Filter Sponges - To Freeze Or Not To Freeze, That Is The Question

pagoda

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I am looking for opinions & experiences here to see if others have tried freezing and re-using filter sponges and what results they have had in doing so

I have done this a few times and usually had really good results. I get an oversized filter sponge, run it in a matured aquarium filter for a week to 10 days, remove the sponge, cut it in half, put one half back into the aquarium filter and the other half place into a sandwich bag or similar (without squeezing anything from the sponge) and store it in the freezer.

Then when servicing the filter thaw it out and swap the sponges over. The old sponge is gently rinsed and then put into a clean bag then the freezer ready for the next time you service the filter.

I have also done this to decrease the cycle time in a new aquarium by using the freshly thawed out sponge in a new aquarium filter. With the sponge being fast frozen only a tiny percentage for the good stuff in the sponge is lost so it gives a kickstart in the cycling processes. Anything unwanted such as snail eggs in the sponge don't survive the process but the good bacteria does.

Anyone else tried it successfully or not?
 
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pagoda

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As long as you fast freeze the sponge, the loss of the good stuff is very very small

I have compared totally fresh unused sponges and thawed sponges in aquariums and the fast frozen/thawed sponges do reduce cycling time

But that is just my own experience when experimenting.......keeping used/matured sponges bagged and in the fridge also seems to work quite well too
 

david1978

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pagoda said:
As long as you fast freeze the sponge, the loss of the good stuff is very very small

I have compared totally fresh unused sponges and thawed sponges in aquariums and the fast frozen/thawed sponges do reduce cycling time

But that is just my own experience when experimenting.......keeping used/matured sponges bagged and in the fridge also seems to work quite well too
You could keep them in a sandwich bag for a month and they would only go dormant. No freezing or refrigeration needed.
 

JayH

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I can't speak to the bacterial aspect but I'm pretty sure that will greatly reduce the service life of the sponge. The water will expand when it freezes and create small tears in the structure of the sponge. I most certainly wouldn't do this if I was buying high quality sponges.
 

Pescado_Verde

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david1978 said:
You could keep them in a sandwich bag for a month and they would only go dormant. No freezing or refrigeration needed.
Yep. Freezing on the other hand will kill them dead. There's plenty of scholarly studies available on the internet with this information and I have yet to find anyone who has experimented with this sort of thing who has found that the bacteria will survive freezing in any significant numbers. As long as they can stay wet they can go without fuel, aka ammonia, for very long periods. But freezing kills 'em. Real dead.
 

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