Stupid question about air powered sponge filters - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 06:04 AM Thread Starter
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Stupid question about air powered sponge filters

I tried using an air pump for both a new sponge filter that I bought and also one that I made. The problem is that even tiny little particles in the water never were drawn to the sponge and also the water never looked very clear.

Are you supposed to use a really powerful air pump when depending on air to provide suction for your filter? More powerful than if you were using it for just an air stone?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 08:07 AM
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You should see water coming out of the uplift tube when it's above water. If you lift it far enough out of the water to expose the uplift tube, does water come out with the bubbles, or do the bubbles just stay in the tube.

They don't polish water like a canister filter though, they are purely biological. As long as water is moving through them, they're working.

If you want to polish water, you need to use a canister or HOB, or something you can put polishing media in.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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I don't understand what you mean about whether water comes out with the bubbles? Water should be overflowing out of the tube when it's above the water line? Is that what you mean?

If you add a water pump with enough power, then it's not just biological anymore, right?
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 03:47 PM
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I think what he meant is that when you lift the tube slighty out of the water then the water inside the tube should still rise out of it if the pump youre using is powerful enough. What youre really wanting is high velocity of water in sponge filters. You can do this easiest in two ways. Either get a larger pump or add an air stone to the sponge filter(if you arent already using one). You also want the longest section of up lift tube as possible for the sponge filter.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-14-2011, 02:32 PM
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I disagree about high velocity in sponge filters. These are biological filters. The slower the water moves through the filter the more time it is exposed to the nitrifying bacteria in the sponge. Sponge filters are more efficient with slower water flow. Part of the attraction of sponge filters for breeders is that they don;t create a great deal fo current in fry tanks.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-14-2011, 03:00 PM
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I read a couple of days ago that you want to be sure that the air tubing reaches far down to the bottom of the intake tube inside the sponge in order for it to work properly. One of the fish stores here always has lots of dead and diseased fish in their tanks and I noticed that all the air tubes in their tanks only go about half way down the intake tube, they don't even reach down into the sponge portion at all.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-14-2011, 03:20 PM
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Have used Hydro sponge filter's for a few years now.
Airstone should be inside the sponge and depending on the air pump, the force of bubbles rising in the tube, will provide some mechanical filtration but mostly biological.You will be surprised at the dirt,mulm,that is squeezed from these filter's with weekly cleaning.(squeezing)
The longer the hose from the pump to the sponge filter,,the less the force of bubbles will be rising in the tube. Shorten the distance and bubbles will increase.
I use luft air pumps which are plenty stong enough to run two Hydro V sponge filters in a 75 gallon tank. They are a bit pricey, but last much longer than my second choice, Whisper pump rated for 60 or 70 gal I believe.
It is the force of the bubbles rising in the tube that pulls dirt,mulm, into the sponge. Weaker pumps,or too long of hose,will decrease the force of bubbles rising and thus not much will be drawn to the sponge.
Hope this helps.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-14-2011, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trixella View Post
I read a couple of days ago that you want to be sure that the air tubing reaches far down to the bottom of the intake tube inside the sponge in order for it to work properly. One of the fish stores here always has lots of dead and diseased fish in their tanks and I noticed that all the air tubes in their tanks only go about half way down the intake tube, they don't even reach down into the sponge portion at all.
+one.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 02:33 AM
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Quote:
The slower the water moves through the filter the more time it is exposed to the nitrifying bacteria in the sponge
This has little effect on the efficiency of a biological filter.

Faster moving water is in contact for less time, but is recycled back into the filter more quickly, resulting in an equal amount of amines being converted.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 03:31 AM
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All we use at our fish shop are crappy little sponge filters and I can say that the tanks with slow moving water are always murky and need more frequent water changes. I recommend a good amount of flow unless you're keeping fish or inverts from slow moving water.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
I read a couple of days ago that you want to be sure that the air tubing reaches far down to the bottom of the intake tube inside the sponge in order for it to work properly. One of the fish stores here always has lots of dead and diseased fish in their tanks and I noticed that all the air tubes in their tanks only go about half way down the intake tube, they don't even reach down into the sponge portion at all.
I read just the opposite. That the air above the sponge provides the suction. If the air is at the same level as the sponge, what's to prevent it from diffusing out of the sponges?

The Luft Air Pump prices hurt my wallet.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-20-2011, 03:43 AM
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There are several scientific papers on line that discus lift tubes. They tend to cover lift tube several inches in diameter, but the principle is the same. Air bubbles lift water, they don't suction it. Ideal size for air bubbles is the diameter of the lift tube.

That said, Hydor has been in business for a long time and they put the air line smack dab in the middle of the lift tube and sell bullseyes that make lots of small bubbles.

{sigh}

My favorite is box filters, again. Marbles in the bottom for weight and floss or a sponge on top. You get the benefit of bio filtration, micro-organisms for fry if you leave the top off, and quickly replaceable media.
post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharkfood View Post
This has little effect on the efficiency of a biological filter.

Faster moving water is in contact for less time, but is recycled back into the filter more quickly, resulting in an equal amount of amines being converted.
I see what you are saying. I still not sure I agree but I see your point

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 01:48 AM
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I've used those sponges for years now, and they are "excellent" at bio-filtration. You put your airstone with a 1" piece of tubing connected to the bullseye, then your airline to your pump. Works every time.

I just cycled a 20gallon in 3 days with a size 3 that was in a 10 gallon for about a month.

You're still gonna need to gravel-vac.
http://www.sponge-filter.com/

Last edited by jstehman; 07-28-2011 at 04:24 PM.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-08-2013, 06:21 PM
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is an air stone required for sponge filters to work?
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