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FAQs on Sponge Disease/Health, Pests/Predators

Related Articles: Sponges in Marine Aquariums

Related FAQs: Sponges 1, Sponges 2, Sponges 3, Sponge Identification, Sponge Selection, Sponge Compatibility, Sponge Systems, Sponge Feeding, Sponge Reproduction,

Orange sea fan sponge acting strangely        5/9/16
<Hey Mark>
I have had my sponge for around 3 months now and it seems to be doing okay as its siphons all open, it has grown slightly in size since I got it and there is no overt bleaching or valleys/veins.
<Reads and looks good>
However, over the past week it has started producing small orange balls which occasionally fall off and settle on my live rock, though when they fall off the colour beneath is still orange. I have no idea what this means!
<Reproduction... from "good" or "bad" conditions!>

It has never been exposed to air and I have been providing salifert feed supplement which supposedly is okay for sponges, and my system is a BiOrb 60L with medium-low flow and medium lighting (I have adjusted the bubble flow to its lowest setting so that bubbles do not get into the tank). The sponge is positioned in the highest flow of the tank and in the shadiest part as the central tube blocks most of the blue light. My specific gravity is .024
, nitrates pretty much 0 and everything else 0. The system has been up and running for almost a year with no problems whatsoever.
In the tank I have a host of clean up crew including a boxer, a peppermint and a cleaner shrimp, a flame scallop, 2 turbo snails, a feather duster, an emerald crab and a porcelain crab. I have two clown fish, a Firefish and a regal damsel all of which are fine. I also have some hammer coral, some star polyps (which seem to hide a lot but when they come out they are healthy) and various soft corals all of which are fine.
Please could you tell me what is happening to my sponge and also any general advice on what I should/shouldn't be feeding or putting in my tank?
<What I know re is archived, accessible on WWM>

This is my first marine set up so any advice would be greatly appreciated!
I have attached a picture of the sponge below.
Kind regards,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Tiger sponge; beh.     5/24/14
Hi Bob,
I brought a tiger sponge yesterday, I understand their not easy to keep!
Today the sponge is really inflated and the siphons on it have shut. Is this a good or a bad thing?
<Too early to tell... healthy sponges generally have open siphons. B>
Re: Tiger sponge    5/24/14

It's really inflated, I fed the suns and it was an hour after this they closed, this may sound like a stupid question could it be full?
<... No... look up the meaning of the phyletic name... Porifera. B>
Re: Tiger sponge

Thank-you for all your help Bob, there wasn't enough flow, I moved it when it looked worse and it's better today as I increased the flow.
<Ah, good. B>
Re: Tiger sponge; hlth.        5/27/14

Hi Bob,
Sorry to bother you again, it's about the tiger sponge, it's mainly doing well I think, it's healed and has it's siphons out but one of the siphons won't shut and is gaping, also a tiny corner has gone a bit grey after I
noticed an Asterina star crawling on that part, what could be the cause of this?
<.... just normal wear/tear of collection, handling... not likely the little star is of much consequence. See WWM re Sponge Health>
Tiger sponge     5/29/14
Hi Bob, can you tell me why the edges are going grey? I have attached a photo. It's doing well so far apart from this!
<Same answer as ayer. B>

Veins in orange sea fan?     11/1/12
Hello, I was wondering if these veins were normal in the orange sea fan.
<Mmm, have seen these before... but also observed specimens in the wild w/o them... So regular in shape/appearance that I'm given to remark that IF this is some anomaly, it's likely a mark of something "living" inside the "canals" of this specimen; they're not likely of any consequence; definitely not anything I would "treat for">
 I've had it for a few months and the veins just appeared last month.  I have it at the bottom of my tank under two 150w mh 14k phoenix bulbs.
Tank is
60 gal
Ph 8.2
Temp 75
Nitrate 5ppm
Ammonia 0
Alk 8
Specific grave 1.025
<There are many organism groups that live w/in sponges... worms, Brittlestars, Alpheids... Who knows what is here? Bob Fenner>

Red (or Orange!) Ball Sponge Bleaching (Neighboring Aggressions) -- 11/11/11
Greetings WWM crew,
Eric here,
<<Here too!>>
with a question about an orange ball sponge:
The specimen is about 2" round, and had been doing well for about 2 months - very inflated with a few open 'mouths' and bright, uniform coloration.
The other day I noticed that it looked a bit deflated resulting in more ridges on the sponge's surface, and the newly developed 'valleys' seem to be bleaching/turning white.
<<Uh oh>>
It looks like I'd imagine it would if it had been removed from the water and exposed to air, but it's been fully submerged
<<At least for the time period you are aware'¦>>
since I added it to the tank (in the trip from the store to my tank it was never exposed).
<<Don't doubt that'¦but who's to say how the organism was handled (or mishandled) prior to you acquiring it. Though I would think such damage would express itself sooner>>
All the water parameters are great and all other livestock is thriving. The only thing I can think of is that the sponge in question is somewhat sheltered
<<A clue maybe>>
and often comes in contact with a nearby bubble coral (on the left side of the tank in the attached picture);
<<Yikes! I think you may have your answer. Do be aware that pretty much 'every' organism on the reef fights for/perceives others as a threat to space/food/et al. And looking at the photo, the sponge in question's neighbor is not happy it is there (note the sweepers)>>
however, the flow is still fairly good, and I suspension feed with a variety of liquid foods 4 x per week with filters off for about 45 minutes (I keep a variety of other sponges which appear healthy, so I'm not sure why this one would be starving).
<<Indeed'¦ The photo does indicate some difficult-to-keep specimens (kudos to you)>>
Any thoughts on what could be affecting this specimen?
<<Mishandling 'prior' to acquisition is always a possibility, but I think the immediate issue here is placement'¦find a better (i.e. - more hospitable) spot on your reef for this sponge>>
Thanks much for your always invaluable insights,
<<Always happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>
Addendum...Red (or Orange!) Ball Sponge Bleaching (Neighboring Aggressions) -- 11/11/11

