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bentz69 07-27-2011 08:08 AM

Do I need a sponge in my HOB?
Everyday im learning something new here. I have 2 HOB aqueon filters with carbon inserts on my tank. Im reading that many people dont even use carbon filters but rather just a sponge material b.c it acts as the bio filter as well. Something like that?

If you check aqueon's website ( Aqueon Aqueon QuietFlow? Power Filter | Products ) in regards to their filters, it says the "bio-holster" (which is just a plastic grid/case that holds the carbon cartridge) removes ammonia and nitrites. Im assuming that means that the bacteria builds up on the plastic grid. Can this beneficial bacterial form on plastic like that?

I was wondering if I could put some sort of a sponge material in the lower part of the HOB filter right before the carbon insert to act as the bio filter. Good idea or no? If yes, then what material should be used? Ive read that a simple dish sponge can be used :shock:

Ive also read good things about AquaClear BioMax Filter Inserts.

Calmwaters 07-27-2011 08:34 AM

I do not run carbon in my tanks because I have real plants. I use the filter floss media that comes in a big bag and looks kind of like pillow stuffing in the HOB that are on my 55 gallon, 44 gallon and in two internal filters in my 20 gallon long that I have it works well and is cheap I paid about $6.00 for the big bag I have and still have plenty left over.

bigehugedome 07-27-2011 08:38 AM

I use this from Petsmart on my HOB, except on the package, mine says bonded filter media, so it may be a little different. I do as you say and just cut the filter to the size of the plastic holder. I actually have 2 pads in there. I clean them with the water I remove from the tank to remove debris, but if one gets really bad i can switch it with a new piece without loosing all the bacteria:

Marineland® Rite-Size Filter Pads - Filter Media - Fish - PetSmart

Carbon will remove tannin, and medicine, but also removes some plant nutrients, which is why most people only use it when needed in planted tanks.

Bacteria forms on all surfaces. Check this link out:

bentz69 07-27-2011 09:10 AM

Ok so lets ditch the carbon and save some money. Although I purchased a 3 pack of carbon filters when I bought my tank...whoops. Ill use up the carbon now and then switch over to your suggestions.

I thought a sponge filter was not supposed to be discarded but rather just rinsed off with old tank water when it got dirty?

bigehugedome 07-27-2011 09:19 AM

I only replace if they are really really bad, for instance, the filter floss in my canister falls apart after a while
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AbbeysDad 07-27-2011 09:28 AM

The bio-holster for the filter cartridge and the wet dry bio-grid on the Aqueon QuietFlow will provide surfaces for beneficial bacteria. I personally think that bio-ceramics like bio-max and Matrix are better, but what you have likely works and I'm not sure that changing to a sponge in this filter would necessarily be better... and how would you know??? But you could try it~
IMHO, a typical kitchen sponge may not be a good choice in a filter - most filter sponges are more open cell types than you have with most kitchen sponges.
It is a general consensus here that carbon has it's use when removing medicines or tannins, but otherwise is short lived and not typically required.

Calmwaters 07-27-2011 09:46 AM

I agree the sponges only get replaced when they are comeing apart also wanted to add I would not suggest a kitchen sponge as some of them have chemicals that may harm your fish.

TwinDad 07-27-2011 10:30 AM

There will come a point when you have to replace the sponge. They are not permanent.

I have a power 20 and do what the others do, buy the big bag from Petsmart and put it in there. I've also bought the sponge for the Aquaclear 50 and put it in the same place. I think the sponge cleans better, but the filter floss is easier.

I also put some of the fluval bio media under the sponge it fits nice under the sponge.

SinCrisis 07-27-2011 11:56 AM

Some more specialized LFS will carry foam blocks. You can cut them to the sizes you need. It saves some money. However, one of the most important parts of using a sponge is the mechanical filtration aspect of it which affects the flow of the water. If you are just looking for biological filtration, you can buy ceramic rings, as someone suggested, and put it in a nylon mesh bag. The ceramic media is extremely porous and offer huge amounts of surface area for bacteria and will do an excellent job of giving you added biological filtration without slowing down your flow rates.

AbbeysDad 07-27-2011 12:43 PM

You 'could' replace the cartridge with the appropriate sized foam block, but that filter does not have the capacity for ceramic bio-media. So a foam block could work and with some extra cleaning servicing might save a few dollar$ over the cost of cartridges, but I wouldn't expect a huge difference in mechanical or bio-filtration.

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