Undergravel filters with powerheads..opinions?
I use an undergravel filter with two powerheads (small ones, in a 20gal tank). I feel there is not better way to keep a tank in top shape. It's quiet and easy to maintain. (Note...I'm sure there are better ways like wet/dry systems and the like, but I mean no better way for a joe six pack type)
I vacuum the gravel every two to four weeks. I would say more often at the 2 week interval than not. I must admit that I get what seems like huge amounts of detritus for the small amount of fish I have (list of fish at the end of the post) but the water is always crystal clear (I admit to cheating with a water clarifier) and the fish are thriving. They grow large, breed and are always active and long lived.
I have been asked by a friend to set up a tank for his kids, and I'm thnking this willbe the best way to go. They vacuum the gravel once in a while, change out 10% of the water every other week, and they should at least refrain from killing the first batch of fish.
I don't like outside filters because:
1. They are ugly
2. They need more attention like changing cartriges or other media
3. They make more noise than submerged powerheads
4. And the most important...newbies often tire of staying on top of them and they end up with the same cartridge for 6 months.
I figure with an undergravel they will at lest have a bacteria culture under there taking care of business if the fish load remains low.
Anyone think different?
A little school of neons (8 of the little buggers)
A pleco (it gets changed out about once a year cause they just get too darn big)
A betta (Also rotated with new ones because I can't stand seeing them in the little bowls so I often give on to somone that has a big tank with compatable and get a new one.
Every year or so I also get a new batch of neons because I just like the little guys better...my local place is very happy to take the larger ones in trade. I also worry that for 20 gallons the load gets too high when they start getting bigger.
There are some pretty knoledgeable guys on here and I would love to hear if I'm doing OK and if this setup seems OK for my friend.
Oh...no real plants... They have proven to be too much of a pain in the ass for me...it's my next step..learning to keep live plants that thrive.