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Sponge filters = toxic?

This is a discussion on Sponge filters = toxic? within the General Discussion forums, part of the Vivaria, Enclosures & Product Reviews category; Hello all, I have used sponge filters probably more than 2 years now for my axolotls, and I think they ...

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Old 1 Week Ago   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sponge filters = toxic?

Hello all,

I have used sponge filters probably more than 2 years now for my axolotls, and I think they do a lot of good.

However, I have used sponge filters with native Michigan tadpoles and salamander larvae and almost always have 100% die off. I began to suspect the sponge filters were the problem, because when I was young and had eggs/tadpoles, I did not have so much problem with die-off.

Anyone else have problems with sponge filters?

Bill
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sponge filters = toxic?

I would find it strange if it was the sponge filter. More likely you do not have beneficial bacteria established, so ammonia builds up quickly and doesn't get removed, especially if you think your filter is doing the removing.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sponge filters = toxic?

What I do know is that whether I change water or not, the tadpoles still die with sponge filters. If I have about the same water change habits for aquariums without sponge filters, the survival is much higher. I think I'll avoid sponge filters for small larvae of frogs or salamanders.
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Default Re: Sponge filters = toxic?

I honestly cannot see how the sponge filters could be responsible, unless that particular brand happens to be made with toxic plastic! Generally speaking, sponge filters are perfectly safe. As shnabo said, the key with those and any other "bio" filter is to get those bacteria working, which can take several weeks.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sponge filters = toxic?

I think you answered your own question in one of your first sentences. If the filters aren't killing the axolotls (Unless those for the axies are a different brand), then it's likely something else, I would imagine that the axolotls would be as sensitive to the filters as the native species, if not more sensitive. Maybe you have something in their enclosure that might be doing it? (A plastic decor item that's leeching fumes into the water, ect)
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Default Re: Sponge filters = toxic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by salvoz View Post
I honestly cannot see how the sponge filters could be responsible, unless that particular brand happens to be made with toxic plastic! Generally speaking, sponge filters are perfectly safe. As shnabo said, the key with those and any other "bio" filter is to get those bacteria working, which can take several weeks.
Well, axolotls, I get Aquarium Technology, Incorporated (ATI) sponge filters that I usually buy online. I don't think they put dyes in those sponge filters.

For tadpoles and salamander larvae, I use smaller sponge filters that I buy at a local aquarium shop, and they are dyed blue. Maybe the something to do with the blue dye?

I'm not QUITE sure what you mean about getting the bacteria working. There are bacteria in the aquariums that come from pond water. Sometimes I see microbe/algal growth on the sponges themselves.
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Default Re: Sponge filters = toxic?

Yeah, the sponge filters with the tadpoles or salamander larvae are from a different manufacturer (see previous post).

I have no furniture in with the frog and salamander larvae when I have sponge filters in with them. The axolotls do have aquarium furniture, but they are the ones who are doing fine.
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Default Re: Sponge filters = toxic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill B View Post
Well, axolotls, I get Aquarium Technology, Incorporated (ATI) sponge filters that I usually buy online. I don't think they put dyes in those sponge filters.

For tadpoles and salamander larvae, I use smaller sponge filters that I buy at a local aquarium shop, and they are dyed blue. Maybe the something to do with the blue dye?

I'm not QUITE sure what you mean about getting the bacteria working. There are bacteria in the aquariums that come from pond water. Sometimes I see microbe/algal growth on the sponges themselves.
If you haven't already, you should run tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I have used many different brands of sponge filters over the years and never had a problem relating to them.
I have had mass die offs with larvae before I got the hang of it though, and they were all water quality issues.
I lost axolotl larvae by assuming the water was ok, when in actual fact the tank was nowhere near cycled, and when I eventually tested it the nitrite was off the scale...
For newt larvae I have the most success raising them in well aged aquariums, with well established sponge filters, masses of live plants and small water changes only if the nitrate creeps over about 30ppm. I don't know why, but the Cynops, Tylototriton and Triturus I've raised seem to do badly in newly cycled aquariums with routine large water changes, yet Axolotle babies seem to thrive in such set ups.
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Default Re: Sponge filters = toxic?

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Originally Posted by Chinadog View Post
If you haven't already, you should run tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I have used many different brands of sponge filters over the years and never had a problem relating to them.
I have had mass die offs with larvae before I got the hang of it though, and they were all water quality issues.
I lost axolotls larvae by assuming the water was ok, when in actual fact the tank was nowhere near cycled, and when I eventually tested it the nitrite was off the scale...
For newt larvae I have the most success raising them in well aged aquariums, withwell established sponge filters, masses of live plants and small water changes only if the nitrate creeps over about 30ppm. I don't know why, but the Cynops, Tylototriton and Triturus I've raised seem to do badly in newly cycled aquariums with routine large water changes, yet Axolotle babies seem to thrive in such set ups.
Have not actually done water chemistry tests, but....

I tried to explain this before. Similar number of frog/salamander larvae per volume of water, and similar in the amount/frequency of water changes. No mater what, if I matter what, with sponge filters die really fast, and I don't have sponge filters they don't tend to die.

I know I don't have water chemistry data to back this up. I'm just looking at the patterns....
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Default Re: Sponge filters = toxic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinadog View Post
If you haven't already, you should run tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I have used many different brands of sponge filters over the years and never had a problem relating to them.
I have had mass die offs with larvae before I got the hang of it though, and they were all water quality issues.
I lost axolotl larvae by assuming the water was ok, when in actual fact the tank was nowhere near cycled, and when I eventually tested it the nitrite was off the scale...
For newt larvae I have the most success raising them in well aged aquariums, with well established sponge filters, masses of live plants and small water changes only if the nitrate creeps over about 30ppm. I don't know why, but the Cynops, Tylototriton and Triturus I've raised seem to do badly in newly cycled aquariums with routine large water changes, yet Axolotle babies seem to thrive in such set ups.
I raise tylos in high water change setups and have never had a problem with it.
To the op, raising larvae can be tricky, die offs are generally down to substandard care. Nobody gets it right 100% of the time so don't consider it a failure, we learn from our mistakes. Rather than using filtered tanks try using natural wild tanks, use aged water and low water change methods
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Default Re: Sponge filters = toxic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xxianxx View Post
I raise tylos in high water change setups and have never had a problem with it.
To the op, raising larvae can be tricky, die offs are generally down to substandard care. Nobody gets it right 100% of the time so don't consider it a failure, we learn from our mistakes. Rather than using filtered tanks try using natural wild tanks, use aged water and low water change methods
Thanks for the input!
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