10 Best Sponge Filter in 2021 (Reviews & Buying Guide)

There are different types of filters that you will find for aquariums. Sponge filters have been there for many years but not many aquarium owners know more about them. These are affordable filters that are easy to set up and they provide both mechanical and biological filtration. If you want to buy the best sponge filter for your aquarium, I have some essential tips and top picks that you can consider.

We researched the market and came up with a list of top ten quality sponge filters that you can get on the market. These filters work best for different types of aquariums. So, it is great to go through the various models available to help you determine which model is suitable for you.

What exactly is a Sponge Filter?

If you haven’t had an experience with a sponge filter, you are probably wondering what kind of filters these are. This is a type of aquarium filter that is easy to use and it keeps your fish healthy and safe. The filters provide a gentle flow rate which makes it a great option for breeding or for people who have fry tanks. On top of that, these filters have a compact design and they come at an affordable price.

Now that you know what a sponge filter is, it is also great to understand the benefits of a sponge filter and why you need to get one. One of the major benefits of these filters is that they are easy to use. Installing them is simple and fast and you don’t have to be a pro to do that.

These filters are also great for aquariums that have a small volume of water because they offer effective aeration and effective mechanical filtration without producing too much current. You will also find that sponge filters are affordable as compared to other types of filters. Some if you are on a budget, you can consider buying a sponge filter. You can also avoid replacement costs by washing the filters regularly.

Best Sponge Filter Comparison Chart

Product NameWeightDimensionPrice
Uxcell XINYOU XY-380 Biochemical Sponge Filter10.4 ounces5.5 x 4.3 x 5.5 inches
AQUANEAT Aquarium Bio Sponge Filter9.6 ounces2.0"D X 4.75"H
Zanyzap Pre-Filter0.48 ounces5.1 x 3.1 x 1.5 inches
Hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter14.4 ounces6.3 x 2.1 x 9 inches
Fluval EDGE Pre-Filter Sponge0.48 ounces1.7 x 1.7 x 4.5 inches
Huijukon Air Driven Sponge Filter3.5 ounces-
XY-2831 Air Pump Sponge Filter2.88 ounces8 x 2 x 7 inches
Aquaneat Small Bio Sponge Filter7.2 ounces4”L x 1.8”W x 6.25”H
Lustar – Hydro-Sponge V Filter11.2 ounces7 x 6 x 6 inches
Aquaneat Aquarium Bio Sponge Filter 8 ounces4.5"D X 8.0"H


Best Sponge Filter Reviews

With the wide range of sponge filters on the market, it can be tough to pick the right one. We have made your work easier by narrowing down our top options on the market today. Here are reviews and buying guide of reliable models you can get on the market this year.

This is an inexpensive filter that provides great performance in your aquarium. The filter provides mechanical and biological filtration to give your fish a clean and healthy environment. On top of that, it offers aeration and effective filtration for the fish. Installing this filter is easy and you don’t need an expert to do that.

What I like

This is a nice filter for large-sized aquariums. It is also great if you have a shrimp aquarium and you are looking for a safe filter that will not suck baby shrimps. On top of that, you can also use this filter if you find it hard working with other types of aquarium filters since it is easy to use.

The filter is large enough to be used in up to 20 gallons of aquariums. It is dense and features holes that release small particles with ease.

What I don’t like

One of the drawbacks of this filter is that it is too big for small aquariums. Therefore, you don’t want the filter to take all the space in your small aquarium. Since it doesn’t come with a manual, some people find it difficult to connect the filter to an air pump since it is big.

The good thing about this filter is that it can support larger bacterial populations and break down the waste in the aquarium. This is a dependable filter that utilizes a high-quality foam to offer a long-lasting use in your aquarium. I also love the fact that it is safe so you don’t have to worry about your fish getting trapped.

  • It is safe for fish
  • High quality and dense filter
  • Good quality for the price
  • The filter offers effective filtration
  • It doesn't trap the fish
  • The filter is not suitable for small aquariums
  • No manual which makes installation hard

If you have an aquarium of up to 10 gallons, the AQUANEAT is an amazing sponge filter that you can buy. This filter is suitable for small fish like killifish, guppy and dwarf cichlid among others. You can also use the filter in maternity tanks, hatcheries and fry tanks. This aquarium sponge filter produces little current so you don’t have to worry about your small fish getting sucked.

