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http://indianaquariumhobbyist.com/community/ :: View topic - UGF Zindabad
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UGF Zindabad
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essabee
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 2:30 pm Post subject: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

 UGF  is  not  fashionable  and  a  much  maligned  system.  
 
 I  am  on  the  other  hand  a  great  fan  of  the  UGF  system.  All  my  10  tanks  use  UGF  and  most  of  them  have  been  set/reset  at  least  3  years  ago  and  there  is  no  hint  of  ammonia  and  the  water  is  crystal  clear,  the  fishes  are  happy  and  active.
 
   In  March  this  year  I  had  to  reset  a  250G  which  needed  a  scratchy  front  glass  to  be  changed.  Naturally  I  had  to  remove  everything  including  the  UGF.  There  was  no  muck  under  the  UGF  grid,  only  a  little  fine  sand.
 
 The  entire  matter  appears  to  be  how  we  set  up  a  UGF.  I  don’t  know  about  others  but  the  way  I  set  it  up  has  been  slowly  evolved  over  my  40+  years  of  this  hobby.  I  cannot  imagine  an  aquarium  without  plants.  So  to  allow  me  to  grow  plants  I  had  to  use  soil  in  my  substrate  and  naturally  had  to  separate  the  UGF  area  from  the  planted  area.  I  fell  into  a  plan  to  use  only  1/3  of  the  front  floor  for  the  UGF  and  the  rest  for  soil  substrate  for  the  plants.
 
 Fifteen  years  ago  when  small  submersible  pumps  became  available;  my  UGF  became  more  efficient.  I  started  using  power-heads  (total  effective  flow  volume  about  equal  to  the  tank  volume)  for  sucking  the  water  from  UGF  and  constructing  spray  bars  to  reduce  the  turbulence.  I  hide  the  power-head  at  the  rear  corner  of  the  aquarium  and  the  spray  bar  along  the  rear  bottom  of  the  aquarium,  point  upwards  angled  a  little  to  the  rear.
 
 I  use  the  same  grid  most  of  the  other  users  do,  those  interlocking  plastic  moulds,  cheaper  the  better.  I  perhaps  differ  in  connecting  the  suction  of  the  power-head  at  multiple  points,  alternate  squares  of  the  interlocking  grid  using  plastic  pipes  and  T-joints  and  ending  with  an  elbow.  This  enables  evenness  of  flow.
 
 I  also  differ  at  another  point  of  setup;  the  first  layer  above  the  UGF  grid  is  filter-floss  sandwiched  between  2  layers  of  nylon  mosquito  net;  the  second  layer  is  Â½â€  of  very  fine  sand,  the  grade  that  they  use  for  plaster;  I  put  another  filter-floss  sandwich  on  top  of  that  and  then  cover  it  with  the  aquarium  grade  gravel.
 
 My  UGF  can  even  clear  green  water.  I  have  made  trials  outdoors.  I  have  set  up  the  UGF  and  kept  the  aquarium  where  it  receives  the  sun.  I  kept  the  UGF  off  till  the  water  turned  green  and  then  put  it  on.  The  UGF  made  short  work  of  the  green-water.  
 
 Why  not  give  the  UGF  a  second  chance?
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saadali
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 2:44 pm Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

 sounds  interesting  to  me...need  a  better   illustration  on  how  to  build  an  efficient  UGF  bro....  
 better  explanation  .......  a  slow  learner  i  am  buddy...............  Very Happy  
 a  pictorial  would  be  great........
 looking  forward  to  it
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rahulk
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 7:33 pm Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

 How  do  you  clean  the  filter  floss  which  ought  to  get  dirty?
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essabee
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:05 pm Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

                                                   
rahulk  wrote  (View  Post):                
How  do  you  clean  the  filter  floss  which  ought  to  get  dirty?                

 
 The  fine  sand  packs  up  and  acts  nearly  like  a  ceramic  filter.  The  filter  floss  under  it  does  not  get  dirty  enough  to  clean,  my  experience  and  observations.  The  aquarium  grade  gravel  at  the  top  and  the  filter  floss  under  it  requires  regular  cleaning.  At  every  water  change  (My  weekly  25%  WC  routine)  I  'hoover'  the  gravel.  i.e.  I  vacuum  clean  the  gravel  using  a  500ml  pet  bottle  with  bottom  cut  off  and  the  siphon  tube  attached  to  the  neck.  I  push  the  bottom  of  the  bottle  into  the  gravel  and  lift  it  inside  the  bottle;  the  gravel  fall  back  because  of  its  weight  and  all  the  fine  muck  gets  vacuumed  off,  quite  easily  done  when  you  try  it  out.
 
