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Reverse Ugf


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  • Regular Member

As I understand them, you are taking a water pump and pumping the water from the tank,down the tube, under the gravel base and back up through the gravel. The beneficial bacteria will populate the gravel and will process the fish waste as it passes through on its way back to the tank.

I have heard of people using reverse undergravel filters successfully. If you are pleased with how it sounds then you certainly should try it, I guess. I see a couple of problems with that system - but I am fanatical about cleanliness....

Even though you are pushing the water through the gravel in reverse, you are still going to get a fair collection of waste under the plate of the filter. There, even with reasonable water flow, there is considerably less oxygen for the beneficial bacteria that make up the nitrogen cycle to use in their processing of waste. Less oxygen means that they do a lessor job. Way too little oxygen can mean that an anaerobic bacteria set up shop down there. They are not what you want. You can also get pockets of toxic gases under a plate that holds a fair amount of waste. It is nearly impossible to lift and clean under that plate - you have to remove all the fish, all the gravel and then all the water when the smelly yuck is released.

In a lightly fed, lightly stocked tank, you may get the UGF to work for you. I, personally, would not choose to try. There are so many other, far more efficiant methods to use that cost no more and are much easier to control/clean......


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  • Regular Member

UGF's - reverse or otherwise - were pretty popular in the 70s and 80s, and very successful at that. The difference was that a lot of goldfish keepers had plants. Planted tanks were the big thing back then, and only with plants can the UGF filter be successful in my eyes.

With plants, the roots that are in the gravel will use up any accumulating waste and utilize it as fertilizer, hence never leave much waste behind. Without the plants, the waste just sits there, trapped within the gravel, and turns into pure nastiness and anerobic bacteria. These days, with most goldfish keepers using plantless tanks, there is not much use of a successful UGF filter anymore. Just too much work - and no matter how often and vigorous you vaccuum that gravel, there is always going to be some waste left behind... :)

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