Sorry, the sponge is orange.
<<I did make note>>
I'm not sure why I labeled it as red.
<<No worries>>
And I forgot to attach the picture so here it is.
<<Thank you for this>>
Thanks again.
<<Welcome again... EricR>>

Re... White growth on Sponge 11/11/11
What is the white fuzzy growth on my orange sponge?
<<Without a photo and more of a description, it is hard to say, if it's the actual tissue of the sponge "whiting" out then these are potentially "dead zones" or signs of a decaying sponge on it's last leg. If there is an actual white "growth" on the sponge then there is a possibility of a fungus overtaking it. HAs this sponge been exposed to the air at all, mishandling in this fashion is a common death sentence to sponges, read here;
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm .>>
- Adam Jackson.>>

Re: Red (or Orange!) Ball Sponge Bleaching (Neighboring Aggressions) -- 11/14/11
Hi Eric
<<Hello Eric>>
Thanks for your feedback.
<<Quite welcome>>
I've moved the sponge far from the stinging sweep of the bubble coral,
<<Very good>>
but there is quite a bit of white (dead) tissue on the sides that appears to be drawing in some hungry hermits.
<<You could trim away this dead tissue with sharp scissors or a razor blade/Exacto knife>>
I'm not terribly optimistic that the sponge will recover,
<<Might not>>
but was wondering what you think.
<<At the least it bears a close watch'¦needs to be removed if decline continues or at the first sign of any disintegration>>
Is it ok to leave it in the tank?
<<That remains to be seen>>
Do you think it could potentially rebound?
<<Sure, but again'¦only time will tell>>
I certainly don't want to discard a living creature, but I also don't want to find that it's polluting the water. I'm unsure of the toxicity of a declining sponge.
<<Toxicity is high'¦and there is some potential for collateral damage re'¦but only you can see what's going on/can make the final decision on how to proceed>>
Thanks again,
<<Do keep a close eye on that sponge'¦ EricR>>

Nudibranch? Yes, a Dorid: Likely Rostanga species -- 10/2/09
Hi Crew!
<Hello, Nancy, Lynn here today.>
I have an ID question for you.
<My favorite kind!>
I found this little guy on my spider sponge today.
<Beautiful sponge/Parazoanthus combo. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to keep the supporting sponge alive. Most often, what you see is a gradual decline/disappearance of the sponge that ultimately results in what looks like a melted pile of white Parazoanthus at the base. On the positive side, some hobbyists have been able to keep these. It's not impossible, just very difficult. I'd recommend lots of research!>
I am guessing he is not reef-friendly, or at least sponge-friendly.
<You're right. This is a good example of a Nudibranch species blending in with its food source -- namely, the sponge. What you have is a Dorid Nudibranch, most likely in the genus Rostanga. They prey on mostly orange to red sponges, have upright gills (the posteriorly located feathery structures), and tend to match their particular prey food in color and texture. The rather hairy appearance is due to a covering of caryophyllidia, calcium carbonate/spicule bearing papillae.>
I have quarantined him in a Reef Gently container inside this tank, just in case you say he's ok to keep, I can easily release him back into my tank. He's awful cute,
<He is indeed!>
..and would hate to 'flush" him. Any suggestions on what to do with him?
<I'm sorry to say that this comes down to a choice between keeping either the sponge or the Nudi. If you return the Nudi to the tank, it'll survive but at the cost of the sponge. If you remove the Nudi from its sole food source, it'll slowly starve to death. Unfortunately, one will die either way, so I'll let you make that decision.>
I'm pretty sure it's a Nudibranch, what kind is he??
<It's a Dorid (family Dorididae), most likely in the genus Rostanga. Unfortunately, I can't narrow it down much further without knowing where this little fellow originated. Even then, these Nudi's vary in color and texture so it would still be a guess. Solid ID requires examination of the radula (a tongue-like scraping organ) and rhinophores (the two anteriorly placed antennae). For examples/more information regarding these beautiful little Nudibranchs, please see the individual Rostanga species listed about halfway down this link: http://www.seaslugforum.net/specieslist.cfm
Here's an example (Rostanga bifurcata): http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet.cfm?base=rostbifu >
Thanks, Nancy
<You're very welcome. Take care, LynnZ>

Red ball sponge 08/16/09
Hi. My name is Di.
<Aloha, my name is Sara.>
I bought a Red Ball Sponge a week from a reputable dealer..Tideline Aquatics in Charleston, SC. He is a beautiful bright orange. I noticed a few days ago the inside of him is deteriorating. I never exposed him to air and neither did the owner of Tideline Aquatics. However, by the way it is deteriorating that is what I suspect. You can actually see the orange in some parts from the underside. I just got it and I don't know what's going on. Can you help? Thanks so much.
<It does sound like it might have been exposed to air or is starving to death (unless you think you have something else in your tank that might be eating it). I had one of these sponges for quite awhile, in a 10g tank with not much else. I kept the water pretty dirty (and frankly, neglected)... but it lived and grew quite a bit. Unfortunately, it grew so much that it reached the top of the water and soon there-after (but not immediately), it started to fall apart (much like the way you describe). Thus, I think these sponges, if the same that I had, are fairly hardy with one exception--they just can't touch air, ever. Do you think it's possible that this might have happened in the bag on the car ride home? If it has been exposed to air, unfortunately, I don't think there's much you can do. On the other hand, if your tank is really clean, it might just be starving.>
Sara M.>

