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Planted Aquarium HOB or no HOB


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So, I am new and I don't know much, but I have a planted tank with guppies and sponge filter, 3 planted tanks with integrated internal filters that take a space behind the rear "wall", and a planted tank with a canister filter. I think your plants don't need a filter at all and the shrimps probably LOVE the sponge. What the internal filters (which function a lot like a HOB but are just more hidden) really do for a planted tank is:

  • add some flow (something you probably won't want a lot of for shrimp) that can theoretically keep plants freer of certain types of algae.
  • improve water clarity by adding a high rate of mechanical filtration (if you add filter floss or a polishing pad)

I do like the ability to collect debris conveniently and whisk it out of the tank. But I don't honestly think my plants or fish or shrimps care. It is a little like a roomba for your home. It is convenient. A broom also works. The sponge should keep the tank water healthy with appropriate stocking and water changes.

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I have two small sponge filters on each side of my 20 long for creating some water flow (very minimal) and breaking up the bio-film on the surface. I experimented with a power-head and HOB but found I had to clean them (the sponge on the intake) more often than the sponge filter.

Order based on flow: 1) power head, 2) HOB, 3) sponge.

Order based on maintenance: 1) sponge, 2) HOB, 3) power head

So HOB might be the good compromise if you need to see some plant movement and don't want to clean the intake sponge every week. For low maintenace tank, nothing beats the sponge filter.  

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11 hours ago, Leo2o915 said:

Just have a sponge filter on my 20 long wondering you y’all recommend a HOB too or since it’s planted and got shrimp I don’t need the HOB 

Only doing water parameter tests will be able to answer whether you need more filtration or not. Try tetra test strips or API's master kit.

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