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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Currently running a 150 gallon tank 72"x18"x28" with dual Rena filstar xp3 canisters on either side.

Im wondering if it would be worth it for me to either install a premade UGF and reverse flow system or DIY UGJS.. I basically want to make it so that I no longer have to gravel vac (if that is possible by installing either of these systems). I dont have that much free time and I dont know if I want to go through the aggravation of designing my own UGJS. I have read that these systems do and dont negate the need to gravel vac... ideas/thoughts/experiences ?
 

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I think there is various pros and cons for each but the biggest one for me is with UGF Reversed you cant use sand and sand is pretty much a MUST for me with Africans at least.
 

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Undergravel filters by necessity need to use gravel as a media for biological filtration and will need to be vacuumed on a regular basis.

With a tank your size I would look into setting up a wet/dry sump system useing a ugj to keep detritus off the bottom. Ugf's are old technology and the advantages of a sump system in freshwater application are imo superior to anything else out there. The cannisters are your next best option.

Sand is an excellant substrate for ugj. It packs down and you don't have to worry about trapping a lot of gunk down inside it compared to gravel. Swirling every month or two is all it needs to prevent the build up of noxious gasses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have never used sand as a substrate before- to what extent does "swirling" mean of mixing the sand up?

Also, you cant buy a UGJ system correct? You have to make them on your own? (I have seen the sites on how to make them, but would just as easily buy one premade if that was at all an option). The powerhead and reverse flow prefilter kit I understand- just the creation of the pvc network seems really tedious.

Would running a wet/dry sump w/ a UGJ benefit more so from an overflow box- being as it is pushing the waste upward? I do not have an overflow box and am not really interested in installing one if so. If that is untrue however...

Any premade wet/dry sump systems w/ a decent powerhead out there you would recommend? I have heard from many people that I should ditch my canisters for that.
 

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I would tell you that building the UGJ's its really easy, my first took me 5 minutes and I built a 3 stage UGJ system today in about 25-30 minutes. Its worth it.
 

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However under gravel jets do not make it so you do not have to gravel vac. They simple move water in placers that you do not normally get movement. Undergravel filters simply collect all the debris and keep it under the gravel for you. If you do not remove the debris eventually it will poison your entire tank.

Sorry the UGJ's are amazing but you still have to do basic maintenance.
 

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Doane said:
Sorry the UGJ's are amazing but you still have to do basic maintenance.
I agree 100%. I found that with my sand substrate I do have certain areas that detritus collects. This makes it much simpler to clean up during water changes. If your going to use gravel as a substrate along with the ugj's you will still have to do regular gravel cleaning which in some ways defeats the purpose of the underground jets.

Sand packs down and it's very difficult for gunk to get buried. Imo this is where ugj's really shine. They keep the detritus in the water column where the filters can it pick up and any residual that collects in areas of low flow are easily cleaned.
 

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The other thing with sand is that you need to stir the substrate periodically. About once a month I take all the decorations out of my tank and use an extra powerhead or my hand to stir up the sand be as much as possible. This releases debris and gas pockets that can also prove to be fatal to the ecosystem if not removed.

If I have said it once I will say it again, we do not keep lakes in our houses we simply keep fish from the lakes. We are missing the fundamental organisms that mother nature put into place to do these tasks. UGJ's are worth the project and are 200% easier than it looks, but you have to remember there is not a system that has been developed by man yet that can replicate every single aspect of the ecosystem.

DO the undergravel jets and your cleaning gets EASIER but not non-existant
 
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