Cory with the auto water changer. In your state currently there is no gauge on how much water you can use but in some states like Cali there is due to water shortages. So the auto water change system wouldn't work so the added debris would pile up and eventually cause problems. That's what I think. Maybe my thought on this is faulty since my usage of UGF's is minimal from my younger years.

My thoughts on the Koi community doing the under the tank piping to remove debris would be that the system will create as much bacteria (with efficient enough of surface area) that is required for the amount of waste. So less fish waste and uneaten fish food the less ammonia the less bacteria needed. So correct me if I am wrong the only real loss there would be any micro organism that would live and feed off of it which like you mentioned would be beneficial to fry.

But yea I got nothing really against them if they work for you then sweet. Some people do best with huge expensive canister filters or sump filtration others with sponge and under gravel filters. Like you said whatever makes you sleep better at night or rather whatever puts your mind more at ease. =) Good video by the way Cory.
Christine Daae - 6 years ago
Plecko bellies are very important. And cute.
Sanyog Polkam - 6 years ago
Maybe u could make a second channel for comparing cars
Peter Lyck - 6 years ago
About the choice of car, i woould love to see a live streem with an aquarist trying to fit a 75gallon tank in a Lamborghini.

Concerning the video. I don't need any more pumps and filters, and i am not allowed to buy new aquariums. But i would try a ugf if i was going to buy a new tank. Just to try i out.
Wudman - 6 years ago
Cory, you are incorrect about undergravel filters being incompatible for cichlids. I ran nothing but undergravel filters for over 20 years in my AC and mixed tanks. I did not use standard gravel however. I used granite or marble chips as the substrate. Granite chips are much larger than standard aquarium gravel. It is much harder for cichlids to move. 2 to 3 inches of this and the filter plate has never been exposed. Not even when I kept oscars. This was on a 55 gallon and a 20 gallon tank. In the past few years I moved to a 240 gallon and went with an FX6 canister filter. I now worry about what happens if the canister fails. I never worried about this problem before. Because of that I ended up buying 2 canister filters. I'm currently setting up a 55 gallon grow out tank. There's no way I'm using a canister filter on it. I'm considering using an undergravel filter or sponge filters.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Very true, I hadn't thought of using larger gravel to prevent the digging etc. That would totally work.
LRB Aquatics - 6 years ago
Is That anubias in the panda guppy tank. How do you get it that big?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Just grow it for a few years and it gets big.
Richard Ball - 6 years ago
I don't have anything bad to say about under gravel but 1 point I would like to make is the price. with a lot of the equipment needed in this hobby it can be hard to get into it financially. under gravel are near enought the cheapest out there allowing more people to start in the hobby.......that is an awsome thing.
Mark Robert - 6 years ago
Richard Ball
Richard Ball - 6 years ago
that said for price and reliability I would go with the sponge filters u allready use a lot
youtuudodo - 6 years ago
hi yall, under gravel filter in my opinion is no different from a sump fill with lava rock. same concept for surface area for bacteria to grow on.
youtuudodo - 6 years ago
also in one of cory vedio from Japan, there was a tank with a reverse flow under gravel filter using sand as substrate and it created a small fluidized sand bed inside the tank.
Pietro Pelatti - 6 years ago
Cory I want so my ha the finnex stingray light but I can't but them from amazon.com becouse teeee isn't a shopping to italy ...
So, can you recommend a similar led light on amazon.it?
Pietro Pelatti - 6 years ago
do you think the red leds are really important or can be ok only white leds?
Larry Stevens - 6 years ago
Have you looked at his review of the Fluval lights? Specifically the Aquasky?
s_ r - 6 years ago
can we have duck weed give away.
Brad Crowley - 6 years ago
My first ever tank I ran as a kid I combined the UGF with a hang on back on my 29 gal. I connected the intake of the HOB to the down spout of the UGF and it worked awesome for 7 years. Never lost any fry and it really kept my aquarium clean compared to what I use now. I'm working on my first planted tank and forgot about that and will be using a UGF again
Brad Crowley - 6 years ago
Martin Proietti Yes. Seems redundant but it's mainly used as a powerhead.
Martin Proietti - 6 years ago
So basically your HOB sucks the water trough the gravel and then goes trough the filtration steps inside the HOB?
Gregarious Frenchenstien - 6 years ago
Chiming in on your gravel filter rant.

I personally run Ehime 350 pro Canisters on my 2 larger tanks, on my smaller tank I have an AquaClear HOB and on two of my 10g nano Cubes I have SunSun602B canisters.

My pops used to keep a Salt Water Reef tank of 120 gallons about 20 years ago. Mind you, this was when he used to have to have coral flown in from Indonesia, Australia and where ever else he was able to find people selling frags.

He had some of the most massive, amazing Lion Fish and Panther Gropers I have ever seen. These were heavy polluters, who ate live medium sized feeder fish daily. He did eventually lose his fish, but we were on vacation and the power went out, so the loss was not the under gravel filters fault.

His maintenance was gravel vac weekly and change half the pads every thee months (he didn't want to risk loosing the beneficial bacteria). He was a salt keeper, and tested daily.

He had those tanks running for about 15 years, with that being his only form of filtration.

I may join you in this challenge. I have a Fluval Chi 6.6g Cube. The fiter on that tank is gorgeous, but its garbage. I am getting ready to reset it and use it for a planted shrimp tank in my office. An under gravel filter set would create a downward current, pulling the carpeting plant roots down, creating a stronger root bed and filter the tank so much more efficiently that my tiny filter can without having bulky equipment in the tank.
s_ r - 6 years ago
i dont like under gravel filter.
Josiah F - 6 years ago
UGFs worked great for me, in so far as I was an idiot kid in the 90s with 4 goldfish in a 10 gallon tank. They stayed at 3-4 inches but they didn't seem malformed as some of the stunted goldfish that I had seen online. But that aside of my main point.
You are dead on correct about it being great at hosting bacteria and it is why my fish lasted in that tank for the 5 years (till we adopted them out prior to a move out of state).
Sequence of events: We actually started with 12, 1/2 feeders in the tank.
The next few weeks was a bit of a fishy blood bath, I know now that the tank was cycling.
Because of the bioload at the end of the cycle, fish stopped dying and we got a bacteria bloom that took hold on the underside and up the tubes. It looked like orange algae, but it was actually bacteria. We would clear the tubes, vac the gravel but not mess with the underside of the filter. We also used the carbon attachments to the UGF, so the tank didn't stink to high heaven either. I know it was the UGF because the orange stuff wasn't anywhere else, and the normal green algae was happily growing on everything topside.
I can tell you UGF's are idiot proof, because idiot kid me was able to make it work.
John Boulware - 6 years ago
I just left a local shop near me....EVERY tank in the joint... 300 total...(discus, arowana, everything you can imagine)... EVERY tank running under gravel filters ONLY. 50% water change every two weeks. Don't let anyone tell you they aren't effective!
Reid Smith - 6 years ago
John Boulware my fish store is exactly the same way
Michael Pennett - 6 years ago
UG filters are perfectly fine. I think where people get hung up is overloading with biomass. On that same note if they over clean their gravel they can do more harm than good which is where a dual filter system is nice so you always have a stable bacteria colony. My 2 cents.
wyzemann - 6 years ago
Michael Pennett That is exactly how my mom successfully ran her tanks for over 30yrs...UGF with no water changes & no gravel vac. It took her a while to accept that chloramines and alternative filtration has fundamentally changed our understanding of this hobby...for the best and the worst.
Casey Moen - 6 years ago
I have a 75 gallon tank with 21 leleupi and 6 tropheus. I run an undergravel system. I have 2 powerheads pushing about 250 gallons per hour and two never clog bubblers in the middle. I also run two hang on the back marineland 75 gallon filters. I haven't had a problem and always get tons of compliments about how clean my tank looks.

