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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I remember my first aquariums as a boy used the under gravel filters - back in the '60's. They were the only game in town aside from a plastic box filter. They seem to have fallen out of favor in the hobby with the rise of canister and HOB filters. I have started a freshwater tank set up with local flora and fauna from the stream I fished in as a young lad. It is a stream bed with native plants and river rock. I had stuck the plants in the gravel but they progressed slowly so I added some sand and they have perked up and started showing some life.

My thinking is to fabricate an old school under gravel filter for the area the plants are planted in. I would still use the canister filter for my main filtration. My thinking is that I would pull nutrients down into the sand for the plants and filter the water at the same time. Has anyone got any opinions on this? Do you salt guys use under gravel at all? I have never see it in that side of the hobby. Did these just go away due to convenience?
 

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Well even in salt water under gravel filters was the way to go. I started in 72 keeping marine fish. Under gravel filters until the 80’s. Then reef tank came along we dumped the ug filter and went to sand beds of different type.
PaulB still uses a reverse flow UG in his reef tank. Been going over 40 Years.
 

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YUP.....,,.,Paul's had his system up and running with a reverse under gravel filter since the 70's. And with his success has garnered an underground following....ALL PUNS INTENDED! 🤣
Mattman is one that's followed suit.
Hack
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I remember chucking my fish in a pail and completely diss assembling the 20 gallon tank to scrub. That was the plastic plant days. I was planning on having this planted so won't be tearing out. I had not planned reverse flow but after some reading I am liking the idea. It mostly eliminates the detritus that eventually typically builds up down there. My two worries are A: Roots growing down into the cavity and B: the sand filtering down there. I am considering using Landscape cloth which passes water well but would be impervious to sand.

I will go read some of the threads about Paul's tank.
 

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Go post on his 40 year old thread......sure he'd be glad to give you some hints. I AM CLUELESS other than hearing the 'words' thrown around.
Hack
 

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One of the cool things about under gravel filters back in the day was when you had it all set up fresh water in the tank. You then start adding the salt and it looked cool how out of the riser tube the water looked so cool coming out. Those where the days. Lol
 

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Even back in the fresh water days, I opted for the 'corner box filters'.....that undergravel stuff had TOO MANY PARTS. 🤣
Hack
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Even back in the fresh water days, I opted for the 'corner box filters'.....that undergravel stuff had TOO MANY PARTS. 🤣
Hack
The box filters were very easy to tell if they were dirty and I could lift them out mess and all to clean them in the sink. No puff of dirty water in the tank. I was also thinking it might be cool to have an OLD tank and just run vintage equipment...Metal frame tank with plastic box filter and incandescent lights. Totally just for the nostagia. Three guppies, some platies, a giant snail, and a goldfish with plastic plants and a little house just to make it authentic. Yeah, I know, still, would be cool to have a replica of the tank that started all this.
 

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The old stainless steel framed tanks. I had a bunch of them in Kansas, got rid of them when we moved to Louisiana. They are really neat tanks.
I think about the times when it was all so simple
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The old stainless steel framed tanks. I had a bunch of them in Kansas, got rid of them when we moved to Louisiana. They are really neat tanks.
I think about the times when it was all so simple
Very true. As a car/motorcycle guy I am sure you understand the nostalgia part of it. "Hey check this out! All original! Wow, an 8 track! I had one of these in highschool!" Could be a '69 Beaumont, could be a steel rim tank - I had both.
 

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I’m very nostalgic, cars, motorcycles, music, when it comes to keeping marine life, it’s gotten more complicated, at times I think it would be more relaxing going back to a more simpler setup. It really depends on what you want to keep. I’ve done the controller route and everything automated, but I don’t trust it now like I have in the past. Plus the cost is insane.
 

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The lfs I'm going to today does have a 'nostalgia tank'....SS and box filter on the counter.....,ahhhhhh, good old fashioned 'slate' bottoms. Ohhhhh how many, and much equipment I've thrown out or given away over the years......INCLUDING 8 tracks, though I begrudgingly started to realize THAT'S OLD SCHOOL! 😁
Hack
 

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Yeah the black slate bottom and the black tar like sealer. To use for saltwater I removed the slate and sealer and replaced the slate with glass and resealed them with silicone
 

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