For individuals who are serious about aquarium management, efficient filtration is essential for maintaining the best and most beautiful aquarium setups.

There are various kinds of filters available in the market. One of them is sponge filters. Sponge filters have been one of the first marketed filters in the world of fishkeeping and aquarium, but with growing technology, sponge filters have become primitive.

Modern canister filters are equipped with high-tech components and wireless operation. They have higher efficiency as well. At first, it might seem that sponge filters have no upper hand over canister filters, but sponge filters do have some advantages.

Advantages of sponge filters

Gentle filtration

Sponge filters are ideal for safe and gentle filtering, such as in an aquarium with small fish where it may draw young fish into the intake of regular filters. Sponge filters are also beneficial to fish species that can not survive in strong currents, such as bettas.

Establishing beneficial colonies

Another application for sponge filters is to kick-start a fresh and newly setup aquarium. Establishing biological colonies requires a few weeks of operation for the sponge filters.

Once the new aquarium is set up, the grown sponge can be moved immediately to the fish enclosure in a container of fresh water, preserving the organics. This provides an instant biological stimulus to the fish enclosure, which improves the living conditions of the fish in the new tank by lowering ammonia and nitrite surges that occur in an aquarium.

Suitable for planted aquariums

Planted aquariums require a gentle filtration current like small fish, but the reason is not the same. Plant roots don’t get a sturdy grip inside an aquarium substrate, so they are susceptible to uprooting.

A powerful current can uproot the plants easily and damage the plants. So sponge filters became highly beneficial for them as they also provide organic matter for plant growth.

Easy to clean

It is easier to clean sponge filters than canister filters. You may simply clean or replace the sponge filter, and it will be as good as new. Whereas in the case of a canister filter, it requires complete ripping of the canister for proper cleaning.


Last but not least, rather one of the most important advantages is that these are pocket-friendly. They come at a very low price but compared to the price they offer excellent service.

Now since it’s clear that sponge filters are quite advantageous and good for freshwater and saltwater aquarium, the next step is finding a proper and good quality sponge filter.

Like every other gadget, not every brand of sponge filter is efficient and trustworthy, so we have tried and tested numerous sponge filters to find the best one for you and your fish and have compiled the top sponge filters for your aquarium.

Although every product mentioned in this list is excellent and of high quality among them, we found LUSTAR Hydro-Sponge Filter to be the best and most versatile of them all. But in case you don’t like its design or some other quality, you are free to check the nine others.

So without further ado, let’s check them out.

10 Best Aquarium Sponge Filters- Reviewed

All the products mentioned here are available online on

LUSTAR Hydro-Sponge Filter

Product details:

  1. up to 80 gallons
  2. One inch diameter lift tube
  3. Raised bottom

This sponge filter is an excellent addition to any tank. These are a lifesaver for any tank. I recommend purchasing two for each tank. If you ever need to confine a fish, you’ll have another filter already set up with beneficial bacteria instead of having to install a new one.

This filter keeps the water in my 20-gallon tank clean. These are extremely reasonably priced. There are more expensive brands, but these were equally effective. You can use the sponges for many years. You can buy extra sponges, but I doubt you’ll need them for very long.

These are also excellent if you are breeding fish or feeding live food to your fish. It will not suffocate fry, brine shrimp, or other small invertebrates! It is very quiet and increases the amount of oxygen in your tank.

The only drawback I can think of is that they aren’t really attractive and can’t suck up much of the larger items. To remedy this, you can always conceal it behind plants and decorations, and you may also use it in conjunction with your power filter for even more cleaning power.

What we like:

  1. Highly efficient
  2. Noisefree

What we dislike:

  1. A bit more expensive than other brands

Huijukon Air Pump Double Sponge Filter

Product details:

  1. 55 gallons
  2. 60ppi fine sponge
  3. 10-layer ribbing sponges

I bought this to complement my canister filter in order to reduce maintenance and add even more biological filtering capacity to my 55g goldfish tank, and it works great! It’s inexpensive but well-made, and with fine pore foam, it’s made a noticeable difference in tank cleanliness.

