Can I Use Regular Sponge for Aquarium Filter Safely?

Last Updated on February 24, 2022 by cmoarz

Can you use a regular sponge in an aquarium filter and is it as effective as using an aquarium filter sponge? More importantly, Is it safe for your fish? This article will explain why you can use a regular sponge filter for your aquarium filter, What type of sponge you should look for, and what to avoid.

Can You use regular sponges in an aquarium filter?

Yes, You can use a regular sponge in an aquarium filter, But you need to be sure it has no added chemicals such as detergents or dyes in it that could negatively affect the health of your tank and fish.

In fact, some people choose to use a regular sponge in their aquarium filter instead of an aquarium filter sponge because it is cheaper and easier to find in some areas of the world.

Especially cheaper, whereas branded aquarium sponges tend to have a higher cost than bulk bags of kitchen sponges.

However, there are some risks associated with using a regular sponge in an aquarium filter, such as the possibility that it will leak chemicals and dyes or that it will not be effective at cleaning the water.

But is it better to use a regular sponge over an aquarium sponge?

It’s our experienced opinion that it is not better to use a regular sponge over an aquarium sponge.

While they do technically work, they aren’t as efficient as aquarium sponges at trapping debris due to their none standardized manufacturing and inconsistently sized pores.

It’s also very risky and easy to use the wrong type of sponge in your aquarium filter. Chemicals and dyes aside, Many kitchen sponges are made of cellulose which will degrade and disintegrate inside an aquarium filter.

This can lead to a decrease in water quality and an increase in the amount of debris in your tank. Your fish won’t appreciate it either, and you lose your filtration capacity.

Most sponges you will find in the kitchen and bathroom isle will be cellulose and contain various dyes and chemicals such as anti-mildew and disinfectants.

Aquarium sponges can last a long time

If good care is taken to keep your sponges in good shape, They will last for many years of cleaning and reuse.

This is not so with kitchen and bathroom sponges which will start to degrade and disintegrate after a few months of use in an aquarium filter.

To add to that, If you’re trying to save money, in the long run, You may end up spending more on replacements for a regular sponge than you would with an aquarium sponge.

Bottom line

You can use normal kitchen sponges in your filters to provide adequate filtration provided they are chemical-free none cellulose sponges and contain no metal or scrub pads.

But made for aquarium sponges are superior.

As a middle ground, You could consider picking up a slab of uncute aquarium sponge that’s cheaper in bulk than branded aquarium sponges. Here’s a link for convenience!

Branded Bulk: Aquatic Experts Aquarium Filter Sponge

Unbranded Bulk: Large sheet aquarium sponge uncut


Owner of and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!