What I like

This is an affordable package that includes three pieces of sponge filter. Since it has a low current, the filter is suitable for small fish. The filter has a new cylinder design that increases the surface area to promote better oxygen exchange. This design is also suitable for locating the filter at the corner.

Installing the filter is also easy and it gives effective aeration and filtration in the fish tank. The aerobic bacteria promote nitrogen cycle which provides a healthy place for the fish. The sponge filters also offer a quite performance in the aquarium.

What I don’t like

For those who have large aquariums, this sponge filter might not be the best option. Some users also don’t recommend the filter for snails because the level of ammonia can go high.

The filter provides effective biological and mechanical filtration. It features an air infusion chamber that produces minute bubbles to boost the solubility of oxygen in the tank. This filter is also easy to clean so you only need to rinse and squeeze it in tank water. On top of that, it provides easy installation.

  • The filter is easy to clean
  • It doesn't suck up your fish
  • It is easy to install
  • Triple filters make it effective
  • Provides effective filtration to clean the water
  • Might not be suitable for large aquariums

This is another amazing 3-pack sponge filter that you can get if you have small inhabitants in your aquarium. These filters are easy to connect to the filter intake system and they have a mild current so small fish and other inhabitants will not be drawn in the fish tank. The filter works well to trap debris and other particles in the aquarium which keeps the water clean.

What I like

This is a 3-pack sponge filter that is suitable for small fish and other small inhabitants. The filters provide a superb filtration and they also offer long lasting use before you consider changing them. On top of that, installation is easy because you only need to connect to the filter intake system.

Aquarium users also love this filter because it doesn’t allow small fish to be sucked up in the filter. It only traps the dirt and the particles in the water to offer your aquatic life a clean and healthy place to live.

What I don’t like

I don’t like the way the filters are tiny. This makes them usable in small aquariums up to 10 gallons. Some users also don’t like the fact that when you try to remove the foam for cleaning, all the dirt that had stuck floats back in the aquarium if it is not on the suction.

You can get this sponge filter if you have a shrimp tank or if you have small fish in your tank. The filters offer a long-lasting performance and they can last for many months or up to one year without compromising the performance. The filter also has an efficient biological filtration that extends the life of the filter media.

  • Has an effective biological filtration
  • The filters last longer
  • Great for small fish
  • It is easy to install
  • Nice filters for the price
  • They are easy to clean and change
  • Only suitable for small aquariums
  • The filter tubes clog with ease

One of the main challenges that many aquarium owners experience if their fish and other small inhabitants getting sucked in the filter. You can prevent this if you have a quality filter like the Fluval EDGE Pre-Filter Sponge. This filter works well and it prevents the inhabitants in the tank from being sucked

What I like

The filter features intake cups that fit perfectly on many filter tubes. Setting up the filter is also easy since you only need to connect the unit to the filter intake. This protects your baby fish from being drawn in the filter. It also provides an effective biological filtration to keep the aquarium water clean.

What I don’t like

This is a great filter but it has too fine pores. Therefore, it gunks up easily with plant detritus and this makes the filter to stop working. If the pores were course, they would catch the plant detritus and still give room for better water flow and keeping the baby fish or shrimps safe.

Quality is one of the things that you will love about this filter. You can use these filters for up to one year before you replace it. You only need to clean them regularly and rinse them with de-chlorinated water to preserve the healthy bacteria. The filter has a porous shape which provides effective growth of bacteria that remove nitrate and ammonia from the tank.

  • Quality filter for the price
  • Great filter for betta fish
  • Installation is easy
  • It can fit other filters as well
  • Easy to replace
  • Prevents small fish from being sucked
  • Might not be suitable for 1-gallon tanks

If you have a 10-gallon fish tank, the XY-2831 sponge filter can be a great purchase. The filter provides effective biological and mechanical filtration to provide your fish with a healthy environment. It comes at an affordable price and it also aerates the fish tank.