I watched your video about how to get the most out of the hang on backs and used that info. I added intake sponges, sponges inside the filter, and bio bags to maximize everything. I think that having a combination of filtration is the best thing to do. Thanks for the videos Co-Op.
Hellish Venturi - 6 years ago
Casey Moen I like it! I also use a hang on the back for back up and separate bio sweetener if you like..I made two trays that sit under the waterfall part of the hang on..they're filled with Bio Home Media to promote the all important anaerobic bacteria and they're doing a great job my Nitrate is absolutely zero..the hang on sponges also take a lot of the load off the under gravel filter plate and gravel..so hoovering once a fortnight..yields minimum sediment. second point is...if one or the other power head packs in?..back up is on the job.
check out my video if ya fancy it..
Aiden Meredith - 6 years ago
will you ever sell frogbit? I think you would be able to get a decent profit from it, because its less invasive than duckweed and it looks better. that and i want some, but only from my lfs or you
X Pets & Me X - 6 years ago
Hey can you tell me where you got the black sponge Betta fish dividers from ? And what is it called please ?
wyzemann - 6 years ago
X Pets & Me X They're called Matala filters:

http://www.matalausa.com/Pond-Filters-c-41.html
Zythe Akaru - 6 years ago
How do you think an undergravel filter would work for, say, a khuli loach? I have a striped, and he tends to dig a little but never very far down
Zythe Akaru - 6 years ago
I've been wanting to try one but was always scared off by the anti-undergravel crew, so I may try one. If I do, I'll be sure to let you know how it goes! The only downside for me would be that my molly likes to play in the current provided by my current filter. :)
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I think it'll work fine. I think the worry is that it'll expose some of the plate, but I haven't even tested to see if that has as dramatic of an impact as I suspect.
BigFly Multimedia - 6 years ago
I love under-gravel filters they are the best filter ever for a tank with a gravel substrate. I am going to do a response video this evening to the under-gravel filter debate. Great video!!!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
realized I should just subscribe to get the notification, so done :P
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Awesome, put aquarium co-op in the description or something so I can get alerted and watch it :)
Deon 0026 - 6 years ago
great video betta slit for four in the 20 gallon would be cool.
Bills Fish - 6 years ago
I used to have an undergravel filter. I only had a problem when I got Oscars. I made the mistake of getting rid of the ugf and went to a hang on the back. The only maintenance problem I had was with the plastic thin air stones, they just didn't last. The plants in the tank did so well that 1 plant took over the tank in just a few months.
Jeff K - 6 years ago
I personally love the cheapo HOB filters for water polishing. I use quilt batting in them which gets clogged about once a week. I figure I'm taking out all the waste before it starts breaking down. I run them in combination with a sponge filter in some of my grow out tanks.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah, I'm excited to see how things go.
Cat Kruz - 6 years ago
My parents SWORE by under gravel filters.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Everyone who used them 20+ years ago likes em. It's us young kids who hate on em :P
Dwain Kitchel - 6 years ago
Cory kuddos for broaching this subject!!!!!! One near and dear to my heart because most of us old schoolers have used UG for years.I see some really good and thoughtful responses in the comments...here is mine(rant ahead)
One way to solve the "large cichlids" digging(and this is an issue) is to put an inch of gravel down, add egg crate cut to fit then add gravel on top...the fish dig down to the crate and can dig no lower. The plant issue seems to revolve around some plants not liking water moving around their roots.....in my 110 i have tried to resolve this issue by adding a much deeper layer of gravel so that the root areas of the plants get a deep strata to set roots and still have some detritus pulled within range....this of course adds to the possibility of anaerobic bacteria build up and the nitrate factory possibility. One method people have used in the past is to reverse flow the gravel filter, which sends the water up through the substrata, myself i use a power head every once in awhile to flush the UG backwards, which blows some detritus back out. I am no plant expert but i think they do ok in a normal UG set up that is a little deeper than normal...the rule we always used with UGs was 2 inches of gravel, though this might have changed over the years. Thank you so much for bringing this subject some much needed fresh air! I have also pestered DIY Joey to re invent the UG hoping his do it yourself skills might add a new wrinkle or two to this old stand by that has served fishkeepers so well for so long.
boabab95 - 6 years ago
You mentioned (around 32:30 I think) you have to worry about power..... Have you thought about solar?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I have, I haven't just found any time to start seriously thinkinga bout it.
Art Hunter - 6 years ago
You deserve all the success in the world the time and effort you put in. Thanks for your dedication from London...
716 Speed - 6 years ago
+prayformojo thanks
Pray4Mojo - 6 years ago
He has a very long video dedicated to talking about sponge filters
/watch?v=3rSfN10M-Gs
716 Speed - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op can you do a video on sponge filters. I am curious as to where all the bio load goes? If I were to use sponge filters and I put chemicals in water to cure disease in tank then where do them chemicals go since there's no carbon. I just haven't had luck with sponge filters so can you please explain them so I understand more in detail.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for watching Art :)
JC's house of fish tanks - 6 years ago
I would like to start by saying I have used undergravel filters in at least one of my tanks. for the past 26 years.I found them one of the most useful tools in the fish room. I also have had a problem and it was with the installation. When you put in the undergravel filter in your aquarium you need to make sure there's no air trapped underneath the plate and also make sure that the air stone doesn't go below the plate and put air underneath the plate! this can cause a ammonia bubble overtime which can release into the aquarium. But I think to properly explain myself I will make a video on how I've used them and how they work for me and post you a link if that's okay.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
block5178 - 6 years ago
Never used one, I had thought the hate was because they are less efficient than other filters, but I'm sure it isn't worse than my hang on back full of expanded clay balls
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
In theory they are more efficient than most filters, the surface they have is far larger.
Crystal Tidwell - 6 years ago
how did you attach the anubias to the suction cup? Would it work with Java fern?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Works for java fern also, just have the little airline holder, then tie or glue it onto it. http://www.aquariumcoop.com/products/air-line-holders
Martin Proietti - 6 years ago
Hello Cory, love the fact that you are addressing the UGF taboo! What about doing a reverse flow using power heads? Have you ever done it? I will be following with lots of interest!
Martin Proietti - 6 years ago
Ok thx. I have been very interested in that topic as some of the arguments against this simply don't make sense. I look forward to see an experienced aquarist like you put this to the test. I am returning to the hobby and I have to say the more I am reading on filtration the more I am confused... LOL.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I've had them at a shop I worked at, the reverse flow, but not in my personal tanks so I don't have a ton of experience running them that way.
V Alexander - 6 years ago
Thanks Corey :)
Dorkula - 6 years ago
I think Wincy and Sassy need to spend some time in the shop; so I can watch all the baby Panda Guppies.
Dorkula - 6 years ago
She's getting so old....she only likes tummy rubs, naps and treats.
M. Yates - 6 years ago
I used undergravel filters back in the early/mid 90s... never had a problem. Regular vacuuming was all that was needed, just like it still is. Think companies just want people to spend more money on filters and canisters lol.
M. Yates - 6 years ago
About to dirt some 10 gallon planted tanks, considered getting some to use instead of the sponge filters.. lol
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah I"m thinking I need to just keep testing and use em cause so far I love the results.
Barnaby Tuckman - 6 years ago
do you know if it's possible to purchase glofish in London?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
movingWater - 6 years ago
i had an idea about making bottom HMF filter. now i will make it and make a video about it. i dont see any problem with undergravel filter if you syphon it regularly and do your water changes. whats all the big fuss?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
If you want to experience it, go onto any facebook group or forum and say you run undergravel filters, people will call you crazy :P
V. Stag - 6 years ago
Ug's connected to Hob's  with regular vacuuming worked six yrs straight for me
I never removed it to clean under it
I watched it from under side and it always seemed clean no algae or build up on glass under it
mine hade 2 tubes one I connected to hob and other with air stone in it

