Sponge filters are a great option for hospital and fry tanks but they can also be used as a source of supplemental filtration for community tanks.
Aquarium filters are a necessary piece of equipment for the health of your aquarium. Unfortunately, these devices can be very expensive. There are many situations in which an aquarium owner might find himself in need of an additional filtration system. Fry tanks, quarantine tanks, and hospital tanks must all be aerated and filtered to ensure the well-being of the fish within. If you are in need of an extra filter for one of these types of tanks, do not think you have to go out and buy a new one. Build your own sponge filter system, with an air pump you may already have, along with a few inexpensive materials and save yourself the cost.
Advantages of a Sponge Filter
Sponge filters are one of the most simplistic designs in aquarium filters and, though they may not be the most effective, they do have their uses. According to Foster and Smith Aquatics, this type of filter is particularly useful for fry tanks and hospital tanks because they provide basic mechanical filtration and water aeration without the powerful, and potentially dangerous, suction and outlet flow that comes with most aquarium filters. If you need a filter for a temporary fry tank or hospital tank, a DIY sponge filter is a great option. You can create this kind of filter by purchasing an inexpensive air pump, or by using one you already have, and save yourself the cost of purchasing an entirely new system. By making your own you can also customize it to fit the exact needs of your aquarium.
How to Make a Your Own
Hard plastic tubing
Hammer and small nail
Aquarium airline tubing
Cut a piece of filter sponge to the desired shape and size using a sharp knife. For corner placement, the ideal shape for the sponge is a triangle. To cut your filter sponge into a triangle, cut a square of it in half diagonally from one corner to the opposite corner. A circular, square, or rectangular shape is sufficient for other placements within the tank.
Make holes in the piece of hard plastic tubing by driving a small nail all the way through both sides of the tube with a hammer. First measure the tube against the height of the piece of filter sponge you cut to determine how much of the tube will be inside the sponge. Mark the height of the sponge on the tube and make approximately 8 to 10 holes per inch of tubing that will be inside the sponge.
Plug the end of the hard plastic tube with a piece of Styrofoam and insert it into the center of the sponge by first making a depression in the sponge with your finger then press the tube into the hole and all the way through the sponge.
Attach the intake valve of the air pump to the top of the hard plastic tube.
Cut a piece of aquarium airline tubing to a length of 3 to 4 inches and attach it to the outtake valve of the air pump.
Place your sponge filter in the desired location in your aquarium. Secure the air pump to the wall of the aquarium with suction cups, if desired, and position the output tube so that water is released near the surface.
Some tanks require a certain kind of filtration system to keep the fish within safe. Power heads and canister filters have too much suction power to be used in fry tanks and hospital tanks and undergravel filters do not provide the necessary aeration. If you are in need of a simple filtration system for one of these types of tanks, but do not want to spend a great deal of money, consider building your own sponge filter system with an air pump. By using some of the materials you already have you can create a customized filtration system that will not harm newly hatched fry or sick fish.
A sponge filter can also be used as a means of supplemental filtration in a traditional freshwater community tank. Though sponge filters do not provide chemical filtration, they are a good way to improve the mechanical filtration in your tank and to boost the biological filtration. The sponge portion of the filter is a great place to cultivate a colony of beneficial bacteria which will work to maintain the nitrogen cycle in your tank. Rather than purchasing an expensive new filter that incorporates biological filtration, why not save yourself some money by making your own sponge filter to serve the same purpose? That way you will always have an extra source of gentle filtration on hand if you should need it for a hospital or fry tank.
Sponge filters are a very simple method of aquarium filtration but they do have their uses. If you are in need of a filter for your fry tank or hospital tank, or if you would simply like to supplement the filtration in your community tank, consider building your own sponge filter.