Red tree sponge hlth. 6/4/08 Hi Guys, based on what I have read I am assuming this guy is a goner... but I couldn't find anything on WWM describing my situation exactly. lots of references to white spots and bleaching, etc, this is a white film that seems to be growing... any thoughts? I noticed it starting this morning, this picture was taken at 5pm. <Is an opportunistic fungal growth that will highly likely claim the life of this sponge colony... common on specimens in decline. Cutting off unaffected parts, moving these to more propitious circumstances (often well-established refugiums, less lighted...) is about all that generally saves part... Bob Fenner>

Declining Blue Haliclona Sponge - 06/19/07 Hi, My Blue Haliclona <<Sponge>> appears to be dying - half has turned a bleached orange colour while half remains blue. <<Mmm, yes...not a good sign...you are aware this is a photosynthetic species?>> Any idea what could be causing this. <<A combination of factors maybe...poor water quality, insufficient lighting, inadequate water flow...>> My Pink Sponge appears to be thriving. <<And very likely has differing environmental requirements from the Haliclona...and may even be poisoning/attacking same>> I had an electrical problem which caused the lights to be out for 36 hours - could this have caused it ? <<I am doubtful, at least not in this short amount of time...though it may have been the "catalyst" if the sponge was already on the decline>> Should I cut out the dead sponge or should I leave it alone? <<I would remove the dead/dying tissue back to healthy tissue...than make sure the sponge is located "away" from the other sponge and where it will receive strong lighting and good water flow (but not blasted "directly"). And do also make sure water parameters are up to snuff>> Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks, Hayley <<Happy to assist. Cheers, EricR>>

Ptilocaulis sp. hlth. and tank setup/circ. 4/24/07 I have two separate questions. First, I have a Ptilocaulis sp. which has been doing well for approximately 7 months. The sponge was moved from a nano reef to a 75 gallon reef. Now, after about a month it is beginning to die. The tips are turning from white to a very dark grey. I can only attribute this to much slower water movement as the nano tank had close to 30X turnaround rate whereas the 75 gallon is only moving at about 12X. <Very likely a factor... this genus needs very high water flow... to aid in metabolism, bring foods for filtering...> In an effort to save it, I was thinking about cutting off the dead regions and placing it in the refugium section of my sump. <A good approach> What chances are there of success and at what point should the sponge be removed to avoid negatively impacting water parameters? <Some chance and not able to tell until you actually observe behavioral changes in your other livestock> My next question was regarding setting up another pump in my tank. Currently, I have a mag 9.5 driving the filtration and it is the only source of water movement in the tank. This setup was originally designed to accommodate an aggressive fish only tank but it has turned into a reef after all, and I don't consider the mag 9.5 adequate water flow. My idea was to run another mag 9.5 outside the tank, drawing water from the surface of the tank and returning it on the opposite side. This flow of water would oppose the flow of the main filtration. The return from the sump is forked into two outputs to spread the water flow and I was considering the same on the second mag 9.5 so as to not have excessive water flow in any one area. My main concern is the overflow rate. My tank is drilled on the bottom and has an overflow box with a Durso pipe. How big will the intake pipe need to be to adequately supply the mag 9.5 with water and what impact will that have on the current overflow system? <An inch and a half intake... screened, should do here... I would read re the use of "Closed Loops" on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm scroll down... as well as consider the new Hydor product, Tunze internal pumps here...> Will an equilibrium need to be achieved for both of these pumps to run together or will it 'just work' without much fine tuning? <Circulation, discharges do need to be arranged to optimize flow patterns, not disrupt sessile invertebrates...> I am assuming that since the water is being directly returned to the tank that it should not have any impact on the other overflow, <Correct> but when it comes to gravity and siphoning, sometimes things don't work the way you may think they should. Thanks for the info. <Mmm, liquids are relatively (to gasses) incompressible... once the lines, volute are filled... Bob Fenner> Sponge Dilemma - 04/23/07 Hello Crew! <<Hiya Debbie!>> I have searched your site, but I am not finding a lot of information on sponges. <<Really? There is actually quite a bit of info re sponges...did you look here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm) and among the links in blue at the top of the pages? I have a blue Haliclona that is attached to a piece of hard coral (that came with it). <<Ah yes, a very nice and attractive "photosynthetic" sponge>> I have had it for a couple of months and it has actually grown a bit. <<Neat>> Now, for the question(s)... I came home tonight and to my dismay, found my powerhead spewing out tons of air bubbles into my tank. I fixed the powerhead problem and then tried to vacuum, with a small siphon, the air bubbles that were stuck to the side of the sponge. A small piece of one of the fingers (about 1 cm) broke off. Before I could get it, it wound up somewhere under the rocks where I can't find it. <<Shouldn't be a problem>> Will this small piece become toxic to my tank? <<I doubt it>> Will the remaining sponge be damaged by all of the air bubbles that were attached to it? <<Not as long as the bubbles did not enter the sponge's vascular system...only time will tell>> I have an 80 gallon reef tank with a protein skimmer. It also has some Chemi-Pure in it that is a couple of months (3) old. I have four fish: Copperband Butterfly, Atlantic Tang, Coral Beauty and a Fridmani, along with some crabs and snails. <<The tang needs a larger system>> I am not sure whether I need to tear apart the tank to find the piece or not and what I can do to save the rest of the sponge. <<I would not tear the tank apart looking for the fragment of sponge...is of little/no concern. As for the remainder of the colony, just keep providing intense lighting and strong water flow>> Thanks for your help. Debbie <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Orange tree sponge... dying 8/24/06 My orange tree sponge is covered in a clear thin film and there are a few small holes in the film. Is this normal? if not, how do you get rid of it? <... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongedisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Blue sponge turned white in a day 6/3/06 I bought a blue sponge online and added it to my tank yesterday. It looked blue and healthy when I took it out of the box. I put it right on top of my tank under 150w MH <Oh oh...> in a strong flow area, following the proper acclimation steps (no contact with air, etc). This morning the sponge was white all over, or maybe it was a very light blue/grey color. It's like it completely lost its pigmentation. I'm wondering if it's dead. <Will likely be soon> The lights were not on yet when I left the house, so maybe it does lose color during the night in the absence of light? <Mmm, nope> I read they can starve to death sometimes, but I don't think that's the case here since I only added it yesterday. If it's not dead, is there anything I can do to save it as it's clearly not healthy? Many thanks, Pablo <I'd move this animal/colony lower in the water column, out of the bright light, and hope that the color/endosymbiotic algae returned. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Mantis Tactics Refined... and sponges 5/26/06 Greetings Crew: <B in B> On WWM there are many FAQs on how to rid a tank of a mantis shrimp. I am thankful for that. I have removed one using a new technique, and will be happy to send to you the details should you desire. <Please do> Meanwhile, I have two others that have evaded capture for 8 months now due to the size and complexity of my live rock. At this point, I need help from someone with an intimate knowledge of marine life, and would greatly appreciate your help. Questions; 1) If I submerge a piece of live rock into fresh water for the 5 to 10 seconds reported in your FAQs, should the fresh water be heated to match the temperature of the tank? <Approximate is fine> 2) The rocks of concern have turkey wing bivalve mollusks, cup coral, tube coral, coralline algae, hydroids, chicken liver sponges, button tunicates, barnacles, copepods and small stationary dendrochirote sea cucumbers. Which if any of these will likely die from the brief exposure to fresh water prescribed for the mantis? <The sponges will likely suffer... If these are not held as particularly desirable, I'd scrape them off during this process> I have tried, for 8 months now, to get these shrimp using traps and other methods, so I truly appreciate any help you can give. Sincerely, Brad in Basalt <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Orange Tree Sponge dissolving, dying - 03/22/06 Whats up? I like the site. <Thank you.> My question is, I have a Orange Tree Sponge. I have read all your FAQs about them. It has been doing fine for the last 2 weeks or so. Well now it has off-white, yellowish spots growing out of its pores. its not like the white patches that I have read about. Nor has it lost any of its color, expect the spots. Any information would be great. <Chris, for starters, the Orange Tree Sponge care level is considered difficult. They do prefer low light levels and strong water flow along with supplemental feedings. Any exposure to air could cause problems such as you describe. If a pic can be provided, Mr. Fenner may be able to help here. <<See amended title, WWM re. RMF>> Thanks. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for all of the help 9/12/05 I don't have a dire question just now but a comment. I would like to say thank you. I read different articles on your site all of the time for always more information. In my opinion this is why my tank is doing so well, actually both of my tanks. Several months ago my LFS gave me several tree sponges to see if they would come back in my tank, they were nearly gone as in very little animal left on the structure, just scattered pieces. Needless to say they didn't recover, except for this one. I noticed today that it is beginning to grow onto the overflow of my tank in one place and other pieces seem to be getting just a bit larger. I don't know what color you would call it, white I suppose is closest. I wedged it into a crevice between the overflow and liverock along with my orange tree sponge and little yellow round sponge. The other thing that happened is my powerhead (400 gph) came loose from the glass and has been blasting the poor sponges. The little round sponge is now dish shaped and my orange tree sponge is kind of pointy looking at the top but the tubes are almost always out and the color is beautiful, it seems to glow! And it seems the almost dead, white sponge likes it too as it seems to be filling in the empty places on its skeleton. Anyway, thanks for being there and putting all of the information out for people like me that should have known better but try. My tanks are doing good and my fish are all fat and sassy. Not perfect by any means but everybody is swimming (that is supposed to!). <Thank you for the kind words Agnes. FYI, most sponges do like a higher water flow. James (Salty Dog)> Agnes

