Even the most basic aquarium filter requires 3 components. A sponge filter, air pump, airline tubing. The sponge filter is one of the most common and cheap filters.
There are tons of brands making sponge filters. A lot of Chinese brands copy the American one. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can easily get conned.
A sponge type filter is the Best Filter for Betta aquariums.
How to set up a sponge filter for betta
Start by taking everything out of the box.
You should see foam sponge, strainer, base, and lift tube inside the box.
There is a thing called a bullseye on top of the strainer. Remove that from the strainer. Put in the air stone at the bottom of the strainer.
Using a small length of airline tube, connect the air stone in the middle of the bullseye.
If the sponge is too small, then you can attach the air stone directly onto the sponge.
Put the strainer back inside the foam. Connect the strainer to the weighted base.
Slip in the life tube at one end of the airline tubing roll, then connect the airline tubing to the nipple of the bullseye. After that snap the tube onto the bullseye.
After placing the foam tube in the aquarium, if you see it floating, squeeze out any bubble from the sponge.
Find the optimal location to place the air pump. Remember the airline tubing roll where you inserted the lift tube? Cut that at tube roll. Remember to leave enough length so you can connect that with the air pump. After that connect the tubing to the pump. If you cut too short, then you have to do the previous step again. If you kept it too long, you can always cut it accordingly.
If the air pump is located below the aquarium. Then you need to add a check valve in the connection line. It will prevent from water going inside the pump when it’s turned off.
To install the check valve, you need to cut the airline tubing (connecting the sponge and air pump) in the middle or a few inches outside of the aquarium. Then place the check valve in between them. Connect the tube from both ends. Remember that the end of the valve with a flapper should be facing the air pump.
If you installed it backward, then there won’t be any airflow when you turn on the pump. You have to rotate the valve and add the tube again.
Before you plug in the air pump, create a drip loop with the power cable. This will make sure the moisture doesn’t reach the plug. Otherwise, there can be a malfunction.
Why Are Bubbles Coming out of the Side of the Sponge?
There can be several reasons why this is happening.
The most common ones are,
You have shortened the lift tube. If the lift tube is too small, it won’t have much suction. This way air will escape and create bubbles.
If the air stone inside the sponge is crooked, then you will face some bubble issues. You need to make sure the air stone is straight as an arrow. You can try hanging it tighter to make it more straight.
Sponge filter has almost no maintenance cost. If you installed it correctly then you are okay for months. You need to remove the sponge clean it and make sure there are no bubbles from the sponge. If there is, then you did something wrong or it’s time to change the filter for a new one.