How to maintain a Sponge Filter?

Sponge filters are quite handy when used properly, but not many people are clued up on them. Why? Well, they are cheap and efficient, and most sellers like to hide them away in order to sell the more profitable items. While the other filters are good and very useful, sponge filters do the same in various aquariums, for a lower price, and less maintenance. Let’s look into sponge filters, and how you maintain them for your aquariums.

What Is A Sponge Filter

It pretty much is in the name for these products. A sponge filter includes a sponge that carries out the filtration processes, and will keep your aquarium tank safe and clean. A sponge filter can carry out two types of filtration:

  1. Mechanical Filtration:

    This filtration involves the cleaning of debris from the surface of the water, and whatever is floating under it. This gunk will be pulled in through the intake pipe, and will be absorbed by the sponge.

  2. Biological Filtration:

    This filtration involves the growth of helpful bacteria on the pores of the sponge itself. There are always helpful and harmful bacteria in an aquatic environment. Biological filtration builds up these bacteria in order to help break down ammonia and keep the nitrogen cycle going.

Sponge filters carry out these necessary filtration in your aquarium, and only run on one electronic appliance, which is an air pump. You can understand where people’s confusion for maintenance or cleaning this apparatus comes in. Since the sponge itself is very involved in these processes, it is essential for proper maintenance, for long term use.

Maintaining Sponge Filters For Aquariums

What Is An Aquarium Sponge Filter

Sponge filters can be used till the point they are completely out of shape. Not all of them of course, only if you have maintained it properly and are sure that it can live up to its potential the whole time. One of the best ways to ensure your aquarium tank and filter are working harmoniously, is to constantly perform water changes with a strict schedule or routine.

So, how do you clean your sponge filter without compromising its integrity? Well, a few factors come into play in properly cleaning and maintaining a sponge filter. Let’s break them down!

Gentle Cleaning

sponge filter cleaning

Performing mechanical filtration and biological filtration with the same sponge can be a bit detrimental if not cleaned. Thus, you need to take the sponge out while doing your water changes, and make sure to clean it. However, you want to make sure that you do not get rid of the useful bacteria that has already been built up in the sponge.

Get a separate bucket when doing your water changes, with some of the aquarium water, and gently get rid of the visible gunk that is clogging up your sponge. The main point here is to ensure that the sponge can allow water to pass through it with ease. Why be gentle though? Well, if you are not gentle, then you will end up dislodging and removing the essential bacteria that is needed for biological filtration, since they are accumulated in the pores of the sponge.

This process is especially necessary if you only use one filter in your aquarium system. Be sure to take care of this every other week on a schedule.

Multiple Filter Aquarium

If you have multiple filters in your aquarium, it is still possible to get a routinely cleaning system ready. We mentioned cleaning your filter along with the water change cycle because it will be a whole reboot to your aquarium system, making it more efficient for you.

However, in the case of two filtration systems, it is best if you clean one filter on its own time, and the other during the water change cycle. This relieves you from the stress of your aquarium not having any filtration at a certain point. Not to mention, multiple filtration systems means that your filters are having less pressure applied to them, ensuring a longer lifespans for all of them.

Sponge Filter Pipes and Pump

Sponge Filter Pipes

While sponge filters don’t have many different parts to them, they still rely on a few. The pipes are essential in making sure water is sucked into the filter, and then sent back out. This means that they deal with mucky water going in and out of them on a constant basis. That is why it is essential to also clean them out on a regular basis, preferably when you are cleaning the rest of the filter. It is quite easy to clean out the pipes however, as long as you use a thin pointed stick i.e. a toothpick.

The air pump is also something that requires cleaning from time to time, but more importantly might need to be changed as well. There is an easy way to find out if your air pump needs to be changed; if the foam or filter becomes discoloured.

Best Fish For Sponge Filters

Best Fish For Sponge Filters

With sponge filters differing from other power filters so much, you might wonder what fish or aquariums are best suited from them. The question or comparison of power filter vs sponge filter arise a lot, but sometimes, there is an outright winner. 

Since sponge filters utilize the sponge in them, there is no danger for small fish to be harmed in them. This becomes a problem with larger filters as their power can drag up the small fish into them, making it problematic. However, fish such as betta fish, fry fish and shrimp can easily survive and thrive in a fish tank with a sponge filter.

The Takeaway

We hope the idea of how to maintain your sponge filter has become a lot more clearer to you from this article. Sponge filters are very helpful for aquarium enthusiasts and should be considered more often. They are ideal for small fish tanks, and are quieter than the conventional filters due to their lack of electrical components. Overall, if you have the right build for it, a sponge filter will be perfect for your setup!

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