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Warning about Sponge filters


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Hello everyone,

I was doing my water changes and then I just wanted to check how my farlowellas doing. For the last couple days at the feeding time I was only seeing three out of four but yknow, they are like basically twigs. Their tank has lots of branches and leaf litter, so full of tannins. It is hard to see them sometimes


Anyway, guess where it was. It was basically stuck inside the sponge filter and probably waiting to die if I didnt notice😭 it had no option to move or do anything to save itself

I saw the tip of its tail and directly saved it but it was literally stuck so I had to tear the filter apart and gently pull it out (it created a mess but yea). It took a couple attempts to save it out of there


I know sometimes we see hillstreams/borneos do the same and find it nice and funny. Or Ive seen baby eels using the tube as a hiding spot and so on. But this has been a big lesson for me. Please be aware of such potential issue to keep sponge filters with grazing fish or any small fish that might try using it as a hiding spot. It couldve lead to losing my fish in my situation

 It gave a hug to his mystery snail friend. Looks okay and not injured:



Edited by Lennie
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On 1/27/2024 at 8:01 PM, Dacotua said:

I'd buy the easy flow kit for the sponge filter. You can have the end of the tube out of the water and that fish can never swim into the sponge filter ever again.



Good suggestion. But I am not from the US so I don’t have access to it. I added this filter as a back up from another tank after losing my cycle partially due to using medicine in this tank. Normally I didnt use this one. I am planning to go back to sponge filter with other style( the ones stick to the glass, no clue about their specific name) or use a small HOB here 

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Thank you everyone for the suggestions. 

I can actually use any of the abovementioned tips to prevent any issues in the future. I am more inclined to introducing a new filter and move this one to a new tank once the other one is established enough while running simultaneously. So at least I can utilise these tips while running the new filter in until I am done.


Also the main purpose of creating this topic was to warn anyone who keeps fish that may potentially enter into the sponge filter and get trapped. I have never had a similar issue before, but one is enough to be cautious. I wanted to share it with everyone so you guys may be more cautious about potential problems. I hope nobody has ever faced a similar problem

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