Do you want an excellent filter for small your fish tank? Or you just want a safe and reliable filter to keep your aquarium clean without harming your fish? An undergravel filter is the ideal option.
An undergravel filter will be a great buy if you’re looking for a low cost and low maintenance filter.
With different undergravel filter flooding the market, making the right choice can be difficult. And that’s why I’ve done the hard work and created a review of the best undergravel filter in the market today. I’ll also guide you on important factors to consider before buying an undergravel filter. Without wasting much time, let’s get started with the best 3 undergravel filter.
- 1 Best Undergravel Filter
- 2 How to Choose an Undergravel Filter?
- 3 How does Undergravel Filter work?
- 4 Undergravel Filter Maintenance
- 5 Benefits of UnderGravel Filter
- 6 FAQ
- 7 Conclusion
Best Undergravel Filter
|Image||Name of product||Features||Price|
|Penn Plax Undergravel Filter – Premium Aquarium 4 Filter Plate System||Filtration: Chemical and biological|
Capacity: 40-50 gallon
Set up: Easy to set up and operate
Aquarium type: Freshwater and saltwater
Extras: air stones, filter plates, filter cartridges, and adjustable tune
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|Lee’s 70/90 Premium Undergravel Filter 18-Inch by 48-Inch|
|Aquarium type: saltwater preferred|
Filtration: mechanical, and chemical filtration, Material is plastic
Capacity: 70-90 gallons
Extra: Multiple tube ports, Activated carbon cartridge
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|Aquarium Equip ISTA Undergravel Filter|
|Filtration: biological filtration|
Aquarium type: freshwater and saltwater
Capacity: 5.5 gallon
Extra: Adjustable rise tube
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Penn Plax Undergravel Filter – Premium Aquarium 4 Filter Plate System
Do you have a small aquarium up to 50 gallons? Penn Plax Undergravel Filter is an ideal option. The undergravel filter features four filter plates and adjustable 1-inch rise tubes.
Each section has a clip to hold them in place. You can use the filter for both saltwater and freshwater aquarium.
Like other undergravel filter, Penn Plax is designed to keep out of sight, making your tank free of unnecessary equipment.
Penn Plax filter supports chemical filtration by including two carbon block cartridges to eliminate pollutants, odors, and prevent aquarium water discoloration.
It is easy to install and operate. The added chemical filtration is a good reason to check out this Undergravel filter.
Best for 40-50 gallon tanks
Included Chemical filtration
Easy setup and operation
Tube pieces can be thin and weak
Lee’s 70/90 Premium Undergravel Filter 18-Inch by 48-Inch
If you want an undergravel filter with a plastic multi-level plate design, check out the less 70/90 premium undergravel filter. The filter will never split or crack, allowing it to easily support your substrate’s weight.
The UGF features four riser tubes and two bottom plates. This filter can be used with an aerator, canister filter inlet, powerhead, or all at a go.
The plates perfectly fit aquarium with up to 48 inches long. You can use in tanks of up to 70-90 gallons.
You can also safely use Lee’s undergravel filter in both saltwater and freshwater aquarium.
Apart from featuring biological and mechanical filtration, this undergravel filter also has four carbon cartridges for chemical filtration.
- Has multiple tube ports
- Comes with Carbon cartridges
- Made with plastic materials for better durability and crack resistant.
- Comes with multiple tube ports;
- Includes activated carbon cartridges;
- Made of durable, cracking resistant plastic
- Filter tubes look small
Aquarium Equip ISTA Undergravel Filter
Aquarium Equip ISTA is an affordable and basic undergravel set up from the company. You can use it with air pump, filter pulp, hang-on-back filters, and submersible powerhead to improve circulation into the tank.
I’ll recommend this undergravel filter for aquatics with a smaller aquarium. With size parameters of 11.8-inch by 5.9-inch, the filter fits well in your 5.5-gallon tank.
The filter comes with a rising tube which you can adjust the height. You can also connect each plate with a tube. You can as well install air stones on this product.
Aquarium Equip ISTA Undergravel Filter does not come with activated carbon Cartridges. Therefore I’ll not advise you to use them as a primary filter in aquariums which requires chemical filtration.
- Easy to set up and operate
- Supports air pump, air stones, canister filter, and powerhead
- Chemical filtration not included
How to Choose an Undergravel Filter?
It’s important to choose the best undergravel filter for your aquarium. But you need to consider certain factors. Here are they:
Before choosing an undergravel filter, you must first consider your aquarium size. Check if the size of a particular filter nicely fits your aquarium. For example, if you own between 60-90 gallon aquarium, Lee’s 70/90 Premium Undergravel Filter 18-Inch by 48-Inch should be your potential undergravel filter option. And if you own a small aquarium of may 5 gallons, Aquarium Equip ISTA Undergravel Filter might be a great buy.
