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Sponge filter?


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Now, I know the long-time fish and critter folks have had this happen.

Last week I noticed that the spray bar flow seemed low, and I looked at the last cleaning date and thought that was odd, so I cleaned the canister filter (Not very dirty, I actually did that twice that day.) and hooked it back up and went to bed. (I also thought that maybe the pump was going bad.)

Next day the water flow was slower still and so I had to do some thinking on that, (Yes that took me a while.) I looked at the sponge on the intake (This is the only tank with shrimp.) so I took apart and cleaned the sponge and it didn`t seem very dirty, well I thought maybe it was compacted too much, this sponge was maybe a year of so old, so I found another sponge and put on. 

Now the slow down on the out flow didn`t just happen, I just didn`t pay enough attention to this tank.

Crisis averted.

Well, I learned something today, change the intake sponge more often. (I really didn`t think that would clog up.) 

I had a sponge on a HOB intake and never changed that one, maybe I got lucky.

I also want to know, those who use a sponge on the intake line how often should they be changed.

Thanks for any input.

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I watch my flow. My intake sponges clog much faster than my canisters get dirty. It’s the first thing I check when my flow slows. 
I find if I grab on both sides so the inside of the sponge touches and scrub the insides together then squeeze and repeat TONS more gunk comes out. It really gets packed right in there. 

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I've discovered recently that squeezing sponges is not as good at clearing out debris as I thought/assumed, not matter how often.

My setup includes a tap at the side of my sink that runs dechlorinated water (tap water passed through a whole house carbon block filter), so I'm able to rinse/clean my Hydro sponges under running water. Fill, squeeze, rotate 1/4 turn, fill, squeeze, rotate, etc. Repeat until rinsate is relatively clear. 

What I discovered by complete accident is that if I place the sponge on its side on the bottom of the sink, under the running water, and press down with my fingertips (I think of like giving CPR to a tiny creature like frog or squirrel), and push down hard over and over, I get a lot of gunk out of sponges that I thought were already clean. Sort of a left hand, right hand, left, right, left, right motion. 

Also, do you have a coarser sponge on the intake than in the filter itself? The filter should be the hardware that's doing the bulk of the work, with the prefilter just keeping out critters and capturing the largest debris/particles. If you have it the other way around (too fine a sponge on the intake), you're adding to your maintenance load (intake clogs too fast, requires cleaning often), and putting unnecessary work on the filter motor (motors struggle if intake is restricted or constrained). 

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If the intake sponge is one of ours, and properly sized, you shouldn't have these problems really. I find that people who are having these problems might have a weird installation. I can usually go 6+ months easily between servicing intake sponges if I need to.

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On 4/27/2023 at 4:14 PM, TOtrees said:

do you have a coarser sponge on the intake than in the filter itself?

Thats a good question and I will take a look at that. (But I don`t think so.)


On 4/27/2023 at 4:23 PM, Cory said:

intake sponge is one of ours

No, it's not, the sponge that I have is on an Eheim 594 intake, and I think the fit is really good.

Well sir, I will take a peek in your store and look, but it's difficult for me to meet your price for free shipping. 

Thanks for your response.


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