Sick Orange Fan Sponge 8/19/05 Hi there. I Wonder if you can help. I have had this sponge for 4 months now and have recently noticed slight bleaching at the base of it. I followed the advice from the shop to keep it in a low light area and away from air bubbles. I add Kent Microvert food for filter feeders 2 or 3 times a week. Today I moved the sponge from its position and it didn't look too good - it has bleached at the bottom although the top half still looks healthy. I am a bit worried as we are going away for a week tomorrow and we are not sure whether to leave it or remove from the tank. It is a 40gal tank and I'm not sure if it would affect my water quality if it died. Photo attached. Please help. Many thanks. Jo <These sponges have very specific food requirements that most likely cannot be provided by most commercial preparations like Microvert. They do best in well established reef systems and might benefit from occasional additions of live phytoplankton (like DT's). Make sure it is getting plenty of current too. Unfortunately, once these animals begging to decline, they rarely recover. However, since you have had it for so long, it is unlikely to rapidly deteriorate. You can probably leave it safely while you are gone and perhaps try phytoplankton additions when you return and see if this halts it's decline. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Sick Orange Fan Sponge 8/22/05 Thank you so much for your quick reply. I have moved to my QT and if it still ok when we return, will move back and start adding phyto. I have been thinking about it for a while but wasn't sure. I guess some of my other corals would benefit from this too. Thanks again, great site and great advise :-) Jo <Sounds like a great plan. Thanks for the kind words. Have a great trip! AdamC.>

Sponges Dear Crew, I do not want to bother Bob with this one. This morning I ask him another question, I hope he is working on. A couple of months ago I bought a sponge like the orange one in the attached photo I got from WWM. She is doing fine so long. I read that some sponges are poisonous, when they are exposed to air. I would like to know if this one is safe (like the LFS said)<< I don't know if I would say poisonous, but the air is more like a poison to them. Almost every sponge is doomed when exposed to air, and there really isn't any reason for them to ever leave the water. I wouldn't worry about your sponge being dangerous to the rest of your livestock (I mean it is only sponge) but I would worry about it getting air trapped in it. >> Thanks a lot Folks, and keep up your wonderful work !!! Richard
<< Thanks, Adam Blundell >>

