Aquarium Setup • Do you guys like sponge filters?

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Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby Lars23 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:30 pm

So i have a 90 gallon tank with 12 cichlids in it i feed usually once a day sometimes feeding freeze dried brine as a little snack during the day a few times a week along with the daily feeding.

I have a fluval 405 and an aqueon 300 canister on the 90 gallon and while they keep the water super clear i was constantly at 40ppm nitrates 2 days after a water change.
So i decided to stack 2 course sponge filters from aquarium co-op with a power head on them in the tank and it is finally lowering my nitrates down to 20ppm and holding at that number now for 10 days straight no water change it took about 2 weeks before noticing the difference.
I just thought id share my experience. Im not in a financial spot to drop 300 bucks on a super can like an fx5 that would probably take care of what my 3 filters are doing now.
I already had the 2 smaller canister filters when i bought the 90 gallon setup.
Anyway if you need a little extra boost in good bacteria drop a huge sponge filter in your tank or a smaller one.
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby fishboy75 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:14 pm

I think sponge filters are very underrated and added two to my 265 gallon. One will stay for extra biological filtration and to add oxygen ( I use an air pump and airstone)and the other to seed for a quarantine/ hospital tank. Anyone who has multiple tanks in a fish room has to swear by them I would think. However, I don't think your sponge filter has anything to do with your nitrates being lower. More beneficial organisms in the tank the more nitrate that is produced. Only way to significantly reduce them is with a water change. Im thinking maybe you had a faulty reading with one of your tests.
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby ken31cay » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:47 pm

I personally don't like them for most tanks as IMO they are insufficient if they're only filter and they take up space within the tank. But they are good for seeding other new tanks and they perfect for Discus tanks where you do daily water changes and vacuum up waste after every feeding. In Discus tanks they greatly minimize the total surface area needing to be kept clean.
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby DJRansome » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:58 pm

Too noisy. I looked into the option for my fish room, but I didn't already have air it was not a good investment.

Agree it did not impact the nitrates unless it came with established beneficial organisms.

Question for all you sponge filter guys...doesn't debris fall off when you remove the filter to clean it?
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby Lars23 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:11 pm

fishboy75 wrote:I think sponge filters are very underrated and added two to my 265 gallon. One will stay for extra biological filtration and to add oxygen ( I use an air pump and airstone)and the other to seed for a quarantine/ hospital tank. Anyone who has multiple tanks in a fish room has to swear by them I would think. However, I don't think your sponge filter has anything to do with your nitrates being lower. More beneficial organisms in the tank the more nitrate that is produced. Only way to significantly reduce them is with a water change. Im thinking maybe you had a faulty reading with one of your tests.


I test this tank every 2 days.
I honestly have tested this tank and my other 5 so darn much that i bought the tetra test strips cause it was taking me 45min to use the api master liquid kit. By the way i used both kits at the same time for 3 days with the same results so the strips are not the problem fyi.

Also how can you guys say that more filtration equals more nitrates?
I have a 54g corner tank that has 1 307 fluval can filter and a huge amount of drift wood that holds a #%$& load of good bacteria and it sits at 5-10ppm nitrates for 14 days between water changes. Im trying to get my 90g to that same point.
My faucet water is stupid high on nitrites and ammonia and nitrates so im trying to get my 90 up to par with my 54g on the 14 day water change cause if i change it every 7 days it takes 3 ro get all the levels down to zero,zero,10-20ppm nitrates.
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby Lars23 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:21 pm

Also my 54g tank has almost 30 fish in the tank that are flourishing.
Most small schooling fish but 9 of them are 3-4in currently.
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby DJRansome » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:51 pm

The beneficial organisms "consume" ammonia and nitrites, but they produce nitrates. Nitrates can only be removed in the average freshwater tank with water changes and/or plants.
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby fishboy75 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:41 pm

Also how can you guys say that more filtration equals more nitrates?

Well its not so much that more filtration equals more nitrates. More biological filtration will do a better job processing ammonia and nitrite into nitrates but ultimately the amount of nitrates is a by-product of how much waste is being produced by the aquarium inhabitants, excess food, decaying plant matter etc. It's not me saying this, its the nitrogen cycle and science. So, no, there is no way adding a sponge filter can or will reduce nitrates in any closed system. But maybe you also think the Earth is flat
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby Lars23 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:48 pm

DJRansome wrote:The beneficial organisms "consume" ammonia and nitrites, but they produce nitrates. Nitrates can only be removed in the average freshwater tank with water changes and/or plants.


Ok i get what your saying and i agree to the science. I guess me cutting down on my fish count is what dropped my nitrates. Its the only other change i have made. I went from 20 to 12. Im an idiot and didnt think about that.
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby fishboy75 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:09 pm

DJRansome wrote:Too noisy. I looked into the option for my fish room, but I didn't already have air it was not a good investment.

Agree it did not impact the nitrates unless it came with established beneficial organisms.

Question for all you sponge filter guys...doesn't debris fall off when you remove the filter to clean it?


I put the sponge filter in a Ziploc freezer bag to remove it from the tank so the debris doesn't go into the tank. Squeeze and shake it in a bucket of tank water and back in it goes. Of course, there is always a little debris that gets into the tank but it clears up quick enough. Yes, they can be noisy but its as noisy as the air pump you power it with. My tank is in the living room and I dont notice it or maybe I'm just used to it. My wife doesn't complain about it so it can't be that bad. Im able to hide the sponge behind some rocks and really can only see the airline tubing. If I ever get around to it, I'll buy some black airline tubing so it blends into the background. Like any filter there are trade-offs but for the price and ease of use, I find it very hard to beat a sponge filter for strictly biological filtration .
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby Lars23 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:19 pm

This is my master bedroom.
I have a sponge filter in all 3 and its not loud at all but i get it if you want silent they are not that at all but extremely affordable.
content://media/external/file/23281
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby Bamzam » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:03 am

Some filtration can build up anaerobic bacteria and remove nitrates. Just has to be certain conditions (little to no flow). Marinepure blocks are intended to do this. If you have a deep sand bed in your 54g, that will also do it.
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby shiftyfox » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:28 am

Nothing wrong with sponge filters at all.
I personally don’t use them in my main tank as it’s not the look I want and my canister does a great job on its own.
Sponge filters are in all of my fry tanks though, do a great job and no worry about fry being sucked up ect.

As for removal I use the bag removal technique as mentioned and works great, so no muck finds it’s way back into the tank while removing.

The Oase air pumps I use are virtually silent so no issues there

They are there to deal with ammonia and nitrite, they are not going to help with nitrate no matter how many you put in your tank.

As mentioned the only things that will help with nitrate is, water changes, not feeding too much, plants and good tank/filter maintenance.

Not sure who posted but shouldn’t be taking anyone 45 mins to do all the API master test kit tests.
I can perform all 4 tests for 6 tanks in about 10 mins.

Now one thing I do use in my canister filter is JBL BioNitrat EX balls.
I have no evidence to compare but two local breeders I know recommended these to help with nitrate.
I have a small main tank with ten virtually full size cichlids and after a week my nitrates are no more than 10ppm.
My water changes are 40-50 percent once a week and I do clean my canister pre filter once a week too.
I also feed quite light too but do wonder if these are actually doing what they say
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby DJRansome » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:23 am

It is not the pump that is noisy but the bubbles.
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Re: Do you guys like sponge filters?

Postby Poppykle » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:06 pm

I use sponge filters on the inlets to my canister filters, Catches a lot of debris before it gets to the filter. Clean with tank water when I do water changes.
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