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Sponge filter slowing down

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I am sure this has been asked before, but I have been moving and out of the aquarium world for a bit. My small sponge filter is either clogged or something isn't working right. Checked airlines and air pump- used two and still having issues. It seems that the bubbles are only one per second out of the fiter and it is the only thing on that airline. No valve connected to adjust pressure. Noticed this in the last week or so. It is a fluval 2.5g so it has a built in filter but the sponge is better. Just I have a backup. Either way its an aquarium coop brand and i have tried to wash it out. No real debris but some dark moss around the top- thats been there for months. Not sure what to do or check!! I want to keep the blue velvet shrimp going strong. Thanks!

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On 5/27/2022 at 11:19 AM, siniardem said:

How did you get so much growth yet little to no algae? 

I honestly don’t know. This was my first large tank and I fully expected tons of algae but so far it’s hasn’t been much of a problem. I think using relatively low power lights and having lots of plants helps. I also have snails, Otocinclus and Amano shrimp helping out. 

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On 5/27/2022 at 11:28 AM, siniardem said:

However, any other recommendations for this sponge filter?

I would get issues with the ziss bubble bio just because over time it builds up gunk in the lines.  I would eventually take it apart completely and bring everything to a sink and clean through the air intakes and stuff as best I could. Even the output, if the output is a bit grimy it might cause flow issues and back pressure on the pump.

You might have an issue where the airpump is just getting a bit aged. Especially if you're not running a check valve on it, might cause more damage in some cases.

I would take the airline and try to blow air using your mouth and just see how difficult it is.  If it's really difficult, your issue is likely going to be the filter needing to be cleaned (which you might dislodge some gunk by manually blowing into the line!).  If it's not really clogged, then look into the pump itself as the reason for the flow slowing down.  I know you said you have two pumps you tried.  Depending how often each is used, might be just an age thing on the rubber diaphragms.

If it's the sponge itself, take the sponge into a bucket and really really clean it thoroughly.  Then clean out all of the plastics in the sink itself.  Adding an airstone might help, here's Cory's video on how to set it up.  🙂


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Before tearing into the filter, how old is your air pump? What kind of pump is it? Do you happen to have an air stone on hand to test with? Otherwise try putting the outlet of the airline underwater to see if there is a decent output. At one point years ago I thought I was having issues with a certain brand of sponge filters (non ACO) and couldn't for the life of me figure it out after cleaning them. Long story short, my pumps just had aged out and needed replacing. 

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