-Yellow sponge changing colors- Hey guys, I have written on a few occasions and you have helped me greatly!!!!! Thank you. <On behalf of the crew, you're very welcome!> I have a question about a recent addition to my tank, I have bought some live rock that contains some sponge. I wouldn't mind but there is a lot and it make the piece of rock stand out! The sponge is yellow and as the days go on it appears to be turning red, <Hmmm...> I don't know if this means its dieing or what. <Could be something growing on the surface of the sponge, I'm not aware of such sponge color shifting.> Is there something I can do to reverse whatever is happening, maybe to much light, or bad placement in the tank. <The best you can do is provide proper sponge care. I'd feed a liquid phytoplankton supplement (preferably several varieties) several times per week, make sure there is brisk water flow in the tank and near the sponges, and if the sponge is non-photosynthetic (these sound it) don't expose them to full light since other creatures may grow on top of them. I hope this helps! -Kevin> Thank you for your help. Jason

Algae covered sponge 10/6/03 First things first...I love your site! It's a life saver!!! <thanks kindly... do tell a friend> Now...let's get down to business. I have this yellow sponge, not really sure what type it is. About a week after I bought it, some Cladophora sp. macroalgae (ID's by article's and pics on your site) started growing on the top of it. There is also some growing on one of my snails. Makes the snail look like it has a afro.. it's pretty cool. I had a yellow tang, but it died. It didn't eat the stuff off of the snail, so I'm assuming it wont eat it off the sponge. And I want to keep the stuff of the snail.. just looks too cool! Now... since sponges are filter feeders, can I just place the sponge in the sump for a few days so the algae can't receive any light? Or is there a better way? Thanx for your help! Duane A. <the algae is likely growing on the sponge because of inadequate water flow and/or excess nutrient in the system... do address these concerns for long-term success. As to the present situation, you can take a soft bristled tooth brush to the sponge under water (never expose most species to air) and simply scour off the pest algae. Best of luck! Anthony>

Dying tree sponge 11/4/03 Hi Anthony, <cheers, my friend> I heard you speak in Madison this fall and learned sponges emit toxins when dying. Well, our red tree sponge's tips are turning white. <alas, this is how most/many such azooxanthellate reef inverts end up when sold/bought for impulse purchases. Bummer> Is there anything I can do to prevent further death? <hmmm... tough to say as I would love to "fight the good fight" and help to save all, yet I am realistic about what is needed to serve the greater good. In this case, with little or no hope for this aquarium-unsuitable species to live from Go, combined with the fact that it is significantly noxious to the other life forms in your tank... I'm inclined to say pull it (remove to QT or isolation)> Should I remove them from the tank immediately? <no great hurry... it can be trimmed (the dead white parts) for some time safely> Until I searched your site today, I had no idea that they're doomed in an aquarium. The sponges are at least 18 inches long and only 2 of the 4 branches have white tips. <it will be dead in weeks my friend... very sorry to say. Not much to talk about.> Any advice is appreciated. Thank you, Nancy I ( My 13 year old son was at the meeting too) <I think I left a copy of my new Reef Invertebrates book for the club Library... if so, do check it out to see the chapter we have on sponges there. It illuminates the bad species and explains why... and highlights some of the good ones (photosynthetic species). With kind regards, Anthony>

Sponge always die Hi WWM Crew, <cheers, Cy> I know my system not suit for sponges. But I just wonder why they could be kept at least two week healthy in the shop. But some turn white just next day in my tank? Don't even start starvation! <ahhh... yes. Understood and agreed. Not old enough to starve. There is no doubt then that they have simply been mishandled by the collectors or other people in the chain of custody on import> I use the Marc Weiss's SPECTRA VITAL to feed the sponge and my Co Co worm. And I heard the shop was using Marc Weiss's BLACKPOWDER to feed them. <Quite frankly, I have very little respect for Marc Weiss products. I have concerns about quality and marketing claims. Here in America, this is not an uncommon sentiment among experienced aquarists> I want to try it but they are smelly. Is this book , The Porifera (Living Sponges), from Steve Tyree you are mention? <yes, my friend> Could I order this book in WWM with the new book "Reef Invertebrate" to Hong Kong? <unfortunately, we have no affiliation with each other, other than mutual respect for each others work. I suppose that we may have a mutual distributor in the Spring however that may be able to ship you both. Perhaps Marinedepot.com can help you/us. I recall that they ship often to Hong Kong> Thanks so much. CY <thank you, my friend. Anthony Calfo>

Sponge Always Die Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo of the WWM crew in your service> I want to know any reasons other than air trap inside the sponge cause they die. <easy question... almost all that survive import simply starve to death in the home aquarium. They are obligate filter feeders on phytoplankton, other nano plankton and dissolved organics that cannot be replicated easily if at all by most aquarists. I strongly advise that you do not purchase these sponges. Their collection kills most prematurely> My fishes/corals (include xenia)/shrimps are fine in my 50g reef tank. I had a very small refugium tank. <like most systems, your cannot produce the food that they need and prepared food from your hand is too large> I requested the shop do not lift the sponges out of water and every time I acclimate them and lower them in the tank with the bag of water, (prevent air trap and I also trust the shop's water quality). <very wise my friend. If you are truly interested in modifying your system to keep sponges, do consult Steve Tyree's works at dynamicecomorphology.com He has written books on this subject and is a strong proponent> But the sponge will soon turn white and then die. <as most do> I had tried the common blue sponge, orange tree sponge, orange ball sponge. All die. So, what's wrong in my tank if my SG is <the blue sponge is partly photosynthetic and is also calcareous. Given VERY bright light and VERY strong water movement, they can be kept and even grown. The red orange and yellow sponges however are nearly impossible. Most folks watch them die within months> 1.024, Ca is about 400, temp is about 80F, kH is about 11. Thanks CY <best regards, Anthony>

