Best Aquarium Sponge Filter: Top Picks and Buying Guide 2023

aquarium with sponge filter

Aquarium enthusiasts know that keeping their tanks well-maintained is essential for the health and well-being of their aquatic inhabitants. A vital component of a properly functioning aquarium ecosystem is filtration. While there are various types of filters available on the market, one especially beneficial choice for those looking to maintain clean, healthy water in their tanks is the aquarium sponge filter.

Sponge filters use air-driven mechanisms or water pumps to draw water through a porous, spongelike material, trapping debris and particulates, while providing a thriving environment for beneficial bacteria to break down harmful compounds like ammonia and nitrites. These filters are gentle on delicate aquatic life, and are particularly suitable for breeding or shrimp tanks, and are often a more affordable option compared to other filtration systems.

When shopping for the best aquarium sponge filter, it’s crucial to consider the size of your tank, the type of inhabitants you have, and the specific needs of your aquatic ecosystem. Factors such as filter size, flow rate, and ease of cleaning are also important to find the perfect sponge filter. Additionally, choosing a reputable brand and a design that suits your aquarium setup will help ensure you get a reliable and efficient product.

By carefully evaluating your tank’s unique requirements and considering the key features of quality sponge filters, you can make an informed decision that ultimately benefits the health and happiness of your aquatic pets. With that in mind, we’ve spent significant time researching and testing various aquarium sponge filters to bring you the top performers that will suit a variety of aquatic environments.

You would also want to check whether sponge filter is the right option for you compared to canister filter or HOB filters.

The Best Aquarium Sponge Filter We Tested

Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filter for Betta Fry Aquarium

Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filter for Betta Fry Aquarium Fish Tank Up to 60 Gal ea. 3-Pack (L)

The Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filter scored the highest score on our tests. Perfect for aquarium enthusiasts seeking an efficient and easy-to-maintain sponge filter for their tanks.


  • Effective mechanical and biological filtration
  • Easy setup and maintenance
  • Safe for fish, including baby fish and fry


  • No setup instructions included
  • May require modification for use with powerheads
  • Riser tube could be longer

We recently used the Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filter in our own Betta fry aquarium and were impressed by its performance. The filter effectively provides both mechanical and biological filtration, ensuring a clean and balanced environment in our fish tank.

Setting up the Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filter is a breeze, even though it doesn’t include instructions. All you need is to connect the unit to an air pump using an airline, and you’re good to go. Maintenance is just as easy—simply rinse the sponge in tank water every 2-4 weeks to preserve beneficial bacteria.

One of the best features of this sponge filter is its safety for fish. It doesn’t generate strong currents and won’t suck in fish, making it ideal for breeding and fry tanks. However, keep in mind that customers have mentioned some minor drawbacks, such as the need for modifications with powerheads and a shorter-than-ideal riser tube. That being said, the Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filter remains an excellent choice for aquarium enthusiasts.

Other Options Worth Looking Into

Fishkeeper Submersible Aquarium Filter for 40-100 Gal

Fishkeeper Submersible Aquarium Filter

We also highly recommend the Fishkeeper Submersible Aquarium Filter for 40-100 Gal tanks for its excellent filtration, oxygenation, and circulation capabilities.


  • 3-in-1 multifunctional performance
  • High efficiency filtration with 3-layer filter cotton
  • Easily disassembled and customizable


  • Quite large in size
  • Strong pump not suitable for small tanks
  • Frequent cleaning required for optimal performance

After using the Fishkeeper Submersible Aquarium Filter, we found it to be an impressive 3-in-1 filtration, oxygenation, and circulation solution for our fish tank. Powered by an 8W motor, it can handle a maximum flow of 220 GPH (833 L/H), ideal for 40-70-gallon tanks. The air regulator allows us to accurately adjust the amount of oxygen supply, keeping our aquatic pets lively and healthy.

The unique 3-layer filter cotton design provides exceptional filtration, effectively removing impurities and absorbing odors. Our aquatic pets and plants can now enjoy a clean and safe living environment. The sponge filter is even gentle enough not to harm delicate fish fry and shrimp.

One of the standout features we appreciate is the filter’s ease of disassembly and customization. The transparent shell lets us easily see when maintenance is needed. The filter is also compatible with other filter materials, allowing us to tailor it to our specific needs. The Fishkeeper Submersible Aquarium Filter offers a quiet operation, and with the 1-year warranty, we gained a sense of relief knowing that our investment is well protected.

AQUANEAT Aquarium Sponge Filter Breeding Fry Betta Shrimp Nano Fish Tank

AQUANEAT Aquarium Sponge Filter

We recommend the AQUANEAT Aquarium Sponge Filter for its effective dual filtration and suitability for small fish in tanks up to 60 gallons.


  • Provides mechanical and bio filtration
  • Easy to set up and clean
  • Excellent for small fish and breeding tanks


  • Not suitable for larger tanks
  • Small pore foam can be harder to clean
  • No option to add an air stone

When we tried the AQUANEAT Aquarium Sponge Filter in our small fish tank, we were impressed with the ease of installation and the performance. It effectively provides both mechanical and bio filtration, and its air infusion chamber increases oxygen solubility in the water.

The sponge filter was simple to set up and clean; all we had to do was rinse and squeeze it in the tank water. We found it perfect for our small fish, such as dwarf cichlids, guppies, and killifish. This sponge filter is also ideal for hatcheries, maternity tanks, and fry tanks, as it produces minimal current and prevents fish from being sucked through the filter.

However, some drawbacks we noticed were its unsuitability for larger tanks and difficulties cleaning the small pore foam. Additionally, it is quite noisy, and there is no option to add an air stone to help reduce noise. While the AQUANEAT Aquarium Sponge Filter has its limitations, it’s an excellent choice for smaller tanks and fish varieties.

Buying Guide

When choosing the best aquarium sponge filter for your aquarium, there are several factors to consider. In this buying guide, we will discuss the key features to look for in a sponge filter and provide tips on how to make the right choice for your aquarium.

Size and Filtration Capacity

One of the most important factors to consider is the size and filtration capacity of the sponge filter. It is crucial to select a filter that is suitable for the size of your aquarium. Larger tanks require filters with higher filtration capacities, while smaller tanks can use less powerful filters. To determine the appropriate filter size, consider the water volume of your tank and the bioload created by your fish and plants.

Flow Rate

The flow rate is the amount of water the sponge filter can process per hour. Different aquariums have different flow rate requirements based on the species of fish and plants. Typically, a faster flow rate is needed for larger aquariums or those with higher bioloads. However, some species may prefer slower flow rates to avoid stress. It is essential to match the flow rate to the specific needs of your tank.

Material Quality

A good sponge filter should be made of high-quality, non-toxic materials that are safe for your fish and plants. The sponge material should be durable and long-lasting to prevent frequent replacements. Additionally, a high-quality sponge will have a greater surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize, ensuring efficient biological filtration.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Ease of maintenance and cleaning is another essential aspect of sponge filters. A good sponge filter should be easy to disassemble and clean without disturbing the beneficial bacteria living on it. Look for models with removable sponge components and simple maintenance procedures to ensure optimal water quality and the long-term health of your aquarium inhabitants.

Additional Features

Some sponge filters may offer additional features, such as adjustable flow rates, built-in airline tubing connectors, or multi-chamber designs. These features can provide additional convenience and customization options for your aquarium. While not strictly necessary, these features can enhance the overall performance and functionality of your sponge filter.

You May Also Like