What I like

You fish are safe when you are using this filter. It has a sponge that traps larger wastes without sucking the fish. I also like it because you can use it as a breeding filter or a secondary filter if you have other filters. Another great thing about this sponge filter is that it promotes aerobic bacteria that offer bacterial substances to promote the nitrogen cycle.

Users also like this sponge filter because it is easy to use. You can clean it with ease since you only need to clean the sponges and wash in the tank water. Do not wash it in running water because it will kill the beneficial bacteria.

What I don’t like

This is a nice and affordable filter but there is a problem with the suction cups. They fall apart and this might end up polluting the water in the tank. Some users also don’t find the filter ideal for sensitive aquarium inhabitants because it has a strong chemical smell from the sponge.

  • The filter is easy to install and maintain
  • Offers biological and mechanical filtration
  • Comes at an affordable price
  • It promotes aeration in the tank
  • It doesn't trap your fish
  • Suction cup requires some improvements
  • It has a strong chemical smell

This is another amazing air sponge filter that you can buy for your aquarium. The filter works well in promoting both aeration and filtration which ensures there is an effective circulation of oxygen in the tank. Unlike other filters, this one doesn’t make noise during operation.  It is suitable for aquariums from 20-55 gallons.

What I like

I like its double-layer ribbed design that makes it easy to allow easy establishment of a biofilter. Since the sponges are two, there is more surface area for bacteria colonization and the cycling becomes faster. As a result, you will end up with clear water in the fish tank.

Users also love it because it is easy to set up. You only need to install the airline in the unit and then the air pump. This makes it simple to clean and oxygenate the tank. On top of that, the filter is easy to clean. Remove the sponges and then rinse and squeeze them using the tank water. You can do this weekly and remember to change the filters regularly.

What I don’t like

This is a great sponge pump but I don’t like the fact that the pump is small and it feels very weak. Again, it doesn’t come with instructions and this makes assembly hard.

  • Great sponge filters for different types of tans
  • They are easy to install and clean
  • They keep the water clear
  • Large surface area promotes beneficial bacteria
  • The filter is noisy
  • Doesn't come with instructions

When it comes to picking the right aquarium filter, you need to consider a quality model like this one. It features physical filtration, bio-filtration, and oxygenation. In addition, it works best in making the small water flow to boost the quality of the water. Therefore, you can provide a healthy place for your small fish and shrimps.

What I like

I like it because it is easy to install. After all, the parts of the unit are detachable. Also, it has two suction cups that you can use to stick it firmly on the tank in any position that you want. You can also extend the water outlet tube or rotate and adjust it to your liking.

Another great thing about this sponge filter is that it is easy to use. The filter is also suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. The package includes a bag of ceramic media balls.

What I don’t like

The filter works well but I’m disappointed with its durability. It doesn’t last longer than six months so you need to replace it. Some people also find it moving very little water.

  • The filter is easy to use and clean
  • Offers a powerful filtration
  • Suitable for saltwater and freshwater aquariums
  • Comes with ceramic media balls
  • Has strong suction cups
  • Not durable
  • Doesn't move more water
  • Sponges are too dense

Get crystal clear water in your fish tank with the Lustar – Hydro-Sponge V Filter. This is a great filter that promotes high volume flow. It features a lift tube measuring one diameter to give room for more flow of water. Additionally, it uses a powerhead so you don’t require adapters.

What I like

The filter features a quality foam that provides effective mechanical filtration hence leaving the aquarium clean. It does an amazing job in trapping waste particles without sucking your fish. Another top aspect of this filter is that you can use horizontal and vertical position depending on your preference.

The sponge also features a heavy and sturdy base that keeps it raised and stable so there will be no dead space below. It is also a suitable filter for breeding facilities and hatcheries.

What I don’t like

Users say that this is the older version and not the pro version.  There are also many complaints of missing parts. They also break faster as compared to other sponge filters.

