Are fine sponge filters really that bad? And other questions

attheworld

I'm trying to find a sponge filter for my 10 gallon, heavily planted betta tank, and I'd like a coarse one but I can't find any locally. I think fine sponge filters would clog too easily but I haven't any experience with them so I've decided to ask FishLore. For those who have fine sponge filters, do they clog too quickly for you or can you live with it? Do you need to replace it after a while because it's too clogged or can you clean it easily/still use it efficiently?

Secondly, for those who run sponge filters in their tanks, is there an optimum place to put them in the tank, or can I just hide it away in the corner? Do you find you have a lot of dead spots?

The last thing I'd like to mention is I live in Canada, and aquarium co-op does not ship here, so I can't order their sponge filter. Otherwise I would've a long time ago.

TIA,
- Att.
 

BigManAquatics

I always put mine in the corners, but i also always run 2 of them so i always have a cycled filter to go in another tank if the need arises. As far as clogging, i typically only clean mine once a month and haven't had an issue.
 
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ChrissFishes01

I don't think they're too bad. I do prefer the coarse sponges but I've never really had many problems with fine ones, either.

There are some people who claim shrimplets and fry will get into the pores in coarser sponges and be crushed whenever you clean the sponge. I, personally, think that's a load of malarkey - but, that is one of the supposed benefits of a fine sponge. There's no chance of that happening, at least.

As far as placement, I just kinda toss it in wherever it looks decent. It's in the center of my 20 long, in the corner of my 5.5, center-right in my 36, center-right in my 10, etc...
 
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LHAquatics

I have the Auqneat sponge filter and it doesn't clog. I clean it weekly so I guess that is why.
 
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Fisch

Sponges will tell you when they are clogged.
If you include the sponge in your regular maintenance schedule, you will get a long life out of your sponge, coarse or not. They both fulfill their purpose.
With a good airpump it does not make such a big difference where you place the sponge. I myself stack two sponges to have them available should the need arise.
 
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peachsonas

My sponge filter is pointed at one end, so I'm guessing they designed it with corners in mind. The one I have is the Hikari Mini Bacto-Surge sponge filter. It doesn't come with the pump, stone or airline tubing. When I notice mine getting visibly gross, I just squeeze it out into some old tank water from my water change. Never completely rinse it out in tap water.

Since you have a betta, get an airstone to put inside of your sponge filter. It makes the bubbles smaller and reduces the current!
 
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John58ford

When I use finer sponge filters I usually just oversize and expect it to under perform. I have a dual fine sponge unit intended for a 20 gallon in my 6 gallon cylinder and it does just fine a few years later. That filter was a "too good of a deal to pass up" type thing.
 
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attheworld

I appreciate all the replies. I may pick up a used 5 x 5'' fine sponge filter off of facebook marketplace, with the airstone included. I have airline tubing, so all I'd need is a check valve and an air pump, to my knowledge. There are Tetra whisper, Fluval and Marina air pumps at my LFS. Which do you think I should go with?

Edit: In addition to brand, do you think I should go oversize and use an air pump rated for 20 gallons, or purchase the cheaper 10 gallon pump?
 
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richiep

Your better off with a fine sponge ,the course one only let the fine stuff back into the tank until large particles clog it up, as for the coment about shrimp being cought in course as malarkey, take it from someone who's knows shrimplets do get cought up in coarse sponge and are still in there when you wash them, why do you think shrimpers use stocking over course filters
 
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Islandvic

Depending on the brand, many times you can stack a fine sponge filter on top of a coarse one.

I've used both fine and coarse foam sponge filters. For something like your 10g betta tank, a fine sponge filter will be perfectly fine in my opinion.

Regarding air pump, buy the largest you can afford. Their ratings by tank size is arbitrary and more of a marketing ploy so they can offer different models. Most brands will post on their website how much air they pump, usually in liters per minute (lpm).

If you get an air pump that is "rated for a 40g" for example and run a "T" fitting inline on the air tubing with a valve on the T'd end. Open the valve to let excess air come out so it doesn't overpower the 10g.

Also, a trick you can use so air bubbles dont splash on the lid or out of the tank is to thread the air line tubing through a plastic lid from a disposable drink cup. Run the airline where the straw goes and place the plastic lid right at the water line. As air bubbles rise and pop at the surface, the plastic lid disperses any splashing.

I suggester to buy the largest air pump you can afford because you may need to set up a second tank in the future. So if you get a new 5, 10, or 20g for example, the original air pump can run both your tanks.
 
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attheworld

Regarding air pump, buy the largest you can afford. Their ratings by tank size is arbitrary and more of a marketing ploy so they can offer different models. Most brands will post on their website how much air they pump, usually in liters per minute (lpm).