just from my experience it had no downfall
V. Stag - 6 years ago
I agree great idea
Steve McCord - 6 years ago
V. Stag I had the UG with an Aquaclear 100 HOB. The bottom plumb idea to say a canister with an inline heater and spray bar return would be pretty clean uncluttered look.
V. Stag - 6 years ago
Steve McCord hi
Steve McCord - 6 years ago
V. Stag
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for the personal experiences!
heretolevitateme - 6 years ago
On UG filters: lots of methods work for lots of different people, but I think UG filters are particularly bad for new people that don't keep up with their maintenance, and don't have their fish keeping discipline up to snuff. A neglected power filter (HOB, canister, sump) that has a distinct mechanical filtration stage is easier to clean up and easier to remove the nitrate generating waste.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I could possibly see that argument. I'd also say that for a beginner it is easier to lose a cycle with say a canister and hob. Also a sump can be hard for newer people to learn. I also think that perhaps a undergravel filter may be able to go much longer without being service making a new person to the hobby be successful for a year+ without doing proper maintenance, before they have problems. While not ideal, they may stay in the hobby and then hopefully learn proper maintenance. I guess my goal is, lets stress proper maintenance, over, someone replacing their filter as I'm not sure it's the filter that is the problem, it's the way it's taken care of.
Robert treboR - 6 years ago
Should do a home show with all under gravel filters.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I would, except I don't I'd have enough videos, haven't seen a single one yet in the videos I've looked at so far.
Fish Bossman - 6 years ago
you should make your own undergravel filter brand and revolutionize it!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I'm not sure it needs to be, I think they work pretty well, maybe after 5 years if I am using a ton, I'll know of a way to improve em, but for now they seems decently optimal.
Robert Sevo - 6 years ago
I agree with you I have use under ground filters have a 125 and use a 50 gal underground filter on it but I use a pump to a sump with bio media plus a small spun filter with it and it work great for me yes I catch more junk un that,side but all you have to do is vacuum it up
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Awesome, I have a question. Do you avoid telling people you use undergravels normally on the internet if you hang out in any groups etc? Just sampling those who do use them.
jayscrazzy obsessions - 6 years ago
the only downside of under gravle filters i know of is re planting old plants the roots somtimes grow tru slots and can break the small slits and eventuly wreck ur plates
jayscrazzy obsessions - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op watch out for the big anubis ... one big plant destroid a whole plate thanks for the reply
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
That is true Jasper, I haven't had that problem yet, but I have had to rip some roots out before. TO be fair though, people love a dirted tank and the same problem really, too much replanting ruins it.
Racing's Natural Aquariums - 6 years ago
One way I use to clean the ug when I had one years ago was to pull the tops off the suction tubes and put the suction tube from my python down over the tubes to suck up the excessive debris build up to reduce it and pull off the middle caps and suck it up as well. By doing so it made the debris under the ug manageable and kept my tank healthy and clear. My plants grew fine to boot. I used it with a community tank of danios, mollies, platties, pleco's, algae eaters, Oscars and more. No the Oscars were in their own tank lol.
Racing's Natural Aquariums - 6 years ago
Harmonica In The Breeze. yeah the python siphon gravel cleaner vac.
Hellish Venturi - 6 years ago
Racing1278 python? ha ha...what in the wide wide world of sport is that?
Racing's Natural Aquariums - 6 years ago
wyzemann That works to. I used the Python as it was easy from the tank to the drain.
wyzemann - 6 years ago
Racing1278 I watched a YT upload some years ago where a wet/dry vac was gently and precisely used to "hoover" out all the detritus through the UG tube...creative with great results.
Racing's Natural Aquariums - 6 years ago
I love Repashy Grub Pie as I can use it cooked or dry for my fry. Thanks for the vid on Repashy.
Brandon Lee - 6 years ago
Hey Cory, I want to divide a standard 10 gallon into 5 sections, 4 inches each, for 5 bettas. Is this enough room for the bettas and would I be better off with only 4 bettas in there? Thanks!!!
Brandon Lee - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op Thank you for taking time to respond. :) Most likely doing a 20 long now.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Brandon Lee could be done I suppose. It don't forget the thickness of the dividers and glass etc. I'm not sure 5 would work out well.
Chad Hardesty - 6 years ago
Cory-my wife says family comes first
Chad Hardesty - 6 years ago
You're a good man Corey and I love your video
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Its true, the problem is, my employees are like family too me and I value this youtube community pretty highly as well :)
Jeff K - 6 years ago
Under-gravel filters are good in that they provide a ton of surface area for bacteria. The bad thing is that they collect detritus under the plates and become nitrate factories. This problem can be solved with a reverse flow system though, I have seen some pretty sophisticated reef setups where they put water jets in the substrate.
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
Derik Gretzinger I've tried this, also tried reverse flow using a power head. My results? DON'T DO IT, use the power head to pull water up through the tubes ( two power heads or close off the second riser tube).
dean7500 - 6 years ago
That could work if you could get enough air flow to create a consistent reverse flow of water. But really if you are doing a reverse flow undergravel filter it would probably be more efficient to use a power head or water pump to pump the water in the reverse direction. Then all you would need to do is add an airstone or two in the tank and that will create enough surface exchange for the oxygen level to be okay.
Derik Gretzinger - 6 years ago
dean7500 What if the pumps were just airstone bars? I know lining the bottom of an aquarium with that many airstones bars might sound ridiculous. But, it might create enough current to lift and clear out the substrate while still oxygenating the water column.
Ken Paschall - 6 years ago
Got plants? Plants use nitrates quite efficiently. A suitable flow through the UG Filter prevents nitrate spikes, air stones are not suitable for heavily loaded tanks, use a power head. Balance between plant load and fish load is easy to obtain. Do not add plants until nitrates are present. If you do not want live plants then either use another type of filter, do frequent water changes, or use a nitrate filter.
dean7500 - 6 years ago
The only issues that ever came up from reverse flow undergravel filters in freshwater tanks was oxygen levels. By pushing the water through in reverse it could cause all the CO2 to be pushed out of the gravel into the tank. It that tank didn't have proper aeration you could quickly have all the fish gasping for air at the surface. Once did a reverse flow system with a 40 breeder discus tank and over the course of about 8 hours all the fish were laying on their sides gasping for air. I introduced one airstone and within just a few minutes they all recovered and were back to normal.
James Bryan - 6 years ago
The store I worked at had 100% UG filters on over 100 aquariums. As long as we vacuumed weekly (right before we did the water change), we did not have any nitrate build up. The plates did not have much under them when we looked under the tanks through the glass. Whatever the filter type, it is the collected waste that causes the problem. I believe people simply repeat what they have heard about UG filtration and have not used it long term themselves.
Jeff K - 6 years ago
Ok here is the big picture you can basically make any system work if you do the work. People ran successful under gravel systems for a long time. There was one guy on youtube that had a successful reef tank using only a HOB filter. He monitored all his levels really close and kept up with everything doing gravel vacs and water changes. Basically so long as you don't have dead spots, have zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and nitrates under 40ppm you can have a healthy tank.

