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Hello, and welcome to Cichlid Forum!
I see you have utilized the 'Necromancer' capability of the site? And while yes, there are a couple folks in that posting thread still active on the site, I suspect the OP has since gone on to other 'Cichlid Breeding Adventures' elsewhere....
And yes, a LOT of Cichlid species (both New World and Old World/African) are quite the industrious little diggers in the aquarium. You might be surprised at how much substrate sand that one, or a few determined diggers in a tank can move! :LOL:
 
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Under gravel filters work great until they don’t, which is inevitable!
 

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New under gravel filter concept by Dr. Novak working good for many. It needs to be tweaked. Substrate 3-4" thick. Air lift tube the size of substrate thickness so 3-4" and water movement very slow : use a low power bubbler.
 

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With all kind regards, I don't mean to offend you here.

Please refrain from telling me whether or not cichlids are my fish are not. I have 3 running tanks with cichlids in them. I am a cichlid breeder. Just the other day I had my yellow fin acei produce around 70 fry. I know what im doing. All I wanted to know is whether or not there was a method of stopping my cichlids from digging. And from other posts, I have realised that there is no method.

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Josh
There is. You need a second layer of ugf plates on top of your substrate and put some more sub on top. They will throw the sub here and there and you will see the ugf plates but they won't be able to dig much. Some folks use mesh. I used ugf plates as I already has these. You could try plastic crafts mesh, either black or white.
 

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Wow, looks like you have definitely figured this 'digging Cichlid' problem out! Well, at least as far as how their relentless digging efforts can/will disrupt the effectiveness of an Under Gravel Filtration (UGF) system.
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But, you have to REALLY want that UGF system to build something kind of amazing like this. And unfortunately, the reality for most of us is that the aquarium-keeping community has moved on from this type of filtration system to Hang On Back power filters, Canister filters or even Sump filtration in many cases.
But as you have shown us, (in written description AND pictures - thanks!) the classic and honored old UGF will certainly still work to do the job.
It's just that most of us have moved on to simpler, cleaner and much easier to maintain modern filtration systems.
 

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Wow, looks like you have definitely figured this 'digging Cichlid' problem out! Well, at least as far as how their relentless digging efforts can/will disrupt the effectiveness of an Under Gravel Filtration (UGF) system.
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But, you have to REALLY want that UGF system to build something kind of amazing like this. And unfortunately, the reality for most of us is that the aquarium-keeping community has moved on from this type of filtration system to Hang On Back power filters, Canister filters or even Sump filtration in many cases.
But as you have shown us, (in written description AND pictures - thanks!) the classic and honored old UGF will certainly still work to do the job.
It's just that most of us have moved on to simpler, cleaner and much easier to maintain modern filtration systems.
Thanks but I just looked it up online and used what I got :). They still like to throw coral sub around and I almost see the plates but they can't dig deep enough to disturb the plenum. I guess we need something really powerful for a well stocked cichlid tank. I do have a top SUMP with BCBs in it and 6x GPH turnover. Not totally relying on the UGF. UGF is cheap and works (of all what I have read) if used the way Dr. Novak recommends (I just started fish keeping in June 2021) and is seldom disturbed.
Pics of my DIY ghetto set up:

Green Yellow Rectangle Gas Engineering

Green Wood Motor vehicle Automotive tire Gas
 

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:love::eek: WHHhhhhaaaaa.......????!!!! :eek::love:
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Look at that! I guess I'm definitely gonna have to just start calling you 'Old School'. :LOL:
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Oh man, it's seriously been DECADES since I've seen something built like that! To explain.... 'Back in the day', my uncle had a really big, DIY-Built plywood tank with an above tank sump above it. That wonderful contraption ran off of an actual, external/in-line HOT TUB WATER PUMP, that drew suction from within the aquarium and pumped it up to another plywood-built sort-of trickle filter/sump on top of it. His above tank sump had a filter media section that was filled up with lava rock. A PVC spray bar dumped water from the tank over a plastic drip plate, set on top of the lava rock.
A thermostatically controlled, electric heating element was kept in the bottom of that thing, and two overflows about 4 inches high or so dumped water back into the tank via two independent spray bars. The sump/cabinet thing on his aquarium was mounted much higher than yours at approximately 3 feet above the tank. Oddly enough - I've owned modern below tank sumps that were much louder when running, than his 'old school' design was.
That thing (built in the 70s) made for an extremely clean aquarium to visually look at (municipal design?), and worked like a champ!.
 
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