If you get an air pump that is "rated for a 40g" for example and run a "T" fitting inline on the air tubing with a valve on the T'd end. Open the valve to let excess air come out so it doesn't overpower the 10g.

Also, a trick you can use so air bubbles don't splash on the lid or out of the tank is to thread the air line tubing through a plastic lid from a disposable drink cup. Run the airline where the straw goes and place the plastic lid right at the water line. As air bubbles rise and pop at the surface, the plastic lid disperses any splashing.

I suggested to buy the largest air pump you can afford because you may need to set up a second tank in the future. So if you get a new 5, 10, or 20g for example, the original air pump can run both your tanks.
I appreciate the tips, I will definitely use them. At first I was opposed to your suggestion, since it'd be much cheaper to buy a 10 gallon air pump, but long-term it's less expensive to buy a 40 and use it for two tanks than buy two 10s or a 10 & a 20. I'd rather go with a more powerful pump anyway, due to your first paragraph and my own doubts about a little 10 pump's capability.
 
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BigManAquatics

I appreciate the tips, I will definitely use them. At first I was opposed to your suggestion, since it'd be much cheaper to buy a 10 gallon air pump, but long-term it's less expensive to buy a 40 and use it for two tanks than buy two 10s or a 10 & a 20. I'd rather go with a more powerful pump anyway, due to your first paragraph and my own doubts about a little 10 pump's capability.
While i haven't had issue with the "10 gal pumps",(heck, even have one running 2 sponge filters on a 29 gal tank), i do side with the bigger mentality as well. I have one air pump says it is rated for up to 125 g or something... i mainly got that one though for its 4 air outlets. Ran my betta rack quite well with it at least.
 
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sfletch77

I have both fine and coarse sponge filters and I like both. I personally don't notice a huge difference. I kind of like how much stuff the fine sponges pickup. I usually only have to clean them once a month and I prefer to try to put them in the corners surrounded by plants. The only time I really prefer the coarse sponges are for the intake on HOBs.
 
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attheworld

While i haven't had issue with the "10 gal pumps",(heck, even have one running 2 sponge filters on a 29 gal tank), i do side with the bigger mentality as well. I have one air pump says it is rated for up to 125 g or something... i mainly got that one though for its 4 air outlets. Ran my betta rack quite well with it at least.
I may go in the middle then, for a 20 gal pump. I'm looking at a future 5 gallon tank, since I'll only be able to fit a 10 and a 5 in my bedroom anyway, so an air pump "rated" for 20 gallons would suffice for sponge filters in both tanks, if one 10g air pump can run two sponge filters.
 
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BettaLover89

My tank is completely a cherry shrimp and snail tank now. I used to have a betta but he has since passed on. Now what I can tell you from MY experience, I have a 20 gallon high planted tank and I use aquarium co-ops 20 gallon coarse sponge filter. I have never had a single shrimplete get stuck in the course filter, ever. As soon as I start moving the filter to clean it they all scatter out of it. So I can tell you for sure, that in MY tank that it's total malarkey that any of them will get caught or trapped unless YOU/I the Aquarist are doing something wrong. Now when it comes to a fine sponge filter or coarse sponge filter it's really all about preference. A fine sponge filter will definitely get more particles out of the water for a clearer tank, but will clog up faster and require more maintenance whereas a course sponge filter will get most of the stuff out of the water while leaving some small particles still floating in the column which will eventually settle but allow for longer intervals between cleaning. I always choose course It just fits my tank better. But each tank, and each Aquarist is different and it's best to experiment until you find something you like. Good luck with your search and with your tank :)
 

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ProudPapa

There are some people who claim shrimplets and fry will get into the pores in coarser sponges and be crushed whenever you clean the sponge. I, personally, think that's a load of malarkey - but, that is one of the supposed benefits of a fine sponge. There's no chance of that happening, at least.

That's not a load of malarkey, because it happens to me, and it's why I prefer the finer ones. In spite of my best efforts, few baby shrimp seem to get killed every time I clean one of the coarse sponges.
 
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BettaLover89

That's not a load of malarkey, because it happens to me, and it's why I prefer the finer ones. In spite of my best efforts, few baby shrimp seem to get killed every time I clean one of the coarse sponges.
For me, I'm not saying that it can't happen, but I'm saying that if done carefully and properly it should never happen. I have never had a single shrimplete get stuck or die in my course filter. I always take my time when pulling out my filter, and as soon as I even start lifting it up to put it in the filter bag all the shrimplets scatter away from it. Plus with a course filter a flashlight
a little awareness and patience, it's incredibly easy to see if any shrimp are left in there before you even start ringing it out to clean it. For me, it's usually user error if something like that happens.
 
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Islandvic

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