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Old 08-24-2014, 09:39 PM   #1
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Best DIY sponge filter media

What is the best best sponge filter media? Im making 3 sponges for my new 75g and was thinking of putting maybe poly fill inside in addition to the sponge outside. Thoughts? Ideas?
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:53 PM   #2
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:04 PM   #3
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What are you looking to do? Put it in some type of filter? Use it as a cover for your pump intakes?
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:32 PM   #4
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Yeah, sorry. I meant to say i want to put 3 sponge filters in the aquarium DIYed from PVC. I just am not sure what the best media would be. I wonder if I could put poly fill inside and the sponge outside. But what kind of sponge should I look for? All the pore counts are confusing.

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Old 08-29-2014, 09:29 AM   #5
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Any sponge used needs to be coarse to allow water to flow freely. Dense sponge will block the water flow. You can get foam blocks at some pet stores but you may have better luck online. I use a canister filter with 4 drawers. The top one has a foam filter block, the next 2 have bio rings, and the last one I use poly-fil as a water polisher. The foam and bio rings will grow your bacteria colony. You will just need to rinse them periodically to remove the detritus. I only rinse half my bio rings each time I perform maintenance to make absolutely sure I keep my bacteria growing.
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:46 AM   #6
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Retired_AF you will have better results if you put the floss in the top chamber so it removes as much detritus as possible before reaching the biological portion of the filter. That way the bio-media doesn't get clogged with muck as much/quickly.
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:31 AM   #7
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I was under the impression that the polisher should be the last thing to prevent clogging. Though, the more i think about it I guess it wpuld clog either way no matter the order.

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Old 08-30-2014, 12:39 AM   #8
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These plastic pot scrubbers are great, they have a huge amount of surface area and will never clog. You can get them from a dollar store usually. I use them in all my filters.

Just load them in and then put your fine filter media above it. The lack of micro holes that most popular media has nowadays makes it so the biological filter media can't really get clogged.

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Old 08-30-2014, 12:56 AM   #9
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How can you be sure there isn't any soap or chemicals on them?

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Old 08-30-2014, 01:01 AM   #10
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How can you be sure there isn't any soap or chemicals on them?

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They are just plain plastic bundles. I've never heard of them being treated with anything and I can't honestly see a reason they would treat them with any sort of chemical or soap. Nor have I ever heard of anyone having issues with them. I guess if you're worried about it, just rinse them off thoroughly.
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Old 08-30-2014, 09:20 AM   #11
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They are just plain plastic bundles. I've never heard of them being treated with anything and I can't honestly see a reason they would treat them with any sort of chemical or soap. Nor have I ever heard of anyone having issues with them. I guess if you're worried about it, just rinse them off thoroughly.

Pot scrubbers are quite popular in the pond filtration community. I've not heard of issues with chemical pretreatment.
As for the fine floss prior to the biomedia...if changed regularly, then the physical waste is removed before it has a chance to breakdown and that is a good thing.


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Old 08-30-2014, 09:51 AM   #12
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I was under the impression that the polisher should be the last thing to prevent clogging. Though, the more i think about it I guess it wpuld clog either way no matter the order.

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Well the floss/sponge/whatever should be the first thing the tank water comes in contact with, then any type of chemical media and finally the biological media.
That progression gives the best chance of removing organic matter in solid form and dissolved organics via chemical before being broken down by the bacteria with the final end result being less nitrates overall.
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Old 08-30-2014, 09:59 AM   #13
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Just load them in and then put your fine filter media above it. The lack of micro holes that most popular media has nowadays makes it so the biological filter media can't really get clogged.
Yes but the lack of micro holes and fissures precludes one of the most important functions of ceramic or similar media, the proliferation of anaerobic bacteria deep within the media for the de-nitrification portion of the biological chain.
That is the entire premise behind "live rock" in saltwater, the porous nature provides environments for all types of beneficial bacteria to thrive.

