Selecting the best fish tank sponge filter is very important as it can significantly boost your aquarium’s ecosystem. However, many sponge filters available in the market are poorly built and lack a quality filtration system to clean tank water thoroughly.

It makes finding the perfect one for an equally perfect sponge filter setup a pretty tricky task. To help you out, we tested and compiled a list of durable and efficient sponge filters for all types of aquariums.

Let’s get right into it.

Comparison Chart

Name Recommended Tank Size

(in gallons)


(in ounces)


(in inches)

AQUANEAT Bio Sponge Filter

Up to 60 8.11 4.72 x 4.72 x 8.27
Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filter

Up to 60 (each) 24.8 14.5 x 6.5 x 4.9
Lefunpets Sponge Filter

5-10 3.21 2.4 x 2.4 x 3.1
AQQA Aquarium Sponge Filter

Up to 40 16.96 8.19 x 6.77 x 2.91
Aquarium Technology Inc. Hydro-Sponge Filter

Up to 10 8.32 5.3 x 4.2 x 4
UPETTOOLS Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter

Up to 40 6.38 9.2 x 4.6 x 2.5

Best Sponge FIlters – Handpicked Reviews:

1. AQUANEAT Bio Sponge Filter


  • It can be used in tanks with up to 60-Gallons capacity
  • Easy to clean
  • Increases oxygen solubility
  • Small sponge filter
  • Simple maintenance


  • Requires multiple filters for larger tanks
  • Hard to use with air stones

If you are a beginner aquarist looking for a user-friendly sponge filter for your tank, the AQUANEAT aquarium filter is a great option to consider. Unlike most filters in the market, it doesn’t have any complicated parts or steps to follow, making installation very simple.

All you need to do is connect the filter to an air pump, and it will start cleaning your tank right away. Maintaining the filter is just as easy as setting it up. Simply rinse the sponge every 1-2 weeks to ensure efficient filtration in your aquarium.

Along with being easy to use, this filter is also very efficient at cleaning. It uses a two-stage filtration system that involves both mechanical and biofiltration of water. Both these filtration stages work together to block large suspended particles as well as organic contaminants to keep your aquarium safe and clean.

An added benefit of the AQUANEAT Bio Sponge Filter is that it also increases the oxygen levels in your tank. The aeration is achieved by the inbuilt air infusion chamber that constantly produces tiny air bubbles under the water. The added levels of oxygen are beneficial and help promote plant life in your tank.


The AQUANEAT Bio Sponge Filter is a very user-friendly device that is one of the best on our list for beginners. It is effortless to set up and allows for quick and easy maintenance, saving time and effort. While easy to use, it still offers mechanical and biological filtration, making it great for keeping your tank clean.

2. Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filter – 3 pack


  • Includes three sponge filters
  • You can stack the filters on top of each other
  • Great for large tanks up to 60-gallons capacity
  • Simple design
  • Inexpensive


  • Large in size
  • No bioreactor

If you have a large tank that requires constant attention and cleaning, this pack of three Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filters is worth checking out. A common concern with most sponge filters is that they can’t be used with larger tanks due to their slower water flow rate. That is not the case with these Aquapapa filters.

Each of these filters is rated for aquariums up to 60-gallons in capacity. When combined, these filters can easily keep even larger tanks clean. While having multiple filters is great for increasing cleaning efficiency, you will need to use numerous air pumps to have them all running together. However, since they are so large, it is unlikely that they are the ideal sponge filter for 20-gallon tank, for example.

What we liked the most about this filter is you can stack all three individual units on top of one another. This feature is excellent as it allows you to use the filter without sacrificing too much space in your tank. Additionally, it gets rid of the trouble of buying separate air pumps for your filters, as you can simply stack them and use a single overpowered pump.

When it comes to maintenance, you will have to clean the sponge every two to four weeks to preserve the beneficial bacteria that give the filter its biofiltration capabilities. Moreover, we recommend changing the sponge every three to six months as the micro holes tend to clog up and reduce the cleaning efficiency of this filter.


This pack of three Aquapapa bio sponge filters is a suitable option for larger tanks that require more than just one filter to be clean. These large sponge filters can easily be stacked on top of one another to be more space-efficient. However, you will need to clean and replace the sponges regularly to keep the filter in good condition.

