How to make a free sponge filter for tank:

Sponge filter allows water to flow through a sponge which removes debris & waste particles & only clean water is allowed to pass through the filter & they can develop good bacteria colonies. It can also help to develop biological filtration. Sponge filters can be installed in a variety of tanks because they are available in different shapes & size & have different pore sizes too.

How to build tank sponge filter

In this video I will show you how to make a sponge filter for free using the supplies that are available at your home. Sponge filter will use some basic supplies that all fish keepers should have at their homes, & obviously for creating bubbles for oxygenation you will have an air pump as well.

I want to make good bacteria in my newly setup aquarium. I have already ordered a sponge filter for this aquarium but its delivery time is 3 days & until then I will be using my free DIY aquarium sponge filter.

I have added all the supplies & tools below to make DIY tank sponge filter for free which can be operated with any air pump available at your home.

Supplies & tools required for making a free sponge filter:

Tools needed for building sponge filter
Supplies & tools needed for building sponge filter

  • Disposable water bottle: It can be used to make the body of sponge filter.
  • Suction cup: It can be used for attaching sponge filter to the aquarium.
  • Air tube: It can be used to connect filter to air pump.
  • Garden Hose: Use a piece of garden hose which can be used for pumping water out.
  • Foam: Foam can provide filtration.
  • Knife & Scissors: Can be used for cutting foam & pipe.

Step wise tutorial for making a free sponge filter for aquarium:

Watch this tutorial & learn how to create a free sponge air filter from scratch.

I have provided a step wise tutorial about how to build free sponge filter for tank. Please watch the above video about making sponge filter which will be used in my aquarium to provide biological filtration because I don’t have any fish.

How to build tank sponge filter

Step 1: Use any plastic bottle & cut it in the middle:

Cut bottle using hobby knife
Cut bottle using hobby knife

Use any plastic bottle which is available at your home for creating sponge filter. Cut the bottle in the middle using hobby knife.

Hint: If you have difficulty in cutting the bottle, then use a marker & make a circle across the bottle for a clean cut.

Step 2: Cut a small piece of garden hose:

Cut small piece of pipe using scissor
Cut a small piece of pipe using scissor

Use a garden hose but you won’t need the entire hose so use a scissor to cut a small piece of hose after measuring it.

Hint: Use any garden hose & use a ruler to measure how much hose you need for your filter & make a clean cut using sharp scissor.

Step 3: Cut a hole in the sponge:

Cut a hole in sponge for inserting garden hose
Cut a hole in sponge for inserting garden hose

Use sponge for the base but first cut a hole in the sponge using scissor for inserting garden hose in it & it will give a good base.

Hint: Use any thick sponge because it will be easy to make a bigger hole to push garden hose inside. Measure the diameter of garden hose & use a sponge which has thickness greater than hose.

Step 4: Setup of filtration media:

Setup of filtration media
Setup of filtration media

Put the sponge in the middle of bottle filter & fill the surrounding area with fine foam. This foam can be used for biological filtration because there is no need for mechanical filtration in a fishless aquarium. Biological filtration is used to create good bacteria which is very important for a newly setup tank.

Step 5: Test sponge filter in aquarium:

Test sponge filter in aquarium
Attach sponge filter to glass using suction cup & insert air tube in hose

Sponge filter is ready & it is time to test it in aquarium. I have attached the sponge filter to the aquarium glass using suction cup. I have connected the small pipe which is in the middle of a big pipe to the air pump.

Step 6: How sponge filter works:

                          Filter is sucking water from sides   Water is pushed back up through pipe

The air from the pump is passing through the air tube & leaving through the garden hose which creates bubbles & it is sucking all water from aquarium. Turn on the power of air pump to test the sponge filter. If filter is pumping water out, then it means it is sucking water from the sides which goes down & pushed back up through the pipe.

It's time to celebrate:


You can easily build DIY free sponge filter in less than 10 minutes using above procedure. If you have enjoyed watching this tutorial, then don’t forget to provide feedback in the comment section below. Also you can watch my other videos about DIY Aquarium Filters.

Pros & cons of Sponge Filter:

Pros & cons of DIY aquarium sponge filter
Pros & cons of DIY aquarium sponge filter

You will find this tutorial very helpful because it will show you the easiest way to build sponge air filter for your tank that can help fish to survive in case main filter blows up. Also this filter is good for aquarium where you want to keep baby fish because it will not suck them. There is an extra advantage of DIY sponge filter as it is easier to clean sponge filter than any other types of filters because other filters require higher maintenance. There is no chemical filtration zone in DIY sponge filter which is its biggest drawback. Hobbyists think twice when they are setting up an old sponge which does not look attractive in a fancy aquarium.

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