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Old 10-31-2020, 08:43 AM   #1
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Post Is a sponge filter OK for what I want and tank I have?

I used to have an aquarium with my ex husband, and I don't know the exact name for the filter we had, but it was the fluval type that most aquarium shops stock, like long rectangle shaped boxes and sit in the corner.
I used to tell him that I'm sure I've seen filters that also do air bubbles, but he said the only way we could have the bubbles is if we bought a separate air pump, but I didn't like that idea as the filter made enough noise, so didn't want extra noise with an air pump machine.
He said if the outward flow of the filter was near the top of the tank, slightly above the water, the water movement would encourage oxygen in the water. Although I would have preferred air bubbles.
Now years later I have bought a 54L, Size 52.8x30.2x46.4cm tank, and recently saw the kind of pump I wanted with the air bubbles in an aquarium video. I was told it's a simple sponge filter. I saw a sponge filter an aquarium shop and said to the assistant I was looking for the type of filter that would also do the air bubbles, but he was really trying to put me off buying the sponge filter, saying they're not as good as the big box fluval filters.
I was wondering if he's right, or was he just trying to sell a more expensive Fluval type filters?
I really want my tank to have air bubbles as think it looks relaxing, but is the only way to buy a separate air pump, so there's the noise of the filter and the pump? I know the noise isn't loud, but it increases with two machines. I tried putting the air pump on different surfaces but it's still too noisy.
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Old 10-31-2020, 11:11 AM   #2
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A sponge filter will work fine alone on a 54l tank, providing the fish stocking isn't too heavy. They provide great beneficial bacteria and a little mechanical filtration. The other type you described generally provide better mechanical filtration for detritus, and not as much surface area for bacterial growth. Many ppl use both to get the best of both worlds. Yes, unfortunately you need an air pump to run a sponge filter. The act of air pressure escaping causes it to draw water into and thru the sponge, thus filtering. Air pumps are noisy, some are louder than others. There are many reviews online for air pumps and noise, etc. Many ppl place them on a cloth or sponge to help dampen the noise. But ime, they are all louder than water flow filtration
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Old 10-31-2020, 11:16 AM   #3
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You could buy a small internal filter like the marineland magnum or the sicce shark. They filter great and have a hose with an air valve that goes above the water line. It's called a venturi system. It pulls air into the water exhaust, and sprays little air bubbles into the top of the tank with out an additional pump. And because these units are under water they are virtually silent. I have both and like them equally
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Old 10-31-2020, 11:44 AM   #4
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In the long run he was right to say that a cannister filter is better. Depending on how focused you are on tank maintenance, sponge filtration will get the job done AND supply the bubbles you want at the same time. In the long term I'd consider a cannister and a pump. Take look at the Vivosun line of pumps. They're well-built and quiet as air pumps go. A pump combined with your air stone(s) of choice can supply the bubbles you want quite well.
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Old 10-31-2020, 12:09 PM   #5
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Sponge filters work very well. They are the preferred method of filtration more all types of breeders and keepers. The main putoff is aesthetics, they can be bulky and take up floor space in smaller tanks. They make rigs that mount on the wall of the tank and look kind of cool. Any mechanized filter is going to create a hum and trickle. I've found tetra whisper air pumps to be 98% quiet when properly seated or suspended.
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Old 10-31-2020, 01:21 PM   #6
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I tend not to take into account how far foam filters have come, since I have a love affair with complex machines. Foam looks even better when you consider their predecessor, under-gravel filtration (gag).
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Old 10-31-2020, 02:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brookster123 View Post
Sponge filters work very well. They are the preferred method of filtration more all types of breeders and keepers. The main putoff is aesthetics, they can be bulky and take up floor space in smaller tanks. They make rigs that mount on the wall of the tank and look kind of cool. Any mechanized filter is going to create a hum and trickle. I've found tetra whisper air pumps to be 98% quiet when properly seated or suspended.
I use the tetra whisper on all my tanks, very powerful, cheap and pretty quiet. But the sicce shark internal filter i have is silent, adds bubbles, and filters all 3 stages if you want
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Old 10-31-2020, 02:50 PM   #8
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Is a sponge filter OK for what I want and tank I have?

Sponge filters are great. As Brookster says, they are preferred by breeders as they donít trap small shrimp and fry.

I like to believe that fish prefer not to have motors running inside the water but thereís no evidence to suggest otherwise.

