I understand that you want first hand experience however, I have heard from people who have had them that while they work, they like sponge filters better.
1. Sponges are way less space taken up.
2. The matten filter is basically a giant sponge filter but is much more difficult to maintain.
3. They cost more.
The pros I've heard are,
1. it can go much longer before cleaning is needed.
2. You can hide heaters and other things behind them.
In my opinion, I would probably stick with a regular sponge filter except if I wanted to specifically experiment with a matten.
I think I (personally) do want to experiment with it someday, but those cons turn me of the idea as far as being better than a hob or sponge.
Also, I have a sponge filter as a backup for my two HOBs (two HOBs for backup lol)
The sponge filter really gets a lot of stuff out of the water, and if the electricity goes out, there is already oxegen in the tank, and it will work immediately once the power is back on.
Hope that helps
Edit: having read the article, he is totally wrong on a sponge filter not working on anything bigger than 54litre tanks. I have seen two or three medium (6x6inch) sponges on established 150gallon Oscar tanks that do fine. If you want to see it, go to primetime aquatics on YouTube and look for filters
However, it is a good article and does go over good points.....now I want to build one....
Very good info and a great place to start your researching. I have recently bought a piece of the 3” 30ppi poret foam and two 8” jetlifters from this place for a 40breeder shrimp tank. I now wish I would have known about this and ordered one of there filters for my 75gal. when I set it up.
I have a mattenfilter setup in my sump. I bought the Poret foam from Swiss tropicals. 2 3"blocks in a sump as the sump baffles..
- low maintenance. I haven't cleaned them in almost 2 years. I have mostly tetras, gourami, and cories (and some german blue rams) in a 55 gallon planted tank . The sump is "overkill" but nice to have. With messier fish you would have to "squeeze out" the gunk more often . I haven't once yet, though I probably should. I do siphon out mulm that collects on bottom of sump, during water changes if I feel like it.
- low cost. Time is money. I clean the return pump once a year, and haven't cleaned the foam blocks yet in almost 2 years. That beats weekly HOB and sponge maintenance from a time is money perspective. I think the foam pays for itself this way. I have replaced the sponge prefilters on my HOB multiple times now on my other tanks.
- hides equipment.
. So easy to set up. Really. Especially a traditional mattenfilter with jetlifter tube. You can see why breeders use these in their fishrooms
- if you have extremely dirty fish then you may want some kind of mechanical filtration in the tank. Easy to do in a sump, or by adding a separate powerheads or HOB for water polishing. If you have a corner mattenfilter then this may be a pain to remove. That said ,you would likely be doing this every six months , if not longer , so still seems good to me. If you are smart, you will use a mesh to keep the substrate in place when removing foam blocks
. If you are overly concerned about dissolved organic compounds in your water then the thought of (almost) never cleaning a Poret foam block may terrify you. I have a fully stocked 55 gallon tank with cardinals and German blue Rams and they are fine.
Overall I am super happy with my setup. So much so that I added a 2" mattenfilter to my 10 gallon tank to divide the tank in two, guppy fry on one side 6 German blue Rams on the other. No issues. I have become a big believer in these filters, and plan on doing corner mattenfilter on future tanks that don't have sumps. (I love sumps).