Picture of Easy Aquarium Sponge Pump

Very easy and cheap way to make your own Aquarium sponge pump. Perfect pump for small tank, small fishes, shrimp tank, breeding tank ... Using a simple air pump and basic materials, you can create a mechanical/chemical filter for your aquarium!

Step 1: How it works

Picture of How it works
Sorry for my very poor drawing, but the idea is there!
When air goes out of the air tube and up the wider tube, it sucks up water at the same time, so water goes through the sponge, up the tube and clean water comes out.
As simple as that!

The sponge serves as a mechanical filter holding big particles in it, and also as a bio-chemical filter. Good bacteria will grow in the sponge and clean the nasty stuff out of the water. You only need to wash the sponge with clean water from time to time.
naeco23 days ago

Alternately, you can heat a fork to make multiple holes on the tube (if it's thin enough) :)

I heard sponge filters are not good due to taking the good bacteria away and using sponge from ocean or driftwood you risk bringing parasites chemicals or anything that may kill fish, unless u want to dedicate the time to really clean the driftwood,sponge from the beach or ocean.
Wholly incorrect
lukeD1 year ago
is it possible to make such an air punp yourself?
You can actually skip the sponge entirely and bury the tubing in a deep gravel bed.
khaskins3 years ago
Is there a size limit for this type of filter? Does it work better in a certain size range?
aabayoe3 years ago
Mission accomplished..! i already make it, now i dont have to buy expensive water pump anymore for my second tank...thanks
Also, an all natural sponge would work (ie: the type that are dried and originally came from the ocean!)
jds85853 years ago
would using a water bottle work for this instead of tube?
guyquiengco3 years ago
This is great! I just bought a filter and it seems too big for our aquarium. I'm gonna hack a filter using your instructible.
dubdukes4 years ago
word of caution: please be careful using a regular sponge for this... most of the ones you find in the grocery store are labeled "NOT FOR AQUARIUM USE" as they contain some sort of chemical that is not good for the fish.

best bet is to get a sponge from a pet store that is meant for aquariums.

otherwise, i like this instructable.
tmlpz5 years ago
Great idea, thanks! I have a very small setup with a platy fry, a snail, some little red shrimp and some plants. They're all thriving, water chemistry is good, fry is growing. But I couldn't find a filter small enough. This one is working out great. For the larger tube, I used a shampoo bottle from a hotel. I also added a stone so the water would be more still. I burried the sponge in gravel.
HubertF5 years ago
great idea! how this works makes sence. im going to have to make one.  im trying too breed comet feeders and i think this will be just the thing too clean up after um. Thanks!

first of all its a "sponge filter". its not "bio- chemical" or "chemical" its biological. don't rince it in tap water, the chlorine in tap water will kill the bacteria, rince the filter in old tank water

fegundez15 years ago
what about using an air stone on the air line as well?