Differences between Mechanical Filtration Media: Sponge VS Foam:

For filtering water mechanically such as removing solid waste particles, it is recommended to have a sponge or foam that catches all the debris, & allow clean water to flow freely through the media. The best mechanical filtration media can collect even very small particles.

Foam Filter VS Sponge Filter: Which One is Better?
Foam Filter VS Sponge Filter: Which One is Better?

Foam is better than sponge for cleaning water mechanically:

Many aquarists use sponge in their filters but you might be surprised to know that foam is better than the long duty sponge for mechanical filtration of water. Both sponge & foam are available in 3 forms such as Coarse, Medium & Fine.

Coarse filtration media has large pores, medium filtration media has smaller pores than Coarse media, while Fine filtration media has very tiny pores. Coarse filter media can trap large particles, medium filter media can trap medium size particles, while Fine filter media can collect very tiny particles that can pass through the Coarse, & Medium filter media.

As compared to Foam, Sponge has large pores, therefore, Coarse Sponge has larger pores than Coarse Foam, Medium Sponge has larger pores than Medium Foam, & Fine Sponge has larger pores than Fine Foam. Therefore, Fine Sponge cannot trap very little particles but Fine Foam can easily trap them.

The rating of Fine Sponge for mechanically filtration of water is let’s say 3.5 out of 5. While Coarse Sponge has a rating of 2 out of 5. The rating of Fine Foam for mechanically filtration of water is let’s say 5 out of 5 while Coarse Foam has a rating of 3.5 out of 5.


Sponge needs low maintenance than Foam:

It is recommended to regularly maintain your Fine Sponge otherwise, it will clog up & the pores can be fully blocked. This is the reason many aquarists setup filtration media in the following order: Coarse followed by medium & fine foam. Hence, all the large particles are trapped by Coarse foam, & tiny particles will be trapped by fine foam. This will extend the life of the fine foam, however, foams will still require proper maintenance. Even your Coarse foam can clog up as its pores are not as large as Coarse sponge.

If pores of the media are completely blocked, then its efficiency will be reduced. Sponge can work for a long time compared to foam because debris can be easily removed from its pores. It takes less time to clean a sponge than cleaning foam. Sponge can efficiently work for a long time as it comes in very fine quality.


Sponge can work for a long time for biologically cleaning of water:

After replacing a foam, you will lose all beneficial bacteria that it has accumulated. Hence, mechanical filter media can also biologically clean water as they allow microbes to live inside the tiny pores. Blocked media will reduce water flow that contains waste, & for removal of nutrients released from waste, they should interact with the microbes. Reduced water flow will have low interaction of nutrients with microbes. Microbes will die when covered in debris. Therefore, sponge can biologically clean water for a long time as it has large pores, & they do not clog up quickly.

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