The average lifespan for a sponge? Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me the average lifespan for a sponge? Thank you! <Mmm, in captivity probably just a few days to weeks (most folks kill them off... or they're just too beat to recover from collection and transport from the wild)... but in the wild some folks think they may be immortal... only perishing due to predation, changing physical circumstances... not by senescence. Bob Fenner>

Lifespan of wild sponges Thank you for your kind response. I am not a marine or any other kind of scientist myself, just love the ocean, so no, I have never done either paper or web library searches for marine science articles. Because the speaker I heard presented the unusual life span of sponges as a common fact, I did do a web and general encyclopedia search, which yielded nothing at all, not even a mention. <I see> I asked you because your comment indicated that the idea was relatively new and speculative. <I believe I lifted this idea principally from Robert Barnes volumes on invertebrate zoology> Is there anything you recall from your Porifera bibliography, which I have printed out, or was there a friend who relayed it to you? I'm happy to explore more searches, but if I could get a time frame, or an author, man, that would speed things up. <Have seen this stmt. in print elsewhere, but no higher source than Barnes and Barnes to my memory> Appreciative of your good work on wetwebmedia.com. <Glad to find it so. Bob Fenner> June Vayo

Re: Lifespan of wild sponges You mentioned that some persons believe that sponges in the wild do not necessarily die of senescence. I understand you to mean that the "accident" rate (including changing environmental conditions), may give them a measurable lifespan, but they do not have a genetic time clock. <Yes, well put> I heard the same thing only two days ago in a lecture at Scripps, but the visiting now disappeared speaker held that this was established fact. Could you please steer me to any references or research, particularly genetic, that supports the immortality of Porifera? <Would have to "go to the library" to find originality here. Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm if you're unfamiliar with such searches. Bob Fenner>

Live Rock Question (dead sponge removal) I recently purchased some live rock and the LFS did not send it home with me submerged in water. . . just wet and wrapped in newspaper then put in a plastic bag. <This is S.O.P.> When I put this one particular rock in the tank it had a beautiful light orange sponge on it. Now that sponge is turning white and smells horrible. I called the LFS and they said it was dying because it was exposed to air and there is no way around it. Is this true? <Simple answer, yes. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm> Is there any way to revive it? Should I remove it from the tank -- is it truly dying off? <No, yes, yes> Thanks a lot for your help! Elizabeth K. Birdwell <Bob Fenner> RE: Live Rock Question Thanks for your help. Would I have to remove the entire rock or could I just take the portion of sponge out? Thanks. <Just the sponge. Best to scrub this portion (like with an old toothbrush) over the sink with some running (freshwater). Bob Fenner>

Sponges I recently had a sponge. I just took it out of the tank because it was I believe damaging other animals in the tank. The sponge was acquired about 6 months ago and placed in our tank. It is of the branching form (tree) and is orange in color. The sponge seemed to be doing fine and showed no problems until about a week ago when the tips of the sponge began going white. Since then the fringes of the sponge have gotten progressively whiter and the sponge looks as though it is receding and dying. A few days after the sponge began receding I noticed that the anchor coral we have next to it began to shrink from the sponge. As a result I removed the sponge and now find the coral again fully extended. We have a 75 gallon tank with 4 VHO lights (1 actinic, 2 daylight, 1 50/50). The sponge was placed about 6 inches down the tank in the middle of the tank, near the brightest portion of illumination from the VHO's. We do a 25-30% water change every 2 weeks. I'm wondering if there are nutrients that the sponge has no exhausted and it is thus dying. Or if there is something else I should look for. If it is likely a nutrient issue, is there anything that I really should be supplementing the tank with? We do no supplementing save Kalkwasser once a month or so, having just switched to an aragonite substrate we have cut down on the Kalk dosing. Alex Landman >> Hmm... glad to hear of the alkalinity, calcium supplementation move... and do think the sponge may have needed "something" it wasn't getting... folks who keep these simple life forms for any length of time do work into a feeding regimen (a couple of times a week, washing the system with phytoplankton mainly... while turning off the mechanical filtration for fifteen, twenty minutes... best on a timer). It is just as likely however, that a chemical interaction would account for your observations... Or even an infectious disease that went from chronic to acute in some change, weakening of the sponge... You might have some luck in trimming off the whitened, dying ends... and trying feedings. Bob Fenner

Tree sponges I recently acquired 2 tree sponges ..one of which seems to be doing really fine the other one however, seems to be dying it is turning white in a few different spots I got them both at the same time so I think that the one was sick before I got it. My question is what water additives can I put in the tank that will be beneficial to them both...I think that they are really neat and don't want to lose either one...what can I do....Thanks >> A few things might be done at this point to tilt the balance in favor of your sponges... What do you feed them? Many people are reporting success with sponge filter feeding phytoplankton... you can buy, culture or make suspensions of from other "green" marine foods and squirt in the sponges direction... About twice a week, with mechanical filtration shut down temporarily (about fifteen minutes... best with timers). The "bad" white areas are best cut away with a very sharp scalpel or single edge razor blade (watch your hands!). The use of "mud" or Berlin type filters helps... in improving water quality and producing some live foodstuffs. A dosing with a vitamin/mineral/iodine prep. with water changes is also of value. Some sponges are photosynthetic... are the species you have light-dependent? You can look this up in standard reference works in the hobby. Do you provide sufficient circulation? Many sponges do well only in relatively (for aquariums) brisk-moving water. Bob Fenner