As aforementioned, some Undergravel filter uses an air pump while others may require powerheads. Bigger aquariums usually require powerheads rather than a simple air pump. UGFs like Aquarium Equip ISTA Undergravel Filter will be a good option.
You can use it with air pump, filter pulp, hang-on-back filters, and submersible powerhead to improve circulation into the tank.
If you don’t need chemical filtration or your undergravel filter only functions as your secondary filter, then there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.
However, if your aquarium requires chemical filtration, then don’t rely on undergravel filter that performs only biological and mechanical filtration.
You may go for brands like Lee’s 70/90 Premium Undergravel Filter 18-Inch by 48-Inch that supports the three filtration types.
How does Undergravel Filter work?
Undergravel works in a very simple mechanism. Water rushes down the gravel, trapping particles and debris. The tiny hole if the filter tray then sucks the particles and return into the tank through the uplift tube.
You can use these filters in outside ponds. However, you may need a powerhead to create a current strong enough to push the water down the gravel.
Here, the gravel acts as the media base of the filter that offers biological and mechanical filtration. Gravel with a large surface area is beneficial because it creates space for healthy bacteria.
Also, always siphon your gravel to keep it clean. It is important in the maintenance of the gravel.
Undergravel Filter Maintenance
The most common complaints about Undergravel filters is that they require a lot of commitment to maintenance. It’s important to maintain these filters because detritus and particles can develop inside the substrate.
Therefore, you need to regularly siphon the substrate to counter the issue of developing excessive junk in the substrate.
I’ll also advise you to use a good quality air pump or powerhead to allow a smooth flow of air from all corners of under the gravel as dead spots inhibit the development of bad bacteria.
Apart from regularly siphoning the substrate
I’d advise you to use a canister or HOB filter to eliminate tank particles and reduce how gunk enter the substrate.
Overfeeding your fish or overstocking the tank can cause the accumulation of materials which may enter the filter bed. So don’t overfeed or overstock your tank.
Below are four things to do to ensure a functional and problem-free aquarium.
- Don’t overstock the aquarium
- Don’t overfeed your fish
- Siphon your gravel and under the filter grids
- Use a HOB and canister filter to capture many floating particles.
Performing this maintenance routine will prevent you from having to dismantle your tank and get a new one because of excess accumulated dirt.
Benefits of UnderGravel Filter
The undergravel filter is beneficial in a series of ways, especially if you use them on your small or midsize aquariums.
Apparently, I recommend these best undergravel filters for aquariums under 90 gallons. I’ve seen experienced aquarium who have had success with using the filter on larger tanks.
Therefore, if you’re looking for an undergravel filter, here are benefits to expect:
Undergravel filters are generally an inexpensive filter option, unlike other filter types.
Undergravel filter for aquariums saves a lot of space because they gently sit beneath the substrate.
Undergravel filters are quite easily set up when assembling your aquarium. Just position the filter grid on the tank bottom, add the substrate, and that’s all!
These filters are always quiet during operation. You may only hear the quiet vibration during operation. If you’ve tried different filter type and they seem noisy, Simply go for UG filters.
Is it advisable to use a Canister Filter with Undergravel Filter?
Yes, you’re free to use a canister filter as a pre-filter by connecting them to a canister filter. All of our reviewed UGFs can work with a canister filter.
In fact, I’ll advise you to have a multi-filter set up for your aquarium because some UGF does not have a media for chemical filtration.
How much gravel should be on top of my undergravel filter?
I’ll recommend a minimum depth of around 76mm/3″, with the maximum gravel size of 2-5mm.
Do my undergravel needs clean?
You’ll need to clean your undergravel to keep them running effectively. Any dirt which stays unremoved will reduce the flow rate of water through the bed. The beneficial bacteria receive less oxygen, causing a reduction in water quality and overall poor performance.
How well should I clean the gravel?
How well you clean your gravel largely depends on water quality and how dirty it is.
Take a with large fish may require more maintenance than the ones with small tiny fish.
Do undergravel filters come in any size?
Yes, they come in various sizes made to snugly fit in your tank base. You can also use different places if you own a larger tank.
Although undergravel filters may not be one of the most common filters in the market they are worth a buy.
Undergravel filter’s operation is straightforward and they are quite easy to set up. It is easy to maintain and the operation is quite silent.
I hope I’ve provided you with enough information to help you pick the best undergravel filter.
With our detailed and comprehensive information, you should be able to make your choice based on your aquarium, its requirement, and your budget. Good luck!