How Does A Sponge Filter Work? The Easiest Fish Tank Filter Ever

Whether you are just getting into the hobby of fishkeeping or been in this for a long time, sponge filters may have eluded you. With there being so many different types of filters for aquariums out there, people are more familiar with canister filters, power filters and etc. However, sponge filters are quite useful as well and they mainly miss everyone’s radars because shops do not make much profit on them. For that reason, it is a great idea to enlighten yourself on sponge filters, and know how they work properly.

What Is An Aquarium Sponge Filter

There is no real innovative technology to a sponge filter, it is as it says in the name. The filter pulls in water into the mechanism, and is then run through the sponge before being cleaned out and returned into the tank.

Filtration is not as simple as you would think, there are layers to it. Sponge filters can take care of two different types of filtration, they are:

Mechanical Filtration:

This filtration involves the cleaning of debris from your tank. As the water is pulled into the filter, it will clean out the larger gunk that accumulates in your tank, and stop it from getting stuck in the sponge.

Biological Filtration:

Biological filtration involves the microscopic filtration of the water from the tank of your aquarium. The pores in the sponge allow for the growth of a bacteria that is helpful for the environment of your aquarium, and the bigger the surface area, the more bacteria that grows!

How Does An Aquarium Sponge Filter Work?

We have already briefly explained how the sponge filter works and what filtration it does. Let us delve further into this, and make sure you know exactly what happens when you turn on a sponge filter.

Sponge filters have only one electrical component in their system, and that is the air pump, which pulls in the water from the tank, and into the filtration system. The water is taken in, and taken past the sponge with the help of one lift tube. All these materials will be available to you upon buying the sponge filter.

After you connect the air pump and the lift tube on to it, air will pass in, creating a suction which lifts the lift hose, and the air is drawn in from the tank. After this, the water gets filtered, and then reenters the tank.

Benefits Of Sponge Filters

With them being quite so simple in theory, how much of a benefit do they provide? Well, you will be surprised that such a quaint device can have quite a few benefits, making them all the more worthwhile for your tanks!


As we have already mentioned, sponge filters are not the most expensive products, and shopkeepers would rather sell other filtration systems as they make them more money. Which inevitably means that sponge filters are quite affordable, and will do the work you need them to.

Looking at some of the best canister filters can be a great idea, but they will cost you more than a 100 dollars, whereas a nice sponge filter can be found in under 20 dollars! Of course, there are also the comparisons between sponge filters and power filters, making the choice a bit harder, but it is better to have an idea of everything before you make the ultimate choice.

Not Noisy

Aquariums tend to have a bunch of technology associated with them nowadays as people keep advancing their systems. While it may make your setup look amazing, and keep your fish healthy, it leaves you with the unmissable annoyance of having a noisy setup. This is caused especially by filtration systems. Even canister filters which are said to be optimized for efficiency, still have the tendency to be quite loud, and can force you to have your aquarium outside your bedroom. 

A sponge filter aquarium will not create these problems, as the only electric mechanism it has is the air pump, and it will not create much of a disturbance.

Easy to Use

One daunting fact of fishkeeping is that it becomes very complicated if you want to learn how to manage an ecosystem for your fish and water plants. Even filtration systems can be very complicated in how they are used and set up. However, this is another benefit of the sponge filter, in that it is quite easy to set up and the mechanics of this device is quite easy for anyone to pick up on.

Whether you want to learn how to set up a sponge filter, or learn how they work, it would not take you more than an hour to do so!

Limits Water Movement

Sponge filters use very little power, and that helps when it comes to the movement of water in your tank. This helps sponge filters become very usable for tanks with small fish, as the lack of water movement allows for a safer environment for them. This can include fish such as betta  fish and angel fish

The Takeaway

Hopefully you have managed to learn all you needed to about sponge filters and their uses! Even though you may not have heard much about them beforehand, they are a quite useful filtration system. So, even if you’re new to fishkeeping or have been into the trade for quite a while, make sure to research everything you need, and refresh yourself from time to time. The quaint sponge filter tanks are sure to make you feel at ease and comfortable at home!

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