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Thread: Considering removing my sponge filters

  1. #1
    Registered Member Bizarro252's Avatar
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    Default Considering removing my sponge filters

    Background:
    55 gal tank
    6 sub adult 5.5" discus
    1 BN Pleco
    Fluval 406 w/ prefilter + 2 Hydor sponges (stacked)

    These sponges seem to trap more food bits, contributing more waste to the tank than I would have in there without them. If I pick them up, even the day after cleaning them and let the water run out there will be food bits floating around that came out of them. I have the 'new style' that is a much less dense foam than the 'old' style and I think this just allows food to collect in there (mostly from my homemade mix which is messy).

    I think I would have plenty of filtration without them, so considering removing them - is this a stupid idea? It seems like most folks run them so wondering if there is something obvious I am missing...I am sure they are pretty good at ammonia -> nitrite conversion with all the fresh oxygen they receive vs the canister...but I think they overall are contributing more issues than they are helping to overall water quality.

    Thanks

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    SimplyDiscus Sponsor & Homesteader ChicagoDiscus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    You probably have plenty of bio in your Fluval filter. However regardless of the type of mechanical filtration, we always keep at least one sponge filter in each of our tanks. There is no better bio filter than a sponge filter. Certainly excess food accumulates on the outside, but you can simply shake it off or brush it off before you clean your tank. One is sufficient for a 55 gallon.
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  3. #3
    Registered Member Bizarro252's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    Thanks for the feedback, I think I will at least take it down to one, give them some more room too I do kinda shake them off before a WC and take them completely out for a good scrubbing (in tank water!) to get detritus off them and such every now and then...They just hold a LOT of tiny food bits. I have started rinsing all my frozen food recently which helps, but its my homemade mix that really gets everywhere... I leave the filters off when feeding, I think I will start vacuuming after a homemade mix feeding too just to cut down on the load...

    So - there is sponge in my canister filter, do you say the in tank sponges are great bio filters do to their better contact with fresh O2 or is there a different reason? Thanks!

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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    I would reduce my sponge to one ,when you want to clean it place the sponge in a plastic jug in the tank so the debris would fall in the jug rather than in the tank floor also feed your beef heart just before your W/C but the single positive factors that you have chosen which has got the biggest effect is the use of prefilter .

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    Gold Member Adam S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    There's a lot of magic happening inside sponge filters besides nitrogen cycle. The trapped bits of fish food and waste become food for microbes and other goodies that contribute to better/stable water quality. I rinse mine out rarely, maybe every few months, but I vacuum the surface during water changes.

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    Registered Member Bizarro252's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    Good stuff, thanks all
    Does anyone use the 'new' style coarse sponges? I think that may be my main issue, I bought them thinking "OHHH!! NEW....IMPROVED!!!" but in reality they are designed for higher flow applications (I think like ponds??) The ones that are more dense, like an actual sponge, may not allow these larger chunks to get in there and cause what I am seeing...

    Mine are like the bottom one in this pic.

    sponge.jpg


    Ran across this when looking for the above pic to attached, looks interesting....
    https://www.thetechden.com.au/Huey_H...h-2sp-w300.htm

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    Silver Member Willie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    I use both types and am gradually switching over to the coarse ones which last longer. I feed heavily, change water daily and squeeze out the sponges weekly. Don't have the issues you're describing.

    Willie
    Whenever you feel stupid, remember that there are people out there looking for Pokemon.

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    Registered Member Bizarro252's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    Thanks Willie, good to know. So if you go pick up one of your course sponges and let it drain into the tank, it doesn't throw clouds of bits everywhere? Sounds like I just need to get a pitcher or bag like sayid mentioned.

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    Silver Member Phillydubs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    I've always run sponges, I guess based on habits or learning the hobby from old heads who always used it but it just makes me feel safe, not to mention if your canister ever fails, or there is a power outage and it looses prime, that sponge will usually always work...

    Now I have a sump and I stash the sponge in the sump, so it stays very clean because it is not in the tank... That being said, when I had a similar set-up to yours I ran an HOB and a sponge, only one, and the old style. I didn't get the build up you describe but would always see a lot of poop and all pulled in there and that would be my first spot to vac.

    Have you tried going back to the older style sponge and seeing if it changes...

    It could be your food as you say and as someone suggested, feed them that then just do your WC and it should solve it...

  10. #10
    Moderator Team & Homesteader Altum Nut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Bizarro252 View Post
    Thanks Willie, good to know. So if you go pick up one of your course sponges and let it drain into the tank, it doesn't throw clouds of bits everywhere? Sounds like I just need to get a pitcher or bag like sayid mentioned.
    I used to use the course sponges you speak of and it happened to me so I just used a perfectly sized plastic ice cream tub and place sponge inside before lifting out and it caught all the debris that would drain off. I have since changed over to the finer sponges.
    Mind you...I had lots of wood and plecos in the tanks when I used the course sponges.

    ...Ralph
    "Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."
    -John Wooden

  11. #11
    Registered Member Bizarro252's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Altum Nut View Post
    I used to use the course sponges you speak of and it happened to me so I just used a perfectly sized plastic ice cream tub and place sponge inside before lifting out and it caught all the debris that would drain off. I have since changed over to the finer sponges.
    Mind you...I had lots of wood and plecos in the tanks when I used the course sponges.

    ...Ralph
    Ya know, this isnt what you said but how I read it the first time I read it haha - I wonder if a plastic container, turned upside down with a hole punched in it to slide down over the tube (leaving say an inch or so room between the sponge sides and the container sides for flow) would help.... that would only allow chunks to come from below, not float down and onto it.... hrmmmm


    Phil - thanks for reminding me of the back up purpose they serve, for some reason I forgot about that

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    Gold Member Adam S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    If you want to switch to a finer sponge, I'd recommend the Azoo Oxygen Plus 6 or 10 (Drs. Foster and Smith has the best price on them). Same pedestal style filter, but the sponge doesn't seem to collapse and fall apart after a while like the normal Hydro sponges. The airlift system is also really slick, no more clogged air stones.

  13. #13
    Registered Member Bizarro252's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    Good to know, thanks!

    I removed one of the two last night (I had them stacked), and moved it to the other side of the aquarium, it was located in the spot where all the crud collected (right under where the spray bar output is) so moving it to the cleaner side of the tank should help too.

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    Registered Member Ryan925's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    Why the sponge filters anyway with an adequately sized canister? Is the point of them to be sucking up that food and debris that is causing you the issue ?
    Im not illiterate...only my phone's auto correct is

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    Silver Member Willie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering removing my sponge filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Bizarro252 View Post
    Thanks Willie, good to know. So if you go pick up one of your course sponges and let it drain into the tank, it doesn't throw clouds of bits everywhere? Sounds like I just need to get a pitcher or bag like sayid mentioned.
    It's not a problem with 100% water changes! Willie.
    Whenever you feel stupid, remember that there are people out there looking for Pokemon.

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