Air pump and sponge filter

Salty&Onion

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Apr 23, 2020
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Hi, if I would use air pump for 30/50 ltr tanks for 60 gallon tanks. Would the filter still work like it would work for 60 gallon tanks with the low frequency air pump?


 

skjl47

Potamotrygon
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May 16, 2011
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Hello; If the question is can you use an undersized/underpowered filter in a bigger tank then the answer is yes. I have done so many times. From a single sponge filter in a large tank, at times breeding setup, to one of the old style air powered HOB type outside filters of decades ago. In fact when I started in the hobby back in 1959 all filtration was inadequate and underpowered if compared to the equipment of today.

You will have a reduced turnover and flow but it can and has worked. Of the two purposes of filtration the biological filtration will work out just fine (That is the beneficial bacteria (bb) will form colonies and deal with the ammonia and nitrate).
The mechanical filtration will likely need some help in the form of water changes.

You can run tanks with only simple sponge filters long term. Many have and still do.
 

Salty&Onion

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Apr 23, 2020
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Hello; If the question is can you use an undersized/underpowered filter in a bigger tank then the answer is yes. I have done so many times. From a single sponge filter in a large tank, at times breeding setup, to one of the old style air powered HOB type outside filters of decades ago. In fact when I started in the hobby back in 1959 all filtration was inadequate and underpowered if compared to the equipment of today.

You will have a reduced turnover and flow but it can and has worked. Of the two purposes of filtration the biological filtration will work out just fine (That is the beneficial bacteria (bb) will form colonies and deal with the ammonia and nitrate).
The mechanical filtration will likely need some help in the form of water changes.

You can run tanks with only simple sponge filters long term. Many have and still do.
So what I understand is that the sponge filter will still work for 60 gallon even when underpowered?
 

skjl47

Potamotrygon
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May 16, 2011
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So what I understand is that the sponge filter will still work for 60 gallon even when underpowered?
Hello; yes if some additional measures are taken. First and foremost will be the use of waterchanges (WC). There is an addendum or two concerning the WC also.
An air powered sponge filter provides agitation of the water surface from the bubbles breaking the surface. This aids some in keeping the oxygen supply stable in the water. First the agitation stops a protein film from forming on the surface. Next is some improvement of the gas exchange at the surface and in the water column with the bubbles. Back three or four decades when the early powered filters started to be available at affordable prices they were prone to stop working quite often. The relied on a siphon which could be and was broken easily. Not like todays filters which can self start after an interruption such as a power failure. The old stuff did not lose prime every day but a few times a week was not uncommon. I was in the habit then and still am of running some sort of a bubbler in all tanks. A simple bubbler can and did save my tanks many times. (Note - I was still overstocking tanks back then and an overstocked tank is into trouble very soon after a filter failure.)
A simple sponge filter is fine for biological filtration. The bb (beneficial bacteria) can form colonies on the sponge filter parts but also will form colonies on other tank surfaces. The air bubbles help by creating some current, weak but still current, which moves theater over the bb colonies.
A sponge filter is very poor at mechanical filtration. Some detritus (mulm) will be trapped in the sponge itself but none is actually removed from the tank. This is where the WC come into play. I try to siphon out detritus (mulm) when doing a WC regardless of the filtration but with an underpowered filtration system the WC becomes much more important. With a less that ideal filtration system you can still run a healthy tank by doing sufficient WC.
How much WC? That is a subject of much debate and argument. In fact even with the biggest and best filtration systems you need to keep up with WC anyway. The subjects of WC volume and frequency are debated often on this site . Plenty of past threads on that. How much filtration is enough is another hotly debated topic. I was lucky when I found this site almost ten years ago that I had several decades of practical experience behind me. I already knew what could work.
As you may have already guess there are many layers to this filtration stuff. Some will depend on what sort of fish you plan to keep. Some are more messy than others. How much stocking density will you have is another. Tank volume is indeed a part of the equation but I have had to run bigger tanks with less than optimum filtration several times. Sometimes you have to make do with what you have or can afford. Right now I cannot run down to a fish shop but I have a few extra air pumps laying around so know I can keep my tanks going.
Good luck
 
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skjl47

Potamotrygon
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sponge filter will still work for 60 gallon even when underpowered?
Hello; Just in case I missed an important point. As long as the air pump will generate bubbles from the bottom of the tank to the surface you can run the sponge ok. I have had some weak air pumps which could not push the air down to the bottom of a deep tank. Until I could get a better air pump I just raised the air tube higher in the water column until it made bubbles..
 

Salty&Onion

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Apr 23, 2020
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Thank you so much for the help, I will be able to get a stronger air pump in two weeks time. For now I'll just stick with this one, later on I will use it as an additional aeration. Thank you! :)
 

Snakeheadred

Jack Dempsey
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Giggleinton
Just put to in my tank had a fluval keep cutin out at lest I no that nothing on them can break just good old basic all ways works

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