3. Lefunpets Sponge Filter


  • Available in various sizes
  • Soft and premium sponge material
  • Fully detachable
  • Easy to modify
  • Inbuilt check valve to avoid water backflow


  • Will require external purchases
  • Small uplift tube

This Lefunpets Sponge Filter is one of the most easily customizable options on our list, making it great for future modifications. It has a fully detachable body so that you can remove or change any parts effortlessly. For example, if you want the filter to run silently, you can make some modifications to swap out the noisy air pump and replace it with a silent one.

The detachable components also make this filter much easier during maintenance and cleaning. You can easily take apart the individual parts, and you will have better access to all the insides of the filter’s body. As for the sponge, just rinse it off in the tank water every two weeks to filter out all the debris and bacteria.

Another helpful thing about this filter is that you won’t have to worry if your tank is too large or small. That is because Lefenputs offers it in various sizing options to suit your tank. These options range from “small,” suitable for five to ten-gallon tanks up to the largest size, “X-Large,” which can work for tanks between 30-80 gallons in capacity.

It is also an excellent device for picking up floating debris while avoiding harming your smaller fish. Its six vertical striped sponge design opens up room for bringing in waste but still keeps the sponge fine enough to keep your tank’s fish safe.


This Lefunpets Sponge Filter is one of the best options when it comes to customization on our list. It has a fully detachable frame making it very versatile for all kinds of modifications.

The filter is also available in multiple sizes, making it suitable for all tanks between 5-80 gallons in capacity. It comes with a six-striped sponge which is efficient at picking up large debris while keeping your fish out of harm’s way.

4. AQQA Aquarium Sponge Filter


  • Suction cups to attach the filter to the side of the tanks
  • It doesn’t need an air pump
  • Operates silently
  • nine-layer ribbed sponge
  • 360-degree rotatable outlet


  • More noticeable in aquariums
  • Too large for smaller aquariums

The AQQA heavy-duty double sponge filter is one of the most high-performance sponge filters in the market. It has a dual-sponge design with two nine-layer ribbed sponges. It improves the filter’s ability to grow good bacteria, making it much more effective at biofiltration of the water.

What we like the most about this filter is that it comes with a media container that has ceramic biofilter balls for both sponges. These biofilter balls are great at removing harmful substances in your aquarium and provide a boost to the cleaning power of this filter. It also comes with replacement sponges right out of the box, so you won’t have to worry about buying new ones for at least 8-12 months.

Along with saving your money on replacement sponges, this filter also doesn’t require an air pump. It makes it a great option for people on a budget as air pumps can be pretty expensive.

It has two built-in suction cups that easily connect to the side of most aquariums allowing the filter to be placed above your tank’s floor. Moreover, the water outlet pipe is retractable and can be rotated 360 degrees so that you can adjust the air outlet and water flow according to your aquarium. Even with all these features, this filter remains compact, and it can easily fit in most tanks.


This AQQA dual sponge filter is a feature-rich device that can clean even the dirtiest tanks with ease. It uses two nine-layered ribbed sponges and an extra media container with ceramic biofilter balls to provide all-around cleaning. This filter is also one of the few options in the market that can run without an air pump, making it a great option for tanks with limited space.

5. Aquarium Technology Inc. Hydro-Sponge Filter


  • Small size
  • The large tube moves more water
  • It can be used with airstone
  • It can be used both vertically or horizontally
  • Sponge won’t suck in small fish


  • Average build quality
  • Expensive

Aquarium Technology’s Hydro-Sponge Filter is an easy-to-install device that doesn’t take up much space inside your tank, making it ideal for smaller aquariums. Its compact dimensions allow it to easily fit in between your aquarium’s decor or any corner without ruining the look of your tank.

A common concern people have with smaller sponge filters is that they compromise on power and cannot clean as efficiently as larger power filters. That is why Aquarium Technology has added a sizeable 1-inch diameter lift tube to this device.

This tube allows the Hydro-Sponge filter to move more water as compared to many other similar devices on the market. It also provides a large amount of airflow, so you can even use this filter with air stones, which is a much silent alternative to loud and noisy air pumps.

Moreover, this tube is surrounded by a thick proprietary patented sponge foam that offers the highest amount of mechanical filtration in the market. It can handle a lot of dirt, and solid waste produced by your fish and provides a large surface area that acts as an ideal site for bacterial colonization.

