Filtration How To Hide An Aquarium Sponge Filter (Plants, Rocks, More)

How To Hide An Aquarium Sponge Filter (Plants, Rocks, More)

Many freshwater fish keepers buy sponge filters because they are inexpensive and because of the benefits of added aquarium aeration. But as soon as they place their filter inside their tanks they become a little disappointed with how it looks.

It takes up space and contrasts the bright green of aquarium plants. Simply put – it’s an eyesore! This article provides a few techniques for easily hiding your sponge filter.

Hidden sponge filter in a planted aquarium

How to hide a sponge filter in your aquarium

The best way to hide an aquarium sponge filter is by buying a smaller size and simply cleaning it more frequently. The smaller size makes it much easier to hide amongst decorations. You can also hide it behind tall stem plants or medium-sized broad leaf plants, or by placing rocks or driftwood in front of it.

Buy a smaller sponge filter

A smaller sponge filter will obviously take up less space and be easier to hide in any aquarium. What you might not have considered is that your tank can use a smaller sized sponge filter than you probably think.

A smaller sponge will have less capacity to suck up dirt from the water column. But you can simply clean your sponge a little more frequently and get away with having a smaller one.

The size of the sponge does not change how much oxygen is added to your tank because all sponge filters are powered using your air pump, which is a separate device.

Position your sponge filter behind stem plants

The easiest method for hiding a sponge filter is by positioning it behind things in your tank. Stem plants are a great option because they grow tall and upright. What’s great is that they will easily cover both the spong itself and the airline tubing coming out of it.

Rotala rotundifolia and limnophila sessiliflora are a couple of our favorites. We’ve found that limnophila sessiliflora is especially easy to grow in low-tech tanks with low light.

One challenge with this option is that you will need to have background stem plants in front of your sponge filter. Some people might not like the look of taller plants in the mid-ground of their aquascape.

But there’s another solution if that’s an issue for you:

Hide it behind broad leaf plants

You can both hide your sponge filter and maintain aquascape depth by hiding your sponge behind mid-ground broad leaf plants. These plants will not grow to the full height of your tank, but will easily cover up your sponge with their broad leaves.

Anubias varieties are a great option.

Position your sponge filter behind a rock feature

Rocks are a great feature to place in front of your sponge filter because they look beautiful and enhance the aquascape. Similar to stem plants, the drawback is that you must move the rocks forward in the tank to allow the sponge to fit in behind.

This may not suit the look you’re trying to achieve and may make the tank feel a little cramped if there isn’t a lot of width from front to back.

Also, this will create a void of space behind the rocks where your fish and shrimp may hang out. This might cause you to see your fish less often.

Position the sponge between two rocks

If you’d like for your rock features to be at the back of your tank, then what you can do is hide your sponge filter in front of large background rocks but behind smaller mid-ground rocks.

This allows you to maintain depth in your aquascape while still hiding your sponge out of sight. You could consider getting a little creative and creating a volcano-like formation with your air bubble coming out the top.

You want to make sure the sponge filter is not too smothered so it can adequately filter the tank though.

Consider using a hang-on-the-back filter

If you’re really not happy with how the sponge filter is making your aquarium look then you can consider replacing it with a hang-on-the-back filter. This will sit along the rim of your tank, which is often a little less unsightly. But it frees up some more space inside your tank and allows your aquascape to stand out.

Does it matter where your sponge filter is positioned?

The location of a sponge filter inside of an aquarium does not matter. The sponge will effectively collect debris from pretty much anywhere in the tank. Most fishkeepers tend to position it towards the back so it can be obscured by plants, hardscape or decorations.

Ryan Ferguson

Founder, Rooted Tank

Ryan Ferguson, the founder of Rooted Tank, started fishkeeping in 2019. He has continued to level-up his planted aquarium skills and wanted to share his journey and knowledge with other aquarists.


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