 Periodically  in  6-8  months  you  would  do  a  cleaning  of  the  power-heads.  I  also  do  a  reverse  pumping  into  the  suction  of  the  power-heads  to  loosen  the  packed  fine  sand  then.
 
 It’s  no  more  trouble  than  a  canister  filter.  The  actual  cross  section  of  the  filter  media  in  a  canister  cannot  compare  itself  to  area  of  a  UGF.  Neither  can  the  entire  volume  of  the  filter  media  of  a  canister  filter  compare  to  the  volume  of  the  UGF  media.  And  the  best  parts  are  that  UGF  is  so  easy  to  hide  and  so  inexpensive.
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nature_lover
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:17 pm Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

 We  had  this  discussion  a  long  time  back  and  I  am  still  astonished  about  your  dedication  to  possibly  the  cheapest  form  of  filtration  and  its  effectiveness.
 
 I  am  not  sure  if  you  can  post  pictures,  but  it  will  be  really  helpful  if  you  can.
 
 Warm  regards,
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deepesh
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:40 pm Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

 Hi  essabee
 
 I  think  your  UGF  setup  with  the  sandwich  of  (floss  -  sand  -  floss)  on  top  of  it  provides  good  mechanical  filtration  along  with  the  great  biological  filtration  that  UGFs  are  known  for.  Maybe  that  is  why  you  are  able  to  clear  up  the  green  water.
 
 My  question  is  almost  the  same  as  rahulk's  above.  Doesn't  your  floss  get  clogged?  I  would  expect  it  to  do  so  unless  you  had  another  mechanical  filter  running  or  were  very  regular  about  gravel  vaccuming.  My  experience  is  that  mulm  appears  all  the  time;  more  or  less  independent  of  the  degree  or  effectiveness  of  the  biological  filtration.
 
 I  had  been  considering  UGFs  for  my  tanks  but  then  as  far  as  biological  filtration  is  concerned  I  dont  need  any  separate  filter  -  my  tank  does  it  just  as  well  without  a  separate  filter.
 
 The  one  tank  that  absolutely  needs  a  filter  is  the  barebottom  tank.  For  those  who  do  want  filters  -  internal  or  external  filters  are  just  as  effective  and  more  convenient  than  UGFs.
 
 deepesh
 
 PS:  Do  ignore  my  post.  By  the  time  I  composed  and  posted  this  you  had  already  replied  to  some  of  my  questions!!
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trevor
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:01 pm Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

 Hi  Essabee,
                         The  UGF  is  cheap  no  doubt  but  is  way  outdated.  Have  you  tried  an  Eheim  2217  or  larger  Eheim  cannister  filters.  You  should  use  similar  tanks  to  compare  the  UGF  and  Eheim  filters.
 All  or  most  of  us  have  started  our  hobby  on  UGF.
 I  use  a  Eheim  canister  on  a  four  feet  tank  with  six  frontosa.  The  25%   water  change  is  done  by  siphoning  out  water  from  the  top  not  the  bottom.  The  fronts  are  constantly  shifting  the  gravel  from  one  place  to  another  so  the  bottom  gravel  is  very  clean.   
 The  Eheim  cannister  filter  runs  non  stop  and  is  cleaned  once  in  eighteen  months.
 I  doubt  any  filter  can  beat  this  for  easy  maintainability  and  crystal  clear  water  clarity.
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deepesh
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:06 pm Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

 Different  strokes  for  diferent  folks  I  guess!
 
 deepesh
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essabee
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 6:38 am Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

                                                   
trevor  wrote  (View  Post):                
Hi  Essabee,
   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â The  UGF  is  cheap  no  doubt  but  is  way  outdated.  Have  you  tried  an  Eheim  2217  or  larger  Eheim  cannister  filters.  You  should  use  similar  tanks  to  compare  the  UGF  and  Eheim  filters.
 All  or  most  of  us  have  started  our  hobby  on  UGF.
 I  use  a  Eheim  canister  on  a  four  feet  tank  with  six  frontosa.  The  25%  Â water  change  is  done  by  siphoning  out  water  from  the  top  not  the  bottom.  The  fronts  are  constantly  shifting  the  gravel  from  one  place  to  another  so  the  bottom  gravel  is  very  clean.  Â 
 The  Eheim  cannister  filter  runs  non  stop  and  is  cleaned  once  in  eighteen  months.
 I  doubt  any  filter  can  beat  this  for  easy  maintainability  and  crystal  clear  water  clarity.                

