Does this help?
Under gravel filters consist of a plastic grate or "filter plate" which lies under the gravel of the tank. This plate allows water to flow freely under the gravel. Water is drawn through the gravel (which acts as a mechanical and biological filter). To move the water, you can use either power heads or air pumps. A power head will pump water out of the top of the lift tube and into the tank, and air pump will blow bubbles at the bottom of the lift tubes and the bubbles will lift water up the lift tube and into the tank. As water is moved out of the lift tube, it is replaced with water from under the filter plate, which in turn pulls water through the gravel where it is cleaned. The gravel it self provides mechanical filtration by catching large free-floating particles. The gravel, as well as the filter plate, tank bottom, and lift tubes, provide a bed for the bacteria of a biological filter. Under gravel filters primarily provide biological filtration.
1. That is one of the best explanations for an underground filter I have ever read. Aside from my smaller tanks, I've always delt in hanging filters of some kind or another, but I can see how an appropriate sized undergravel filter would be benificial to a tank's cycle.
2. Your profile picture is SO cute! ^_^
And JAGaletta, it seems to me that with proper tank maintenance (ie., water changes and vacuuming, and proper filter maintenance) your undergravel filter should be fine. I can't say as I've ever had one that had a cartridge, so kudos to you for actually going out and getting a good one. All of mine always came with my tanks, and I did use one from another tank (a 3 gallon) in a ten gallon, but it was along with one of my Whisper filters. I liked it a lot, but I used it more for bubbles than a filter. I didn't like it on it's own, mostly because I had 3 bettas and a couple of dwarf gourami in the tank (yes, I've heard they're semi-aggressive, but I've never had one that was aggressive, although I wouldn't recommend just getting dwarf gourami and putting them in a tank, simply because of the semi-aggressive-ness of the species). [End random gourami speel]
ANYWAYS I suppose what I am trying to say, is it sounds like your tank should be fine. And really, don't feel bad for posting here, that's what the thread was here for. :)
Last edited by SeaHorse; 12-31-2012 at 01:08 PM.
Reason: Removed comments.
The cartridges are fairly large charcoal pellets, so more of a chemical filtration rather than mechanical. I can see this filter doing well in terms of biological filtration but don't imagine my medium sized gravel doing much to aid in mechanical filtration. I'm probably going to have "floaties" (suspended particles too small to be filtered out by the gravel) swimming around in the tank -- is that bad for the fish?
I haven't installed it yet, but I assembled it for an idea of its fit. I'm going to have to trim the two air bubble stacks to be able to keep my tank lid/light on the tank.
I dislike undergravel filters as things get lodged under the like holding thing under the gravel. Grrrrrrrr it drove me up the wall when I had a under gravel filter in the end when sorting out the tank I pulled it out and replaced the filter.
Its called Hijacking a thread. If you have a question your supposedto PM or build a new thread.
This is not thread hijacking, JAGalletta had a question that pertained to this thread. Generally speaking threads are built from one original question and discussed and many times other questions arise to be asked and answered continuing a conversation in a thread along, which is what makes many threads so popular. It's very that unfortunate you don't understand that.
I have been using an undergravel filter in my 2.5 gallon for a few months and its great. Live plants combined with a good light can help with the water quality too. I only need to change my water twice a week in small amounts, and sometimes have a poke at the gravel with the siphon to suck out any excess detritus. I guess people have mixed opinions on them though. I love them :D
Picture of the tank. You can see the outflow tube to the left :)
I also just realised nobody seems to have explained to the OP how the undergravel filter actually works...
Basically its a raised plate with small holes to allow water through placed into a bare bottom tank. An uplift tube is attached to this by some means, then an airline is fed down this tube about two thirds of the way. The plate is topped with about 1.5-2 inches of gravel, the smaller gravel being the best type to use in my experience. When the air pump is turned on the air bubbles will draw water down through the gravel and under the filter plate, then carries the water back up through the outflow tube. The gravel is essentially your filter media.
Best to have a flow control tap on your air pump so that the bubbling isn't too vigorous. My boy bites his tail if I leave it turned up for prolonged periods, so I have to keep a gentle bubbling.