Someone school me on sponge filters please - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 30 Old 10-25-2011, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
Someone school me on sponge filters please

So I have a HOB filter right now on my 5g tank but am not really satisfied with it. I've been trying to research sponge filters but everytime I google it I get a marine sponge rather than a filter. If someone could just list all the pros and cons of having one and what all is needed if I decide to go out and buy one that'd be great.
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post #2 of 30 Old 10-25-2011, 10:45 AM
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I have a Elite sponge filter in my 10gallon tank. It runs off an air pump. It does a great job the water is always so clear in that tank. The downside is I hate hearing the air pump. Its not to loud I just don't like hearing it as the rest of my filters are super quiet. On the other hand there is just about zero maintenance on the sponge filter. You just take the sponge off and squeeze it out a couple of times in siphon tank water during water changes and your done unlike the ehiem canister filter I have. LoL really in a 10 gallon or less they(sponge filters) imo are the way to go.
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post #3 of 30 Old 10-25-2011, 10:50 AM
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Does adding something like the Fluval Prefilter add the benefits of a Sponge filter to a HOB filter without the noise of the airpump?
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post #4 of 30 Old 10-25-2011, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Ridewithme38 View Post
Does adding something like the Fluval Prefilter add the benefits of a Sponge filter to a HOB filter without the noise of the airpump?
I am not aware of a prefilter that you can add to a HOB but I imagine they are like the ones for canister. They are generally used to help prefilter the water from debris and particles before going into in the main filter. Thus I guess helping to prevent clogs in the lines. At least this is my take on them. I don't use them on my Ehiem canister.
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post #5 of 30 Old 10-25-2011, 11:51 AM
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I use a sponge filter (only) in a 40 gallon. It's working great so far. I use a small powerhead (aquaclear 20) and it's perfectly silent, no air pump noise.

You could place a sponge over the HOB filter intake. If the sponge did not restrict the water flow into the HOB, the HOB would work like a powerhead, drawing water through the sponge. It would certainly, over time, increase your biofiltration capacity. For a small tank, using a sponge with powerhead might generate too much current.

Big Als on-line and That pet place both stock sponge filters as do other vendors on line. Most LFS don't. I think they don't stock them because sponge filters have nothing to be replaced regularly (cartridges $$), they are inexpensive, and last practically forever. Some vendors stock filter sponges that you can custom cut to the size you need.
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post #6 of 30 Old 10-25-2011, 12:17 PM
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I have a pre-filter sponge on my HOB. I used a black tubular sponge, about 8" or 10" long, can't remember what it was supposed to be used for. I can check though, and brand, if you want. I rubber banded one end closed. A zip tie would be more permanent, but I worried about the sharp edge tearing the sponge on the next step. Once the end was closed with the rubber band, I inverted the sponge and slipped it onto my intake tube. You could rubber band or zip tie it onto the tube, but I did not feel it necessary. I did NOT put it over the intake strainer, I left the strainer off. I also left enough room at the bottom so that there is a good 1.5" of single layer sponge at the bottom of the intake tube, and the wadded, multi-layer bit is farther down so as not to strain my filter too much. It looks much like a boom mike. Since this adds 4"-6" to the length of your intake tube, and depending on your substrate depth, you may have to shorten your intake tube. There are other pre-filter sponge options, but this one is pretty ninja, very discrete. It works very well for its purpose (mostly to keep sand and fry out of my filter, but does also provide surface area for bacteria).

Now, if I hadn't already had this particular HOB filter, that would have been a different story. So if you're starting from scratch, a sponge or canister may be preferable. Good luck!

"My dither fish need dither fish!"
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post #7 of 30 Old 10-25-2011, 01:12 PM
I have two (2) AquaClear 70 filters on my 60g tank...

One of my AC 70 HOB filters contains three (3) AquaClear 70 sponges (no other media) making it an exceptional external sponge filter. It is set to low flow, maximum re-filtration.

My other AC 70 HOB filter, also set to low flow, is filled to the brim with Seachem Matrix bio-media. It uses a Fluval pre-filter sponge on the end of the inlet tube to pre-filter and further reduce/slow the flow through the bio-media. The pre-filter is just a snug fit over the standard inlet tube w/o need to be otherwise secured. Note that the pre-filter does load with bio-goodness-material that requires a weekly squeeze.

In the inlet chamber of both filters I have an air stone to highly oxygenate the water to [even further] promote aerobic bacteria.

These are working great for me!

As to the complaint about the air pump noise, try setting the pump on a (soft) sponge as often the noise is simple vibration that can be dampened.

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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 10-25-2011 at 01:17 PM.
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post #8 of 30 Old 10-25-2011, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad;874405
[B
In the inlet chamber of both filters I have an air stone to highly oxygenate the water to [even further] promote aerobic bacteria.[/B]

These are working great for me!

.
Interesting...i've never heard of putting an airstone in the inlet chamber of a HOB filter, i'm sure you've got it fine tuned, but have you had any problem with too much water be displaced by the air/bubbles and the pump running dry?
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post #9 of 30 Old 10-25-2011, 01:26 PM
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The one important issue that hasdn't been mentioned yet is what is in this 5g tank? Fish (species), and live plants? Filtration should be based on the needs for these.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #10 of 30 Old 10-25-2011, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Ridewithme38 View Post
Interesting...i've never heard of putting an airstone in the inlet chamber of a HOB filter, i'm sure you've got it fine tuned, but have you had any problem with too much water be displaced by the air/bubbles and the pump running dry?
The bubbles break the surface inside the chamber but do not displace any water.

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