 
 
 That  word  'outdated'  is  a  no-no  word,  or  all  grandfathers  would  be  outdated.  Yes  they  do  get  replaced  by  newer  convenients.  For  the  price  of  an  Eheim  canister  I  could  build  another  tank  for  myself  and  get  much  more  enjoyment  from  it  than  you  get  from  the  Eheim.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:54 am Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

 IMHO  the  efficiency  of  a  UGF  would  also  depend  on  the  kind  of  fish  kept  in  the  tank.  What  kind  of  fish  do  you  have  in  your  tanks?
 Although  all  my  tanks  are  bare  bottom  so  I  have  no  experience  about  UGF's.
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trevor
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 9:23 am Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

                                                   
essabee  wrote  (View  Post):                

 That  word  'outdated'  is  a  no-no  word,  or  all  grandfathers  would  be  outdated.  Yes  they  do  get  replaced  by  newer  convenients.  For  the  price  of  an  Eheim  canister  I  could  build  another  tank  for  myself  and  get  much  more  enjoyment  from  it  than  you  get  from  the  Eheim.                

 
 Hi  Essabee,
                  I  have  to  agree  with  you  that  the  price  of  an  Eheim  cannister  is  a  deep  setback.  That  is  why  I  have  only  one  even  though  I  have  quite  a  few  tanks.
 All  grandfathers  are  considered  outdated.  Even  fathers  are  considered  outdated  by  their  offspring  in  this  fast  moving  modern  world  IMHO.  ROFL
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nature_lover
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 9:29 am Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

 Hi  Trevor,
 
 Essabee  belongs  to  the  outdated  generation,  then  -  but  still  very  young  and  enthusiastic  at  heart.
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Location: Ranchi, Jharkhand.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:24 am Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

 I  am  superannuated  and  a  grandfather  several  times  over  but  I  will  dare  you  to  motor-cycle  cross  country  race  when  you  visit  Ranchi,  Trevor.  It  will  be  I  who  will  be  moving  too  fast  to  be  caught.  Smile  
 
 Apollyon  It  does  not  matter  what  sort  of  fish  is  kept  in  the  aquarium  once  UG  filter  system  has  cycled.  
 
 That  was  exactly  what  I  was  getting  at  when  I  was  comparing  the  volume  and  the  cross  sectional  area  of  medias  in  canisters  to  a  UGF.  Greater  the  area  and  volume  -  greater  is  the  population  of  beneficial  bacteria  which  remove  the  killer  ammonia  and  dwarfing  nitrites.  A  UGF  has  an  immense  capacity  to  handle  the  grossest  fish  population  you  can  throw  at  it.
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retro_gk
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Location: Trivandrum, Kerala

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 1:22 pm Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

                                                   
essabee  wrote  (View  Post):                

 
 Apollyon  It  does  not  matter  what  sort  of  fish  is  kept  in  the  aquarium  once  UG  filter  system  has  cycled.  
 
                 

 
 Actually,  it  does  matter.  Most  large  cichlids  will  make  short  work  of  what  is  on  top  of  the  filter  plates  when  they  decide  to  spawn.
 
 The  problem  with  UG  filters  is  not  ammonia  or  mulm,  but  nitrates.  In  most  systems,  nitrate  levels  will  go  through  the  roof  after  a  month  or  so.  In  this  particular  system,  the  plants  help  to  keep  nitrates  low.  Water  changes  matter,  too.
 
 FWIW,  nothing  beats  a  good  sponge  filter+water  changes  when  it  comes  to  cost  vs  filtration  efficiency.
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essabee
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Joined: Nov 14, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 1:31 pm Post subject: Re: UGF Zindabad Reply with quote

                                                   
retro_gk  wrote  (View  Post):                
                                                 
essabee  wrote  (View  Post):                

 
 Apollyon  It  does  not  matter  what  sort  of  fish  is  kept  in  the  aquarium  once  UG  filter  system  has  cycled.  
 
                 

 
 Actually,  it  does  matter.  Most  large  cichlids  will  make  short  work  of  what  is  on  top  of  the  filter  plates  when  they  decide  to  spawn.
 
 The  problem  with  UG  filters  is  not  ammonia  or  mulm,  but  nitrates.  In  most  systems,  nitrate  levels  will  go  through  the  roof  after  a  month  or  so.  In  this  particular  system,  the  plants  help  to  keep  nitrates  low.  Water  changes  matter,  too.
 
 FWIW,  nothing  beats  a  good  sponge  filter+water  changes  when  it  comes  to  cost  vs  filtration  efficiency.                

 
 Your  large  cichlids  will  get  stumped  at  the  top  filter-floss  sandwich.  In  non-planted  aquarium  the  only  way  to  controll  nitrate  is  water  changes  anyway  be  the  filter  UG  or  canister.
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