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  1. #1
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    Keep the Mag 12 Sponge filter on, or off?

    Alright. Quick Question. I have a mag 12 as my return in my sump for my 120. I was wondering if I should remove, or keep the sponge filter on? What are your suggestions?
    I like having it as a way to block some of the junk from getting into my pump and gunking up my impeller prematurely. However, I also read in saltwater that we should sometimes remove these as they can become a major spot of bacteria growth, and that the occassaional cleaning of the sponge will cuase a lot of this bacteria to get disturbed and throw the cycle in the tank out of whack. I also read it might block certain food items from the refugium from getting into my tank? What do you think, should I keep the sponge filter on, or off???

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nelson's Avatar
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    I've had the sponge filter on my Mag12 return for two years. I rinse it in water change waste water occasionally but that's it. Based upon my experience, I'm skeptical at any reports that it could be harmful.

  3. #3
    liv
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    Former Moderator liv's Avatar
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    off if you intend on keeping it on without cleaning it..
    on if you clean thoroughly every few days as it will become a nitrate factory.

  4. #4
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    I keep the plastic "filter" that is there to hold the sponge on my Mag 7 return without keeping the sponge on it. Keeps snails and other larger bits out of my pump without the nitrate factory problem. I did keep the sponge on briefly at first but it got so dirty so quickly that I turfed it.

  5. #5
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    I asked Keith about the nitrate factory as it wasn't making sense to me - but now it does. Mechanical filtration creates an excellent substrate for the nitrogen cycle bacteria. It turns out there are things in the tank besides the bacteria that make use of ammonia and nitrite that (I guess) don't convert to the nitrate end product (this was the part I wasn't getting). Therefore by promoting growth of excessive nitrogen cycle bacteria you are making the nitrogen cycle so efficient that the alternate metabolic pathways available in other organisms in the tank do not get as long a chance to metabolize the ammonia and nitrite.

    Further, mechanical filtration takes particulate organic matter out of the food chain (by trapping it). This particulate matter would have otherwise been consumed by filter feeding organisms. Instead it is broken down and enters the nitrogen cycle.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nelson's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
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    I would be the last to challenge a biologist on this subject but I find it odd that, as I said earlier, I've been running my return pump with the filter attached without ANY problems whatsoever. In fact, I've also bee running the state of the art Fluval FX5 canister filter as well for about 4 months!

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