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Old 06-25-2012, 03:59 PM   #1 
TigerRegalia
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Undergravel filter in a 5-gallon tank?

Hi everyone! My mom is giving me a 5-gallon tank that she isn't using anymore, so I will be upgrading Tommy into this aquarium. However, it is configured with an undergravel filtration system, and I do not know anything about this type of configuration. What is your opinion on undergravel filtration systems in 5-gallon tanks? Should I stick with it? Or should I use a different filter, such as this one: http://www.amazon.com/United-Pet-Gro.../dp/B001D75SSS ?
I am going to complete the fishless cycling in this tank before I transfer Tommy into it.

Thank you!!!
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:08 PM   #2 
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IMO/E...UGF are fine as long as you make deep vacuum at least weekly to keep the plates free of debris/mulm build up and don't use a lot of large hard scape items that can impede on the flow.....or want to have live rooted plants-since the plant roots will impede water flow through the plates and the UGF will not function properly...other than that....UGF are fine to use especially with Betta...

Also, you can't use sand or too small diameter gravel with UGF...
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:13 PM   #3 
Hallyx
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Considering the finicky requirements and limitations of the UGF, as described so well by Old Fish Lady, I'd go with a small internal filter.

Hagen, Tom, Fluval, Tetra and others all make small in tank filters suitable for a 5 gal.

This one by Hagen is strong enough for a 5 gal and it features a tube to suck air into your flow. That's a real bonus for cycling because the Beneficial Bacteria like oxygen.
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Hagen-Elite-Underwater-Filter-Listed/dp/B0009YD7D4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340671792&sr=8-1&keywords=Hagen+elite+mini"]Amazon.com: Hagen Elite Underwater Mini Filter, UL Listed: Pet Supplies[/ame]

The one thing these small filters lack is enough foam volume to provide a good home for the BB. You can get some bulk filter foam and put it in the intake and the output flow (rubber band it, whatever). This will make for a fast cycle and a stable one. It will also make the flow more gentle for your Betta

For a fast fishless cycle:

1) seeded foam or gravel from an established cycled tank. Sounds like you have this. Put it in the filter.

2) aeration: The Hagen mini has this as a feature. A bubbler will do.

3) high temperature: as high as your heater will go. Up to 90* is OK

4) flow: crank it up all the way

5) ammonia: keep it around 4.0ppm until you nitrites go away.

Use pure ammonia (shake it; if it foams, don't use it). Dead shrimp or fishfood can grow mold.

Do you have a liquid test kit? Important for cycling.

Last edited by Hallyx; 06-25-2012 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:06 AM   #4 
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Thanks for the responses, everyone! I have actually decided not to use the UG filter; I think I may use a sponge filter instead, but I'm not completely sure yet. I like the Hagen Elite mini filter that you suggested, Hallyx - but will it be suitable for a 5-gallon tank (its page on Amazon states that it's for aquariums up to 3-gallon)?
I do not have seeded foam or gravel from an established tank, but I plan to do the fishless cycling through either the fish food or ammonia method.
I do not have a liquid test kit just yet, but it is on my list of things to buy with my next paycheck (I'm a graduate student, which equals small paychecks).
Again, I might be going with a sponge filter due to its biological, low price, and low current benefits. Thoughts?
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:12 AM   #5 
Oldfishlady
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Sponge filters are great-especially for the long fin male Betta...

You can safely established the nitrogen cycle with the Betta provided that you make the needed water changes...with or without testing products....

The fishless cycle you need the testing products on hand and it is best to use pure ammonia....fish food or shrimp can sometimes cause more problems.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:13 AM   #6 
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Another question~ will the rocks that I have from this previously-used aquarium that I am fixing up be suitable to use for fishless cycling? I was going to disinfect them along with everything else, but if they will be beneficial to use as they are, I will do that.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:18 AM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
Sponge filters are great-especially for the long fin male Betta...

You can safely established the nitrogen cycle with the Betta provided that you make the needed water changes...with or without testing products....

The fishless cycle you need the testing products on hand and it is best to use pure ammonia....fish food or shrimp can sometimes cause more problems.
Thank you so much! I will definitely use the pure ammonia instead. And it is good to know that making the frequent water changes without the testing products will still enable me to establish the nitrogen cycle!
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:52 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerRegalia View Post
...will the rocks that I have from this previously-used aquarium that I am fixing up be suitable to use for fishless cycling? I was going to disinfect them along with everything else, but if they will be beneficial to use as they are, I will do that.
Are these rocks all dried out and sitting around for months? If so, just wash them well and use them. But they will be of no value to your cycle. If they're wet and fresh and from a cycled aquarium, they are valuable for your cycle as seeded media.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerRegalia View Post
And it is good to know that making the frequent water changes without the testing products will still enable me to establish the nitrogen cycle!
For fishless cycling, you won;t have to do any water changes until the end. For fish-in, frequent changes are required to keep the ammonia in check.

For future reference, you can make large water changes in a cycled tank without disturbing your cycle.

Let me get clear. Is your Mom running a cycled tank? If so, you have all the seeded bio-media you need for a fast clean cycle.

Last edited by Hallyx; 06-28-2012 at 10:55 PM.
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