Would a sponge filter work for me?

BlueRaccoon

Hello,
I have only used HOBs and canister filters. I am looking at a used set up. It's a 55g with a sponge filter which has a 120gph rating. I plan to add some neon tetras, rummy nose tetras, and maybe another small type of fosh like that. I have zero plans to over stock it. Any thoughts? Are sponge filters hard to take care of? Could it handle the load I will have? Will it work for a 55? Thank you!
 

ProudPapa

  • Sponge filters will certainly work for a 55 gallon tank, though I'd probably get a second one and put one at each end.
  • They aren't difficult to take care of. Occasionally disconnect them from the air line and remove them from the tank. (I like to put them in a ziploc bag while still in the water and hold it closed as much as possible when removing it to keep all the gunk from going back into the water.) Disassemble it, which is very simple since the parts snap together, and rinse the sponge just like you'd rinse the sponge block from a HOB. Put it back together and put it back in the tank.
 

BlueRaccoon

  • Sponge filters will certainly work for a 55 gallon tank, though I'd probably get a second one and put one at each end.
  • They aren't difficult to take care of. Occasionally disconnect them from the air line and remove them from the tank. (I like to put them in a ziploc bag while still in the water and hold it closed as much as possible when removing it to keep all the gunk from going back into the water.) Disassemble it, which is very simple since the parts snap together, and rinse the sponge just like you'd rinse the sponge block from a HOB. Put it back together and put it back in the tank.
Thank you! This is very helpful!
 

RayClem

Sponge filters are highly effective at supporting nitrifying bacteria activity. Those are the bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. They are so effective that they are sometimes consider to be nitrate factories.

The main problem with sponge filters is that they take up space inside the tank and are not particularly attractive. They need to be rinsed out periodically and that can get messy.

The compromise I have adopted is to use a HOB filter with a sponge prefilter on the intake. The HOB will pump a lot more water than a sponge filter or even two. For a 55 gallon tank, something like a Aquaclear 110 unit is ideal. It is rated for 500 gallons per hour which is nearly ten times the tank volume. However, by the time you put a sponge prefilter on the intake and fill the media chamber, the flow will not be excessive. The nice thing about that setup is that as the prefilter sponge starts to fill with debris, the flow rate of the filter will start to decline. When you see that happening, you know it is time to clean the prefilter. Another advantage of this setup is that you have the option of using whatever mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration media you wish in the HOB chamber. The use of a prefilter greatly reduces the need to tear down the filter to rinse the media.
 

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