DIY Mattenfilter using fountain pump

Mattenfilter is an effective and affordable alternative to more expensive and complicated option, canister filter and hang on the back filter.  Compared to the regular sponge filter, it has larger surface area.  Using an air pump is a popular option for providing the water flow but I don’t like the noise from the air pump.  Power head is much quieter than the air pump.  Most power heads rated 150+ gallon per hour which is much more than what I need it for my 20 gallon tanks. I found some smaller fountain pump might be just enough and cheaper too.  Here is what I did:

  1. Measure the interior height and depth of the aquarium.  For my 20 long tank, it’s 12 in x 11.75 in (W x H) and 10 Gallon tank, it’s 9.75 in x 10 in. The height is measured from bottom to the rim of the tank
  2. Cut the sponge 1/3 inch wider than the depth and the same height as the interior height.
  3. Use a pair of scissor to drill and cut a small opening at one corner of the sponge
  4. Cut a piece of 11 in long vinyl tubing (1/2 in ID and 3/4 OD) and attach it to the fountain pump using the 1/2 in adapter.
  5. Connect the other end of the vinyl tubing to an L-shaped elbow adapter and finish up with another short piece of vinyl tubing as the output of the pump. Tip: Adjust direction of the outlet perpendicular to the curve of the longer piece so that the direction of the output is parallel to the water surface

Cut the sponge to size 1/3 inch wider than the interior depth. I use a scalpel to cut the sponge.

Viewing from the back

Side view of the mattenfilter

The sponge will bulge if the sponge is too wide.

Materials I used:

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