The use of an Aquarium or even Pond Sponge Filter is a proven and yet economical way to maintain effective aerobic biological filtration.

A Sponge Filter IS PROVEN useful for these applications:
*Main Filter, *Secondary Filter, *Pre-filter, *Sump or Central Filter System in Fresh or Marine Aquariums (the Hydro Pond Sponge works great for this), *Hospital Filter, *Bowl or Small Tank Filter.
(For more please read the posts below)

For a full article about how "The Best" Sponge Filters work, please visit this site:
"Sponge Filtration; How Sponge Filters work in Aquariums and Ponds"

This article is a MUST read as these filters Surpass most other filters in aerobic Bio Filtration; HydroPond & HydroSponge #5 PRO Sponge Filters even surpass many over hyped Canister Filters (only Fluidized Bed Filters out perform Sponge Filters for aerobic bio filtration)!
Please Scroll down for "Sponge Filter Article" posts/articles which follow this header section

To purchase the best in Sponge Filters at the lowest total prices
(when shipping is factored in):
Sponge Filters

Premium Patented ATI Hydro Sponge Filters, with links to ATI Filter Max Sponge Pre-Filters, Aquarium Filter Kits & Hydro Pond Filters

What Does a Patented Aquarium Sponge Filter Mean?


With the flood of cheap (1) Chinese knock offs, (2) patent infringing copies, and (3) long time competitors that are simply less efficient; the answer is A LOT!

One thing all three have in common is a poor sponge material design, which is also how costs are shaved! I have seen YouTube comments by persons who only know these sponge filters by the above noted categories, not by the use of a patented AAP/Hydro Sponge Filter.

With a poorly designed sponge, much of the muck that is held by the sponge is trapped in the outer part of the sponge. A good test is when the sponge is removed, a good portion drips back into the aquarium if not removed very carefully. Then when rinsing, it does not take much to clean these sponges.

With a patented AAP/Hydro Sponge, generally the same amount of muck might drip back into the aquarium upon removal, however the big difference is when rinsing and squeezing to get clean in a small bucket of used aquarium water (or de-chlorinated water), it often takes 2 or 3 water changes in this bucket for the sponge to come clean!!!

The picture below demonstrates the high density of sponge pores found in a quality sponge. This is unlike most every other sponge which have more in common with the foam in your couch cushion!

high density of pores found in a quality AAP Hydro aquarium sponge filter

Let's look at each of these in a bit more detail:
  1. Cheap Chinese Knock Offs: Here we have often poor filter design combined with already noted poor sponge design. The result is poor flow patterns and inefficiency of the filter in both mechanical and biological filtration. Often resulting in less than 1/4 the capacity of better sponge filters. An example is the XY-380 often sold on eBay or Amazon

  2. Patent infringing copies: Here we again still generally see a poor sponge used to save on production cost for much lower capacity of bio and mechanical filtration. HOWEVER because the patented interchangeable design has been copied, flow patterns and versatility are definitely better.
    Sadly Hydro-Sponge has ceased battling many of these companies infringing on their patent here due to time and money involved (not to mention that while AAP/Hydro Sponge is 100% American made, it is nearly impossible to stop patent infringement in China for low cost goods).

    What we can do is avoid these companies and stores that sell these. Unfortunately in our often social media driven world, we have aquarium marketing schemes de-jour such as "My Aquarium Box" actively promoting just one such patent infringer. We need persons in this hobby who will listen to others who have been around a long time to mentor them and and then follow the trail of truth. Patent infringement sponge filters, my aquarium box

  3. Long time competitors that are simply less efficient: This is where sponge filters such as the Lees, Hagen, and Tetra fall based on my mentors experiments. While these and others have been around for a long time, their flow patterns simply do not allow the versatility of use nor the flow rates of the patented AAP/Hydro Sponge Filter. These filters also do not use the quality of sponge material, albeit better than all the Chinese knock offs, thus lowering mechanical and biological sponge filter capacity

Further Reading:
Sponge Filter Information

Recommended Resource for Patented Sponge Filters:
AAP Hydro Sponge Filters

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Sponge Filter; Bowl or Small Aquarium Filters


This is a very simple idea where by one uses a Hydro Sponge #2, then one would cut this filter's sponge in half, then remove the male strainer, then finally replace the sponge with this new "1/2" sponge "Mini Hydro Sponge Filter" well suited for a small aquarium (under 2 gallons) or a bowl.