Hell I'm running an overstocked 125 gallon african cichlid tank with only a fluval 306 and a circulation pump. To top it off I took out all the ceramic media in the fluval and replaced it with biofoam. Everyone would say I don't have enough filtration but my tank is healthy as can be.
Jeff K - 6 years ago
Well I guess if you don't clean your sponge it would be the same. The test would be to pull up the plates after 6 months or so and see if there is built up sludge under them. I don't know how effective vacuuming the gravel is at pulling gunk from under the plates.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
By the way, not attacking, just genuinely interested in continued education on the subject and I love reading scientific studies related to fish.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Jeff K Have any actual studies on the nitrate factory or just theories? For instance on the zebra pleco tank at the shop, nitrates are 0 always and it's not planted. Same auto water changes as all the other tanks with sponge filters. I guess I fail to see how collecting the waste in a sponge filter is any different than in the gravel/under the plate.
Constance MacAllister - 6 years ago
Hey Cory! I'm 61 and had aquariums a long time ago as a kid. I was completely stupid re: the nitrogen cycle - as most kid hobbyists were at that time. I ran aquariums with both under gravel and box filters. My fish in the tank with the under gravel always lived and thrived while the other tanks were death camps. Consequently I have fond memories of those under gravel filter tanks. Years later I started keeping fish again and learned about the water chemistry etc. I finally figured out the reason my box filter tanks died was because I believed the cleaner the better and frequently cleaned the box filters, while I pretty much just left my under gravel filter alone. I now run canister and sponge filters, but your video has gotten me excited about trying those old under gravel filters again. Maybe in a corydora breeding tank. Thanks!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Constance MacAllister I'd love to have more people test them with an open mind. I think in the right setups they may be the best options.
ExtraSteps - 6 years ago
Seven years ago I ran my first tank with an undergravel filter. After about a year I removed it. The reason? The internet told me that plants did not appreciate that much circulation through their roots. I still don't know if that's true.

One certain downside to an undergravel filter is that it takes much longer to gravel vac a tank than to give a sponge filter a few squeezes. Since you have substrate in that tetra tank, for example, you currently have to do both. But be honest; do you gravel vac that tank as often as you clean the sponge? Ditching the sponge would require regular gravel vacing for sanitary reasons instead of aesthetic.

But now that I think about it, one can't assume that the gravel would need to be cleaned as frequently as a sponge filter. The vastly increased volume of filter media offered by undergravel filters would allow more time between maintenance. How much time would not be easily determined since it's not as obvious when an undergravel filter needs to be vacuumed compared to a sponge filter.

