Please help....Is this aquarium-safe? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-02-2012, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Please help....Is this aquarium-safe?

I picked up this sponge at walmart the other day to make a DIY sponge filter for my future shrimp tank. However, I am starting to question whether or not it is aquarium safe......What do you guys think? I really don't want to lose shrimp due to a stupid thing like the sponge being non aquarium-safe.

Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-02-2012, 07:14 PM
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I wouldn't risk it. I don't know that it has anything harmful in it, but things like kitchen sponges frequently have anti-microbial/anti-fungal additives that are bad for your fish and biological filtration.

Often you can find polyurethane foam in the craft/sewing section. I've used that before without noticing any ill effects, but it doesn't really have the right pore/cell qualities to make it good for filters.

It's probably better to stick to sponges intended for aquarium use. Maybe something like a replacement sponge for one of the larger aquaclear filters would work for you? Or possibly one of the sponge inserts for a larger pond filter.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-02-2012, 07:22 PM
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I have used sponges like that but they do clog fast as they are made for cars to hold lots of water and soap in them. Sponge filters aren't that much and after messing with sponges, cutting to some ugly shape that will never look as nice as a factory made sponge filter, PVC or whatever you are going to use, etc, you're near the cost of a sponge filter.

I am all about DIY and using cheap stuff if possible, but sponge filters were one thing I bought after trying to make my own.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-02-2012, 08:00 PM
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The sponges used for filters are open cell sponge. Sponges used for cleaning may be open or closed cell, or a mix. Also, filter sponges hold their shape when wet, and have enough strength to not collapse from the suction or pressure needed to force flow through them. Cleaning sponges may or may not be that strong.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-02-2012, 08:57 PM
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Ive used bath sponges on hob filters with good results. I had one collapse and clog a canister tho.. so low flow only.. but they work well, when they do work..
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-03-2012, 04:32 AM
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I have used quite a few Aquaclear sponges, and some other sponges, pond supply, coarser cells.
Finer cells: There is a square foam sold for insulating around air conditioners. It is open cell. Sure it could collapse, but I do not use that one over the intakes. I have it in a canister.

Think of it this way:
You want to start with a fairly coarse cell size to trap the larger debris, then go to a smaller cell size to trap the smaller debris, then got to floss or something to trap the finest debris.
If you start with too-fine a cell size it will get clogged up way too fast.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-03-2012, 12:22 PM
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You want to stay away from cleaning sponges. They add antifungal/bacterial chemicals in it a lot of times.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-07-2012, 04:25 AM
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I made a sponge filter for a shrimp tank as well.

I went to The Home Depot and bought a sponge there for around $2. Then, I bought a piece of PVC pipe that was 1" in diameter and 5" long. I also bought a fitting cap for the top.

I drilled a hole in the side of the PVC at the bottom, then a hole of the same size on the opposite side. Then I drilled four holes in the top for the bubbles to come out of. Then I just put the sponge in right above the hole on the bottom. Finally, I siliconed the cap on.

Then I placed the sponge right above the hole in the bottom, fed the airline tube into one of the holes under the sponge, and the hole on the opposite side of it was used to draw water in.

I turned the air pump on and it worked. The little hole was sucking in water, pulling it up through the sponge and it bubbled out of the four holes on the top.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-07-2012, 04:47 AM
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I have made something like Barnacle's device, but a bit different:
I started with the tubing sold for under gravel filter up tubes. Thin, clear plastic.
I drilled LOTS and LOTS of holes with a 1/4" drill bit.
I cut an X through an Aquaclear sponge (not all the way through) and slipped it over the drilled tubing. I let the sponge be the "end cap".
Then I attached the tubing to the intake side of a power head.

With lots of holes this distributed the debris much better throughout the sponge so it went longer without needing to be cleaned.
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