under gravel filter

mark1

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read some negative experiences with under gravel filters .... myself i've never found them anything but helpful ...... since i haven't checked my waters parameters in a long long long time , i just assumed what i did worked before and would work forever ...... i got one of those water test kits , not sure of their accuracy ........ i checked a pond with a large under gravel filter today , the pond is 3-4yrs old , maybe older , it's a pond i made deeper due to a really bad winter freeze we had...... i'm not advocating anything i do , i do what has worked for me ...... this pond has never been cleaned , aside from removal of leaves after the winters , never done a water change , i've added water when the rain doesn't keep it full .... i've never opened the outside filter until today , amazed at how clean it was , obviously due to the water having to pass through the gravel before it gets there ..... i've never tried to remove the sludge from under the gravel ,, i do know how to remove that sludge , just never done it because of the emerald shiners that live in this pond ..... 4 adult wood turtles 8-9" live in this 200-300 gallon pond , no plants for the last 2yrs as where i get my plants is closed to anything but mail orders due to covid , here's what i got

ammonia
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nirite
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nitrate
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ph
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wellington

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And I would bet you'd get the same without the undergravel filter.
However, to each their own. When you have a kill off with an UGF and never have a problem after removing it, you'd never would use one again
I work in a fish aquarium store for more then 15 years. Never have we used UGF.
 

Cathie G

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read some negative experiences with under gravel filters .... myself i've never found them anything but helpful ...... since i haven't checked my waters parameters in a long long long time , i just assumed what i did worked before and would work forever ...... i got one of those water test kits , not sure of their accuracy ........ i checked a pond with a large under gravel filter today , the pond is 3-4yrs old , maybe older , it's a pond i made deeper due to a really bad winter freeze we had...... i'm not advocating anything i do , i do what has worked for me ...... this pond has never been cleaned , aside from removal of leaves after the winters , never done a water change , i've added water when the rain doesn't keep it full .... i've never opened the outside filter until today , amazed at how clean it was , obviously due to the water having to pass through the gravel before it gets there ..... i've never tried to remove the sludge from under the gravel ,, i do know how to remove that sludge , just never done it because of the emerald shiners that live in this pond ..... 4 adult wood turtles 8-9" live in this 200-300 gallon pond , no plants for the last 2yrs as where i get my plants is closed to anything but mail orders due to covid , here's what i got

ammonia
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nirite
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nitrate
DSCF7724_(2).jpg

ph
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DSCF7721_(2).jpg


DSCF7730.jpg
I like the test kit you have and that's why. It's very reassuring and it's got to be pretty close or they'd be out of business? I miss having a tank.?
 

mark1

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And I would bet you'd get the same without the undergravel filter.
However, to each their own. When you have a kill off with an UGF and never have a problem after removing it, you'd never would use one again
I work in a fish aquarium store for more then 15 years. Never have we used UGF.
could be ? i've never not used an undergravel filter ...... here's a "pond" , theoretically 187 gallons , minus the rocks and gravel i doubt it's more than 150 gallons , probably less ........ all that's been done to it was i vaccuumed the gravel last spring , the undergravel or the outside filter have not been disturbed for years , 3-4 yrs ......... there are 3 wood turles in this pond , they have been living in the water almost full time for the last month , there are also 3-4 emerald shiners ...... the water is probably somewhere around 65 F ............

ammonia

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nitrite


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nitrate
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the size of the turtles , they will hibernate in this "pond"

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mark1

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here's an old pond with lots of plants , vines , bushes and moss feeding off the water ....... the other two ponds had very little in the way of plants feeding off the water i thought they appeared to not be 0 nitrates ,the test had a slight amber tint , i couldn't tell until i seen this one , in this one i see nothing but yellow
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the plants feeding off this pond

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Cathie G

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here's an old pond with lots of plants , vines , bushes and moss feeding off the water ....... the other two ponds had very little in the way of plants feeding off the water i thought they appeared to not be 0 nitrates ,the test had a slight amber tint , i couldn't tell until i seen this one , in this one i see nothing but yellow
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the plants feeding off this pond

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I have a hard time seeing the difference in color also. It also depends on the light while your looking at the test too. I do think that with a pond the water can get stagnant and so you need some movement especially in times with no rain or high heat. I lived in a wildlife sanctuary and they used a pump to cycle the water. Maybe that's what your underground filter is doing.
 

Tom

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And I would bet you'd get the same without the undergravel filter.
However, to each their own. When you have a kill off with an UGF and never have a problem after removing it, you'd never would use one again
I work in a fish aquarium store for more then 15 years. Never have we used UGF.
This is called superstition in animal training terms. You had something bad happen and you've attributed it to the wrong thing. Now you've closed your mind and refuse to hear any explanation or try to figure out what actually went wrong with your tank. This helps no one including you. You ignore credible evidence to the contrary and continue to malign a useful, helpful product that works better than what you've been using since your one bad experience that had nothing to do with the UG filter.