I really didn't set out to write a qualifying summa on the subject, but it goes to show how nuanced and controversial this piece of equipment really is!
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+ExtraSteps here is my theory. Let's say over 6 months 1 pound of food goes into a tank. No matter what collects it. 1 lb of food needs to leave the system eventually. So either by sponge filter or by undergrad vac. I typically do apologize he's and gravel vaccing the same day. I would surmise that the time is very similar and perhaps I get clearer water with the undergrad. Time will tell my thoughts if I maintain lots of underframe filters.
TaZe Light - 6 years ago
only just realised now but congrats on 30,000!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dorkula - 6 years ago
Clam down Rick.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+TaZe Light thanks :)
sevenmile - 6 years ago
You are a brave lad changing P.O.S. systems in Nov/Dec...... People have no idea what all that entails.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+sevenmile yeah I always seems to do it on December as I want to do end of year counts on inventory etc.
Khi Burgess - 6 years ago
I was told by Fluval rep that there was an active attempt to hate on under gravels because they were cheap and all the product providers wanted to sell you big expensive externals. I would drill underneath though and run a pipe or flexible tubing so water changes would be a doddle all the build up gets removed etc...but probably wouldn't if a planted tank...can't agree with you on the matten though 5 years comparitively clean compared to other methods but I think like anything has to do with stocking levels have 6 zeb plecs in a tank with a matten no issues.
Khi Burgess - 6 years ago
Hi Cory the undergrad el build I was referring to his on youtube account opty shrimp....not entirely sure what the build application would achieve other than larger surface area. Not sure if you have any thoughts on it your insight would be great.
Khi Burgess - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op Yh I did get mixed responses myself but I thought I would give it a go....but I use 3 uplifts each specked for 175 gallons all 3 on a 30 gallon but I'm keeping hypans who enjoy the current this coupled with just 6 fish in each tank the matten works well I can well imagine anything messier would clog the matten really badly. I would add a bottom drain in every tank anyway just incase I need to break tanks down quickly. There was a youtube vid with a german shrimp keeper who had I think 4 inches of gravel different grades layered over an under gravel plate with a bottom drain water was like gin. I will try and find the link for you would be a great project I think.
Khi Burgess - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op Yh I did get mixed responses myself but I thought I would give it a go....but I use 3 uplifts each specked for 175 gallons all 3 on a 30 gallon but I'm keeping hypans who enjoy the current this coupled with just 6 fish in each tank the matten works well I can well imagine anything messier would clog the matten really badly. I would add a bottom drain in every tank anyway just incase I need to break tanks down quickly. There was a youtube vid with a german shrimp keeper who had I think 4 inches of gravel different grades layered over an under gravel plate with a bottom drain water was like gin. I will try and find the link for you would be a great project I think.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I could believe the undergravel not making companies making enough money. For matten filters in my fish room, it was a problem. Also at the wholesaler/stores I visit that use them, they also have the same problems. Very few people in person that I know use them, most get them and then stop using them within a couple of years from the same problems. But I do think you're right in it comes down to the load in the tank as to how long they'll last before needing lots of servicing etc. I tried many different flow rates, countless hours reading german websites with google translate etc. I couldn't find a combo for me that reflected the sales pitch that comes with them.
Damien Fong - 6 years ago
Hello Cory, I just bought a 50 gallon aquarium for fancy goldfish and I was wondering what will be the easiest way to cycle it, I have another tank but it is tropical, can I use some of the filter media to cycle the new one?
Damien Fong - 6 years ago
Ok, thank you
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah get some bacteria from that tank, whether it's media or gravel etc. If you can, run your new filter on the tropical tank for a week or two, then switch it over to the new setup as well.
Jonas Buchholz - 6 years ago
the only reason i don't use undergravel filters is, that i love sand as my substrate >:D
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah, that's a totally legit reason. I'm using this coarse sand and it seems to be working well so far. that being said, I'm less than 10 days into it with this sand :P
Name Unavailable. - 6 years ago
hey Cory. you should do a Q&A live stream on live bearers.
Name Unavailable. - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op that'd be great.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I'll consider it :) A few people have been asking for that.
V Alexander - 6 years ago
Corey, love your channel. Quick question, what do you use to cover your tanks on the top? Looks like acrylic?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Lucky for you, I have a whole video about it :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHIcPnJ6NJg
SamanthaR - 6 years ago
In college (the 90's) I kept two juvie red cap orandas in a 10 gallon aquarium with an undergravel filter I chopped down. It worked great. I had roommates that were in aquaculture that marvelled at that set up and thought it was overkill LOL. They'd bring their classmates by to show them my tank and my UGF mod. The point is that it worked fine. Would I do it now. Probably not. But I also wouldn't keep two juvie GF's in a 10 gallon either. Times change.
SamanthaR - 6 years ago
It wasn't much of a mod LOL. We just had to cut down the grill and the uplift tubes to fit in the 10 gallon. I think we crazy glued a ruler to the cut end to seal the sides of the grill. I couldn't find one small enough, people generally used them on larger tanks. I'd never used one before or since. It was my boyfriend's suggestion. He'd used them in his community tank.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I'm not sure i understand the mod, you cut down the size of plant or the uplift tubes? Just collecting as much info as I can, as undergravel filters would be the least used filter for me at this point in my career.
Marks Shrimp Tanks - 6 years ago
I love undergravel filters ,way more surface area for bacteria to grow = a healthy tank .
Ten Dragons - 5 years ago
Absolutely !
Utilities 21 - 5 years ago
Ya but can you use these in a planted tank? In that case how does the layering of substrate go?
Marks Shrimp Tanks - 6 years ago
+kyleswildworld Oh they work fantastic for Shrimp,In future tank builds if have them I will use them and sponges.
Alissia Rose - 6 years ago
+Aquarium Co-Op your audio and video never seem tl be in sync
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for the input :)
Mary Beth Meinholz - 6 years ago
Under gravel filters are also great for breading certain killifish and other egg scater type fish.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah, I can totally see the advantages for small fry.
Zerobot - 6 years ago
If your tanks are auto-water changing, how do you add dechlorinator to them?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I don't. We have very little chlorine in our water, since I only have Chlorine and not chloramine. The chlorine dissipates out with the air bubbling. When I change my system over to the tankless water heater, I may install a carbon block like I have at the shop.
Natural Goliath - 6 years ago
I think under gravel filter are amazing but now I switch to sand and I can't really find a way to make it work
Jake Roach - 5 years ago
I use pool filter sand for my substrate, which is a course sand. i am running a canister currently and i even get sand in it once in awhile. i have also burned up hobs by sucking up sand. a sand ug would be awesome if someone could figure out how to make it work.
