Filtration in the Fish Room

Finally!  A fish room blog post.  Hopefully I will be able to follow this one up quickly.  This post is about sponge filters, which I believe are the most cost effective method of filtering aquariums a fish room setting.  They are not pretty, but they work.  But not all sponge filters are the same, and the way they they are used can make a difference too.  One of the debates is whether a matten filter wall is worth cost.  Sure…. a filter all has a HUGE amount of surface area compared to a smaller cube filter.  But do you really need it more surface area in the same size tank that is being filtered effectively by a basic cube filter?  No… the only reason to use a matten filter, in my opinion, is if you want to over stock a small aquarium.

Bacteria grow and die very quickly, and their cell population is dependent upon the same ecological rules of carrying capacity as any other living things (except maybe humans… assuming we have surpassed our carrying capacity).  A biological filter needs the waste of fish to thrive.  If there is more waste than the bacteria cells can use, the cell population grows.  If fish waste reduces, bacteria cell population goes down.  And it happens very fast.  Days.  Hours even.  So there is really no point in a filter with 300 cubic inches of volume if the tank is going to hold two fish.  But… if you want to grow 200 cory cat fry in a 10-gallon tank, a matten filter will let that happen.

This video presents the basics of sponge filters, how they work and how to clean them.  I will cover how to run them with air in the next installment.

6 Replies to “Filtration in the Fish Room”

  1. Hi Ted,
    Your presentation was the best and most thorough that I have seen on sponge type filters. I wondered about the need for the filter wall.
    I have been playing with foam filters in HOB filters. That seems to take care of the visual appeal. You still would be using more power. In the old days they had air driven HOB filters. That would seem to be the best of both worlds. Maybe someone will bring them back.

    1. They still exist! Check out the Marina Hang-On Breeding Box. It is marketed as a holder for fry, but it is actually a repurposed filter from the 60’s & 70’s. I sometimes use it to provide chemical filtration for an aquarium.

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