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cleaning prefilter sponges

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dan Resler <resler at liberty_egr.vcu.edu>
To: Aquatic Plants List <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>
Subject: cleaning prefilter sponges

I happily use an Amiracle wet/dry with prefilter box on my 90g
tank. My routine with the prefilter sponge is basically the same as
many of you - I wrap the sponge in felt and then exchange the felt
every few days as it gets clogged with detritus. The felt then gets soaked
for a day or so in a concentrated bleach solution, then rinsed and
dried so it can be reused. Simple and relatively painless.

The same can't be said for cleaning the sponge itself, however. No
matter how tightly I try to press the sponge down over the small tube
extension, some water gets under the felt from below where the sponge
alone is then acting as filter (this happens even if the felt extends
a half inch or so below the bottom of the sponge). This of course
means that alot gunk gets in the bottom inch or so of the sponge
... and I have found that the sponge is a PAIN to clean (which of
course is why we wrap it in felt in the first place!).

How do others do it? How do you clean the sponge?

Years ago I tried soaking the sponge in bleach along with the felt but
I found that a concentrated bleach solution basically destroys the

Now what I do is just "rinse and pick" ... rinse the sponge of with
tap water and pick off all the larger pieces of debris. But alot of
stuff is buried inside the sponge and remains there until, I guess, it
eventually decomposes to the point where the rinsing removes it.

Any brilliant ideas?

Dan Resler                            email: dresler at vcu_edu
Computer Science Dept.
Virginia Commonwealth University           
Richmond, VA 23284-2014 USA