An Aquarium Sponge filter is a very simple filter consisting of a plastic tube, base, and a sponge. A airline tube and air stone is lowered into the tube to the bottom of the base. Air is pushed out through the top of the tube causing suction through the sponge. This suction is what draws debris into the sponge filtering particles out of your aquarium water.
Sponge filters are a type of specialty filter. Why do I say this you may be asking?
The reason many people use this type of filter for special circumstances is that it takes up a significant amount of room inside your tropical fish tank. Sponge filters must be inside your tank and usually sit on the substrate. Therefore they can become unsightly if you’re going for a clean, natural looking aquascape.
When are sponge filters used?
Sponge filters are great filters when you need them. Sponge filters are great to use in fry tanks or breeding tanks. This is because the sponge filter will not suck up young fry and kill them. The aquarium sponge filter will also increase the oxygen in the water column due to the air stone attached.
Also, sponge filters offer huge amounts of biological filtration. The sponge offers an great amount of surface area that beneficial bacteria can colonize. Many hobbyist use sponge filters in existing tanks for two weeks or so and then move them to a new tank. This process will help speed up the “seeding” of a new tropical fish tank and cut the cycle time down tremendously.
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Another great use for sponge filters is in quarantine or hospital tanks. Again, you have great biological filtration but you also have a filter that will not remove any medications that you may be using. Since there is no chemical filtration associated with sponge filters, medications will not be removed.
Sponge filters are cheap, easy to maintain, and can be moved from tank to tank if needed. This is why so many tropical fish stores use them in their aquariums.
Advantages of Sponge Filters
- Easy Maintenance
- Great Biological Filter
- Simple Design
- Will not trap young fry
- Great for Quarantine Tank – will not remove medications
- Adds much needed oxygen
- Can be moved to other Tanks easily
Disadvantages of Sponge Filters
- Unsightly in tank
- No chemical filtration
- Hard to hide in tank
- Will not filter large tanks efficiently