It has a gentle flow but draws dirt, food, and other trash. The air bubbles just as much as my old airstone, and connecting it to my airline was a breeze. I can slightly change the height and angle of the bubbles and the lean of the sponges to slant them away from the wall.

When it’s time for tank maintenance, simply remove one or both sponges, squeeze them out in a pail of tank water, and replace them. I also purchased a different sponge filter that clings to the rear of the tank and adores it.

The first reason is that the tube elevates up, allowing you to select how far away from the sponges you want the tube of air bubbles to be. The second reason is that the ribbed sponges appear to perform a better job of catching all the trash that floats around my tanks.

What we like:

  1. Efficient filtration
  2. Gentle flow

What we dislike:

  1. Weak suction cups

hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter

Product details:

  1. 10 to 40 gallon
  2. 60ppi sponge
  3. Ceramic media balls

This is an excellent filter. I enjoy how the material inside can be changed. The sponges are good, and everything disassembles simply. I also appreciate that you can rotate the canisters to face up or down, depending on the size of your tank.

Hygger offers wonderful aquarium items, but this filter is ingenious. You can also move the nozzle up and down. It includes extra sponges and bio media inside the media compartment. What distinguishes this is the insertion of compartments for ceramic biomaterial.

Enhances biological filtration in ways that no other sponge filter can. I have numerous tanks, and I rarely get the stick on the side since they generally pop off and float. However, any bioceramics can be used. It’s worth noting that the two extra sponges are stored in the bio compartments.,

This filter appears to be made of rock. Even with turtles crawling on it, it hasn’t moved. I particularly like the fact that the filter contains actual biomaterial. I’ll be purchasing more of these.

What we like:

  1. Strog suction
  2. Adjustable nozzle

What we dislike:

  1. Not long-lasting

UPETTOOLS Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter

Product details:

  1. 7-layer ribbing shape sponge
  2. Ceramic Filter Media
  3. 40 gallons

This filter is fantastic; it worked instantly right in front of my eyes. Within minutes, the water had become quite clear, and the sponges had become very dark. The good news is that all I had to do was remove them, rinse them with water only, and replace them.

These filters come highly recommended by me. I would suggest that people get colored ones rather than black ones because the color will darken when they need to be washed. I appreciate that this filter includes chambers for other media.

Be aware that these are little chambers, but I’ve used floss in the past, and it worked perfectly. It works perfectly. Allow it to soak for a few minutes in your take so that the sponges may absorb some water and fill the water channel below.

I will suggest you get a quality air pump. They will work with a weaker pump, but it will chug.

What we like:

  1. Easy to setup
  2. Easy to maintain

What we dislike:

  1. Can get clogged

AQUANEAT Aquarium Bio Sponge Filter 5 gallon

Product details:

  1. up to 5 gallon
  2. 1 PC of sponge filter
  3. Soft sponge material

This sponge filter, along with a 1-inch air stone inside and a flow control valve, is the perfect filter arrangement for bettas, as well as any type of fish fry and shrimp.

The native habitats of these guys are wetlands and rice paddies. Bettas require very low water flow, which should be common knowledge. Hang-on-back filters are completely inappropriate for them.

I’m currently running five of these sponge filters with air stones, and the bubbles are small and don’t bother my fish. Once they’re set up, they’re the simplest to maintain: shake them and press them in old tank water between water changes, and you’re good to go.

As long as you take excellent care of your sponge, it would help if you never had to replace it. If you rinse your aquarium filter sponge or cartridge with tap water, you will kill all of your nitrifying bacteria and disrupt the nitrogen cycle, putting your fish in danger.

