5 Gallon Tank HOB or corner sponge filter?

Shannon529

I currently have Amazon.com : FORZA Hang-on Back Power Filters, 5 - 15 : Pet Supplies as my HOB for one of my 5 gallon tanks, but was wondering if I should go back to a corner sponge filter. Occupants are chili rasbora and a betta.

*Note* In case this turns into a HOB vs Sponge filter debate, please be respectful. We are all here because we love the hobby and are here for/to give advice. Opinions are opinions, experiences differ, just be kind. I personally don't have a preference (other than I like the HOB so I have more room for decorations and I feel like water quality might be better) but am curious what others have better success with for such a small tank.

I do plan on redoing the hardscape. It's currently a little "tree" of manzanita, with java moss "leaves", with 5 LB Bags - Brightwell Shrimp/Plant Soil - Black (Rio Escuro) as substrate, with a few pebbles covered in java moss as well. I would like to have enough room to have a centerpiece rock, maybe some driftwood, and some plants around it, with POSSIBLY Amazon.com : AquaNatural Gold Pearl 10lb Gravel Substrate for Aquariums, terrariums and vivariums, 2-4mm : Pet Supplies as substrate (if not that kind, depending on reviews for it, then another kind of natural looking gravel), along with some sand and few bigger pebbles. In case that makes a difference to what people think would be a better choice.

Thank you for your time!
 

Dillan Murphy

Why not go with both. I don't think sponge filters are powerful to be used alone but that's just me.
 
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Fisch

I am biased towards the sponge filter, just don't trust the HOB.
Betta never complained, had a good airpump and was moving water nicely without stressing the Betta.
Past tense as he is now in a 20gl with a Matten Filter.
 
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Shannon529

I am biased towards the sponge filter, just don't trust the HOB.
Betta never complained, had a good airpump and was moving water nicely without stressing the Betta.
Past tense as he is now in a 20gl with a Matten Filter.
I normally don't go lower than a 10 gal for my bettas, but living in an apartment that limits the size. I envy you! I'm so used to having at least a 75 (but not with sponge lol). Thank you for your input!!!
Why not go with both. I don't think sponge filters are powerful to be used alone but that's just me.
Yeah, that's another reason I kind of prefer to maybe just keep using the HOB. Just more filtration (at least from what I know, which isn't much lol)
 
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JeremyW

It sounds like a sponge filter is not the best solution for your setup. 5 gallon tanks aren't very big, and you'll want plenty of space for your hardscape and plants. I think a sponge filter will just be in the way. I wouldn't waste the space on it.

I'm personally not a fan of sponge filters. They're quite trendy at the moment, but they're not for me. I think that they perform their function quite well. But I just hate the look of them. Why would I waste premium tank real estate on mechanical equipment that I can hide outside of the tank?

I can see the practical appeal of them in a fishroom with a lot of tanks. Sponge filters are more cost effective at scale. But I'm not at that scale... yet.
 
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BigManAquatics

How is the betta handling the flow of the HOB in the 5 gallon? Most of my bettas didn't handle it well so i switched to sponge filters only for bettas.

Use them in conjunction with HOBs in most of my bigger tanks as well.
 
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Shannon529

How is the betta handling the flow of the HOB in the 5 gallon? Most of my bettas didn't handle it well so i switched to sponge filters only for bettas.

Use them in conjunction with HOBs in most of my bigger tanks as well.
The chili rasbora and the betta (and shrimp) handle the flow fine. However.. it barely works. Like the water from the filter trickles. I THINK I know how to fix it (it says you can change the flow, but I think I was trying to use the wrong thing-saw a picture of same style filter today at petstore so I think I know where the right switch is so it's more flow, but not too strong). It's JUST enough so the surface isn't scuzzy. I think, with changing the flow on hob, I'm going to try that first. But, I have an old sponge filter (and a new one, soaking in a different established tank) just in case. Ideally I'd like to stay with the HOB on this tank, but I might be able to hide the new sponge filter I got behind my hardscape (bought one that isn't a corner one this time, since I've heard they work better when not shoved in corner).
 
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nanoist

I think the suction cup sponge filter types can be a healthy medium. They stick on the glass, freeing up floor space. Hygger has some good ones on Amazon. Not as ideal as a HOB but nonetheless not as obtrusive. I have a 6gal cube with a Hikari mini corner sponge filter and it’s not as in the way as you’d expect. I personally love the bubbles and minor surface agitation they give. Makes the tank feel like it moves.
 
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barbiespoodle

I'm going to speak as an old lady who has been in this hobby for over 50 years.

It was only recently I rediscovered that the old ways, aka, sponge filters, have been around this long for a recent.

Now only my 55 gallon has hob filters along with sponge filters for the simple reason, it's overstocked. All my other tanks are solely sponge filters.

First bonus of sponge filters. After the set up cost of buying the filter and air pump, they are cheaper to run. I have the same sponge filters in my first venture into them for 3 years now and it's just a matter of rinsing out the sponge from time to time. No expensive premade hob filter cartridge to replace and they use the same amount electricity as a hob filter.

Second bonus, they are beneficial bacteria magnets thus adding to the health of the tank.

Third bonus, in my case, they are the main food for fry and baby shrimp, they are forever grazing on them.

Downsides, they do make more of an impact as far as the decor of the tank, hob's just have a tube, sponge filters stand out more. Also from time to time I find more particulates in the water than I like. Not often, but I'll put on one of my many spare hob filters to clear up the water, usually takes a day and again, not often, most of the time my water is crystal clear with just sponge filters. Personally I either hide the sponge filters behind plants or rocks, or just plain don't see them as I watch my tanks, and in the case of my shrimp tanks, the sponge filters is where I'm able to see the baby shrimp and keep track of the breeding.

In my 5 gallon betta/shrimp tank, I use a corner sponge filter. Since Oy has particularly long fins, I have no worry about them getting caught in the uptake of a hob filter and again, the shrimp graze on the bb on the sponge filter. Oy even likes to use the top of the sponge filter to rest on.
 
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Mhamilton0911

I'm on team HOB. There are several types that have adjustable flow, and then I add an intake sponge to the intake and also outflow so it doesn't push too hard. I have tried several types of sponge filters, and found them to be OK, but still needing a bit more mechanical filtration. Sponge filter only tanks build up more mulm on everything, in my experience anyways.
 
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RayClem

A 5 gallon tank is minimum size for a betta. If you use a sponge filter, you will be taking up space that could be occupied by the betta.

That being said, I am a fan of using two filters in every tank. Thus, I would suggest using a HOB filter rated for a 10 gallon tank plus the smallest sponge filter you can buy.
 
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