Question Sponge Filter Questions

fyshfuud

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I’ve been considering sponge filtration for my 40 breeder tank. I will be keeping fish that prefer very little water movement. honey gourami, peacock gudgeons, Bolivian ram

I’ve been trying to research sponge filtration. I’ve seen a lot of info about their benefits and how to service them; but nothing suggesting how to choose the air pump to run it or if multiple units are suggested to prevent dead zones?

Here are my questions so far...

1. How many gallons per hour should I aim for to filter 40 gallons? It’s a standard breeder tank 36x18x16. I want enough surface movement to be efficient,but not be uncomfortable for honey gourami to surface if they wish.

2. Do I get one sponge rated for 40 gallon or greater and stick it in one corner of the tank, or get multiple? Perhaps one for each end of the tank? Would 2 - 20 gallon rated sponges work as well or better than the one 40 gallon?

3. If I go the 2 sponge route; is it better to get a 2 line air pump, a one line pump with a splitter, or is it best to get 2 separate pumps?

I intend for the sponge to be my only filtration. I dislike the sound of hob filters, the cost and chance of leakage you get with canisters, and the internal filter I tried most recently is just far too strong and blows the sand everywhere. Others I have tried in past setups don’t seem to get the flow across the tank well.

Any advice is much appreciated.
 

Old Salty

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I am running a large 2 port air pump, I think it's rated for 40 or 60 gallons, for 6 sponge filters in 6 1 to 2 gal betta tanks. Each line has a 3 way splitter. It's adjustable air flow in case it was too strong. You could try 2 filters and take one out if it's too much. I would also suggest going to a hardware store with the acrylic air pipe thing that directs the bubbles upward and getting a longer one the exact same size. This will carry the strong bubbles to the surface to dissipate rather than having them jostle your fish around. And if you don't have the air pump yet, I highly recommend finding one on Ebay.
 
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fyshfuud

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@Old Salty Thanks. How far below the water surface do I want the longer pipe to be? Do you use air stones with yours or just let them make large loud bubbles? Does bubble size really matter?
 

Old Salty

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@Old Salty Thanks. How far below the water surface do I want the longer pipe to be? Do you use air stones with yours or just let them make large loud bubbles? Does bubble size really matter?
I have one bubble riser set right below the surface of the water, which I prefer. The others are all about 2 inches from the surface, which is alright. I have one taller tank where the bubble riser is about 4 inches from the surface, and that one I'd like to replace with a taller riser. It's a little rougher in that tank but not unbearable, I would like to replace it though. No air stones are necessary with the sponge filters I have, nor would I know how to even attach an air stone to it. The air is forced down into very tiny holes which produce the bubbles. If you can figure out how to attach an air stone, I think smaller bubbles is more aeration which is good. The only thing with these sponge filters is the tiny holes do get clogged about once every 3-4 months and you have to take them apart to clean the tiny channels, which isn't too bad. Of course the sponge has the bio filter so you'll just want to squeeze those periodically in dechlorinated water.
 

Old Salty

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Also the bubbles aren't too loud because I don't have the air pump on full blast, which is why I really recommend it for fishes who don't like strong currents.
 
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fyshfuud

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Aquarium Co-Op has created a sponge filter specifically made for adding an air stone. I think I’m going to try a couple of those.

Yeah, the clogging is another reason I was considering 2; that way, I can alternate which one I clean when I do water changes. I know rinsing it in the old tank water doesn’t get rid of all your BB, but I’m sure it’s still quite a disturbance.
 

FishRFriendz

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Aquarium Co-Op has created a sponge filter specifically made for adding an air stone. I think I’m going to try a couple of those.

Yeah, the clogging is another reason I was considering 2; that way, I can alternate which one I clean when I do water changes. I know rinsing it in the old tank water doesn’t get rid of all your BB, but I’m sure it’s still quite a disturbance.
They have certainly improved on the old standard XY-380. I especially like that they use a lower density sponge. I just wish they'd made it based on an XY-2822/2831 dual sponge design. Those single sponge that use an anchor require removal of the whole thing and some fiddly disassembly to clean.

Anything based on an XY-2822 intake tube are much easier to maintain as the sponge slides off (upwards and right out of the tank unless you went with a weird sideways mounted sponge like a 2820), the dual sponges are better because they allow you to maintain alternating sponges so there's less risk of losing too much beneficial bacteria.

