Matten Sponge Filter thoughts

aquachris

So I got matten sponge filters with a rack system I purchased of a bunch of 6 20 gallon longs... I have two tanks so far running with it and just figured I'd post some observations. Maybe someone else has used these and has ways around cons I have found.
  • [Con] They are a little louder I find than normal sponge filters. I'm guessing this has to do with the airstone and it pulling things through. I've actually never used a normal sponge filter that requires airstones to compare this to (I typically use the aquaneat double sponge filter that it is all in one). Maybe a better quality airstone?
  • [Neutral] Flow seems low - This can be a good thing too though - It seems that the flow is low, but it does seem to circulate some in the tank. Maybe this is an airstone issue?
  • [Con] Takes up a decent amount of space - beyond maybe getting a corner setup, I'm not sure theres any way around this, as that is the point of these is the large surface area.
  • [Pro] Can hide the heater behind the filter - This is a very nice feature to keep the heater out of sight and away from fish!
  • [Pro] They seem quite simple to setup and go like the aquaneats sponge filters I love.
  • [Con] They are harder though to move around AFTER things are setup in the tank (substrate falling down, fish exploring, etc).
  • [Pro] All the surface area!!! This is the part I really really am drawn to on them.
Anyhow, just thought it'd be nice to hear other's opinions. I haven't decided if I'm continuing or just doing some tanks with it, and some without. I am thinking its going to be the latter.
 

LeviS

I have 2 20 longs in storage, if i get space to set them up i will be doing a corner matter style filter.
If want a larger amount of flow then yes its a con as the flow is limited by the upflow of the air leaving the stone and will be only a gentle flow/not large amounts of circulation.
Pro: ridiculous fast maintenance, just pull the sponge, squeeze in old tank water and replace.
Pro: excellent fry setup if raising fish.
Pro: highly customizable if start from scratch. Can easily replace the con of water flow and circulation by using desired submersible pump size instead of airstone. Can also include a section for a bag of bio media.
Pro: cost of matten style filter overall and cost of a pump vs comparable canister filter flow rate.

If you have an extra tank, youtube some videos and try to make your own style the way you want it. You can use a cheap laundry basket or trash can as a frame material for the filter, less than $20 for a pump at lowes that has the flow rate of a fx6 and is adjustable, sponge material, bio media if you want. I think we get caught up in the new things that come out and want those things when in reality something as simple as a custom diy matten filter would work.
 
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aquachris

The corner style is something I might try... I have all the stuff for them, and 6 of them at that for 20 longs... I have two tanks running with them, and these are just my observations thus far. Just really not happy with the noise is probably my #1 complaint so far.

So would you just fit the pump basically at the bottom of the pvc pipe where the airstone goes now? I can see how that would work pretty decent. I see a 80gph fountain pump for $18 on lowes Interesting idea...

Wow even found these Amazon.com: VIVOSUN 2-Pack 130GPH Submersible Pump(500L/H, 6W), Ultra Quiet Water Pump with 2.6ft High Lift, Fountain Pump with 5ft Power Cord, 2 Nozzles for Fish Tank, Pond, Aquarium, Statuary, Hydroponics: Home Improvement
 
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BigManAquatics

Pardon me if this is a stupid question, but can you post a pic of a matten filter? I see the name a lot but have no clue even what they look like! At least not knowingly
 
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aquachris

Pardon me if this is a stupid question, but can you post a pic of a matten filter? I see the name a lot but have no clue even what they look like! At least not knowingly

1607205148791.png
 
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LeviS

I don't have a pic and can't grab one to post due to copyright issues but there are tons of ideas on Google and youtube, basically the pump goes at bottom and u attach pvc or other fittings that create a tube up and out near water line, the pump pulls water through filter and bio media based on your design and pumps it out the tube. Its super customizable.
 
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aquachris

I'll try to get you some more pics too of what one looks like not setup... I have a bunch in my garage.
 
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BigManAquatics

Thank you both! Probably something i won't venture into for several years, if ever!
 
