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SomeDudeAtHome 12-09-2011 01:04 PM

Need help with sponge filter
Alright, so some of you may have read my other threads where I'm trying to find the best way to filter my 5g tank. I bought an elite sponge filter but it's going crazy now that it's hooked up. The bubbles come out of it are big and making a popping sound when they reach the surface shaking it. The water in the tank isn't rocking or anything it's just where it's coming out. I have an air pump rated for 10g hooked up to it. Too small? I tried a 5g air pump and it was worse. I just want this stupid tank to be peaceful haha. Any help or anything someone can think of is really appreciated right now.

Only One Haze 12-09-2011 01:08 PM

Do you have the pump straight into the filter? You should get a gang valve with at least one more outlet than you need. Take a piece of tubing, just a few inches and attach an air stone to it. Attach that to the gang valve and use it as a bleeder. Adjust the flow going through the air stone and the rest will go through the filter.

SomeDudeAtHome 12-09-2011 01:10 PM

I do have the on there right now actually. Even with a reduced amount of air there are still a lot of popping bubbles at the top. still too much air then you think?

Only One Haze 12-09-2011 01:17 PM

Hmm, where do you have the output located in relation to the waterline. Should be just below, or even partly out of water.

How many valves on your gang valve? If you have yet another open spot maybe another air stone bleeder to lessen it even more?

SomeDudeAtHome 12-09-2011 01:27 PM

The output is about 3/4 in 1/4 out of the water. I thiiiiiink I've got it just right though. We'll see haha. It was too much air for sure. I opened the valve with the airstone just about all the way and only opened the one with the filter a turn or so. Just a little too tight or too loose though sends everything crazy though. Thanks for your help I REALLY appreciate it.

Only One Haze 12-09-2011 01:43 PM

Oh no problem. I have just finished setting up my first sponge (Elite double filter) and yes they can be tricky to get the balance just right, but once you get it dialed in it should stay that way.

SomeDudeAtHome 12-09-2011 03:11 PM

Alright so there's a new problem now. I'm not sure if there's enough oxygen in the water now. A couple of my otos and pygmy cories are showing rapid gill movement. They're moving around the tank looking for food and things but when they sit for a minute they're gills are still going crazy. This mean not enough oxygen or is it normal? I don't remember it happening before.

So have another question. Is there any way to make the filter quieter? The bubbles at the top are still pretty loud even though it's more controlled. Can I dial back the air some? Also how can I tell that there's enough current and water movement throughout the entire tank? Don't wanna make too much but don't want there to be dead spots in the water either.

kangy 12-09-2011 04:35 PM

I also just setup my first sponge filter Wednesday night, took some fiddling to get it right, had (and to a point still have) the same questions and concerns as you.

I also got the Hagen Elite (mine is the double) and setup the same as you with the exhaust about 50/50 in/out of the water. The hardest part was getting the flow correctly. From Byron's advice and my trial and error you only want a small steady stream of bubbles. Just fast enough so you don't see the shape of the bubble. Should result in a nice trickle of bubbles from the exhaust and looking at the tube a fine steady stream. I actually extended the exhause above the water and tested how fast it filled up a cup with different flow rates, the filter actually pushes more water with the least amount of air flow, just enough to operate the filter. Any higher and the air was taking up "too much space" and simply sputtering and spraying the water.

The Cory's if starved for oxygen will dart to the surface for a supplemental gulp of air. How long has your tank been setup? Is it planted? The gasping could be a water quality issue. I have mine planted now so pretty sure there is plenty of oxygen, the fish have actually been 100 times happier and more active with the calm water vs. my old HOB.

I don't have a bleeder stone on mine, I just took a foot of extra tube and routed it into my water change bucket surrounded my a towell (my drop cloth) to muffle the sound, it is nearly silent. You have to get right up to the tank to even hear the exhaust from the sponge filter. The old mantra of "a little bit goes along way" really holds true on those sponge filters.

SomeDudeAtHome 12-09-2011 08:27 PM

Thank you that was very helpful. The experiment you did with the cup is very interesting. That's something I could kind of tell by looking at the size of the bubbles and the amount coming out but never would have though to do that nor would have actually believed myself without you telling me haha.

In the tank with the Cories there are a lot of plants. about 6 Pygmy Chain Swords, 4 or 5 Vesuvius Swords, 2 Anubius nana, Java Moss, Moss ball, and lots of floating watersprite pennywort and duckweed. There are so many floating plants that the water on the other side of the tank from the output doesn't really move much at all. That's where my concern amount the dead spots came from. I can always thin out the plants though but the fish seem to like them a lot. The tank has also been established for almost a year and probably 2-3 months with the cories in it. I don't see them or the Otos swimming to the top for air other than the occasional gulp which is normal. Was just wondering if they normally move their gills that much since this is my first time with any cory or otos.

I also installed the same filter on my 10g which was having the same problems but doing much better now. I left the HOB on it for now until the bacteria develops so hopefully the current of the two doesn't bother the fish. In that tank is a lot of Crypts, dwarf sag, java fern and some swords with only their roots in the water and stems out.

kangy 12-09-2011 08:43 PM

I was so nervous to remove my old HOB in fear of removing the bacteria. Byron helped ease that a lot and I did a lot of reading on it. The filter actually only holds a small amount of the bacteria in the tank, most of it is in the substrate, on the plants, decor, etc. Especially with live plants you won't have an Ammonia issue, the plants will suck it up before the bacteria even has a chance. I would just yank the HOB off of there, I left my Bio-Wheels in suctioned next to the sponge for a couple days but then said screw it and pulled them out. No change to water quality at all, actually nitrates reduced a very small amount. I have a 29g with 8 Rasbora, 5 Tetra, 3 Emerald Cory, and 3 Giant Danio if that helps give you a picture of the stocking level. As I've learned quickly from the kind members here "Plants are natures filters" let them do their job.

About the Cory's if you have recently been making changes, sloshing your hands around, etc it could just be stressed. I am horrible with fish illness and diagnosis though (I'm really focused on learning the plant aspect right now) so I'm probably not the one to get advice from on the rapid breathing, I would lean towards stress from the recent changes, keep your eye on them. As mentioned above my fishes (especially the Cory's) have been 100 times more active and exploratory since going with the sponge.

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