Sponge starvation I have an orange tree sponge that is dying. It seemed fine for several months when we first got it. It is under an arch of live rock and therefore protected from direct light. It is shriveling up and dying, now. What could be wrong with it? The water is and has been fine. >> Very probably this sponge "has been" dying all along... from starvation. This and most species of sponges are filter feeders that, unless a real effort is made to have a system that has quite a bit of (at least periodic) suspended life and other organic material these just-tissue-grade animals can't get enough nutrition. Put another way, most systems, yours included, are just too clean for sponges to stay healthy. What you can/might do? Buy or culture "green water" (Chlorella or other single celled algae species), and flush the animal with the media a few times a week.... while turning off your filters, including the skimmer. If you want to opt to move the sponge instead and effect these feeding baths elsewhere, take care to move the animal underwater (they have real problems with trapped air getting, staying inside them). Much more on the group in a review piece on the Phylum that ran in the Oct. ish of FAMA magazine that I've posted on the wetwebmedia.com website. Bob Fenner

Sponge ill-health I have an orange sponge tree that I have had for around two months that has developed a white substance all over it. It only looked good for about two weeks and then was covered. I have tried to reposition the tree a little but am not sure where to start. We have a 75 gallon tank in which all the fish, mushrooms, polyps and others are doing great. The tank has a bac-pak skimmer, an enclosed filter, and two power heads so I think the water movement is plenty. The water is in good shape and we change around 10% one a month. Was hoping you could give me some insight how to make my tree look great again. Thank You, Adam Tromblay >> Adam, it doesn't look good, because it isn't. Your sponge may be on its way out. Generally, the appearance you describe is the beginning of the end, with the rest of the animal dissolving. For safety and its sake, please move the sponge to a separate system, a quarantine or sick tank, and continue water testing and changes as necessary. I have read of some people fighting such necrotic conditions by cutting away bad parts, and treatments with anti-fungals like the sulfa drugs... but not much success in advanced cases sorry to report. Bob Fenner

Bob- In your 9/29 daily Q&A you responded to a question regarding an orange tree sponge in decline. I agree that in most cases this is the beginning of the end. I am in the middle of a sponge experiment that fights the deterioration and am having some success. I have been buying sponges from the LFS that are in varying stages of decline. I have a 72 gal bowfront set up for this experiment. I have mature live sand and rock across the bottom of the tanks. I have two maxi-jet 1000 at each end hooked to a wave maker to supply heavy current. I have been feeding several of the commercially available phytoplankton at a rate of 1 cup every four days. I have 12 sponges in the tank now that were once again at varying stages of decay. These include the orange tree sponge, the orange ball sponge and the bread-crumb sponge. 10 of the sponges have reversed the condition and are healthy and vibrant. The two that didn't were both bread-crumb sponges. I have been using DT's Phytoplankton, the phytoplankton paste available from Brine Shrimp Direct and the freeze dried stuff. Now I plan on testing each one on an individual basis. I started this experiment due to a comment made by Shane Clayton at Exotic Aquarium in Sacramento. I was in there one day when he was unpacking a shipment that included several sponges. He was removing a sponge from a bag that had leaked, and the upper third of the sponge was exposed to the air. I made some off hand remark about the survivability and Shane said that since he started feeding their sponges with DT's he has seen them recover. Well my experiment seems to prove that he is correct. Marc Daniels >> Thank you for your report. How much do you credit the feeding of 1 cup of food every four days to your observed results? And the particular brand, what makes it more valuable? Do you eschew other filtration (other than the sponges) to preserve food availability? Do you consider that the conditions you utilize are applicable to a hobbyist's set-up and management? Bob Fenner

Blue sponge ???? Hi Bob, I just picked up this blue sponge today and we made sure it was bagged and placed into our aquarium without being exposed to the air. My question comes in the propagation area, on the trip from the store to our home the sponge has acquired a crack through the middle of its body. Will it heal or should we break the top off completely and try to tie it to a rock or lodge it into a crack. Other than the crack it seems to be fine. Any ideas or tips would be greatly appreciated, I hope this will not be fatal to the wonderful specimen, I am attaching a pic, you cant see the crack in the pic because we turned it into the current to reduce stress and hopefully to keep it from breaking in half. Thanks again Robert Huss [Unable to display image] <In all likelihood this specimen will heal itself if the crack isn't too big and it's otherwise in good health. I would leave it as is. Bob Fenner>

Sponge Hello, I have a red (actually orange) finger sponge that seems to be having a problem. There is a white flaky layer that appears to be spreading over the sponge. The sponge also seems to be getting softer. Also, the sponge keeps getting overgrown with a green filamentous algae. <Good observations, bad changes> I feed with Phytoplex every few days and also use Selcon about three times a week. A few questions: Is the sponge dying? <In a manner of speaking, yes... It is "losing" more than "maintaining" its health> Is the algae preventing the sponge from getting food? <Perhaps... more like it/the algae is utilizing the sponge surface as substrate in the face of conditions that are disfavoring the sponges health, capacity to ward off the algae> Should I flake off this white stuff, cut off the whole sections, or just leave everything? <Mmm, you should do what you can to identify this sponge to species, determine its habitat, nutritional requirements... it may well be a photosynthetic type that requires more light intensity, different light quality, foods than you are providing... Please read over the materials posted on WetWebMedia.com re this life. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Kevin Cossel

