sponge filter vs hob??
I'm doing some research on sponge filters and was wondering if anyone had any advice/or experience with them. I've got a 55 community tank with 2 HOB's and am considering either replacing one of them with a sponge filter or adding sponges. What's everyone think?
HOB filter will remove debris from the tank where the sponge filter will not. (Canister>HOB>sponge filter) Sponge filters are high maintenance IMO. They have there uses thou. If you have a ton of tanks or are using the tank for breeding. If it was my tank I would leave it with 2 HOB. If there is an issue with filtration, I would go out and buy a canister filter if you have $100+ to drop; plus canisters are truly quiet.
But that's just my .02
plants work fine, if you don't want a lot of fish lol. Other then that IMO I would take a sponge filter over a HOB hands down. Sponges do certainly do mechanical filtration, usually just as well as a HOB. Sponges can be air driven or power driven and are usually fry and shrimp safe. HOBs on the other hand have quite a few faults/design flaws. They disrupt the surface which makes them poorly suited for anything above a low light planted tank. All the intake water must pass through the impeller before it hits the filter media. A logical design would avoid sending debris through the motor as this does damage it over time. Sand substrates are particularly damaging on HOB filters and a few canisters. Any of the good canisters do place the impeller after the media. HOBs are more at risk during a power outage, especially anything with a bio-wheel. If media dries out it dies. You also need to be fairly confident the filter can restart completely by itself after a power outage in the event you are not around. HOBs are pretty strict on amount and type of media they can hold as well. For a 55 I would lean towards a canister but it depends on the stocking too.
Sponge filters do allow for a large surface area for bacteria to colonize. Contrary to what someone said they are not high maintenance(or really much more maintenance than HOB's or Canisters) when you set them up properly and buy one that is rated/matched up to your tank.
If you are going with sponges, a good bet is to do a duel set up. This helps create stability because when it comes time to rinse the sponge you can do one, leave the other. Give the rinsed one time to build back up, and then rinse the other.
Honestly I prefer a Sponge Filter over an HOB every time, and a Canister over both if I have the money. I'm done wasting money on HOB's though because in my experience with my tanks they have ended up being a money pit/waste of my cash. HOB's do better though if you are not running a planted tank, and Sponge Filters are better when you have plants to help things along.
I don't care for cartridge filter HOB's, but not all HOB's are created equally. I like the Aquaclear design so much I have two Aquaclear 70's on my 60g. One uses an AC30 impeller for reduced flow and is completely filled with a mix of Seachem Matrix and De*Nitrate. It serves as a dedicated bio-filter that I rarely touch. The other is filled with AC70 sponges, effectively making it HOB sponge filter. Both are set to low flow/maximum re-filtration and I have a 100ml pk of Seachem Purigen in both.
I like being able to remove the media basket to service while the filter is still running.
Different strokes but I wouldn't trade these HOB's for any sponge filter and see no need for a canister unless/until I get a much larger aquarium.
A sponge filter can be somewhat effective in a heavily planted or fry tank but it has limitations.
Filtration should be geared to the aquascape, by which I here mean the type of fish and whether or not you have plants. Not all tanks need the same filtration.
I have 7 tanks currently, and on the three largest (70g, 90g and 115g) I have a canister rated to the tank. On the others (33g, 29g, 20g and 10g) I have a sponge filter. All are fairly heavily planted, with pretty high fish loads.
Years ago I had a 55g and used a HOB, but I would never go this route now, and for exactly the reasons Mikaila noted very well.
The Aquaclear 70's first motor had a good long run. It fit properly on a 75 gallon tank but when the move was made to a 150 I had to fight it every time it was unplugged for a water change/maintenance. It developed major noise issues, began running hot, and eventually died. It didn't help that it didn't seem to want to stay upright when placed on the 150. Interestingly the AC 110 also doesn't seem to want to fit well/stay up right on the 150.
It went into storage, and later on I bought a brand new Aquaclear 110. Within a few days after running I got a call while out of state that it was making a lot of noise. As time went on the noise became so irritating that it was driving people out of the living room. I eventually replaced it with a canister.
The AC 70 got brought back to life with a slightly used motor I found. It too went the same way as the last. Only it started out quiet and far sooner began to have major issues with noise, and over heating (this was on an 80 that it for some reason has issues fititng as well). It has yet to burn out but I am not running the risk. It is now replaced with a Sponge Filter. I know others who have similar issues with major noise complaints and I know the company that makes them was on back-order not to long ago as multiple people were reporting issues with the motors and sending them back to be replaced creating a wait.
I didn't appreciate spending 100 bucks on what was supposed to be a good filter only to be told I had to send the whole unit in to have the noise looked into and then leaving my big tank short changed. Plus I was informed of the back log. A noisy filter was better than none at all.
Some people speculate that they are currently making their stuff far cheaper and it has led to a dip in quality hence the issues people are having.
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