Air driven sponge filters
Hello. I currently have 2 sponge filters running on my 260ltr tank. These are extra filters to add to the waters clarity as i already have a fluval 306 running. Could somebody advise me to how you work out how much air flow should be running through the air filters for optimum performance? I have regulators on them but when they are running low they hardly seem to do anything and when i turn the air pressure up the water disturbance is so high it creates a tidle wave for the fish. I have read a few posts on the internet already but wouldnt mind hearing from somebody who has had previous experience using these. Thanks
Hello and welcome to TFK!
My previous experience is somewhat limited here, but if I had a penny for each time I've messed with the air flow on my filters and bubblers to find the right balance I'd be rich! Hopefully someone with more experience will be by soon to give us BOTH some more input on this question. I'm curious to find out what the 'right' way to do things is, too!
I'm not sure, scientifically speaking, what the ideal amount of air flow for would be from the bacterial point of view. I suspect that this might vary from tank to tank, anyway. I've always done my best to balance these things from the perspective of the fish that live there. Some will prefer living in a tidal wave, so to speak, while others like their water very calm, and live plants (if any) can enter into this somewhere along the line, too. . .
I've done some strange things with pinching airline tubing and holding it in place with rubber bands, and other randomness in order to get the flow on these things to a place that both my fish and I are happy with (my regulators always seem to need additional regulating), so I'm quite possibly not the best person to be answering this question!
I've never tinkered with these at all but I would think that using a water pump or power head would be a better method for this as you could direct the outflow to provide more than just a vertical flow and wouldn't have some of the issues that you might with lots of air going through the water (although that is a very secondary consideration I suppose).
It would be a ton quieter I expect as well.
I'm pretty much the same as yourself for tinkering. I set the air flow and think its doing just right then decide it needs changing and mess with it again lol.
Fingers crossed somebody has an answer for this.
I did see on youtube a couple of months ago somebody lifting the sponge filter right to the surface so the tubing for the hydro sponge was just out of the water and they held a jug underneath the tip of the tubing then timed how long it took to fill the jug!! Well i can honestly say it didn't work for me, i think i'd of still been stood there now.
Is it better to have increased water flow through them which you will achieve with a power head?
When I bought an air pump for my sponge filters I looked at matching what the sponge is rated for. I had 125 gallon rated sponges. So I hooked up air pumps that match that number or went slightly below.
I've run an 80 gallon for a decent amount of time with a 125 rated sponge and a 100 gallon rated air pump. This tank has been running since some time fall last year, I think. Or winter. I forget. Not the point though. It works and works well to handle a stock of sensitive fish such as loaches. Also the shrimp do well too.
Air pumps work okay but I've found that over time they begin to get louder, and the noise is irritating. So I have since switched both out to power heads that are rated to match or be slightly below what the sponge is rated for. I'm not sure if that's how it is supposed to be or how you are supposed to match things up. I went with what seemed like common sense. Went with a higher rated one for the tank that needs a stronger current due to being a deeper tank, and scaled back to a less strong model for a tank that needs good current but not as strong.
The main thing with sponge filters is that you need your water moving through the sponge. When I ran air machines if I saw good enough bubbles to disturb the water surface and create ripples through out the tank I was happy.
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