Carbon vs. sponges

Tetratamer

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Fish Department worker at LCF
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Do you know of and understand the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
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55 gallon
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Jack Dempsey, Salvini, Green Terror, Green Phantom Pleco
Aquarium Start Date
February 2019
Ammonia
0 ppm
Nitrite
0 ppm
Nitrate
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78F
pH
8
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Fulval Sky
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7.5
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Freshwater Planted Tank
Tank #2 Fish, Plants, Inverts, etc.
Red Cherry Shrimp, Neon Tetras, Jave Fern, Anubia nana, Cryptocoryne wendtii, moss ball
Tank #2 Start Date
March 4, 2021
Tank #2 pH
8.0
Tank #2 Filter Type
Aqueon 10 quietflow
Hey all. I have been reading a lot about modifying HOB filters from using carbon to using sponges, I was wondering why? I get that there is more filtering space happening. But I’m confused why would you not want the chemical filtration of the carbon. Can you really get clear water with only sponges?
Any information will be helpful as I am considering changing over to sponges.
 
Solution
Tetratamer , ive got a 55g that is overstocked with African cichlids. It's water is crystal clear and I have zero carbon, Purigen or any other chemical filtration.

My Aquaclear has only stacked layers of foams, and 3 of the 4 trays in my canister filter is layered with foam sponges.

Salem

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Artist
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3 years
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20gal long
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1 Nerite, 3 Black Devil Snails
Cardamine Lyrata, Amazon Sword, Hornwort, Duckweed, Salvinia Minima, Pothos.
Aquarium Start Date
October 2018
Aquarium Filter Type
Sponge
Aquarium #2 Size
10
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Freshwater Planted Tank
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So many ramshorns
Tank #2 Start Date
April 2021
Carbon really only is needed if youre trying to remove something like a medication from the water. Additionally carbon needs to be replaced every month because after that it will just leech everything back out. Meanwhile sponges really don't need to be replaced unless theyre literally falling apart and can hold a lot of bacteria.
 

BigManAquatics

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1 Rosetail betta, 1 Tiger nerite snail
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August 2018
Temperature
80F
Aquarium Filter Type
Sponge
Aquarium #2 Size
10 gallon
Tank #2 Type
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1 Veiltail betta, 1 Tiger nerite snail
Tank #2 Start Date
October 2018
Tank #2 Temperature
80F
Tank #2 Filter Type
Sponge
Aquarium #3 Size
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1 Veiltail betta, 1 Tiger nerite snail
Tank #3 Start Date
September 2020
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I never use carbon in my filters unless i have meds in the water to take out. What i keep in my HOB instead is filter floss, polyfiber and a sponge. The floss and polyfiber do a great job keeping the water clean.
 

StinkyLoaf

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I prefer sponges. You can’t add meds (and maybe ferts too but I’m not sure) to the tank if there’s carbon in the filter. Sponge is less messy too and does it’s job better.
 

Basil

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40 b
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3 golden diamond barbs
8 cherry barbs
9 Dadios
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Java fern
Aquarium Start Date
November 2019
Ammonia
0-0.25
Nitrite
0
Nitrate
10
Temperature
75-76
pH
7.4
Lighting
Finnex planted 24/7
Aquarium Filter Type
Fluval 307 and sponge filter
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40 g
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Italian vals
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0-0.25 <0.2 with Seachem ammonia alert
Tank #2 Nitrite
O
Tank #2 Nitrate
10
Tank #2 Temperature
77-78 F
Tank #2 pH
7.4
Tank #2 Lighting
Finnex planted 24/7 cc
Tank #2 Filter Type
Marineland Emperor 400 and 40 g sponge filter
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75g
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Freshwater Planted Tank
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Java fern on driftwood, Crypt balansae, crypt willisi, crypt wendti
Italian Vals
Red tiger lotus
Dwarf sag
Duckweed


18 Tiger barbs
6 Queen loaches
1 flying fox
Tank #3 Start Date
May 2018
Tank #3 Ammonia
0-0.25
Tank #3 Nitrite
O
Tank #3 Nitrate
10
Tank #3 Temperature
77.5-78
Tank #3 pH
7.4
Tank #3 Lighting
Finned 24/7 planted cc
Tank #3 Filter Type
Fluval 406 and sponge filter
Yes, you can have crystal clear water with no carbon. I’ve also replaced the carbon with filter floss in my filters.
And I have two lightly stocked tanks that only run a sponge filter. No issues with clarity.
 

StarGirl

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Sponge is just way easier than carbon. You dont have to change it and it holds more beneficial bacteria. Every time you change the carbon you throw out bb. With a sponge you just squeeze it out in tank water and you are good to go. The bb stays where it is. I agree you only need carbon to take out meds or smell.
 

Donthemon

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Islandvic

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Assorted community fish, African and CA/SA cichlids
Tetratamer , ive got a 55g that is overstocked with African cichlids. It's water is crystal clear and I have zero carbon, Purigen or any other chemical filtration.

My Aquaclear has only stacked layers of foams, and 3 of the 4 trays in my canister filter is layered with foam sponges.
 
Solution

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