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Old 09-21-2013, 03:05 PM   #1 
JennNP
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Can I use this to make a sponge filter?

So I went to a garage sale, and ended up with this (picture below). It was made for aquariums, but I have no idea what it actually is for. Anyway, I've seen a video online where a girl uses a curler to make a sponge filter. I'm wondering if I can put this thing in a sponge and make my filter with it. The thing is, the air stone doesn't go all the way down to the part with slits in it. It stops in the solid part. Although, this black thing is one hollow piece, there is a lip inside that stops the air stone from falling down to the part with the slits..I hope this makes sense.

So assuming this piece will work, do I want the sponge to only cover the slits, or go above the slits to the solid part? I tried to ask someone at my local pet store, he said he has no idea about sponge filters.
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:11 PM   #2 
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I'm not an expert, but that looks a lot like the water intake that pulls water up into the filter on my Top Fin 10 filter that hangs on the outside of the tank.
That looks like the part that is hanging inside the tank.
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:16 PM   #3 
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Yeah I believe it was part of a filter. I'm just wondering if I can use this for my sponge filter, since the air stone wont be down in the bottom of the piece where the slits are. The air stone will be stuck on the top end of the piece, without any slits.
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:20 PM   #4 
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I think I posted a little too prematurely. Turns out the piece comes apart..so just to double check before I dive into this project:
1 - I want the air stone at the bottom of this black piece where the slits are
2 - The sponge should be cut to cover the end with slits in it, and the piece that's solid on the outside should be sticking up, outside of the sponge.
3 - Attach air stone to my airline for pump and tada, sponge filter?
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:08 PM   #5 
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It is the intake from a HOB filter.
As a sponge filter, it would most likely work. The airstone isn't actually supposed to go all the way to the bottom of the center tube (something about the suction of the air going out and the water being drawn in) but this doesn't look like it's quite long enough without having the airstone down into the bottom section, so I'd make some changes to it. But, I still think it would work.

You've got two options:
use a different, narrower, airstone, like these:
http://www.petmountain.com/product/a...-diffuser.html
They say they're disposable, but they don't break down and work indefinitely...All any airstone is doing is breaking up the bubbles from the air pump to make them smaller. I picked up some on clearance just to have on hand (and because I'm a sucker for a clearance deal...lol!) and I've used them off and on without any problems at all.

Or, you can skip the airstone altogether. If you choose this option you'll probably have to secure the airline tubing into the tube with something to keep it down in there, but that's not a huge deal. Also, if you don't use an airstone, be very sure to get a check valve for your tubing to make sure that water doesn't back up into the line and kill your air pump.

As for the curlers...I know the video you're talking about, and personally I don't think that's nearly enough surface area for any decent sized tank. Maybe a tank that is very small...but even then you've got trouble keeping a cycle anyway...and a bigger sponge actually *helps* with cycling a smaller tank.
I just get big carwash sponges, cut them into a vaguely circular shape, cut a core out of the center with scissors, and then stick the tube down inside. Silicone some heavy stones to the bottom to keep it sunk and you're good to go with plenty of surface area.
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:11 PM   #6 
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Ooh, oops, I started this post and then got sidetracked and came back, didn't realize you'd figured out how to take it apart. :)

But yes, the basic idea is just as you said. Just make sure to get a big sponge that covers most of that tube in terms of height. All the BB's are living in your sponge, so you want to have plenty of space for them to live in.

I'll go and take a photo of my DIY sponge filters and post back here in just a couple of minutes. Hang on. ;)
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:21 PM   #7 
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THanks so much, I started prepping by giving the tank a good clean. and boy, it did need one! now I see why everyone hates UGF..I cannot believe how much crap was underneath that filter, my poor boy. I finally got it clean enough to start putting water back in. From what I've been reading, the air stone is supposed to be in the bottom? It seems like at first you said no, but now I'm thinking yes?
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:50 PM   #8 
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Okay, here are the pics and the explanation. :) I'm a visual learner, so I always feel like I can't explain things without some visual aids, lol! :)
(this will also explain my confusing airstone comment) :)

Okay, first off, a completed filter:

(and please excuse my bathroom mirror...I knew it had some water spots from a recent tank cleaning/rescape, but I had no idea it was this bad until the camera flash caused every one of them to reflect back, lol!) Guess who needs to clean the bathroom... ;)


Okay, this is what I'm talking about with the airstone. This one is stuck in there but stops about a half inch before the bottom of the tube. It's something about suction with the air going out creating suction for the water to be sucked into the sponge...the airstone not being quite at the bottom creates more suction so more filtration. :) If it wasn't stuffed in there far enough I'm not sure it would create the suction either, which is what I was worried about with the intake you have. But you got that worked out. :)


This is in two sections of carwash sponge. One section sits on top of the other, giving you plenty of sponge, but still fairly narrow so easy to hide in the tank. It also makes it really easy to weight it, which I'll show in the next photo.


Just the bottom portion. I took a plastic water bottle and poured in a small handful of glass marbles. (anything heavy will do, rocks, marbles, gravel, whatever, you just need to weight the bottom otherwise these things float), then put the first circle of cored sponge on top.


Overhead view of the bottom portion. You can see the marbles just a bit. This also helps to weight because the bottle fills with water and helps to weight it down as well.

The tube should go all the way to just above the rocks, with a couple of inches sticking out of the top of the sponge.
Since your tube looks like it might be fairly short, you can just do a wider single ring of sponge. :)


Back in the tank, I kept trying to find an angle where you could see it...but I've got it too buried back there. You can see just a smidge of it behind the statue's left shoulder between the plants.


Geoffrey is photobombing this one in the upper left corner, lol! Chaucer refused to participate with the camera flash. ;)
As you can see, sponge filters are cool because you can totally hide them. :) This one is behind the tall plant and the statue. :)
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:59 PM   #9 
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Thank you so much for the pictures! I'm very visual as well, which is why I was worried no one would understand what I was asking--From my eyes, to my brain, to being written out information somehow becomes incoherent lol. OK so right now the air stone is at the bottom, but if I put it in the top half, I think it would be too far away to create the necessary suction. So I'm guessing I'm better off having it in the bottom? If you think I'd be better off having it in the top half, I'll move it there :) Wish there was a way to check to see if I have enough suction.
It is a small tank, 3.5g. So I think I have enough surface area on the sponge I have. (Your tank is beautiful by the way!)
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:41 PM   #10 
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I'd just stick the airstone in there in the bottom, the more I think about it, I doubt it's a seriously huge deal. ;) As long as the bubbles are coming out of the tube and not the sponge, I think you're good to go. :)

The BB's need food, air, and a place to live. The sponge is giving them a place to live, the air is coming from the bubbler, and your fish makes the food, so just about any way you construct it you've got those bases covered. :) The moving the water in and out is more for the very, very weak mechanical filtration that sponges have...but as long as you vacuum your tank every week or two during water changes you really don't need the mechanical anyway. :)

Oh, and thanks about my tank. :) I still need a few more plants in the back, but I'm waiting to see how much these will fill out before I start plunking in more. :) First time with a complete live plant tank...hoping that they all survive, lol! ;)

And for the size, you're probably right that a smaller sponge is good to go. You can always add more sponge in later if you need to if your cycle isn't holding steady. :) I've seen so many youtube videos on these, I think there are about a million different ways to make them work, lol!

Last edited by Blue Fish; 09-21-2013 at 05:47 PM.
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