SPONGE FILTERS; Myths and Truths;

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

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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Aquarium Sump, Central System Filter

Sponge Sump Filters

Another use for larger reticulated sponge filters such as the Hydro Pond #4 is as a primary sump filter.
The large double reticulated high volume water flow sponges provide for copious amount of surface area for bio filtration.
This high flow design of the reticulated Hydro Pond Sponges provides more surface area and much less channeling of water than bio balls can in the same amount of space (water channeling is the major problem of bio balls, sand, ceramic media and even bio stars, which results in areas of little or no water contact).

The Hydro Pond 4 can easily handle an aquarium up to 250 gallons or central aquarium system of similar gallons. The amount of water volume can increase with multiple filters or the addition of Sponges for the use of diffusion of water into the sump. A Hydro Pond 4 can be used for the water diffusion or the smaller more simple Filter Max #3 can be employed for this use as well (some square sponges such as those for the larger Aqua Clear Filter can be used in a diffusion chamber as one more alternative).

Probably the simple way to build this sump is to use a Filter Max #3 or Hydro Pond 4 attached to PVC pipe that pours (diffuses) water into the sump. These diffusion sponges will act as a wet dry filter.

Step two would be to add a Hydro Pond 4 to the pick up pump such as the Via Aqua 2600 in the top picture to return the water to the aquarium (a Rio 20 HF Pump would work even better).
With two Hydro Pond 4 Filters (one for pick up & one for diffusion) your capacity would be up to 500 gallons. With one Hydro Pond 4 Filter and one Filter Max 3 or large Square Aqua Clear 110 Sponge your combined sump capacity would be about 300-350 gallons.

Finally, for readers scratching their heads wondering why they have not read or heard of this type of simple aquarium sump set up, the answer is simple; Many aquarium professionals have employed this method for years, however since the cost is very low (the purchase of a pump, 10 gallon aquarium, and a few Sponge Filters/sponges), most aquarium supply sellers would rather sell you their elaborate sumps of similar size and then charge over $350 (often without the pump too) for a set up that is likely of lower actual bio capacity than the above sump suggestion that would cost the DIY builder well under $125 (including the pump and a 10 gallon aquarium that can be cheaply purchased at Walmart, PetCo or better your local specialty aquarium store).
The choice is yours!!

With the addition of a good UV Sterilizer placed in-line for your Return such as the Terminator 36 watt or TMC 25 Watt, you will have a sump or central aquarium system that is second to none (make sure to change your UV Bulbs in your Sterilizer every six months for optimum performance)!

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