Tips for Choosing an Undergravel Filter
Let’s face it:
Canister and HOB filters are far superior than the gravel filtration systems.
So, why should you invest in one?
Well, these kinds of filters have many advantages.
They are an ideal choice for undemanding aquariums or smaller quarantine and breeding tanks.
These filters offer the necessary biological filtration…
… while keeping your aquarium aesthetically appealing.
They are also easy to set up and maintain, thus perfect for beginners.
Not enough yet?
Know that gravel filtration systems are also cheap.
With this in mind, here’s what you should check before buying.
- Size: Think about the size of your tank and choose an appropriate undergravel filter. These models vary in size from small filters suitable for fish bowls and aquariums of up to 5 gallons to big units to use in 50-gallon tanks. In big tanks, however, it is recommended to enhance filtration with a separate chemical or mechanical filter, especially if the tank is overpopulated.
- Working mechanism: These filtration systems are typically used with air pumps placed down the pipe to create water flow. Such a system is cheap, but it could be ineffective when used as a standalone filter in a larger aquarium. Some filters may use a water pump – or power head – instead of the air pump. This component is placed on the upper side of the pipe and creates a stronger water flow. Thus, it enhances filtration. There are also some UG filters that use reverse-flow filtration technology. Such a filter pushes water up through the gravel rather than pulling it down, which could be advantageous sometimes; however, these systems consume a lot of energy and have rather low filtration rates.
- Filtration type: While all UG filters provide the necessary biological filtration your fish need, some models also feature either an activated carbon filtration cartridge or filter floss mechanism designed to provide additional chemical or mechanical filtration. These filters could be a better option for larger aquariums, but they will still be more efficient in aquariums with light fish load.
- Installation ease: Some styles of these filters consist of plates that are easy to place on the bottom of the tank and covered with gravel. Others are circulation bars that could be harder to keep on the bottom of the tank. If you’re just starting, a conventional UG filter could be your best bet.
- Suitability: Last but not least, you should also consider the type of water you’re using. Most undergravel filters are suitable to use in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, but there are some exceptions. To stay on the safe side, check the specs of the filter you like and make sure you can use it safely in your fish tank.
Wrapping It All Up
Using the right water filter is essential.
Whether you have a smaller aquarium or look for a standalone filter for your breeding or quarantine tank, an undergravel filter could be ideal.
We hope you have already spotted the best undergravel filter for your needs.
So, what do you think?
Would you rather go for a traditional undergravel filter or a circulation bar?
Are you looking for a standalone or backup filtration system?
Have you found a favorite on this list?
Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.