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DIY Sponge Filter
by Marc Elieson

Got another do-it-yourself tip for all you thrifty folks out there. These plans for making your own sponge filters is great for adding a couple of filters to a nursery tank, a quarantine tank, or even your main tank. Letís get started!

For our sponge, weíre going to use open cell foam. These can be purchased for pennies at just about any fabric or hobby store. Using sharp scissors or knife, cut the foam into the shape of your choice. I prefer triangles as pictured below. You could make blocks, cylinders, triangles, or just about any shape you like or need. Thatís the beauty of this project Ė custom design for less. If you use a knife to cut the foam, cut it in one direction without applying much pressure. If you try to saw it, going back and forth, youíll end up tearing the foam.


Aulonocara stuartgranti ''Chipoka'' with Otopharynx lithobates juveniles


For the next step, weíll need a sealable plastic container, such as Tupperware. The piece of foam will need to fit without being scrunched, but should be as close a fit as possible. Place the sponge in the container and then fill it with water. Before sealing the lid on tight, we need to be sure to get all the air out of the foam. Once we do this weíre ready to seal that lid and put the container in the freezer.

After the foam freezes, we can remove it from the freezer. Immediately drill a hole into the top of the foam with a power drill using a drill bit slightly smaller than the tubing we plan to use. Donít drill all the way through the sponge, just about half way. Itís also important that we only pull one piece of foam out of the freezer at a time, otherwise they will defrost on us before we can drill them, which will cause the drill to catch and tear the foam instead of cutting it.

My personal favorite adaptation of this DIY sponge filter is to use undergravel lift tubes (see picture above). These work great for nursery or fry tanks. All you need is the foam, this article, the lift tubes, and an air pump. The combined cost of these materials is far cheaper than a power filter and just as effective. The foam could also be used to create a sponge filter that would connect to a submersible pump. Attach tubing (perforated by your drill) to the submersible pump and then insert it into the sponge to create a powerful sponge filter, similar to those used in all of my tanks for my undergravel jets. □


Disclaimer: By building this DIY project you agree not to hold the author or the owners of this Web site responsible for any injury or bodily harm you may cause to yourself or others. Always wear safety glasses when working with tools and keep chemicals and power tools away from children. Read and understand all safety instructions pertaining to equipment prior to use.           

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