Installing the Hydro-Sponge filter is very easy as it comes with a heavy-base design with a raised bottom that allows it to stand perfectly still on your tank floor. You can use it both vertically and horizontally, which gives you the freedom to adjust it according to the space inside your fish tank.

If you think maintaining this filter might be a hassle, then you can keep all your concerns aside. In order to clean the Hydro-Sponge filter, all you have to do is rinse it with some aquarium water and squeeze the sponge to get rid of all the accumulated gunk. However, be sure not to use tap water to clean this device.


If you are an office worker or have trouble tending to aquarium filters, it is wise to go for an option that requires little to no maintenance. With that in mind, we recommend checking out the Hydro-Sponge filter by Aquarium Technology, Inc. It has a straightforward design that is easy to take care of and offers a premium level of hygiene to your aquarium.

6. UPETTOOLS Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter


  • Seven-layered ribbed sponge
  • Suitable for up to 40-gallon capacity tanks
  • Uses bioceramic media balls
  • Can stick to tanks wall
  • 360-degree rotatable oxygen port


  • It does not come with instructions
  • The green color may not fit in with all tanks

The UPETTOOLS Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter is a high-quality filter with a reasonable price tag. It is suitable for tanks up to 40-gallons in capacity and makes for a great addition to any aquarium’s aesthetics with its vibrant green design.

This filter follows a multi-layered filtration process that allows it even to clean larger tanks efficiently. It filters the tank water through its unique seven-layer ribbing-shaped sponge that improves filtration quality. Additionally, it also establishes a biological filtration stage by providing a foundation for beneficial bacteria to grow.

After passing through the sponge, the water is filtered through a special filter box built into this device. This filter box is highly customizable, and you can fill it with compatible filtration media such as media balls or active carbon. It allows you to fine-tune the filtration according to your tank’s requirements.

As standard, the filter comes with ceramic media balls for the filter box. If you don’t have any special media to change it in with, these balls are great as they provide a boost to the filter’s biological filtration capacity.

Moreover, it comes with various accessories in the package, such as suction cups and extra sponges, which are very useful. However, it does not include any instructions, so all the additional accessories might make it slightly confusing to set for a beginner.


UPETTOOLS Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter is a perfect choice if you are an aquarist looking for a high-quality device at a lower price point. The budget pricing does not mean that you are compromising the quality, as this filter has a seven ribbed sponge and filter box that offers an impressive level of water filtration.

Things to Consider While Choosing a Sponge Filter for your Aquarium

Following is a comprehensive buying guide that you should keep in mind when buying a sponge glitter for your fish tank:

– Size and Shape

When it comes to size, always remember to check the dimensions of the filter you plan on buying and compare it to the space you have in your tank. Getting a too large filter will make it difficult to fit into your tank, while one that is too small might not have enough surface area to filter the water properly.

Along with size, filters also come in various shapes and styles. These shapes range from the more common cylindrical design to other more unique styles, such as quarter cylinder-shaped filters.

When choosing a filter, look for the shape that best suits the space you have in your tank. For example, if you are low on area, a quarter cylinder-shaped filter might be suitable as it can easily fit into your tank’s corner.

– Filtration Stages

Filtration stages refer to the level or types of filtration offered by a filter and are one of the most critical factors you should look into. Many options on the market come with multiple types of filtration stages, such as biological filtration for killing bacteria or chemical filtration to clear odors and impurities, etc., and so on.

While most sponge filters offer biological and chemical filtration, some use extra mediums, such as ceramic biofilter balls. It is very beneficial as more stages mean better cleaning.

– Build Quality

It is important to avoid low-quality sponge filters when buying one. Many people overlook how dangerous it can be for aquariums to have low-quality and poorly built sponge filters in them. It can lead to leaks, rusting, sucking up your fish, and many more problems that can destroy your aquarium’s flora & fauna.

An excellent way to find out if a sponge filter is well built and sturdy is by checking the material and the joint strength. If the filter is made from premium materials and the joints are firm without any room for movement or free space when put together, the device should be able to withstand years of usage.

How Does a Sponge Filter Work?

Most sponge filters on the market are pretty similar when it comes to how they work. These filters tend to use a weighted base or suction cups to stay secure near the bottom of your tank.