Natural Goliath - 6 years ago
I was think maybe to add a power head on the end of it too make it more efficient and put out more water through the substrate
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah I'm not sure how to get one working well for sand. Possibly a DIY undergravel filter with the screen, but sand may be too fine to get water to flow through with just air stones.
Evan Stepowany - 6 years ago
Cory, not sure what camera you have, but if glare becomes a headache, you can get a circular polarizer. I've gotten them cheap for my video cams and slrs on amazon before.
Evan Stepowany - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op from my experience, mainly slr area, the darkening is very faint, the increase in definition and removal of glare outweighed it.. then again I'm not dealing with the amount of video post production and turn around you are. Reddit, b&h photo, or maybe someone else in here might have more experience with non slr use. sorry it's not the answer you were probably looking for.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Did you find that it dimmed the overall picture a little bit? I'm afraid that by adding that all my video will be slightly darker.
SamanthaR - 6 years ago
I've always wondered about the efficiency/effectiveness of using breather bags and shipping big gold fish. Sorry you lost a fish, would be interested to hear if you have any further findings on this. We've only had experience with the heavy poly bags with the GF and Koi.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I also had another idea after watching Rachel's video on heat packs yesterday. It made me think of that with a breather bag I have multiple things competing for air. The goldfish inside the bag, and the heat pack. Both are in the box and if the box isn't exchanging fast enough that could be a problem as well. Some more testing etc needs to happen, but right now it's all hear say.
Jaymes Martin - 6 years ago
sees baby bristlenose
inhales I need
Jaymes Martin - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op so are mine! I had a blue eyes baby bristlenose for about a year until my entire tank got ick I was devastated finally restarting my 20 g and then my 65 once I get back into the swing of things
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
My wife's favorite are pleco babies.
Tristen Webb - 6 years ago
my concern with under gravel filters, and this is just my own thinking, I've never used one is I was always worried the root systems of my plants would either damage it or I wouldn't be able to clean the gunk in fear of damaging my plants. It also wouldn't work with people who run topsoil in their planted tanks, it would probably be a big mess and get clogged. I am curious and would like to use the UGF filter but I'm not willing to give up my easy to maintain topsoil tanks.
Tristen Webb - 6 years ago
I guess i left out the fact I often cap my topsoil with an inch to inch anf half of gravel, but you are right one I can't do serious and heavy gravel vacuuming in my tanks with topsoil because it gets sucked right out. I personally after watching your video am convinced the UGF filter could work perfectly fine with community fish, I just personally prefer my topsoil because of all the benefits it has, and the amount of nutrients it has. I don't think I could ever do just gravel in my tank because soil requires little to no fertilizer and no CO2 as it creates its own, it's just the laziest and easiest substrate in my opinion.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
So topsoil also means you can't gravel vac. so those are kind of a wash. I do agree over time the roots grow into the plates. I've yet to have one get damaged by it. but I have had to tear out roots. As to not being able to gravel vac. I don't gravel vac my planted tanks anyways, at least not down int he substrate because the plants are consuming most of the debris. At the point where plants are so thick you can't gravel vac, I think the problem has solved itself at that point in my experience.
African Cichlids - 6 years ago
9:45 only smart people will get that lol .. great vids , i don't comment often , and am also curious about under gravel . it would be nice to have an over stocked tank lets say 10 fish in a 30gal peacock cichlids . have two tank side by side . 10 fish in each . equal GPH filtration on each tank . only difference would be the one tank has hob filter sponge or canister doesn't really matter , and the other tank undergravel , at the end of a week equal feeding id love to see which test is better Parametres . if you ever do this test corey you'll figure it out real fast u can do it with any fish as long as they are the same size .. add comments to this question.
African Cichlids - 6 years ago
Do you think if u do. A waTer change with a python then .. Then add ur safe \prime . then add water directly to the tank. much of the sandbed and surface beneficial bacterias dies?
African Cichlids - 6 years ago
When i do my weekly water change .i do my gravel vac. all water removed from the tank .comes from the gravel... Good husbandry imo﻿..
African Cichlids - 6 years ago
But if u stired up the gravel. They stats might change...
African Cichlids - 6 years ago
I feel if u had just gravel filter vs canister. The same gph. The canister would win.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
My fear with that specific test is that I'd make the peacocks happy enough to start breeding, once they dug a bunch it would skew the results of the test I assume... The key part is I always assume that once a part of the filter is exposed it wouldn't work. But I've actually never tested that functionality. But I could do this test with either juvies who couldn't breed or another type of fish etc.
mikec7777 - 6 years ago
I run with pool filter sand with most of my tanks, the UGF wouldn't work so well. I do plan on upgrading to a linear air pump after Xmas, might have to try a few UGF for a few tanks. Does anyone run a reverse UGF?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I personally feel like, at the point you run the UGF in reverse, may as well run a hang on back or something etc. You'll be using power to accomplish it, it'll take up space in the tank etc. But I have seen setups run it and it works just fine.
JR Patilan Gaming - 6 years ago
i really want to know whats gonna happen atleast 6 months majority of your tanks undergravel filter maybe the technology had improve but well see
in my opinion sponge is still the best you can add bottle + diy k1 moving bed filter if bigger bio load but I want to know what will happen 6months or a year of under gravel filter
JR Patilan Gaming - 6 years ago
cool i wanna see if how much dirt could accumulate for 2 years under the undergravel filter
cos the old technology or old designs ive seen it and try for a year and its like darkness ink when i took it suddenly the water got so dark inside a 10 gallon tank i think that was my 1st tank 10+ years ago
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I've had some at the shop running for over 2 years, no problems I can complain about except catching the zebra plecos hiding behind the tube.
JR Patilan Gaming - 6 years ago
good luck cory hehe
check it after a year =)
you will get more higher chance of ick and diseases right now you get it.
but ive never had diseases ever again on my tanks for like 11 years
and i have less maintenance my tanks has power head filtrations with good circulation
but maybe we have different fishes i have big fishes my style of filtration is like uarujoey or diyking but mine is not over flow mine is powerhead in my pond well its a different topic
JR Patilan Gaming - 6 years ago
some FISHKEEPERS are so CLEAN conscious that in their mind the DEBRIS DIRT POOP inside it. is like garbage inside the tank
RUN IT for 3-6 months and check it
if you have big fishes its not for you too trust me
HOB too is not for big fishes
ShortNanxious - 6 years ago
Under gravel filters are great but I like the circulation for goldfish and I hotrod it with an enclosed sponge filter. Rural fish keeping makes you get inventive. they get when I use then with.Larger river rock and
Warren MacDonald - 6 years ago