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aquachris

I don't have a pic and can't grab one to post due to copyright issues but there are tons of ideas on Google and youtube, basically the pump goes at bottom and u attach pvc or other fittings that create a tube up and out near water line, the pump pulls water through filter and bio media based on your design and pumps it out the tube. Its super customizable.
LeviS I edited my post above with an amazon link - is this kinda what your talking about?
Here's the Matten Filter setup basically - Pardon the nastiness of the filter and PVC - this was used.

Hopefully anyone wondering more about them can understand a bit better. I'm still new to them myself, I am mostly desiring it for breeding as one of the major pros LeviS mentioned.


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jake37

The noise, flow, ... have to do more with your implementation than with a characteristic of the filter. I use these:
Cornerfilter Shop - SWISSTROPICALS

because I'm lazy on my 2 29 and my 40. The jetliner he sells is just a tube with little holes at the bottom. I find the flow from these very strong (if sufficient air is supplied) and fairly silent. You could make them if you were more ambitious. He claims his sponges are quite superior to most sponges (he is a reseller he doesn't make them but he is the only reseller in the united states). The 2 29 have been setup for about 18 months. The sponges do appear to need a good cleaning about once every 12 to 24 months else they do begin to clog.

The issue you raised with the substrate getting behind them if you remove the sponge is the #1 con i my opinion though one could also argue the wasted the space behind them is a big con (i'm not as sure about that as at least one my pleco frequently hides out behind the filter but then comes back to the other side frequently enough). Anyway it is what it is but it works and so far is less of a headache than a 'mechanical' filter.
 
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chromedome52

First, any noise from air running sounds like your not set up correctly. The water should be flowing out of the tube at the surface level of your tank, not above it. If it's above, you are splashing, which can be a lot of noise if you're too high. Also, if you are raising the water in the tube above the surface level, that's extra lift that slows the output. As for the low rate of flow, I ditched the air feed style tubes and replaced it with a submersible powerhead. Even a relatively small head will give you considerable flow. I had two 40breeders set up with Mattenfilters.

The surface of the sponge can be vacuumed/siphoned, just as one would the substrate. I had one of those filters running for two years without ever removing it. Keeps the substrate from getting behind it, too. If it seems to plug up, check your airstone, or stop overfeeding the tank. As for putting biomedia behind it, why bother? The sponge itself serves as a massive biomedia, which is why you don't clean it. I have seen some mulm accumulate behind the filter, but mulm is inert material left after detritus is completely broken down. If it's actually broken down enough to work its way through the sponge, it is harmless. If the appearance offends you, it's easy to siphon out.
 
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Fisch

First, any noise from air running sounds like your not set up correctly. The water should be flowing out of the tube at the surface level of your tank, not above it. If it's above, you are splashing, which can be a lot of noise if you're too high. Also, if you are raising the water in the tube above the surface level, that's extra lift that slows the output. As for the low rate of flow, I ditched the air feed style tubes and replaced it with a submersible powerhead. Even a relatively small head will give you considerable flow. I had two 40breeders set up with Mattenfilters.

The surface of the sponge can be vacuumed/siphoned, just as one would the substrate. I had one of those filters running for two years without ever removing it. Keeps the substrate from getting behind it, too. If it seems to plug up, check your airstone, or stop overfeeding the tank. As for putting biomedia behind it, why bother? The sponge itself serves as a massive biomedia, which is why you don't clean it. I have seen some mulm accumulate behind the filter, but mulm is inert material left after detritus is completely broken down. If it's actually broken down enough to work its way through the sponge, it is harmless. If the appearance offends you, it's easy to siphon out.
I am very interested in using the matten filter for my next tank setup. The simplicity is just amazing.
 
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jake37

When I said plug up I'm talking about water flowing evenly through the sponge. When the sponge is cleaned the area behind the sponge fills to the top. When the sponge is not clean the area behind it tends to get lower and lower water level dependent upon how 'dirty' the sponge has become. The actual flow out the jet tube remains the same so the same amount of water is flowing through the sponge it is just using less area of the sponge. This causes a problem for me because I have a heater behind the sponge and if the water levels get too low the top of the heater becomes exposed. Now I could of course reduce the flow out (I see no reason to use a power head as the water flow from air is already quite strong - and it is not turned up all the way) and I can use the same airpump to drive the sponge filter on the other side and the tank next to it. With powerhead I would need multiple power heads (one per tank) and still need an air pump for the sponge filters.