The result of this VERY simple DIY Mini filter is an extra sponge for a future change, but just as importantly and unlike other DIY sponge filter ideas circulating here on the internet is you also still have a Quality, Patented Hydro Sponge Filter with higher bio filtration capacity per square inch (or square centimeter) and a sponge (plus spare) that does not degrade quickly.

It is also noteworthy that this Mini Aquarium or Bowl Sponge Filter is vastly superior to one of those small round under gravel filters many will use in a bowl for these reasons (especially for Betta Bowls/Containers since food often falls to the bottom where the Betta will rarely go):

*More easily rinsed (de-chlorinated tap or bowl/aquarium water should be used for rinsing, not tap water)
*Higher Bio Capacity (more space for aerobic nitrifying bacteria)
*Better oxygenation of this bio bacteria
*Much less decomposition in the substrate or bowl bottom that can result in Aeromonas bacterial outbreaks or Saprolegnia (fungus) outbreaks.

Please click on the picture above to enlarge for a better view

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Stackable Aquarium Sponge Filters


Stackable Sponge Filters

While not at all a new idea, it is often a forgotten idea that is especially useful for Breeder Aquariums & Goldfish Aquariums (especially bare bottom tanks)

These Filters can be stack tightly for use in high bio load aquariums such as often "dirty" goldfish tanks.

Or the "Step" can be used as a spacer to allow for gaps for fry/babies to hide in; this is recommended for breeder aquariums.

The First picture displays a Hydro Sponge #1 Stackable which is probably the most popular with breeders since many can be added for both added bio capacity, but also many places for fish fry to hide.

The second picture displays the Hydro Sponge #5 Stackable which can be used in large breeder tanks, but is best to add on to large high bio load aquariums.
Since the #5 Stackable utilizes the standard patented Sponge material by ATI, it makes a great addition to Hydro Sponge #5 PRO in that it will provide more fine mechanical filtration as well as more "space" for nitrifying bacterial colonies. The only negative is that it will slow much quicker the the reticulated sponge material used by the #5 PRO, but this is over come be simply rinsing this sponge at more frequent intervals.

Please Click on each Picture to Enlarge for a better view

As a side note;
Since the use of stacking sponge filters often entails breeder aquariums or large aquarium systems with valuable specimens, I strongly urge those who utilize UV Sterilizers to maintain their UV Bulbs by changing these once per every six months for optimum effectiveness.

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Sponge Filter Lift Tube Extensions


High Performance Sponge Filters such as the Hydro Sponge (or Hydro Pond #2) can have improved circulation patterns in deep aquariums with the use of "Hydro Lifts".
A Hydro Lift extends the flow pattern in deeper tanks (generally over 16 inches) by extending the water outflow higher in the aquarium (as close to the surface as possible for maximum results).
It is noteworthy that this is not always necessary in all aquariums such as aquarium with other filters that provide good upper circulation or where the aquarium keeper desires less circulation in the upper aquarium.

However in most aquarium applications this is desirable, especially where the Sponge Filter is the sole or primary filter for the aquarium. Of which despite popular anecdotal (but incorrect) assumptions, a sponge filter can actually exceed many other filters including HOB Power Filters and even many Canister filters for aerobic bio filtration. The key is the correct size Sponge filter and the quality of the sponge material; both of these attributes are generally missing with sponge filters used where incorrect assumptions were made (extensive controlled tests dating back to the 1990s have proven this).
(Please click on the picture to the left to enlarge for a better view)

The addition of a Hydro Lift (or similar 1 inch tube) can be used with either air pump driven or power head (water pump) driven sponge filter applications. These lifts can also be easily cut to exact heights with a hack saw.

Hydro Lift Extensions can also be used with multiple "Stackable" Sponge Filters such as the Hydro Sponge #5 Stackable, this can be useful for large deep tanks where multiple tiers of Sponges are added to keep up with high or increasing bio loads.

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