Hi Cory. I've been using UG filters for over 50 years in all sizes of tanks up to 90 gallons. Of course I started with air driven filters and then as the aquariums got bigger i went to powerheads so the flow-thru the gravel bed would be right for the increasingly larger filter area, ( I find the Marineland Penguin 1140 is the most efficient pump I've used, at 6 watts for 1140 litres/hr.). I figure the most important thing to help keep a healthy environment for our friends is: if you're thinking of using an UG filter; when aquarium maintenance is performed ( I.E. WATER CHANGES ), ALWAYS VACUUM THE GRAVEL THOROUGHLY. If you can't do the whole bed in one water change, do what's left the next time you perform regular maintenance. Cory, I think you've explained it in a way that should help any fence-sitters out there make a more informed choice about UG filters.
Warren MacDonald - 6 years ago
I didn't notice a difference, filter-wise, but you do get another source of water movement that has to be directed to the surface for oxygenation and the outlet on the PH has a venturi that allows variable air flow mixed very well with the water coming from the UGF. Because the flow is much higher than air-driven, the general rule of 1 lb. of gravel per gallon of water should be adhered to, which gives 2.5 to 3.5 inches of gravel for a longer dwell time with the little good guys. I'd like to see a dye comparison between the 2 methods of pumping, well, just because it sounds cool! But beware of greater turbulence with the PH.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Warren did you notice a difference when you switched from air drive to powerhead driven? I only ask because I know I would assume that is is doing better using the power head. But I was considering testing it by releasing dye into the water and see how it is taken into the UGF with air vs powerhead etc.
Josh Booth - 6 years ago
CORY YOU USED MY IDEA XD
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks, I genuinely do read the comments. I am here to learn just as much as anyone else :)
Josh Booth - 6 years ago
I love seeing you actually taking your subscribers ideas into consideration!! (Especially mine XD)!!
jackfoo2 - 6 years ago
i used under gravel filter on my piranha tank it was nice being able to put a shop vac over the bubble tube to clean most of the poo out in under 30 seconds
jackfoo2 - 6 years ago
no. was no need had more than anuff suction . i thought of putting a section of bicycle tube on the end of the vac but never tried it .
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Did you adapt the tube size down to fit over the tube snuggly?
Kyle Raines - 6 years ago
I ran UG Filters when I was younger and the only downside I found was when I rescaped I would sometimes bump the stand pipes and pull the plate up a bit allowing gravel to get bound up under it, annoying but could be avoided by not being a doof
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah, doof factor is always present when doing fish :P
ShortNanxious - 6 years ago
Busy holiday season. ... Glad you are taking it slower... and that shipping idea was one that you saw in kyoto Japan last year...I remember you saying how much you liked there systems... The pre bagged plants you should try to... but slow and steady wins the race. lol. Good luck Cory. Happy you are back to trying things and working on your hobby breeding.
I'm happy you are getting back to your old self.
Joseph Jones - 6 years ago
Hey Corey, emergency in my 30 gallon. Peacock Eel seemingly dead laying on the filter or heater but when I try to get him in the net I find that he's alive. And now my Altum Angel died. Got my water tested, nothing high nothing low. What else could be happening?
Joseph Jones - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op I have test striped and I did it instead of the store. Do you think my fish are just getting old? Should I do a water change just in case?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
When it doubt, watch change by the way.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Not sure whats going on. But you should own your own test kits, as without actual water parameters it doesn't help. Most stores don't take the time to actually test correctly. But with massive die offs, it's almost always water, whether that is temp, or another parameter etc. If they were dying off slowly, that leads me to think disease.
ShortNanxious - 6 years ago
Good video
Jerry Johnson - 6 years ago
I am currently running an UGF on my 180 gal community tank with just two powerheads attached. I switched because I was losing to many fry through the overflow and they would end up in my sump dead or alive. The tank has been running for 8 yrs with the UGF with absolutely no problems. The easiest filter to maintain in my opinion. Just vacuum the gravel which pulls all the waste out that is trapped under the plate. The biggest downside to this filter are people. I get so tired of fish people always trying to roast me for using an UGF. I used them in the 80's & 90's and still love them.
Vincent McClelland - 5 years ago
I have to agree with you, I have a 75 gal community tank, with UGF on it with 2 power heads and a Fluval 305 filter on it also, and I recently brought my pleco into my local pet store, he was getting to big, when they tested my water, was told water was in great shape, well established tank, UGF's work and work well.
Jerry Johnson - 6 years ago
Sorry, I got busy...I definitely noticed a big different with using power heads over running air. When I was a kid in the 80's, UGF was probably the cheapest way to filter your tank, especially larger ones. I used them in my south American cichlid many times. The fish really have to thrash the substrate to cause any problems. In my experience, the usual redecorating, even with exposing parts of the filter didn't have a huge impact. Just smooth the gravel back over and problem solved. The thing I like most about an UGF with power heads is the security of having your whole filtration system inside of the tank. There are no hoses to do down and siphon water onto your floor and the system is super quiet. In comparison to canister, sumps and HOB filters the UGF is the easiest to maintain.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for the info Jerry, I find this really helpful. Can you do me a favor? Did you notice any difference between running air and the power heads? Or did you jump straight to the power heads on the system? I'm wondering if people actually see a difference or we just assume. Kind of like when you get a new car, because it's new it feels faster :P I may have to do some tests using dye to put my mind at rest lol.
JR Patilan Gaming - 6 years ago
my internet is laggy today so am in the middle of buffering about undergravel filter well i dont use it anymore I used to but theres a way for it to function properly the air inlet which only has 10% efficiency as a Filtration System it should be change to a power head with only 80% efficiency (still low) it acts as a suction then send the water to a top filter box ofcourse inside the box is a good bio filtration system then water goes back down to the aquarium.
undergravel filter has a huge downside making THE EFFICIENCY of this kind of FILTRATION very low because some gunk or poop dirt whatever will remain under the gravel and is extremely hard to siphon out 100% you have to remove everything
for noobs i recommend sponge filter easy to clean easy to use low wattage aswell
but if you care for FISHES that grows big it might not be able to cope with the BIO LOAD
add + a bottle untop of the sponge filter with k1 media making a moving bedfilter or fluidize bed filter whatever. sponge filters style of filtration requires lots of siphoning compared to power head filter that has good circulation water flow you must understand it first
to make the circulation efficient
overflows are not my thing too. COS LESS MAINTENANCE i mean siphoning and waterchanges makes you stay longer in the hobby and I have big fishes example? SILVER AROWANA REDTAIL CATFISH, CLOWN KNIFE GIANT GOURAMI and KOIS ive sold most of it cos am trying to have my own house now lol anyway thats it good luck peace! happy fish keeping
boss bully boy - 6 years ago
substrate airation, heat, etc....sounds crazy haha.

