Sponge filters

Divinityinlove

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I've recently gotten into sponge filters since I've seen many experienced aquarists on youtube speaking highly of them and attesting that they use them in all their tanks as first choice, even shop keepers with dozens of them, claiming they're very effective along with other benefits

I'm just interested in your feedback here as it's always a little alternative to what I see on youtube and I'll explain my issues so you can suggest if it is appropriate.

I have put sponge filters in my shrimp tank and temp goldfish tank.

I'm just considering if it's worth replacing my fluval U3 in the 90 litre tank with a sponge. Main reasons in order of priority is, the flow is too much even on lowest setting, the filter is on the left side of the tank towards the back and the water flows to the right, and circulates clockwise round, even as the water flows back towards the left towards the front of the tank during it's circulation, the guppies struggle to swim against it, young ones really struggle, the betta in there definitely struggles. I tried to put a moss perch with suction cup at the back which is the best place for it to be visible and have space to grow, the moss is blown off the perch. I also believe since I only found 4 guppy fry twice, and 2 guppy fry once, that each time my guppies bred, likely a lot of fry got sucked in... I'd never had breeding before, wasn't prepared and since I have been considering options. The Fluval U3 covers to 120l, my tank is only 90l. It was only a temp emergency replacement solution since after we moved house, I found I couldn't get the fluval 307 canister to run... :// Leading me to the other reason, The submersible U3 is kinda ugly in the tank, big and takes up a good amount of volume/space. The sponge filter could be easily hidden behind plants in the lower few inches of the tank. Safer for fry and shrimp.

Only question is; would you consider it effective enough? Atleast until I can fix the fluval 307 cannister, and cover the intake with a mesh. It's more powerful but the flower wouldn't be as bad and I can cover the intake more easily as there's already steel strainers designed to fit it.

90litre tank with guppies who breed and shrimp, to sponge or not to sponge?
 
I haven’t used sponge filters in a long time but I think it’s a very good alternative for smaller tanks where you don’t want a lot of high circulation. You could even go with two smaller ones if you want to even out the circulation if it‘s a longer tank. I’m thinking of putting one in my 65g just to help with physical filtration because my canister is such a pain to have to take apart and clean. You’ll want to seed it with bacteria from the existing filter and maybe run in tandem for a bit to get it established.
 
I presume we are talking about air operated sponge filters that run off an air pump, and not power filters with sponges?

I used undergravel filters and air operated sponge filters in my tanks. The bigger tanks had half their base covered with an undergravel filter run from an air pump. The smaller tanks had a triangle shaped air operated sponge filter.

The air operated sponge filters are great for breeding tanks, rearing tanks and quarantine tanks because they don't suck up baby fish or fish eggs, or create too much water movement. They are easy to clean, just squeeze them out in a bucket of tank water once a month. They are cheap and last for years.

I used a large single outlet air pump (like the one in the following link) to run an entire fish room with 40 tanks in. Each tank had at least 2 air lines, one with a plastic multi-coloured airstone and the other with the sponge filter or in the undergravel filter. Basically one pump, one power point and lots of air (I had too much air from the pump). It was cheaper running the big pump than running a bunch of smaller air pumps, and the big pump didn't keep popping diaphragms all the time. I also ported the big air pump (like you do to cylinder heads on a car) and doubled the amount of air it produced. You can also port smaller air pumps. Unfortunately it also increased the noise it made.

 
Basically, most (95%) tanks of mine are aerated filtrated. Yesterday, I've changed one of those sponge filters. For the sponge itself was fallen apart. Fortunately, I had some extra.
 
One of the myths prevalent in this hobby is that more filters/filtration or stronger filters somehow improves filtration. It does not, unless the tank is not in balance to begin with (appropriate fish and appropriate filter). Fish have to live with the strong currents 24/7, and it does tire them out, which can weaken them and stress them causing other problems that otherwise would not occur. Some fish need strong currents (butterfly loaches for example, or some of the loricariids from rivers like the Xingu) but other fish need a quiet swamp-like setting (gourami for example).

I had a dual sponge filter in my tanks from 10g up to 40g and they kept the water crystal clear with minimal water currents, well suited to the forest fish I had in those tanks. My cory tank had a small internal filter to create some current down the length of the tank well suiting this group of fishes.
 
Re the Xingu plecos- they are adapted to live in current and especially where there are rapids because the water can get quite warm. Warm water holds less oxygen than cooler water, So the rapids oxygenate the water. I breed a number of the Hypancistrus from the Big Bend of the Xingu and I do this in tanks with only or mostly air driven foam filtration. I use Poret foam in the form of both cubefilters and Hamburg Mattenfilters. In one space I drive the filters in 6 pleco tanks (5 x 33L and a 40L) with a single air pump.

I will confess that 3 of the tanks also still have an Aquaclear hang-on which predates the installation of the foam and air. The hang-ons help oxygenate the water. They also take up almost no space in a tank. Mattens and cubefilters do reduce the volume of water which the fish can occupy.

While there are many benefits to air driven systems, there is the risk that if the device creating the air flow fails, this shuts off all the filters using that air. So my 3 hang ons are also a form of back-up as well as creating a bit more open space in a tank. However, all of my hang-ons use foam or sponge media with some floss.

As for the plecos above, I keep them in warm water, sometimes it will hit a bit over 90F (32+C). All the bubbles from the filters breaking the surface oxygenate the water. In many tanks I use the air to run an air stone for extra agitation.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of air driven systems for multiple tanks is the air power is a central system but the tanks do not share water. Each tank is isolated from all the rest. This greatly reduces the ability for disease etc, to spread to other tanks because of the filtration system.

A good foam/sponge base filtration system can create crystal clear water because most of what might cloud it is mostly organic and in massive amounts of media this will be mostly broken down by microscopic organisms which also live in the media.

edited for typos, spelling and grammar.
 
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So everyone here agrees that filter media such as the small stone like things that usually are in canidter filters or moving bed filters are not necessary? I will have to look into the central air system as it would be great to have my 3 tanks using one plug.
 
So everyone here agrees that filter media such as the small stone like things that usually are in canidter filters or moving bed filters are not necessary? I will have to look into the central air system as it would be great to have my 3 tanks using one plug.
With multiple tanks, air filtered tanks are cheaper when it comes to the electrical bill.
 
With multiple tanks, air filtered tanks are cheaper when it comes to the electrical bill.
As long as they work. Also since our electricity rates are going up 80% and eventually by 200% maybe -- its a good time to decrease usage optimally. I literally bought this 60l second hand tank because a guy was selling his 5 tanks and putting all fish into 1 x 150l tank -- to save on electricity because of our circumstance.
 
As long as they work. Also since our electricity rates are going up 80% and eventually by 200% maybe -- its a good time to decrease usage optimally. I literally bought this 60l second hand tank because a guy was selling his 5 tanks and putting all fish into 1 x 150l tank -- to save on electricity because of our circumstance.
Well, it seems that everywhere the price rates of gas and electrical are drastically increasing... It's a mad house.
 
Check YouTube for magnet powered lights and get free lighting for the house :)
 
So everyone here agrees that filter media such as the small stone like things that usually are in canidter filters or moving bed filters are not necessary? I will have to look into the central air system as it would be great to have my 3 tanks using one plug.

In small tanks as here, and assuming there will be some live plants...yes these things are unnecessary,
 

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