If you’ve been in aquatics for a long time, then you’ve likely heard of a sponge filter. If you’re relatively new to aquatics, you may have heard people in forums discussing sponge filters. Sponge filters are an old tool that is coming back into popularity as more people become more involved in the care of their aquariums.
Sponge filters, as simple as they are, aren’t carried in most big box stores and your local fish store may carry them, but likely has a small selection of them. If you’ve been looking into trying out a sponge filter, the lack of availability of them may have deterred you. The good news is that with a few aquarium items and things you can grab at hardware stores, making your own DIY sponge filter is a relatively easy project that you can accomplish in an hour or two.
First, let’s cover what a sponge filter actually is and what the benefits are of using one. Then, keep reading for step-by-step instructions for making your own sponge filter!
What is a Sponge Filter?
Sponge filters are one of the most simplistic kinds of filters for aquariums. They are a great option for hospital tanks, fry tanks, and tanks for small invertebrates like shrimp because they do not carry the same risks that HOB and canister filters do when it comes to small and weak fish and invertebrates.
Sponge filters are a very basic design and basically consist of little more than a tube with a sponge on one end. There is a connection for airline tubing and the air passing through the inner tube gently pulls water from the tank through the sponge, capturing lightweight waste like small fish poop and particles in the water.
One of the biggest benefits of sponge filters is the sponge itself, and not just because it helps keep your small critters safe. The sponge of a sponge filter creates a perfect surface with a huge amount of surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow. This means that sponge filters allow for mechanical and biological filtration, but most lack chemical filtration.
How to Make Your Own DIY Sponge Filter:
Sponge filters are a great addition to just about any tank, but they are not a good option as the only filter for overstocked tanks or tanks with large or heavy waste producing fish, like goldfish. For these tanks, sponge filters are an excellent supplement to a HOB or canister filter that improves oxygenation, water flow, and beneficial bacteria colonization.
Making your own DIY sponge filter from scratch can save you time and money, plus leave you with a sense of accomplishment when you see it at work in your tank. Sponge filters require little in the way of cleaning and maintenance and will not need much more than an occasional cleaning of the interior of the tube and a quick rinse of the sponge in dirty tank water just to knock off solid waste.
If you have been considering adding some type of biological filtration to your aquarium, then a sponge filter may be the way to go. Making a sponge filter from scratch is a functional, cost-effective project whether you have one or dozens of aquariums.
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