The surface of the sponge can be vacuumed/siphoned, just as one would the substrate. I had one of those filters running for two years without ever removing it. Keeps the substrate from getting behind it, too. If it seems to plug up, check your airstone, or stop overfeeding the tank. As for putting biomedia behind it, why bother?
 
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chromedome52

I have never seen nor heard of a mattenfilter sponge getting plugged up before. The basic idea is that the massive surface allows a large flow through it, and no dead spots. Do you get a lot of algae on the sponge? That's the only thing I can think of that would block it that efficiently. You might need to use a coarser type of sponge material.
 
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LeviS

The corner style is something I might try... I have all the stuff for them, and 6 of them at that for 20 longs... I have two tanks running with them, and these are just my observations thus far. Just really not happy with the noise is probably my #1 complaint so far.

So would you just fit the pump basically at the bottom of the pvc pipe where the airstone goes now? I can see how that would work pretty decent. I see a 80gph fountain pump for $18 on lowes Interesting idea...

Wow even found these Amazon.com: VIVOSUN 2-Pack 130GPH Submersible Pump(500L/H, 6W), Ultra Quiet Water Pump with 2.6ft High Lift, Fountain Pump with 5ft Power Cord, 2 Nozzles for Fish Tank, Pond, Aquarium, Statuary, Hydroponics: Home Improvement
Just saw the edit- yes those are the pumps. You can also adapt and use a powerhead.
Here is a link to the type of matten filter setup that I like.
 
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jake37

No. The one that was in the tank that failed I cleaned and there was 18 months worth of crud in it. I mean it is like the prefilter i use on my fx6 (different tank). If i don't clean it once a week it becomes so clog with crud the filter stops flowing. The basic concept is the same - water flowing through a sponge and being cleaned by the sponge. I suppose the density of the sponge might impact how quickly it becomes clog. In the case of the fx6 prefilter the tank is a lot larger; probably a lot more water is being forced through the sponge and given the heavy planting it is mostly plant stuff that clogs it.
-
Also when i use the word 'clog' I don't mean it is total - i just mean the flow through the sponge is slower over time due to heavy absorption of 'crud'.

I have never seen nor heard of a mattenfilter sponge getting plugged up before. The basic idea is that the massive surface allows a large flow through it, and no dead spots. Do you get a lot of algae on the sponge? That's the only thing I can think of that would block it that efficiently. You might need to use a coarser type of sponge material.
 
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chromedome52

I can't imagine how you had that problem. Sounds like an overcrowded tank getting overfed, but I can't imagine that being enough to cause a problem. As I said, that's the first time I've heard of it, and I know a dozen or more people in my region who use them with no problems.

Oh well.
 
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aquachris

at least one my pleco frequently hides out behind the filter but then comes back to the other side frequently enough).
LOL... I am worried about something like that someone getting back there and not realizing they are back there. Wonder how he's getting back and forth, but plecos are crazy!

First, any noise from air running sounds like your not set up correctly. The water should be flowing out of the tube at the surface level of your tank, not above it.
I think what I'm hearing is the airstone itself.. I might try some better quality ones.

I ditched the air feed style tubes and replaced it with a submersible powerhead. Even a relatively small head will give you considerable flow.
I think I'm going to order the double pack I posted earlier and try changing to those. I like that idea better for quiet... My fishroom is also my office (which I just love) so quiet is important.

I am very interested in using the matten filter for my next tank setup. The simplicity is just amazing.
I think I'm going to keep trying here, I think I really like these. Especially for the grow out tanks. The simplicity, and extreme amount of surface area is just amazing.

Just saw the edit- yes those are the pumps. You can also adapt and use a powerhead.
Cool, I'm going to give that a whirl... I like the idea a lot. While maybe more power, but its at the cost of quiet for me.

Here is a link to the type of matten filter setup that I like.
Wonder if there's anything fish related Joey hasnt done LOL. I might give this a whirl on my next 20 setup.
 
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