  • Provides effective biological filtration
  • Traps larger waste particles without sucking up fish
  • It is stable and easy to install
  • Comes without bulls eye
  • They break easily

Having a sponge filter provides a wide range of benefits. These filters are easy to clean, come at an affordable price and they are also great for small fish tanks. If you are looking for a sponge filter for a 60-gallon aquarium, the Aquaneat can be a great investment. The filter works best for small fish like killifish, guppy, dwarf cichlid and much more. It is ideal for different types of tanks like fry tanks, hatcheries and maternity tanks.

What I like

Cleaning and setting up this filter is a breeze. You only need to install the airline to the system and then turn the air pump on. When it comes to cleaning, rinse the sponge filter and then squeeze it in the water tank. 

When buying this filter, you will also get other accessories like four suction pumps, one tee, one control valve, four feet airline tubing, and one non-returnable check valve.

What I don’t like

This is a great filter but it doesn’t come with instructions on how to assemble it. Also, the product is unlabeled which I don’t find quite satisfying. The filter is also larger meaning that you cannot use it on a 10-gallon aquarium because it will take up more space.

  • Offers versatile application
  • The filter is easy to clean
  • It is easy to set up
  • Has beneficial bacteria that break down ammonia to nitrite
  • Offers effective biological and mechanical filtration
  • Doesn't sink even after absorbing water
  • Not good for small aquariums

Once you consider having an aquarium, you need to take care of your fish and other inhabitants. This means investing in the right filter that will purify the water in the tank. One of the great sponge filters that I would recommend is the Aquaneat Small Bio Sponge Filter. This is a great selection for small aquariums up to ten-gallon tanks.

When cleaning, it is recommended to use the tank water instead of using tap water so that you can maintain the beneficial bacteria. Clean the filter once every 2-4 weeks when it gets dirty.

What I like

This filter works well with small fish like guppy, dwarf cichlid, and killifish among others. You can also use it in different tanks like fry tanks, maternity tanks, and hatcheries among others. The filter works well and it produces less current meaning that your small fish will not get sucked up in the filter.

This filter also creates a good environment for beneficial bacteria that work well in breaking ammonia into nitrates.

What I don’t like

These sponge filters don’t have suction cups so they float. Also, the tubes are not connected well so they feel loose.

  • You will get four sponge filters
  • They are easy to install and clean
  • Create a good surface for beneficial bacteria
  • Provides effective water filtration
  • Doesn't come with suction
  • The tubes are loosely connected

Things to Consider

With the number of sponge filters available on the market, it can be hard to identify the right one. Of course, you don’t want to pick any model that you come across. I have some important tips that will help you get a quality sponge filter to suit your needs.

Aquarium Size

Before you buy the right sponge filter, it is important to consider the size of your fish tank. You want to get the right size so that it can work well in your aquarium. If your fish tank is large, then you need to get a large sponge filter to get the right flow. If you also have a small fish tank, get a small sponge filter that fits well.


You should also know that sponge filters come in different types. Unlike other types of filters, these filters are easy to maintain and they work well with different types of fish tanks. On top of that, you can use them to complement other filters like canister, HOB, and standalone filters. You can get the right model depending on the type of aquarium that you have. For instance, the types that you can get are suitable for nano tanks, large tanks, small tanks, and betta tanks among others.

Advanced Features

Sponge filters come with various features. Some have basic features while others have advanced features. For instance, you can get a double sponge water filter. Just like the name suggests, these are filters that have two filters and they offer a superb cleaning. You can also get some models with 3 sponge filters if you need more than just the normal filter. So, depending on your needs, you can pick the most suitable to suit your needs.

Your budget

How much money do you want to spend? This varies from one individual to another. It is important to set a budget and look for a sponge filter that matches your budget requirements. Sponge filters are affordable as compared to other types of filters. The price of sponge filters varies based on the features and the brand. Just make sure that you get the right model with the features that you want and meets your budget needs.


This is another thing that you should consider when buying a sponge filter. Setting up a sponge filter is easy even if you are new to keeping fish. With a sponge filter, you will only deal with the tubes, suction cups, and sponges which make installation easy.


You also want to have a quality sponge filter that works well. Can it produce beneficial bacteria?  This is important because cleaning your aquarium becomes a simple job. On top of that, it is wise to consider a model that doesn’t generate a strong current. Most of the sponge filters you will find on the market feature a gentle current and this makes them ideal for fish babies without worrying about the fish being sucked.