What we like:

  1. Compact design
  2. Best for small tanks

What we dislike:

  1. Not durable

AQUANEAT Aquarium Bio Sponge Filter 10 gallon

Product details:

  1. 10 Gallon
  2. Quarter-cylinder shape
  3. Bio filtration

For the past two years, I’ve been using these or similar filters to raise a variety of fish, ranging from guppies and angelfish to rearing and breeding bettas. However, it was advertised for 10 gallons.

I would use two of them in a 10-gallon tank, three in a 15 to 20-gallon tank, or a larger version on 10’s and up. They’re simple and straightforward to use, and they’ll look great in a corner. When combined with living plants, they perform a wonderful job of keeping the water clean.

Once established, we just need to change the water twice a month, most of the time, unless we have a lot of plants. I’m a bit of a filter purist; depending on the species, I use sponge filters, corner box filters, and under-gravel filters in the majority of my tanks.

The sole disadvantage is that a hard plastic tube runs through the middle of the sponge housing, carrying the air all the way to the bottom. You can only remove it by cutting it out. Even if you cut it out, the area where it links to the inner top of the filter is too large to connect an aircraft to. As a result, it is not possible to add an airstone to the inside of this filter.

What we like:

  1. Sleek design
  2. Takes less room

What we dislike:

  1. Diffuser can’t be added

JARDIN Sponge Filter

Product details:

  1. 2mm Air inlet
  2. 15mm air outlet
  3. Cylindrical shape

This is in my 3-gallon jar aquarium. Before installing mine, I did some research and found that others highly suggested this type of filter with far more experience. The price is incredible, especially when you consider how long it will endure.

This filter worked quite well for me! I wish it were a little smaller, but it fits well in my jar aquarium. I can state that my tank stays cleaner for a longer period of time than I expected. I clean my house around twice a month.

It is pretty simple to set up. You’ll need a small air pump, an air stone, and tubing, all of which most fish enthusiasts already have on hand. If you have any pregnant fish or small invertebrates in your tank, these are ideal. You won’t have to be concerned about their being sucked up!

To clean the filter, I simply squeeze out the filthy water and then lightly rinse it with fresh water, as I don’t want to kill all of the healthy bacteria. So far, I’ve been impressed.

What we like:

  1. Excellent cleaning
  2. Controllable flow

What we dislike:

  1. Good for small tanks only

Hikari Bacto-Surge High Density Foam Filter

Product details:

  1. Air-driven sponge filters
  2. Highly Porous Sponge
  3. Quick-dip hydrometers

It works excellent, and it’s ideal for betta fish or other fish that need low flow. This tank is currently being cycled, and everything is going fine with this filter. High-quality foam that is simple to assemble. It did need to be weighted down with rocks.

The base is weighted, yet it was insufficient to keep it from floating up. It would stay down for a few hours before drifting away. But it’s not a big issue. Clears the water of live plant watercolors, murky, and a little quantity of dirt from the play sand.

This filter is relatively cheap, but it is larger than you might imagine. Simply connect the air hose to the nipple at the top and the other end to your air pump. To keep this filter from floating, soak it in water and squeeze it while submerged in water to allow the air to escape.

The filter will then no longer float. Hikari or Japan designed this product. However, it is made in China. This filter can handle up to a 75-gallon tank; however, I’ve had no problems using it with my 5-gallon tank.

What we like:

  1. Cheap
  2. High-quality

What we dislike:

  1. Light weight

Lefunpets Sponge Filter

Product details:

  1. 4-layer sponge
  2. 10 Gallon
  3. Premium sponge material

This has a nice design. This is suitable for usage in my 5-gallon crayfish tank. It still makes wonderful bubbles and appears to be working based on how clear the water is. It takes five seconds to set this up.

It fits perfectly in a 5 gallon, as shown in the photo. If I were doing a 20 gallon, I would probably run two, but for one of my 5 gallons, this works nicely and fits well in the corner without being too enormous and invasive.

It’s practically perfect! It’s weighted, fits into a corner, and the fine sponge provides greater mechanical filtration than a coarser sponge. The sponge is also resistant to cleaning and disassembly.

