Question Best Sponge Filter For Mechanical Filtration??


New Member
Reaction score
I recently just switched from HOB filters to a sponge filter designed for my tank size (20 gallons). The one I am currently using was recommended to me by my LFS. It is a Chinese brand and I honestly cannot remember the name of it. As far as biological filtration, it is great. But for mechanical filtration, it is less to be desired. The suction is so gentle that even the smallest of waste particles don't suck up at times. My tank after only a few days after a water change has tons of white particles resting on the ground and in the water column. I have four full grown platies so waste is a huuuuge issue. Is there a brand of sponge filter that you use that is great with mechanical filtration?? Or should I possibly up my sponge to one that is designed for larger tanks?? I am aware that sponge filters are not necessarily designed to be super effective with mech filtration as power filters are, but I really love using a sponge filter. Thanks in advance!


Valued Member
Reaction score
New Orleans, LA
More than 10 years
The absolute gold standard ...

I filtered a 133 gallon goldfish tank with one of these at one time ... powered by a REALLY big air pump and three of their jet-lifters.

EDIT: They also make EXCELLENT foam blocks and sheets of different porosity that can be cut any way you want and stuffed into HOB's, Canisters, or what-have-you.


Well Known Member
Reaction score
South Texas
1 year
It's not so much the brand of sponge filter, but the flow generated by either the lift tube via an airline/airstone or from a power head.

More flow, more filtration.

Also, how a brand rates their filter according to tank size is 100% arbitrary and not backed by any standard or validated testing. This includes canister filters and HOB's as well.

@Thor555 suggestion of swisstropicals filters is an excellent choice indeed.

Their method of creating water flow through the lift tube is not generated by an air stone, but from their Jetlifter tubes.

For a given volume of air going in, you get 3-4x the volume of water being drawn through the lift tube.

Also their foam sponge material is imported from Germany.

They are at the top tier for sponge filters.

Besides Swisstropicals, also consider ATI's Hydro Sponge and Hydro Sponge "Pro" filters. They are made in American, and their parts are all interchangeable and modular.

They can be stacked on top of each other also.

You can also place a pair of sponge filters in the back corners and place a power head onto top of the lift tube, without using an air line.

The power head will give you a known gph flow for whatever it's spec'd for.

Their regular Hydro Sponges use fine foam sponge, around 40-45ppi.

Their "Pro" models have a coarse sponge for higher flow rates.

You can stack their fine sponge filter on top of their Pro coarse filter and top it off with a Powerhead.

Check out and

All 3 have the best selection of ATI products and best prices. Amazon has a pathetic selection of ATI filters and parts and prices are a lot more.
Toggle Sidebar

Water Change Frequency?

  • Daily

    Votes: 1 1.3%
  • Weekly

    Votes: 53 67.9%
  • Every Two Weeks

    Votes: 10 12.8%
  • Monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • As Needed (from test kit results or based on knowing your tank)

    Votes: 14 17.9%

Top Bottom