Quality and Design

Just like buying any other product on the market, you want something that can give you value for your money. In this case, you should buy a sponge filter that is quality. It should be dense such that it doesn’t float on the aquarium easily. When it comes to the design, ensure that it has various layers to offer many filtering stages.

Ease of Cleaning

This is another important thing that you should consider when buying a sponge filter. You need to get a model that is easy to clean. This is why many people opt for sponge filters. They are easy to clean as compared to other types of filters. Cleaning the filters is easy, you just need to rinse them and then squeeze them in the tank water. It is not advisable to use tap water because it will affect the beneficial bacteria that convert ammonia into nitrates.


It is also great to consider the price. One great thing about sponge filters is that they come at an affordable price. You can get several in one package at an affordable price. Weight out your budget and then look for a sponge filter that is designed to meet your budget requirements. All the above filters I have covered come at affordable prices and they work amazingly well in keeping the aquarium water clean hence your fish will have a healthy environment to live in. 

How Often Should You Clean A Sponge Filter?

Sometimes you can find some large debris trapped in the filter. This affects the working of the filter and therefore needs frequent cleaning. You can clean your sponge filter after two weeks.

One of the indicators that will let you know that you need to clean your sponge filter is when you realize the water surrounding the sponge begins to get slow. Remove the filter and ensure that you have a container below. This will ensure that the filthy water and other residues do not get back to fish tank.

When lifting the sponge filter, put a little used tank water in a container and put the sponge in the container. Squeeze it until nothing comes from the sponge. Return the sponge in the tank and then get rid of the dirty water in the container. You also need to add some conditioned water.

How Does A Sponge Filter Work?

The working mechanism of a sponge filter is not complicated. The filter is easy to use and it works in a simple manner. Once you buy your ideal model, power it using an aquarium air pump and ensure that the air tubing is located at the center. The air tube works well to remove the air from the pump.

This brings about the pressure that pulls water and passes through the filter. This pressure traps floating debris in the water and this keeps the water looking clear. The sponge traps the solid waste that you can choose to remove manually. Also, it can be converted to food for the bacteria. The wastes produce toxins that are bacteria-friendly and they are converted into safe nitrates.  When you are changing the water weekly, you can get rid of the nitrates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What type of fish work well with the right sponge filter?

A: Sponge filters are a great addition in any aquarium. They work well with different types of fish like small fish. If you have very small fish in your aquarium, then a sponge filter will be the right one. Sponge filters are also great for bottom dwellers and baby fish breeders.

Q: What problems I’m I likely to encounter with a sponge filter?

A: With the many advantages you get from sponge filters, they also have some drawbacks. First, they don’t have the exact chemical filtration. Therefore, it is great to have a HOB filter for effective chemical filtration. These filters might not be as powerful as other regular filters. So, if you want your fish tank to have clear water, you can complement these filters with canister or HOB filters for the best performance.

Q: What are the benefits of a sponge filter?

A: Sponge filters have many advantages. Unlike other filters, they are easy to setup. These filters also come at an affordable price and they are suitable for small fish tanks. On top of that, they can create healthy bacteria and their current is not too strong so your baby fish will not get trapped.

Q: Is it a good idea to rinse the sponge filter on running tap water?

A: This is not a good idea because tap water contains chlorine. This can end up destroying the healthy bacteria that are present in the sponge.

Q: How do I use a sponge filter?

A: Using a sponge filter is easy. Most of them come pre-assembled which makes your work easy. To use a sponge filter, you need to connect the pump, airline/ powerhead and you are good to go.

Final Words

Sponge filters are a great option for aquarium owners. These filters are ideal for small tanks and they are suitable for small fish. If you are also looking for an affordable option, sponge filters make the best investment. You can also choose to use them to compliment your already-existing filter. Sponge filters are also easy to install and they require minimal maintenance.

We understand it can be a challenging task to get a quality sponge filter. We have narrowed down your options by giving you the best sponge filter reviews and buying guide. I hope after going through the information, it will be easy for you to choose the right model. There is always the right model that will work well for your aquarium.

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