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Nano or Sponge Filter


19 Jun 2012
Fareham, UK
Hi Guys & Gals
I am a couple of months into my new shrimp tank which is populated with plants and CRS and all doing well.

The nano tank I got came with a Dennerle nano filter which has worked well to date. It silently ripples the water surface in my low tech tank. Oxygen is supplied by a Söchting Oxydator.

However the more and more I read and see in LFS (or not so LFS in some cases) the more I am seeing sponge filters.

So I have a couple of questions:-
  1. Would I be better off installing a sponge filter?
  2. How does a sponge filter keep up the flow in the tank?
  3. Is a sponge filter bubbly (at the surface, plopping noises etc) by its nature that they appear to be air powered?
  4. Are the Sera sponge filters (with added air pump) any good. I have no clue how they work.
Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Thanks in advance
Sponge filters have their merits, they provide a good area for the shrimps and shrimplets to graze. When you feed tiny shrimp food for the babies they can often be sucked onto the surface providing a further cluster of food for the shrimps without sucking any babies in. Also because it powered by air it naturally provides oxygen into the tank.

The downside is that it offers poor flow to the shrimp tank. So some plants may take a beating depending on your lights etc. You will expect some noise too due to the air pump.

I can't comment on the Sera sponge filter as I haven't used one before. However I would highly suggest you to try out HM Filters especially for a shrimp tank or even fry tanks, here is a vid explaining how one is made and its merits, I believe it will provide better flow than the ordinary sponge filters:

Hi all,
I like HMF filters as well. Because I had a lot of Maxi-jet power-heads left over from other work, I tend to mod them by adding a big sponge block, but this has the same .advantages as an HMF.

Have a look at Swiss Tropicals web site, unfortunately in the US <Poret Foam> it has some details. Poret foam isn't easy to get in the UK, but I use the drilled 12" x 4" x 4" foam blocks from Koi places etc. On EBAY search for "Prefilter Drilled Foam Blocks".

cheers Darrel
I'm running a sponge filter on my shrimp tank along with the installed trickle filter with a pre-filter sponge on it.

Advantages are, as others have stated, the large grazing surface (shrimp do seem to love it!) and the oxygenation. It is loud on my open topped tank though, with the noise of the air pump and the bubbling at the surface. Doesn't bother us too much, but I think for others it may be a nuisance. Sponge filters may be a wee bit harder to conceal than a nano internal or external filter pipework, again it doesn't bother me.

I've always fancied an HMF and would definitely consider one for future tanks, shrimp and otherwise. Thanks for the links guys
Hi all,
Sponge filters may be a wee bit harder to conceal than a nano internal or external filter pipework, again it doesn't bother me.
I think if you keep fairly bare tanks that is a disadvantage. I haven't got one running at the moment, but when I set up a new one, I'll have the corner version ("Eck-HMF" <Google>) with a black sponge.

I'll also plant the top of it, you can use any small carpeting plant or moss, and something like Hemianthus or Glossostigma will be much happier emersed.

cheers Darrel
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