Technically you donít NEED a filter. Filters only serve to collect waste so until you take them out and clean them the mineralised waste stays in the tank anyway. The biological part of filtration occurs naturally on all surfaces of the tank. Providing you donít feed too much food the tank should stay relatively clean and can do so with just a little air.

This means you can run a sponge filter without the sponge (if they appear too bulky) and it will create a bit of water movement and the bubbles that you want. However, if you were to go down this route Iíd suggest an airstone instead.

You will need a pump but they arenít that noisy at all if you can prevent them from touching anything.

So to summarise:

Great for oxygen
Not very noisy
No motors in tank
Safe for fry and small shrimp
Keep water clear
Last forever
No maintenance
Gentle water movement
Very inexpensive

There are three very good reasons in that list to put someone off purchasing one IF you were a business owner and this is in my opinion, the only reason sponge filters, air stones and undergravel filters are rarely used today.
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Old 10-31-2020, 05:03 PM   #9
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One major plus for a sponge filter is in no-power situations. It's possible to run a decent pump with an average UPS for hours in case of emergency.
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Old 10-31-2020, 05:05 PM   #10
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One major plus for a sponge filter is in no-power situations. It's possible to run a decent pump with an average UPS for hours in case of emergency.
Good point!
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Old 10-31-2020, 07:17 PM   #11
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Good point!
Indeed!
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Old 10-31-2020, 11:12 PM   #12
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Thank you charliebankston. That's all useful to know.
I was just worried at having to have two machines on, as don't mind noise of the air pump alone without any other filter machines, and a sponge filter seems as if it does both jobs anyway.
I will look into a small internal filter like the marineland magnum or the sicce shark.
I have just read about the venturi system since reading your recommendation, and it seems like a cheap and easy method to have air bubbles with a filter.

OK thanks for the advice Mr. Overfilter. I will take look at the Vivosun line of pumps.

Thank you Brookster123. I will also find out about the tetra whisper air pumps.

Thank you Caliban07. I didn't know that the biological part of filtration occurs naturally on all surfaces of the tank.

That was my first question on this website, and I have lots of useful information and pointers to look more into or read up about.
Thank you. You're all very helpful
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Old 11-01-2020, 06:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by SSmith4 View Post
Thank you charliebankston. That's all useful to know.
I was just worried at having to have two machines on, as don't mind noise of the air pump alone without any other filter machines, and a sponge filter seems as if it does both jobs anyway.
I will look into a small internal filter like the marineland magnum or the sicce shark.
I have just read about the venturi system since reading your recommendation, and it seems like a cheap and easy method to have air bubbles with a filter.

OK thanks for the advice Mr. Overfilter. I will take look at the Vivosun line of pumps.

Thank you Brookster123. I will also find out about the tetra whisper air pumps.

Thank you Caliban07. I didn't know that the biological part of filtration occurs naturally on all surfaces of the tank.

That was my first question on this website, and I have lots of useful information and pointers to look more into or read up about.
Thank you. You're all very helpful

Just to clarify. The sponge part of the sponge filter is a passive piece of equipment, it is not a machine. The air pump feeds in a plastic structure which is surrounded by the sponge. The act of air entering and rising up through the lift tube in the form of bubbles forces water to be drawn in through the sponge so only one machine which is the pump, the filter is just plastic and foam.
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Old 11-01-2020, 12:23 PM   #14
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Just to clarify. The sponge part of the sponge filter is a passive piece of equipment, it is not a machine. The air pump feeds in a plastic structure which is surrounded by the sponge. The act of air entering and rising up through the lift tube in the form of bubbles forces water to be drawn in through the sponge so only one machine which is the pump, the filter is just plastic and foam.
Yes sorry, I probably wasn't making it clear. I'm attracted to the sponge filter as it's only one machine with the air pump, so filters as well as bubbles. I wasn't sure exactly how it worked though. I suppose bacteria on the sponge helps with the biological function?
I'm still going through all your other tips and recommendations, thanks.
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Old 11-01-2020, 12:27 PM   #15
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Yeah, the porous nature of the sponge allows the bacteria to grow really well
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Old 11-06-2020, 10:11 AM   #16
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Agree with all the above. A small 14 gallon tank will only ever need a simple sponge filter that will last forever and cheap to run.
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Old 11-10-2020, 09:01 PM   #17
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While you'll be peaches with a sponge filter, even on a much larger tank (sponge filters scale nicely) you might want to research the other options available and their respective positives and negatives.
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