The scrubbers entire surface area is in constant contact with oxygen rich water, therefore it is impossible to develop colonies of anaerobic bacteria in them and as such they are actually less efficient/useful than media such as ceramic noodles, lava rock or SeaChems Matrix or De-Nitrate (my new favorites).

The pot scrubbers are a good solution for aerobic bacteria colonies, but they are not a complete solution and there are better choices available, IMHO.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:20 AM   #14
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Yes but the lack of micro holes and fissures precludes one of the most important functions of ceramic or similar media, the proliferation of anaerobic bacteria deep within the media for the de-nitrification portion of the biological chain.
That is the entire premise behind "live rock" in saltwater, the porous nature provides environments for all types of beneficial bacteria to thrive.

The scrubbers entire surface area is in constant contact with oxygen rich water, therefore it is impossible to develop colonies of anaerobic bacteria in them and as such they are actually less efficient/useful than media such as ceramic noodles, lava rock or SeaChems Matrix or De-Nitrate (my new favorites).

The pot scrubbers are a good solution for aerobic bacteria colonies, but they are not a complete solution and there are better choices available, IMHO.

Can ceramic noodles get anaerobic bacteria? I'd just assumed all aerobic so just curious.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:24 AM   #15
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Can ceramic noodles get anaerobic bacteria? I'd just assumed all aerobic so just curious.
In theory they should as they are riddled with micro-pores and cracks.
That is by design.
Aerobic bacteria that break down ammonia and nitrite colonize the exterior surfaces.
Anaerobic bacteria that break down nitrate colonize the internal surfaces where there is a lower concentration of oxygen.
Normal diffusion then carries the water in and out of the pores/cracks.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:29 AM   #16
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In theory they should as they are riddled with micro-pores and cracks.
That is by design.
Aerobic bacteria that break down ammonia and nitrite colonize the exterior surfaces.
Anaerobic bacteria that break down nitrate colonize the internal surfaces where there is a lower concentration of oxygen.
Normal diffusion then carries the water in and out of the pores/cracks.

Thanks for the post back. Tempting to try adding some more and see what happens Been thinking about it anyways to reduce flow rate a little.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:30 AM   #17
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In theory they should as they are riddled with micro-pores and cracks.
That is by design.
Aerobic bacteria that break down ammonia and nitrite colonize the exterior surfaces.
Anaerobic bacteria that break down nitrate colonize the internal surfaces where there is a lower concentration of oxygen.
Normal diffusion then carries the water in and out of the pores/cracks.

I'm thinking the larger sizes of ceramic media might accomplish practical anaerobic processes. Which led me to wonder why LR is not applicable to FW setups. I know, different species of bacteria, but in theory it makes sense. I mean, there's DSB (deep sand bed) used in FW but not much discussion on it.


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Old 08-30-2014, 10:41 AM   #18
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I'm thinking the larger sizes of ceramic media might accomplish practical anaerobic processes. Which led me to wonder why LR is not applicable to FW setups. I know, different species of bacteria, but in theory it makes sense. I mean, there's DSB (deep sand bed) used in FW but not much discussion on it.


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Well the whole "live rock" thing is a little bit on the "smoke and mirrors" side of things.

EVERYTHING in a tank eventually becomes "live" in that it will be covered in bacteria and if there are internal surfaces available, those will get colonized as well.
Personally I think the hobby has been spoon fed a lot of "mythconceptions" by the industry regarding what is proper and correct, all designed to create a pretty consistent revenue stream by promoting filters and other items that either use a lot of consumables (HOB filters for example) or are simply just junk that has a relatively short useful life span.
but that is a rant for another thread.

So getting back to your question, sure any porous rock can be "live rock" in freshwater and it will do the same thing concerning bacteria.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:54 AM   #19
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I wonder why anaerobic bacteria are not attempted more for freshwater? Are we a bunch of slackers??
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:57 AM   #20
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Thank you for this conversation! What do you think about putting a fairly fine sponge on the outside and inside the PVC using ceramic media? Although, there wont be much room inside the PVC but I could use a 3/4".

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