Its like when someone buys a dry started baby sulcata. They take it home soak it daily, and it dies six weeks later after not growing. The person concludes that daily soaks must have been un-natural and upset the baby tortoise's "water balance" and caused its death. That is what you are doing here. You know the baby tortoise died of kidney failure due to Breeder Failure Syndrome, and that daily soaks are in fact, extremely beneficial. Right? In the same way, you've jumped to the wrong conclusion about why you had fish dying off, and I know darn well, because of decades of first hand experience, that UG filters don't do that. Something else killed those fish, but you've already made up your mind about it in the same way as people who erroneously decide that daily soaks are bad for tortoises despite me and 100 other people showing them thousands of thriving tortoises that prove otherwise.

In side-by-side long term experiments, tanks with UG filters are cleaner looking, have better water quality, and withstand changes in bio-load much better than any other filter. You can't refute this because you haven't done it, and because of your limited experience with the product in question. This is exactly what the FB lady does when people say to soak baby tortoises daily or use orchid bark or that humidity helps them grow smooth. She puts her fingers in her ears and goes "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA......", then bans the offender. Why will you listen to me explain tortoise care as the opposite of what every book, vet, breeder and expert says, but you bury your head in the sand on this issue? I've used this product in literally 100s of tanks over 35 years, done side-by-side experiments, and run entire fish rooms with them. You used one, had some problem that had nothing to do with the UG filter, and you've condemned them to hell forever despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Makes no sense.
 

wellington

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This is called superstition in animal training terms. You had something bad happen and you've attributed it to the wrong thing. Now you've closed your mind and refuse to hear any explanation or try to figure out what actually went wrong with your tank. This helps no one including you. You ignore credible evidence to the contrary and continue to malign a useful, helpful product that works better than what you've been using since your one bad experience that had nothing to do with the UG filter.

Its like when someone buys a dry started baby sulcata. They take it home soak it daily, and it dies six weeks later after not growing. The person concludes that daily soaks must have been un-natural and upset the baby tortoise's "water balance" and caused its death. That is what you are doing here. You know the baby tortoise died of kidney failure due to Breeder Failure Syndrome, and that daily soaks are in fact, extremely beneficial. Right? In the same way, you've jumped to the wrong conclusion about why you had fish dying off, and I know darn well, because of decades of first hand experience, that UG filters don't do that. Something else killed those fish, but you've already made up your mind about it in the same way as people who erroneously decide that daily soaks are bad for tortoises despite me and 100 other people showing them thousands of thriving tortoises that prove otherwise.

In side-by-side long term experiments, tanks with UG filters are cleaner looking, have better water quality, and withstand changes in bio-load much better than any other filter. You can't refute this because you haven't done it, and because of your limited experience with the product in question. This is exactly what the FB lady does when people say to soak baby tortoises daily or use orchid bark or that humidity helps them grow smooth. She puts her fingers in her ears and goes "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA......", then bans the offender. Why will you listen to me explain tortoise care as the opposite of what every book, vet, breeder and expert says, but you bury your head in the sand on this issue? I've used this product in literally 100s of tanks over 35 years, done side-by-side experiments, and run entire fish rooms with them. You used one, had some problem that had nothing to do with the UG filter, and you've condemned them to hell forever despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Makes no sense.
Give it up!
It's called I have never used one since with great success! My place of business I have worked at for over 15 years have not used them with great success! No aquarium owners I know uses them with success!
I seen what it did and smelled it, you did not! So don't act like you know what it was or wasn't. You don't know everything Tom!
 

mark1

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I have a hard time seeing the difference in color also. It also depends on the light while your looking at the test too. I do think that with a pond the water can get stagnant and so you need some movement especially in times with no rain or high heat. I lived in a wildlife sanctuary and they used a pump to cycle the water. Maybe that's what your underground filter is doing.
movement would help against stagnation , which i believe is caused by lack of oxygen ....... some people use aeriators , i use falling water , running it in thin sheets over rocks along with turbulance/aggitation from the pumped water return , which does come through a ug filter .... i'm under the impression well oxygenated water is impportant to the nitrogen cycle , it's also important to hibernating water turtles ........