i think alot of the boo comes from the popularity of sands and dirt tanks, which could be put to rest with a simple mesh overlay
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I mean, I feel like just because a filter isn't good for a couple things, doesn't mean it's bad. But I agree, it's the negative view of them that is keeping them off the market really.
ShortNanxious - 6 years ago
Amazing crinium.
Kevin Walden - 6 years ago
one of my LFS runs over 100 tanks on undergravel filters over the past 30 years. Works great
Kevin Walden - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op yeah absolutely. a tried and true filter. I think I prefer stores like yours though run primarily on sponge filters
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Yeah, that is where I see UGF the most, the problem is I always dismissed them as most LFS are run pretty poorly, so I associated that with the usefulness of the UGF, which is a leap of logic and a bad one because there is no correlation. So that is my bad and after doing my own testing I find that they do have uses for sure.
okiinu - 6 years ago
I had an undergravel filter years ago designed with high and low spots and short and long slots to make the water flow more evenly throughout the whole tank. Or so they said. It sure looked cool though, even though you never see it once it's installed. And I heard all the same arguments for and against years ago as well. There was even an undergravel filter that pushed the water from the bottom up through the gravel - never tried that one. I didn't really use them because I was more into cichlids. I'd use one now, though.
The Angry Fish Guy - 6 years ago
Holy catfish! 4.4 lb tub of Repashy? That's just nutsch!
Craig D'Attilo - 6 years ago
Another Pro: Assuming you have your air pump at the same or higher level as the tank (would reccomend this). I always use the little tray that hangs off the back for better aeration into the tank and also it will not create a siphon the wrong way. Anyway, the point is that compared to a Sump or Canister filter, there is no way for the water to leak out if the pump or tubing fails in anyway. Just a small perk, since if you been keeping fish for 20 or more years, I think we have all come home to a tank half full? What a disaster. In fact I think you just made a video about that a week or two ago. I have even used it for Saltwater with Seahorses, little current in the water, since the Seahorses do not like current. Got the job done just fine!
Craig D'Attilo - 6 years ago
funny, just to put it into prospective, I was a teenager (about 14 or15), I am 53 now.   Back then everyone used the underground filters.  I lived fairly close to the inter-coastal water way in South Florida, and actually caught them by accident.  I would hang ropes off the dock and then scoop them up with a net to capture small shrimp to feed other fish.  One day there was a seahorse on the rope, then another, then another.  Actually keep 3 in a 10 gallon tank for about 2 years, then let them go back into the intercoastal.   got tired of collecting live shimp.   Now I am totally into a planted tank with Tetra's and Barbs.  Back then I did salt and fresh, what ever I could catch since "Mom and Dad" thought it was a waste of time, so no money for these types of things.... Would garage pick somewhat to get new tanks. Pretty funny, thought I would share.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for the comment Craig, interesting to know you use it for seahorses :) Shh don't tell the internet :P
konklotzz - 6 years ago
The comment about "mulm" I found interesting since in my opinion when waste has been transformed to mulm most of the biodegradable nitrogen has already been converted to nitrate. From experience I have had some build up of mulm in several of my tanks with no adverse affects, assuming regular water changes were performed. The mulm in my opinion is basically a slow release fertilizer for the bacteria and can be beneficial in manageable amounts.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I agree, most people I talk too think that the mulm is the source of nitrates. With no scientific testing to back it up, I find that mulm has no relevance to nitrates. so if I have 3 inches of mulm and no fish in a tank, and i test it a month later, I have no nitrates in the water, because I wasn't feeding the tank etc.
jashelps - 6 years ago
When you get a undergravel filter for your planted tank make sure the holes are small enough. My dwarf hairgrass got into my undergravel filter and completely clogged it. However when it worked it was amazing and making my plants grow like never before (and that caused the problem :P).
jashelps - 6 years ago
True true.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
I'm of the opinion that when your plants are so dense that the filter plate is clogged, you no longer need the UGF :)
My first experience with fish at a class room level recommended under gravel filters. My animal science teacher said for the price they were one of the best filters you could get because it would lock your beneficial bacteria in your substrate and keep them happy well you took out some beneficial bacteria when you cleaned the HOB filters. This was about 12 years ago. Until I got tanks with sand, I have always used them, without any problems. I wish I could get an under gravel filter with my African Cichlids. They are pigs and even gravel vacing twice a week and having 2 canister filters rated for 2 twice the volume of the tank, I still feel the tank isn't as clean as I want it to be. I would recommend them because they are great.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Thanks for the insight Laura. I've got some weird ideas, like what about putting an UGF in a tupperware, and running it that way, it's essentially like a sponge filter but possibly better.
RescueDogTreats - 6 years ago
I use an undergravel filter for my turtle tank, I think they help tremendously with flow and keeping oxygen/water movement in the substrate. I also run two canisters, one with an inline UVB light also...so I can't honestly say if the undergravel wasn't working if the two canisters would be enough, but so far so good! Very old school, but still very effective :)
Jeff K - 6 years ago
I would think so, you would be using the canister to polish the water and the reverse flow under gravel to keep the gravel clean and oxygenated, but again I'm using logic not testing. Personally I just run a canister with great success but I do get detritus build up in my gravel.
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
+Jeff K I wonder if it would work as well at collecting fines out of the water column in reverse.
Jeff K - 6 years ago
I think what would be cool would be a normal intake on the canister and then have the output do a reverse flow on an undergravel setup. All the gunk would go into the canister and you would get great flow through your gravel.
RescueDogTreats - 6 years ago
Btw...the intakes on the canisters are in the undergravel tubes, so the water is vigorously pulled through the gravel...works great for me, and totally agree and liked your rant! :)
Sean Anderson - 6 years ago
if you use a larger breather bag, more surface area on the bag should mean more air for the fish.
Sean Anderson - 6 years ago
Aquarium Co-Op i forgot heatpacks consumed oxygen... hm. if you put air holes in the box and foam. like just a small ring of holes it might help but then you might get heat issues...
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
True, I do use the largest one they make. I am wondering perhaps if the box itself didn't contain enough oxygen, due to the heat pack also using oxygen.
Kimberley Stewart - 6 years ago
I have an under gravel filter and had no idea how much hate they got.
I have recently been considering changing to a sponge filter because of how much you say you love them but hey I might just stick with it now.
Would it be bad to have both?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
First and formost, use what works well for you! Sponge filters are awesome, but UGF can be good too. A lot of it depends on what you need to accomplish.
Jeff K - 6 years ago
sponge filters work pretty well but they are ugly.
vorpalalice82 - 6 years ago
I keep hearing that fish will get stuck under ugfs, anyone actually ever had this happen?
Aquarium Co-Op - 6 years ago
Ive seen snails get in there be cause they are small enough. But haven't seen fish yet.
NiX aKi - 6 years ago
Wisdom, logic, and experience
masterGAWK9 - 5 years ago
Exactly as you can easily build one utilizing various grades of gravel and sand with only needing to find a platform to use as a foundation. I made one based off an old aquarium book from the late 50's using sand, gravel and a funnel. For my silver dollars and gourami if was fine. If the majority of the materials can not be bought from big box or private shops it's taboo.
ShortNanxious - 6 years ago
+Harmonica In The Breeze. Thats hilarious.
African Cichlids - 6 years ago
No central or south or american for me africans only i like peredator haps and a few peacock cichlids
African Cichlids - 6 years ago
Lol...i like haplochromines
Hellish Venturi - 6 years ago
should have read.......died within one week!!!
Hellish Venturi - 6 years ago
African Cichlids I tried Discus once. and it does within one week. I knew nothing then..but a pal keeps them and protruding from the back of the tank. some massive hoses which lead into a room at the back. in the room..three Giant barrels softening the water..looks like Frankenstein's laboratory!! waste of time because now???? you can get hard water Discus. ha ha should I tell him?
African Cichlids - 6 years ago
Seachem safe .is a powder dechlorinator.. Cheapest
ShortNanxious - 6 years ago
Oh...ok. I will check Seachem out. .. thanks
African Cichlids - 6 years ago
Does everything prime does just a powder form
African Cichlids - 6 years ago
Try checking the prices of seachem safe as it may be cheap alternative for you
ShortNanxious - 6 years ago
Yep... I use API pond dechlore and API sress coat... and Peat chips but that is because I have Hardier, coolerwater Cyprinids and goldfish... my mother uses Bog wood, peat wood, Tanins brewed water and a little blackwater buffer... but she is retired now so she a lot more time to try all that kind of stuff out these days... but it has drastically cut down on cost.
African Cichlids - 6 years ago
My filter have matrix .chemi pure and floss only .. Im Doing it for as cheap as posssible too
African Cichlids - 6 years ago