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Live Plant Sponge Filter?


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Okay, so I'm positive I'm going to do a matala black mat live plant background using various mosses and ferns'.  I also have two large aquarium co-op sponge filters.... If I put a few air stones behind the matala mat will that essentially act the same way as the aquarium co-op sponge filter?  Would the air stones pull enough water through the mosses and mat?  If, so what depths should the air stones be behind the mat?

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Look into matten filters.  You can treat your coarse mat almost like a matten filter, it just won’t have nearly as much surface area for bacteria.  Just bear in mind that a coarse one will let small fry or shrimplets right through the mat.  You could easily get circulation through your mat with a powerhead or an airlift.  I’ve seen people adapt the double sponge filters and use those to pull water through a mat.  I’ll attach a pic of one with the sponges on, but the tubes inside the sponges have narrow slots through them and could easily be placed in the space behind a filter mat with the outflow tube pushing water back to the other side to give you circulation through the mat and moss wall.

The sponges easily slide off the tubes but with what would be essentially a giant prefilter mat, you could leave the sponges on and have loads biofiltration.  The vertical mat would keep the cylinder sponges from clogging too much.  They just wouldn’t fit easily behind a vertical mat unless you used it on one end as a separate compartment with the mat as the divider.  You can get this style of sponge filter very cheap on Amazon.  Cheap enough that it wouldn’t bother you to get multiples (if that’s what you need to get good circulation through your mat) and throw away the actual sponges.  This is what I purchased some time ago.  There may even be cheaper ones available.  I prefer the ones where the airline connects at the top.


I know from personal experience that mosses and Java ferns do tend to like the ACO filters and would likely approve of the filter mat you’re looking at using.  So would scuds and shrimp.





The tubing extends much longer than this, too.

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  • 1 month later...

I’m not sure if this will help but I used a course filter”matten type” over a UGF with moss over it. It worked great. I had plants growing in it as well. I just made a hole a little smaller than the roots if rooted and if not the moss I just laid down on it since it was flat  it grew to the filter in many spots. I know people have used the filter material standing like @Odd Duck discusses and attached plants to make a growing back wall of the aquarium and the filter set up behind.

On 12/9/2022 at 2:08 PM, kcochran said:

Have you tried a piece of panty hose and a rubber band?


On 12/11/2022 at 12:49 AM, Cinnebuns said:

This is a good analogy ty!  I might use this sometime!


And to be clear, I am not advocating for stunting. I'm simply interested in the studies that have been done for it because there are people who have some compelling antidotal evidence that it may not harm as much as we think. Part of this is to educate myself about how to have conversations with people who argue stunting doesn't hurt. Part is to have the conversation about where the facts truly lie. 


On 12/20/2022 at 12:26 AM, DiscusLover said:

You could try changing and moving things around in the tank with the fish out and then put them back in with the lights out and see if thats works. Not guaranteed though

AB50AEE0-919B-4172-BC1E-83AAD8A1C662.jpeg.ae71305eade87abd336bdffd67502178.jpeg5E83FA4C-305B-4382-BA95-53E13B2ECA7D.jpeg.4c35c7b471dcf5c7562984bedbf8641a.jpeghere is the the general idea 

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