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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys, just got home from purchasing a Aqua One Aquastart 320 with stand at a really good price, upgrading from my 2.5G so Callisto can have more room to play around.

Comes with an Underground filter.

I'm still iffy about using it because it has no filter media (sponge etc). How does it work? it's basically sucking water from underneath the gravel and spitting all the gunk back out? Don't even know how that's really "filtering" the tank.

I'm worried about cycling, can you still have a tank cycled with an UG filter? or should I be looking at a proper filter with filter media like sponges etc.

If that's the case, can anyone recommend me a good filter for a 7G tank? Right now I have an Aqua One hang on filter which I won't be able to attach to this new tank since it has a proper lid. I'm going to probably need one that's submerged.

Thanks everyone!

 

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My experience with under-gravel filters is from back in the 90's so maybe they have gotten better, but from what I remember they are completely useless. I would get a proper filter, something where you can get the beneficial bacteria to actually grow. I recently got back into messing around with aquariums so my knowledge on whats good and isn't for a tank this small is very limited so I'll let someone more knowledgeable make a proper suggestion. But I do have this filter in my 5.5 gallon tank.
 

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I will admit i was very skeptical at first when it came to the undergravel filters, but after googling it and the hubs explaining how they work I am glad we switched to them. Our ug filter has a filter medium cartridge that contains carbon, so it does help get some of the nasties out. Ours are much more quieter then the previous filters we had just a gentle bubbling sound. The gravel still needs to be vacuumed to remove excess waste, and our numbers have been almost dead on perfect. Also the ug filters tend to have less of an outflow so its gentler on the fish without the hassle of baffling.

After googling the tank, it looks like the ug filter that comes with the tank does not have a filter media and just sort of circulates the water, so i would suggest getting a different type of filter.
 

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If you keep live plants ug filters are not a good idea, especially for any rooted species like vals, swords, and crypts (and the many stem plants), but if you are only keeping moss or rhizome plants (anubias and java ferns) on driftwood/decor not the substrate you can use a ug filter.
I personally prefer sponge filters, you could take the power head and everything above it and get a sponge filter to run via that power head, you may need some minor modding to make it fit but it would work very well.
 

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I'm old school as well; I like UG filters especially with planted plants, including the heavy rooters. Basically, it traps all the organic debris under the grid while circulating water through the substrate. This supports a higher bacterial colony in the substrate and keeps the substrate from going anaerobic, which makes for healthy root growth. It does still need the occasional vacuuming, just not as often as with regular gravel.

I'm not 100% sure how your system works. I really hope there's some sort of sponge or pre-filter to keep debris out of the pump unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

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The Fluval is the one that almost turned me off internals. ;-) The spray bars can be turned to the tank wall which allows for much-needed current. The current is gentle enough for even my most heavily-finned Betta: A Giant named Arlo.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I just called up my local pet store and they told me they have the Fluval U1 in stock, should I go for it? :lol:

Wait, turned you "off" internals? as in it's bad? I thought Fluval was a good brand. :(
 

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Yep, off. I liked the filter okay but there's no way to disburse the flow like there is with an internal with a spray bar. And the suction cups were so strong the filter was difficult to remove to rinse out the materials. After a month or so it started making loud noises. I decided to give internals one more shot and bought the AquaTop.

The filter gets very good reviews on Amazon so my experience may have been out of the norm. The spray bar thing is personal preference.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh wow, do you think the Fluval's current was too strong?

I like the one you showed me Russell, but it's $46 extra to ship to Australia and can't seem to find an Australian seller online.

My LPS/LFS lack in variety when it comes to internal filters, common ones I find are Aqua One internals, Blue Planet Tank Maid and Fluval :(
 

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I didn't note you were in Australia. :-( I prefer internals with spray bars but maybe the Fluval has been improved since I bought mine or my experience was the exception. They do get good reviews.

I Googled and there are Aqua One internals with spray bars and some other brands, too.
 

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Under gravel filters are great.

Author Byron Hoskins
Substrate Bacteria

The greatest population of bacteria in a healthy balanced aquarium occurs in the substrate, not the filter. The floc or humic compost that collects in the substrate is the host for the biofilms; this is why the substrate in planted tanks should never be disturbed, and many aquarists apply this to non-planted tanks as well.

In very general terms, aerobic nitrification takes place in the top 1-2 inches of the substrate; anaerobic de-nitrification takes place approximately 2-4 inches down, and anaerobic bacteria producing hydrogen sulfide occurs in substrates deeper than 3-4 inches. In all three cases, it will be deeper in coarse substrates (like pea gravel) and more shallow in finer substrates such as sand. These generalities will also vary with the presence of live plant roots and substrate “diggers” such as snails and worms, since these factors result in more oxygen being made available in the substrate, reducing anaerobic bacteria activity. An oxygen level in the substrate of as little as 1 ppm promotes nitrogen reduction rather than sulfur reduction (hydrogen sulfide). [6]
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/member-submitted-articles/bacteria-freshwater-aquarium-74891/
 

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Oh someone else who got the Aqua Start! Oddly enough mine didn't come with an under gravel filter but 101F internal filter. I instead use a simple sponge filter because I have had no luck getting any other type of filter that doesn't stress my guy out.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Yeah, I plan on getting a whole ton more plants so I went with the Fluval U1 instead. I've noticed that is super silent which I already like.

I've transferred Callisto over and realised how empty my tank looks so first thing tomorrow morning I'm getting more plants and decor:



I'm also worried about the intake pictured over here:




I'm scared Callisto's fins might get sucked in and might tear, any ideas what I can do about this?
 

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I use these Aquatopia brand internal filters with spray bar in all my bettas tanks,they are really wonderful and readily available here in Australia.

The filter flow can be adjusted from min to max and they are nice and quiet,just the sound of the water bubbling from the spray bar (which I love the sound of), though you can of course set them completely under the water and take the spray bar off if you like.I personally like the spray bar and have it pointed towards the back wall which sends bubbles running all across the back,which looks great and my bettas like chasing them.

All my bettas are hmpk's so the filter flow doesn't worry them,they all like playing in the current,but with my vt boys I placed a square of filter sponge over half of the spray bar so that only a couple of holes were fully exposed which softened the flow even more for them without taking away any filtering power,that works well for longer finned bettas.

These filters are very reliable and the only ones I have ever used.I love using them.

http://www.petsofaustralia.com.au/aquatopia-internal-aquarium-filter-100-50-200l-h/
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm giving the fluval U1 a try for now and if later down the track I feel it's stressing my guy out or its too strong, I'll try get my hands on the Aquatop or Aquatopia filters with the spray bar.
But so far so good, Callisto doesn't seem bothered by the current at the lowest setting.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
After a days use, I feel the fluval might be a little too strong for my boy, sometimes he swims right in front of the filter outlet and gets blown away :( not good.

Anyways I've managed to get a hold of KollerCraft TOM Aquarium Mini Internal Filter 45GPH. One of the very few items on Amazon that will ship to Australia (It's like finding a unicorn lol)

It has a spray bar which should be easier on him and has better reviews than the Fluval U1 and is pretty quiet. Only thing is that the shipping takes around 9-11 days to get here to AUS :(
 
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