Even better are the ones with the media compartment, for either more bio media or chemical filtering media.
https://www.amazon.com/Biochemical-Suction-Aquarium-Equipment-QS-200A/dp/B079LCV1SL
 
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JayH

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Another option you might want to consider is a Hamburg Matten Filter (HMF). It's a giant sponge filter where the "sponge" is a sheet of foam and fits all the way across one end of the tank. It sits just an inch or two from the end. You put a lift tube or a small pump behind the foam and aim the output into the main portion of the tank. This pulls water through the sponge. You get excellent filtration this way.

If you haven't set the tank up yet and don't like the idea of a hunk of foam across one end of the tank, an alternative is a corner matten filter. Same basic concept, except you silicone in a couple small pieces of glass to act as support and then bend a smaller piece of foam into a quarter-circle in a back corner of the tank. If you get black foam it's quite unobtrusive; just a dark blob in the rear corner. You can also hide your heater in the small well formed behind the foam.

The links above are to the Swiss Tropicals site. They also sell very good quality conventional foam sponge filters that have Czech lift tubes. These move incredible amounts of water. Way more than you're likely to see with other sponge filters, even with an air stone. If you get a Jetlifter that's long enough the curved top will push water across the surface and give you good circulation.
 

Islandvic

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I wouldn't rely on how many gallons a sponge filter is rated for.

A sponge filter rated for "20 gallon tank" for example is purely arbitrary.

I would use two sponge filters "rated" for 40 gallon tanks or larger.

An Ehiem 200 or 400 model air pump would work well. They have dual outlets and are quieter than most other air pumps. They cost more, but they are made in Germany and are quieter.

My second choice would be a Fluval Q1. It also has dual outlets. Online you can find them for $16-$19. I would not pay over $20 for them. I own 2, and never had an issue with them.

I use ATI brand of sponge filters and also pre-filters that attach to HOB's and canister's.

They come in regular foam sponge of around 40 ppi and the coarse style foam of around 20ppi have the word "Pro" in the name.

Here is a pic of a Hydro Sponge II stacked on top of a Hydro Sponge III Pro.



If I had to use it sponge filters for a 40g, I would use a Hydro Sponge IV and a Hydro Sponge IV Pro, ran off one of the air pumps I mentioned before.

The Pro models with coarse foam sponge have a higher flow rate through them.
 
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fyshfuud

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They have certainly improved on the old standard XY-380. I especially like that they use a lower density sponge. I just wish they'd made it based on an XY-2822/2831 dual sponge design. Those single sponge that use an anchor require removal of the whole thing and some fiddly disassembly to clean.

Anything based on an XY-2822 intake tube are much easier to maintain as the sponge slides off (upwards and right out of the tank unless you went with a weird sideways mounted sponge like a 2820), the dual sponges are better because they allow you to maintain alternating sponges so there's less risk of losing too much beneficial bacteria.

Even better are the ones with the media compartment, for either more bio media or chemical filtering media.
https://www.amazon.com/Biochemical-Suction-Aquarium-Equipment-QS-200A/dp/B079LCV1SL

I had considered using something like that. Would one of those at one end be efficient? Or would I want to run one at each end of the tank? My whole thought of using 2 single sponge units was so that I could alternate cleaning them and have filtration at both ends of the tank. Is it necessary to have at both ends of a 36” x 18” tank?
 
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fyshfuud

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Another option you might want to consider is a Hamburg Matten Filter (HMF). It's a giant sponge filter where the "sponge" is a sheet of foam and fits all the way across one end of the tank. It sits just an inch or two from the end. You put a lift tube or a small pump behind the foam and aim the output into the main portion of the tank. This pulls water through the sponge. You get excellent filtration this way.

If you haven't set the tank up yet and don't like the idea of a hunk of foam across one end of the tank, an alternative is a corner matten filter. Same basic concept, except you silicone in a couple small pieces of glass to act as support and then bend a smaller piece of foam into a quarter-circle in a back corner of the tank. If you get black foam it's quite unobtrusive; just a dark blob in the rear corner. You can also hide your heater in the small well formed behind the foam.

The links above are to the Swiss Tropicals site. They also sell very good quality conventional foam sponge filters that have Czech lift tubes. These move incredible amounts of water. Way more than you're likely to see with other sponge filters, even with an air stone. If you get a Jetlifter that's long enough the curved top will push water across the surface and give you good circulation.

I’m not sure I’d like looking at a a huge Matten filter, but the corner unit is intriguing. I already have the tank up and running, but now you’ve got me scheming ideas on how to create a drop in corner unit. Do you think a unit with 6” sides in one corner would be efficient?
 
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fyshfuud

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I wouldn't rely on how many gallons a sponge filter is rated for.

