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beginners and sponge filters
> ...Most say the outlet (on sponge filters) should be
> at water level, well if you get any evaporation they're suddenly not!
Good point with small tanks. A brand popular around here in the mid-western
US (although regarded as less efficient than the Tetra sponge filters) are
those manufactured by Jungle and Ginger which basically are a circle of
sponge weighted down and with a 1/2" tube rising from the middle. The fact
that they are sitting on the tank bottom means that they are less exposed to
the water on all sides, but ride low in the water column. Interestingly,
sometimes a number of eggs which seem to have been spawned on bare tank
bottoms will get drawn under the sponge filters and incubated there. If the
adults are removed the filters will also provide a modest number of rotifers
and what have you on their surfaces for fry to brouse from.
Now the issue of the stems getting stuck above water is a legitimate
problem. Sawing the tubes in half with a fine toothed saw is only partly
effective. A small inexpensive plumber's tube cutter from the hardware store
works well both with the lift tubes and the hard airline tubing - neither
crimping them shut nor (for the most part) leaving burrs.
There must be less lift with shorter tubes, but some filtration is still
provided. My old buddy George Fryk has even put a micro-sponge filter
together using plastic film canisters, a wad of sponge material and the hard
tubing. He uses these with the plastic shoe boxes for fry. Obviously very
much water movement in the winter causes enough evaporation to drop water
levels. He uses that as a sign that it is time for a significant weekly
> They're noisy.
You may be running more air through them than you need to. The bubble
stream, in small containers especially, should be slow enough for you to
count. That noise is more comforting than annoying. Larger tanks with
lampeyes, bivs or other more robust swimmers, can take a stronger current.
> When you take out the sponge to clean, half the crud gets
> dumped back in the tank
You have a filter that is more efficient than you think if it is gets that
full. Actually it is doing pretty well and just needs to be squeezed out
more frequently - or you need to lessen the fish load in that tank. :)
Some authorities are suggesting that sponge filters needed to be squeezed
out in a container of tank water ( removed with the filter to cause less
crud dripping?) to keep the bacteria culture active. I don't have any data
to prove it, but just squeezing them out under our tap (the local municipal
well water, aka liquid rock, is lightly chlorinated) undoubtedly washes out
bacteria along with all of the debris, but that seems to do no harm. Some
remain. There are "good guy" bacteria on the walls, bottom and mops or
plants and even some in the water of an aquarium if the sponge filter really
A cichlid article somewhere suggested putting a 2-3 cm pad of sponge
material over an undergravel filter and just dusting the top with enough
gravel to keep up appearances. Several of the smaller power filters (and
come to think of it, canister filters and wet/dry set-ups too) can operate
with sponges as the filter medium. I guess the trick is to find a sponge
filter to match the tank.
All the best!
p.s.. And I think that the scheeli are great for newbies and oldies too.
Just select for the more colorful males.
We have seen some pretty sad examples of scheeli compared to those from the
'60s. The Germans imported a new batch in the early '90s. Ron Taylor and
Brad Swanson were among those who circulated them around the US. That is a
more representative strain of what they once were and can be and one perhaps
we should especially cultivate.
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