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DSCF7730.jpg


DSCF6596.jpg

Aviary-Photo-131714807243748747.jpg
DSCF2143.jpg
 

mark1

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an under gravel filter is absolutely not neccessary to maintain an effective nitrogen cycle in an aquarium or pond , it's just another effective way to provide good habitat and added surface area for nitrifying bacteria .....you can run an effective nitrogen cycle in a pond or aquarium without a canister filter , without a hang on the side filter , without a trickle filter , without a drum filter , without a box or sponge filter , all you need to do is provide sufficient habitat for enough nitrifying bacteria to handle the load ......... run the water over enough rocks and through enough gravel , all you'd need is a pump ........
 

mark1

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and smelled it,
one thought on this is , without a single doubt i can say the "sludge" from a properly functioning undergravel filter does not smell , seeing it and then smelling it is actually a shock , it actually smells clean , it's completely the opposite of what it looks like it's going to smell ........ i would guess there was somehow a lack of oxygen .....
 

wellington

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one thought on this is , without a single doubt i can say the "sludge" from a properly functioning undergravel filter does not smell , seeing it and then smelling it is actually a shock , it actually smells clean , it's completely the opposite of what it looks like it's going to smell ........ i would guess there was somehow a lack of oxygen .....
No lack of oxygen. There was also a hang on filter
The sludge was thick and yes smelled. The gas? build up is what killed the fish.
Python aquarium vac used monthly to suck out the sludge and water change. Did half the UGF each time. Sadly the sludge never came out but didn't know it until too late.
Whoever wants to use them, that's their right. Same as it's my right, from my own experience, to not use them. I will never recommend them and would throw them away if anyone gave me one.
50 years of keeping aquariums and ponds and over 15 years and still counting of working in an aquarium store that has never used them.
 

mark1

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i would agree that if you have a smell from an undergravel filter , something is wrong and you should take it down and figure out the cause , or just use another method ..... you can pull the sludge from under the filter through the out take tubes with a siphon hose or a pump ... if it smells bad , you have a problem ......

here's a couple quotes from two septic system enigeering firms , Raritan and Aero-Stream , the odorless sludge is something i'm sure of because of how shocking it is .....

"Because only the anaerobic bacteria in sewage produce foul-smelling gasses! Aerobic bacteria break sewage down, as does anaerobic bacteria—but aerobic bacteria do not generate odor. So as long as there is a sufficient supply of air to the tank and an aerobic bacteria treatment is added to aid that which naturally occurs in sewage, the aerobic bacteria"


"Another key aspect of septic system performance is smell or odor. One of the anaerobic bacteria’s candidates for electron acceptor is a molecule that contains sulfur, the element that gives off a rotten egg odor. When this molecule is used, sulfur is released, causing an obnoxious and sickening odor to emanate from the septic tank. Aerobic bacteria, on the other hand, bypasses this molecule – it does not need it because it uses only oxygen as its electron acceptor. The consequence of this is that aerobic septic tanks do not have a rotten egg odor because sulfur is never liberated from the molecules it is contained in."
 

wellington

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i would agree that if you have a smell from an undergravel filter , something is wrong and you should take it down and figure out the cause , or just use another method ..... you can pull the sludge from under the filter through the out take tubes with a siphon hose or a pump ... if it smells bad , you have a problem ......

here's a couple quotes from two septic system enigeering firms , Raritan and Aero-Stream , the odorless sludge is something i'm sure of because of how shocking it is .....

"Because only the anaerobic bacteria in sewage produce foul-smelling gasses! Aerobic bacteria break sewage down, as does anaerobic bacteria—but aerobic bacteria do not generate odor. So as long as there is a sufficient supply of air to the tank and an aerobic bacteria treatment is added to aid that which naturally occurs in sewage, the aerobic bacteria"


"Another key aspect of septic system performance is smell or odor. One of the anaerobic bacteria’s candidates for electron acceptor is a molecule that contains sulfur, the element that gives off a rotten egg odor. When this molecule is used, sulfur is released, causing an obnoxious and sickening odor to emanate from the septic tank. Aerobic bacteria, on the other hand, bypasses this molecule – it does not need it because it uses only oxygen as its electron acceptor. The consequence of this is that aerobic septic tanks do not have a rotten egg odor because sulfur is never liberated from the molecules it is contained in."
So funny. Tell that to my brother and nephew there is no septic smell. They both own their own sewer business. They'd get a big kick out of this lol
 

mark1

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i don't believe they said that anywhere did they ?
 

Cathie G

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movement would help against stagnation , which i believe is caused by lack of oxygen ....... some people use aeriators , i use falling water , running it in thin sheets over rocks along with turbulance/aggitation from the pumped water return , which does come through a ug filter .... i'm under the impression well oxygenated water is impportant to the nitrogen cycle , it's also important to hibernating water turtles ........

DSCF7754.jpg

DSCF6971.jpg


DSCF7730.jpg


DSCF6596.jpg

Aviary-Photo-131714807243748747.jpg
DSCF2143.jpg
Yes.
 

mark1

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this pond is 2018 , i cleaned the garbage can filter once when it became clogged and over flowed ...... the intake is on the top and discharge is on the bottom , i am now of the opinion safest is intake in the bottom with an overflow for a discharge on top..... lots of plants rooted in the water ....

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Cathie G

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Well... I'm just about talked into another tank ? I'm just waiting on knowing I have the energy to do it right because I only have room for a small tank . I just want a Betta again. Small tanks take a lot of work... we'll see ?
 

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