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Since I've come back to the hobby things have changed so much I'm a newbie. So I'm asking what may be a stupid question. I have a sponge filter (Hydro II) that will go into my 10 g QT in my cycled (5 months old) 29 g community tank to cycle the filter, after reading the QT sticky I think the sponge filter should be running with air. Right?
 

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Yes, either or, most use air as the flow is gentler which most fish prefer.

Sponge filters still work great, even today. Don't buy into the hype that you need these monstrous HOBs. Of course, live plants are always better :)
 

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Yes, either or, most use air as the flow is gentler which most fish prefer.

Sponge filters still work great, even today. Don't buy into the hype that you need these monstrous HOBs. Of course, live plants are always better :)
Live plants + Sponge filter = awesome
 

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I *think* I've read 40 gallons? Anything larger and I'd rather use a canister. I currently have a HOB on my 75 gallon. I'm ditching that annoying piece of crap for a canister.
 

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Yes, they can work in any size tank, but as you get larger you would need more than one and it would cause some odd flow patterns for the water and lots of noise.

With a canister you can get even water flow in a left to right direction (or right to left) to simulate a slow moving river. They are also far quieter, and for that reason alone I'd use a canister on anything 40g or higher. I really, really, do not like the noise air pumps make!

As a side note with live plants, there is the argument that will never be settled on if in a natural setup (no CO2 injection) that surface disturbance will affect the scarce levels of CO2 available for the plants. But lots of people use them (myself included) on small tanks with no ill effects so /shrug
 

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Yes, they can work in any size tank, but as you get larger you would need more than one and it would cause some odd flow patterns for the water and lots of noise.

With a canister you can get even water flow in a left to right direction (or right to left) to simulate a slow moving river. They are also far quieter, and for that reason alone I'd use a canister on anything 40g or higher. I really, really, do not like the noise air pumps make!
You can set it up to provide flow on one side and less on the other this way as well. Definitely quieter than air.

As a side note with live plants, there is the argument that will never be settled on if in a natural setup (no CO2 injection) that surface disturbance will affect the scarce levels of CO2 available for the plants. But lots of people use them (myself included) on small tanks with no ill effects so /shrug
If CO2 is stable in the just water, bubbling or surface agitation cannot raise or lower the concentration, that is the equilibrium level based on air / water exchange.

Add only plants that use up CO2, bubbling or agitating can only replenish the CO2 back to the equilibrium.

Add only fish and decaying material that will add CO2, bubbling and agitation can only reduce the CO2 down to the equilibrium.

Add both fish, plants, decaying material and bubbling and surface agitation and the only place that the CO2 can end up is back at equilibrium.

As long as the plants are good with that balanced level of CO2 it cannot be hurt to disturb the surface at all.

Jeff.
 

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TBH people, most powerheads are just as silent as a canister. I use a single sponge on a 40B planted and would see no issue with doing larger tanks. I also have some canisters that I do like a lot, but sponges are IMO the next best thing when you can't afford a canister. They would also be the best option for a fry or juvie tank were you need good filtration but with low flow and suction, which a canister can't really dol. Good quality power heads also have a very long lifespan. I have two penguin 550s that are easily 10 years old and still in use.
 
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