A sponge filter rated for "20 gallon tank" for example is purely arbitrary.

I would use two sponge filters "rated" for 40 gallon tanks or larger.

An Ehiem 200 or 400 model air pump would work well. They have dual outlets and are quieter than most other air pumps. They cost more, but they are made in Germany and are quieter.

My second choice would be a Fluval Q1. It also has dual outlets. Online you can find them for $16-$19. I would not pay over $20 for them. I own 2, and never had an issue with them.

I use ATI brand of sponge filters and also pre-filters that attach to HOB's and canister's.

They come in regular foam sponge of around 40 ppi and the coarse style foam of around 20ppi have the word "Pro" in the name.

Here is a pic of a Hydro Sponge II stacked on top of a Hydro Sponge III Pro.



If I had to use it sponge filters for a 40g, I would use a Hydro Sponge IV and a Hydro Sponge IV Pro, ran off one of the air pumps I mentioned before.

The Pro models with coarse foam sponge have a higher flow rate through them.
I checked out the Eheim pumps and they have really great reviews. In your opinion, are they enough better than the Fluval to make themworth the extra expense? How about the longevity?
 

FishRFriendz

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I had considered using something like that. Would one of those at one end be efficient? Or would I want to run one at each end of the tank? My whole thought of using 2 single sponge units was so that I could alternate cleaning them and have filtration at both ends of the tank. Is it necessary to have at both ends of a 36” x 18” tank?
I have a 40b with 1 on one end, and on the other end I have another hooked up to a powerhead. The problem with sponge filters is they don't provide much flow. If you're into low flow then they're great, but I wanted more directional flow so I added a powerhead to the 2nd one. That one needs cleaning more often tho.

The 380 style ones have absolutely no directional control too.
 
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JayH

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I’m not sure I’d like looking at a a huge Matten filter, but the corner unit is intriguing. I already have the tank up and running, but now you’ve got me scheming ideas on how to create a drop in corner unit. Do you think a unit with 6” sides in one corner would be efficient?
The full matten filter is definitely more aesthetically pleasing if you have the tank turned so the narrow side is the viewing side. This is common with breeders because it allows more tanks on a single rack. Then the foam is on the back wall and it looks like a dark background. Putting it at one end with the tank positioned more normally, I'd probably put something on that end to block the view. It would end up looking like one of the all-in-one tanks that has a built in filter on one end.

I don't see why you couldn't build a free standing version. The corner of the tank just forms a well to pump water from, and any well on the back side of the foam should work. I have the braces in my 20 long at 6", but I purposely went bigger than recommended because I wanted more room in the well. With sufficient water flow these things will readily handle tanks much larger than what might be initially considered. I would think a 6" box that was the full height of the tank would work just fine in a 40.

I would suggest putting some weight on the bottom to keep it anchored though. As the filter gets dirty the water level in the well will drop. Without the weight that would cause the filter to float up.
 

FishRFriendz

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Oh, I'll also mention box filters since those are also sometimes considered sponge filters.
https://www.amazon.com/Aquaneat-Aquarium-Driven-Corner-Filter/dp/B06Y3Z7DCW

I have this exact model that says it's for 40 gallons. I will not recommend it for filtering anything above 10 gallons.
While it does have flow directionality, it also fits into the same disadvantages that the xy-380/hydrosponge filters have, ie requires complete removal to clean and is much more fiddly than a 380 since it's made of hard brittle plastic and has many more pieces.

I have a tote full of old filters I don't bother using since I tried many different kinds and then gravitated to what works and is easy. It's filled mostly with xy-380s, and smaller versions, corner versions, etc. Some matten filters for 10g tanks. And this box filter.

They all work. I'm just lazy and prefer filters that are easier for me to maintain. I'm past the phase where I want a cool rube goldberg machine for a filter.

Dual sponge, HOBs and canisters I continue to use. Oh and an undergravel with 'EZ Clean'.
 
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Islandvic

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The Eheim 200 has dual outlets rated at 100lpm each. It probably has the better warranty.

The 400 is rated at 200lpm for each outlet.

Also, the Eheim's have a dial on the case, to regulate the flow of each outlet. This is very handy.

The Fluval Q1 has dual outlets rated at 124lpm each.

If you look around online and find a decent price for the Eheim, I would go with that. It will be quieter than the Fluval.

I have 2 Fluval Q1's. One is slightly louder than the other. I had to take the case off the other once, and tighten some bolts that had loosened inside. Very easy to do. When some of the small fasteners inside became loose, the air pump started to become loud.
 
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