Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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dmower 05-21-2011 01:56 AM

Multiple/Large Tank Sponge Filtering
So I've been reading up on planted tanks (fake plants can be so tacky and boring :) ) and after reading through some of the great stickies here I started looking into sponge filters as recommended by pretty much everyone.

Most of the threads I saw posted about this were for tanks 30g or smaller and so I'm curious if the setup I have in mind will be sufficient for my purposes.

Currently I have a 38 gallon (not yet planted) and will be setting up a new 20 gallon (planted) in the next week or two. I also have a friend giving me a 55 gallon tank for free, which I plan on (eventually) planting.

So what I was thinking is a pump large enough to run sponge filters in all 3 tanks, plus possibly a 10g QT tank as well. Estimating pump strength versus the gallons I'll be filtering I came up with the following:

Tetra Whisper 60 Air Pump
Lok-Tite 4 outlet control valve (plus tubing to the 4 tanks)
Hagen Elite double sponge filters for the 38 and 55 gallon tanks and single sponge versions for the 10g and 20g tanks.

Now from my reading so far I've noted that the smaller tanks will be just fine with a single sponge filter, but I've only seen the double referenced up to a 29g tank.

So my question is should I buy additional single or double sponge filters for the larger tanks?
And will the air pump I've listed be sufficient to run all of the above, with or without additional filters for the large tanks, or should I buy a second (or even third?) pump and split the load?


zof 05-21-2011 01:06 PM

I have just one in my 36 gallon heavily planted tank, having a planted tank should negate the need for extra sponge just for the beneficial bacteria as the plants will do most of the work. In fact I mainly see my sponge filters as just a way to help keep the water moving, even if it is just a little. The beautiful part about multiple planted tanks is if start to get a ammonia spike in one of your tanks, you just move some extra floating plants from one to the other to help control the ammonia. But if it were me I would only use 2 sponge filters in the 55 gallon and would buy 2 air pumps just in case one gave out you have a backup you can run.

Also don't forget to buy a check valve to prevent back siphoning if the power is lost.

Byron 05-21-2011 02:20 PM

I concur with zof. I know Hydor makes sponge filters for larger tanks, but they are quite large (bulky) and take up considerable space. The Elite dual (which I have in my 20g and 29g tanks) says it is up to 30g, but this is probably thinking "basic" tanks with no live plants. You can dispense with any filter in a well-planted tank that is moderately stocked, though I prefer some water movement for various reasons.

On the air pump, the Elite series is what I have, and currently I am running 3 tanks (2 dual-sponge and one single) with an Elite 801. It is rated for up to 4 airstones in tanks under a certain height (can't remember exactly). If you may want 4 filters, I would go up to the next larger pump. The existing one can be your backup. I don't know the rating for the Whisper, but they probably come in sizes too.


dmower 05-21-2011 10:41 PM

Thanks for the info, I noticed the Elite 801 is rated for a 15-20 gallon tank, where the whisper I plan on getting is rated for up to 60 gallons so I think it should be sufficient for the number of sponges I plan on running.

I'll definitely be buying a second pump for backup, and the air control valve I'm getting has built in siphon protection so I should be covered there as well.

Now I just need to figure out what plants and substrate to go with and start building :)

Byron 05-22-2011 11:55 AM

Just noticed I forgot to welcome you to the forum. Glad you joined us. I see you are in Oregon, so your tap water will probably be well suited for a natural planted tank. We along the Pacific Northwest and SW BC have water perfect for soft water fish and plants.

dmower 05-22-2011 01:49 PM

Yeah, the water parameters straight out of the tap here are spot on for most tropical fish, besides of course the tiny bit of chlorine :)

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