Working Matten Filter

All About Matten Filters Including How To Make One

What Is A Matten Filter?

The Matten Filter or (Hamburger Matten Filter) is a filter used in the aquarium hobby. Like all aquarium filters the Matten Filters purpose is to filter aquarium water.

The Matten Filter originates from Germany where it was first invented. The Matten Filter is now popular around the world due to its simplicity, effectiveness and how easy they are to make.

How Does A Matten Filter Work?

A Matten filter is made from a sheet of foam and an air driven lift tube. Usually, the sheet of foam is placed close to one end of the aquarium. The air driven lift tube is placed behind the foam sheet and draws water from behind the foam sheet to the front.

The air driven lift tube works by using an air pump to pump air into the bottom of the lift tube. As the bubbles inside the lift tube move to the surface, they draw up water behind them. This results in water flowing up and out the tube.

The movement of water from behind the foam to in front of the foam via the lift tube then forces water to pass back through the foam from the front to the back completing the circulation of water.

As the water passes through the foam the water if filtered. The filtering of water is both mechanical and biological.

How To Make A Matten Filter

There are three main parts to cover in making a Matten Filter, the foam sheet, the air lift tube and then the assembly.

Foam sheet

Air driven lift tube

The lift tube is made from PVC pipe and one right angle join piece, airline tubing and an air stone. I use 3/4 inch (or 20mm) PVC pipe.

Air driven lift tube part ready for assembly
Air driven lift tube part ready for assembly

Assembling the Matten Filter

Completing the assembly of the Matten Filter.

As with any aquarium ensure you cycle the aquarium, ensuring that the filter is establish with beneficial bacteria to perform biological filtration.

Installing a Matten Filter
Installing a Matten Filter

What Are The Advantages Of Matten Filters?

Some of the advantages of Matten filters which make them so popular are:

Working Matten Filter
Working Matten Filter

What Are The Disadvantages Of Matten Filters?

Some disadvantages of Matten filters are:

Matter Filter VS Sponge Filter

Matten Filter Sponge Filter
Easy and inexpensive to make?
Inexpensive to run? ✓ air driven via air pump ✓ air driven via air pump
Can hide heaters and other equipment behind them?
Safe for fry and baby fish?
Effectiveness? ✓ Yes, very large surface area ✓ Yes but in large tanks might require more than one
Ease of cleaning? ✗ A bit difficult need to remove from aquarium ✓ Easier than Matten filter as they are generally smaller and not fixed in position

I use both Sponge Filters and Matten Filters, I would not say one is overall better than the other it really depends on your scenario.