Once in your tank, the filter needs to be connected to an air pump. It is usually done with the help of an inbuilt airlift tube present in most of these devices.

Once the attached pump is turned on, compressed air is pushed into the uplift tube bringing in a mixture of air and water into the tube. Gradually, the water will begin to rise and create a suction near the filter’s base.

This suction is what pulls your tank water into the filter. However, when being sucked in, the water is filtered through a porous sponge wrapped around the filter.

Myths About Sponge Filters

Let’s bust a few myths that surround sponge filters:

– Sponge Filters Don’t Work

This statement is false as sponge filters are ideal for most fish tanks. They provide low flow rates and require less space without compromising on filtration. They are excellent for fry, betta, and shrimp setups as these fish thrive at gentle flow rates.

– Sponge Filters Spread Diseases

While sponge filters themselves do not cause or spread diseases in aquariums, there are certain instances where they may aid the spread of disease. For example, if you transfer a sponge filter from a tank with sick fish to one with healthy fish, the filter may pass the disease onto the new tank. However, this is the case with most aquarium equipment, and as long as you maintain caution and safety, your sponge filters shouldn’t cause any harm.

– You Need To Buy A New Sponge Every Few Months

Most well-built sponge filters will easily be able to last a year without needing a sponge replacement. In fact, changing the sponge too often might even reduce the filter’s ability for biofiltration as these sponges are often home to many beneficial types of bacteria. That being said, if the sponge seems hard or starts to flake apart, you should replace it with a new one.

– Sponge Filters Release Lead Into Your Tank

This myth comes from the fact that many sponge filters use a lead weight to keep them at the bottom of aquariums. That being said, this myth is not valid, and even in acidic or toxic conditions, it is nearly impossible for any lead to be released from a sponge filter. The fear is understandable, and if you don’t feel comfortable using a lead-weighted filter, you can always opt for an option with suction cups instead.


Here are a few commonly asked questions related to sponge filters for aquariums:

1. Do Sponge Filters Aerate the Water?

Yes, sponge filters aerate the water just as an air pump will. Most sponge filters have an inbuilt air infusion chamber that produces tiny bubbles under the water. These bubbles aerate the water and improve oxygen levels, which is very beneficial for plants and fish.

2. How Long Do Sponge Filters Last?

To keep a sponge filter running smoothly, it is essential to replace the filter media at least every three to four weeks and clean the sponge in tank water every two weeks. Well maintained and good-quality sponge filter will last for years without any problem. That is why we advise you to check for leaks or cracks occasionally.

3. Which Is The Best: Sponge Filter Or Power Filter?

Every aquarium is different, and while sponge filters aren’t the best option for all tanks, they work well in smaller aquariums with low water flow rates and delicate flora and fauna. That is because of their comparatively smaller size and lower risk of sucking in fish with fast-flowing water.

On the other hand, power filters are often the ideal option for larger aquariums and tanks with more fish. They offer greater filtration capacity and do not need to be connected to any external air pumps. However, power filters also tend to cost more than sponge filters.

4. Is One Sponge Filter Enough?

Yes, having only sponge filters will work fine in most tanks under 70-gallons incapacity. However, if you have a tank larger than 70-gallons, it is advisable to use more than one sponge filter.

5. Are Sponge Filters Good For Axolotl tanks?

Sponge filters are ideal sites for bacterial colonization, which is very important for the biological filtration of your tank. It makes them the best option for axolotl tanks. Furthermore, young axolotls have a high metabolism and require a lot of oxygen for growth. And since sponge filters aerate the water, you can depend on them for the oxygenation of your axolotl tanks.


We hope you found a new perspective to make a well-informed purchase for your aquarium. However, if you’re still confused and looking for our final recommendations, we are here for you.

All the filters mentioned on your list are reliable options, and depending on your tank’s requirements, you can find a viable option for cleaning your aquarium. However, there is one filter that stands out. We highly recommend checking out the AQUANEAT Bio Sponge Filter.

It is a beginner-friendly sponge filter that is very easy to set up and requires minimalistic maintenance every 1-2 weeks. This filter provides both mechanical and biological filtration and is ideal for trapping dirt and gunk while also providing a large surface area for bacterial colonization. It ensures the well-rounded hygiene of your aquarium, making it the best option on our list.

5/5 - (17 votes)


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