How to take a UGF out?
I have been lurking here for some time and reading with growing horror about the bad side of under gravel filters - and wishing I had read all this a year and a half ago when I first set up my tank to house two small koi through a winter. I was told by people I thought knew all about the subject (because they keep koi in an indoor tank) to make sure I asked the aquarium shop to set me up with a UGF. The shop never questioned my request at all - and why should they? They sold the set up! So now, here I am all this time later with the same tank that is now housing a happy little community of tropical fish where everything seems fine, water tests fine, fish are healthy, plants are growing - and I'm looking at the UGF as a ticking time bomb. I was thinking about this today while making my usual partial water change and vacuuming the gravel. How does one go about taking down a tank full of fish and plants when one does not have a back up tank to put them in temporarily? Would a large rubbermaid tub do to hold them for a few hours? Would the filter need to running to aereate the water while they're in the tub? And how does one scoop all that wet gravel out of the bottom without scratching the glass sides or if you tip it and pour it out, without stressing the joints of the tank? What's the best way to knock down and start over - can anyone give me some tips? Sorry for this being so long, but I really like to have a plan in mind before I start into something like this and I'm just plain scared - both to take out the UGF and to leave it in place. Thanks for your help!