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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it a bad idea to try to adequately filter a tank with sponges only?
 

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Some cases it is an excellent idea, others less so. Smaller tanks and tanks used for fry are great places for sponge filters. Large tanks with large fish may find the fish eating the sponges! What size tank and what fish make the answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Maybe a 55, maybe a 30L. So it's worth trying, then?
 

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It works very well. I have 17 tanks from 10's to 30's with sponges only and wouldn't hesitate to go larger. You'll just need to rely on substrate vacuumings and water changes, which should be done anyway. But, it is true that some bigger fish will nibble on the sponges. It's also true that the organics that they get covered with can provide a good source of food for fry. Just make sure the sponges are adequately sized and consider running them with powerheads on larger tanks.
 
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i have a sponge or 2 in every one of my tanks... i find a sponge a hob and a canister work the best on large tanks... great thing about a sponge filter run with other filters is that when you change the pads or carbon or whatever you dont have to worry about having insufficient biological since the sponges always stay in the tank... idk if just have sponges would provide enough water movement to just run alone... but i dont have mine attached to powerheads just air pumps
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I haven't decided absolutely on a species yet. I'm leaning toward Hap. Ruby, but I may end up putting my L. xanthopteryx group in this tank.

The sponges would definitely be driven by powerheads - I'm thinking one sponge at each end of the 55 at around 350-500gph per. Would that be sufficient?
 

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Even though you're using powerheads, the idea isn't to crank up the gph, but to always provide a reliable minimum gph that air power may not. If you crank up the gph, they become really good mechanical filtration devices, which isn't what you want unless you want to clean them often. Better to just keep a steady, lower flow through the sponges and rely on separate powerheads, like the hydor koralias, if you feel you need more circulation. Get the adjustable powerheads and you can play around with it and find a balance. With sponge filtration alone, you're relying on vacuuming of the tank during water changes to do mechanical filtration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Actually, I mean to set up a UGJ system to minimize the need for vacuuming. I have no problem with cleaning the sponges frequently.
 

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Do you mean a sponge filter (sponge on a stick in the water) or do you mean hang-on-back filters loaded only with sponges? Assuming the tank is over 15 gallons:
If you mean the first, I'd say no.
If you mean the second, I'd say yes. That is all I use in my filters is sponges.
 

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Short answer, yes.

I filtered a 5' 112g tank stocked with 22 Tropheus and 12 Petrochromis for well over a year.
Both groups did well and were spawning. I used powerheads on top of double stacked sponges. They did need rinsing quite often, and the substrate needed vacuming a fair bit.

I also filter a 4' 40g tank with just sponges driven by air stocked heavily with fry. Same thing applies for vacuming the bottom, but they don't need rinsing that often.
 
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