Sponge Filter; Too Much Surface Agitation - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-20-2020, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Sponge Filter; Too Much Surface Agitation

Hey there once again. This is going to be a real basic question because this is my first tank with a sponge filter so I have no experience whatsoever with how to tweak them and get them to work. I tried looking up advice online but I haven't seen the question asked so I'm probably the only one dumb enough to be confounded by this haha. So I just installed my new sponge filter in this 10g tank I'm trying to set up and I'm running into an "issue" (its not really that big of a deal probably) where when the air breaks the surface it pops and spits up little bits of water all over the rim and the light. Its not too crazy and its probably harmless but my OCD is getting bothered so I'm wondering if there is a simple fix for this. I have an air stone installed in the filter and I just bought a control valve to try to adjust the level of air getting pumped in but all it does is give me either hardly any bubbles or popping on the surface. My idea is that I probably got a sponge filter that is too big for the tank and maybe having the bubbles travel that short distance is causing the disruption? But that's just a guess. Before I go out and buy another sponge filter (not a big deal but I do like this filter with its coarse foam and paying shipping for another $3 sponge filter isn't my favorite idea ever) just wanted to get some thoughts. Again, I'm sure this is like baby's first sponge filter question but appreciate anyone helping out! Attached is a picture of my tank so you can see the giant sponge filter that I definitely should have looked at the measurements of before I had it shipped to me:
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-20-2020, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by IKeepShrimp View Post
Hey there once again. This is going to be a real basic question because this is my first tank with a sponge filter so I have no experience whatsoever with how to tweak them and get them to work. I tried looking up advice online but I haven't seen the question asked so I'm probably the only one dumb enough to be confounded by this haha. So I just installed my new sponge filter in this 10g tank I'm trying to set up and I'm running into an "issue" (its not really that big of a deal probably) where when the air breaks the surface it pops and spits up little bits of water all over the rim and the light. Its not too crazy and its probably harmless but my OCD is getting bothered so I'm wondering if there is a simple fix for this. I have an air stone installed in the filter and I just bought a control valve to try to adjust the level of air getting pumped in but all it does is give me either hardly any bubbles or popping on the surface. My idea is that I probably got a sponge filter that is too big for the tank and maybe having the bubbles travel that short distance is causing the disruption? But that's just a guess. Before I go out and buy another sponge filter (not a big deal but I do like this filter with its coarse foam and paying shipping for another $3 sponge filter isn't my favorite idea ever) just wanted to get some thoughts. Again, I'm sure this is like baby's first sponge filter question but appreciate anyone helping out! Attached is a picture of my tank so you can see the giant sponge filter that I definitely should have looked at the measurements of before I had it shipped to me:
Did u try to make a circular floating object that obstructs the bubbles?

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-20-2020, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by victorusaconte View Post
Did u try to make a circular floating object that obstructs the bubbles?

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No, what do you mean?
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-20-2020, 08:30 PM
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Well, i would try a circular airline tube object on the surface where the bubbles are coming from the filter, in my view the circular object would keep the surface not disturbed. Im not a physician but that could be one idea u might want to try before spending money on a second filter.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-20-2020, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, I'll try to look into that more and give it a shot.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 02:23 AM
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Put a triangular piece of plastic on the rim in the corner above the bubbles. Might even be able to stick it under the rim with some silicone.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 03:07 AM
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Few possible additional options and things to try:
  • Add an air-stone that gives fine bubble mist to the air outlet inside the filter (I'm guessing either no air-stone currently or one that gives big bubbles?)
  • Reduce air-flow in combination with above
  • Extend up-tube height to be just below surface / level with surface / just above surface to see what gives best results
  • Add 90 degree bend to top of up-lift tube to direct the flow out across tank
  • Attach a power-head rather than using air bubbles to lift water (improved filtration and more flow in tank)
  • Some combination of the above....

Regards, James =)
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 07:15 AM
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Ah, I see that you already have the air stone, and an air regulator. So instead of having it go from:

air pump->air regulator->air stone in sponge filter

I would instead buy a T fitting, and connect it like so:

air pump->t-fitting->air stone in sponge filter.

And then, on the second part of the t-fitting, I'd add the air regulator. This helps you better fine tune the air going into the tank. Air will preferentially go through the path of least resistance, so in this case, it would flow out from the t-fitting into the surrounding air. BUT when you add an air regulator, you can fine tune how much resistance is there, and can manage how much air goes through the sponge filter.

Alternatively, how big is your air pump? It's rarely an issue of the sponge filter, but usually an issue with the air pump, which manages how much air gets pumped into the sponge filter in the first place.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Appreciate the advice guys. I'll definitely look into that James.

Ichthyogeek, I picked up the nano USB air pump that's listed on the Aquarium Coop website, found here: https://www.aquariumcoop.com/collect...-nano-air-pump

Bought the sponge filter from there so figured I'd just get the rest of the kit since they were decently priced and saved me a trip outside.

When you say a t-fitting I assume you mean something like this: https://www.aquariumcoop.com/collect...rline-splitter ???

And once that is attached then simply add the regulator to open part of the T with a bit of airline tubing to better adjust air?
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 08:23 PM
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I think an aquarium bleed valve is what you're looking for. Will easily divert some of the air to the outside while not damaging your pump with back pressure. Can be adjusted anywhere from a very fine mist of bubbles to full force.

You will also need a t-valve. See diagram below.


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Last edited by GadgetGirl; 09-21-2020 at 08:31 PM. Reason: Added info
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 08:41 PM
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Yes! The bleed valve diagram that GadgetGirl attached is what I was trying to describe.

So many fish/plants/inverts to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Ahhh ok that makes a lot of sense actually. Thanks for the diagram that makes things crystal clear!
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 10:50 PM
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I set this up on a dirted Walstad tank where I just wanted a little bit of turbulence at the surface to disappate some biofilm. It worked great!

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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So it seems no matter what I do it still has the same "issue" (really its not a problem at all more of just a preferential thing). Even bought a smaller sponge filter to see if maybe it had to do with the length the air was traveling but no dice. Last thing to check is the air pump, maybe this nano pump is a bit too strong. Honestly though I'm just about to order one of these https://www.amazon.com/Hygger-Aquari...07RFL4JMM?th=1 and see if that is more to my liking. Seems like it would fix the problem and the design looks kind of neat. Its really such a tiny issue but clearly I'm far too particular about certain things I suppose haha.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 06:38 AM
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Now that I think about it....maybe it's a matter of the sponge filter just being a sponge filter? Do you get this situation with other tanks with sponge filters, or is it just this tank? Also, have you dosed anything like medications that might "thicken" the water?

So many fish/plants/inverts to keep, not enough aquaria.
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