It’s quite easy to conceal because it fits precisely in the corners and remains put. Overall, it performs admirably and generates sufficient movement at the water’s surface to prevent scum accumulation on the surface.

What we like:

  1. Corner design
  2. Compact design

What we dislike:

  1. Loud operation

AQUANEAT Aquarium Air Driven Bio Corner Filter

Product details:

  1. 20 gallon
  2. 4ft airline tubing
  3. Non-return check valve

This filter, like a canister filter, is compartmentalized to provide multistage filtration. It has a movable intake tube. It is designed to have high surface tension, which helps to keep the water oxygenated and the water surface free of a protein coating.

It’s unobtrusive and, unlike sponge filters, not obtrusive. It’s also simple to keep up with. The only change I would recommend is rearranging the order of the foam pads. The finest pad should be at the bottom, and the coarsest pad should be on top, allowing debris to be sucked completely into the filter.

This filter also includes stones, which act as both media and weight to keep the filter from floating. Simple to install, as quiet as the air pump you purchase, and easy to clean.

It’s not difficult to open as long as I remove the filter from the tank entirely, dry it out, and gently squeeze the edges to free the lid.

What we like:

  1. Multistage filtration
  2. Efficient cleaning

What we dislike:

  1. No suction cups

How to choose the best sponge filter for your aquarium- Buying Guide

Let’s put the factors along and discuss how to choose the best sponge filter for your tank! While compared to more intricate filter designs, there isn’t much to think about when purchasing a sponge filter.

Almost any type will perform a good job of eliminating particles from your water. These are what you should consider.

Aquarium size

Your tank’s size is an important consideration in your choosing an aquarium filter. You should estimate the available space in your tank setup to check whether the filter you select can conveniently fit your tank.

For large tanks

This is important as if the pump is small for your tank, then it will not clean your water properly or, in another case, might take a long time to clean the whole tank.

LUSTAR Hydro-Sponge Filter is the best and most efficient sponge filter for large aquariums.

For smaller aquariums

On the other hand, if your filter is too powerful for your tank, i.e., it is big for your tank, first of all, it won’t fit properly and will look awful, and along with that, a powerful flow will be dangerous for your fish.

hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter is a versatile product that is suitable for both small and medium-sized aquariums.

Adjustable flow rate

To get the best out of your filter, choosing the one with an adjustable flow rate is convenient. This can easily save you the time to determine which flow rate is best for your aquarium.

A great way to tune your filter is by setting it at a high flow rate for 1-2 hours after your fish’s feeding time. And the rest of the time, you can set it at low. This will do you two good things:1st is it will constantly keep cleaning your tank, and 2nd it will save you a lot of tons of energy.

JARDIN Sponge Filter has a control valve that can be conveniently used for controlling the flow.


Do sponge filters actually work?

Sponge filters function as efficiently as canister filters. The sponge screens out a considerable portion of the bigger particulate particles, preventing the cartridge from clogging.

Which is better top filter or sponge filter?

Coarse sponge tips have a higher flow rate and do not clog as easily as finer sponge materials, but they cannot filter out tiny particles. If you prefer a more accurate and efficient flow rate then HOB filters are more preferred.

Are sponge filters noisy?

Sponge filters are generally quiet since the main source of noise in filters is their motor. But sometimes if the sponges get clogged it might create some noise.

Do sponge filters provide oxygen?

By using sponge filters, both oxygen and carbon dioxide can be delivered in significant enough volumes for both fish and plants to live.

Our Verdict

When it comes to the health of your fish and aquatic plants, there should be no compromise. Sponge filters are the best solution for keeping your aquarium clean and free from any kind of pollutants.

This will also ensure that your fish are in a healthy habitat where they won’t be affected by any kind of infections or diseases. Fish and marine plants are quite expensive to buy, so if they die out early, it impacts greatly both financially as well as emotionally.

Among all the filters out there in the market, LUSTAR Hydro-Sponge Filter has the best efficiency and service.

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