Sponges Anthony: <cheers, mate!> Thanks again for your detailed reply. I will see what I can do about the sponges. It is indeed so sad to see these creatures go to waste. <indeed... in the last decade as a professional aquarist.. I have seen far more good done in this industry than bad... but still, one can't help but get a little bummed sometimes at others ignorance of the fact that these are living creatures not just commodities> I should have stuck with the Ricordeas. <please... no worries... only be inspired to be better informed in the future. Indeed, we all learn the hard way sometimes... just hopefully we learn to hedge our bets as we get older/wiser <G>> The more stories like mine are known and people read of these mistakes, the better. I am not proud of my story but I also think it is for the greater good for people to hear about it. <exactly my friend! Some weeks we have 6,000 people a day reading our FAQ's... and the site is growing ever strong. Stories like this save lives as other aquarists read, learn and heed. Thank you, my friend> The sponges were packed in water and I knew enough not to expose them to air. <excellent!> At least that should not be a cause of their demise. <yes... unless you've actually seen the poorly paid labor at a wholesaler's facility packing animals. Heehee... you are assuming that the fellow making 6.50/hr packing your order knew or cared to heed the same concerned. For that matter... how can we be sure that through the entire chain of custody from collection to you the animals was never lifted out of water to be bagged or tanked. In fact, the opposite is the standard and another reason for these creatures poor survivability.> I could have sworn that the transparent growth was new rather than decaying old growth but I don't want to risk the life of the rest of the tank based on that. I am likely wrong about the growth. <I would be ecstatic to be mistaken and witness to the exception... do hold out for a few days to a week longer and see how it progresses. You will see shortly more pigment waning or perhaps new growth extending... let us see> My dilemma now is whether to experiment a little longer with these creatures in hopes of helping them survive or to just put them out of their misery. I have no delusions of being able to raise these sponges where others have failed, but perhaps I can learn something so their life is not totally wasted. <exactly... and if you determine the condition to be decay... you can trim away with a razor or scissors hoping the air/necrosis hasn't penetrated too far. It is a fairly slow process> I may be able to set up a small tank (10 gal or so) with a powerhead and some basic filtration but I cannot set up another large tank. <the small tank in fact would be better to concentrate food in suspension and make the necessary extra water changes even more affordable!> I could put some liverock in that tank too. <fine/muddy deep sand (5"+) for many sponges...refugium style> However, I believe there will be far more variety of nutrients in the large tank. Sponges grow close to reefs. Why are their requirements so different from the other creatures there? <unlimited supply of nutrients that in aquaria at that level would feed a fierce nitrate generating machine but in the dilute ocean is utilized by a threshold population of hungry waiting "mouths" so to speak> Questions: - Is their release of toxins sudden (like a sea cucumber or sea apple) or slow (like any decaying organism)? <likely slower if not stressed by heat, etc> - Can I afford to keep these creatures in the main tank for a few more weeks to see how things progress or do they need to be pulled out without delay? < at least another 1-2 weeks depending on progress of decay> As far as the purple gorgonians, there are two separate specimens. One he called a whip, the other was non-descript. Both are purple with white polyps that come out to feed. <eh... I wish I hadn't heard that part.. heehee. I thought we had a winner <G>. One of the giveaway distinctions between aposymbiotic (filter-feeders...the tough guys) and symbiotic gorgonians is the color of the polyps. Aposymbionts have white polyps (or matching colored ones: red, orange, yellow to stalk)...whereas the hardy symbiotic ones are tinged a dirty off-white/tan/cream/brown color by the hosted zooxanthellae. Before stressing, lets get a photo ID book and get some genera names> The first one is just long slender stalks parallel to each other, all coming together close to where the specimen attaches to a rock. The other has more branching in the individual stalks. I will try to take a picture this evening. This is just a description of what I see, more than a request for help. <Okay> They are indeed very sensitive to water flow. I had originally placed the branching specimen in an area with only slow water flow and the polyps did not come out for several days. <yep> I ended moving it in front of a power head and the polyps came out again. <yep, yep> They seem to sense when there is food in the water since they tend to come out when I put the phytoplankton in the tank and stay hidden the rest of the time. <ahh... further evidence that they too are aposymbiotic. Photosynthetic gorgs instead have polyps open at least all day catching sunlight and "making food"> I am confused concerning DT's: You make a point about putting it in the blender, but what I use (DT's concentrated phytoplankton) comes in fairly small bottles and looks essentially like a deep green transparent fluid. I can't see how a blender could make the particles in it any smaller. <ameliorate it with water in a blender and whisk. The mechanical action breaks up the inevitable clots of still shelf cultures (compared to active aerated live cultures)> When I feed it to the tank, the juice is very fine and within several tens of seconds the whole tank turns a little green. I do not see any blobs or coagules of the stuff. <microscopic... wiser men and women than I have studied this under microscope... it is unmistakable> I do believe there is another kind of DT's that comes in larger bottles that perhaps is different, but I have not seen it locally. Am I misunderstanding something? <all have a shelf life, my friend... and all such organic supplements will naturally clot as portions of the supplement inevitably age and/or degrade/die. A microscope will reveal all to you or faith in the work of competent and non-partisan experts <G> like Dr Rob Toonen will attest to such> I continue to have issues with the skimmer. After a couple of days of fairly dry foam, and just after I wrote to you :) it started foaming wet again. Do you know of any good online references that talk about the physics and chemistry of foam fractionation? <Pablo Escobar wrote a great book on such physics... scary smart stuff> The skimmer vendors just talk of breaking in periods <which is a complete lie... the only set backs are the 6-12 hours after cleanings while collenoids take to coat the interior of the neck to assist foam climbing. You can skim within 24 hours on a new tank> and how oils can hamper foaming but not much about wet vs. dry foam. My skimmer produces plenty of foam, it is just too wet sometimes. <again... usually too fast of water flow or too much air> I try not to change the adjustment too much and this last time it went go from wet to dry and back to wet on its own. <just try to reduce the aspiration of the air slightly if possible> The main difference is feeding - obviously the water chemistry. Perhaps the phytoplankton is getting skimmed out and causes the skimmer to go crazy! I <indeed different foods have different effects on skimmers> t will be interesting to figure out how to balance the skimming with the feeding requirements, especially since I don't have a mechanical filter to help on the side, while the skimmer is off. <little to worry about> I do believe the short cycle and current water chemistry is due to the combination of the live rock with a 3"+ sand bed of real gulf sand - it was already live and full of critters and bacteria when I got it and was collected a couple of days before it was shipped to me. <very nice!> This seems to have greatly helped to keep ammonia and nitrites low. <agreed... fully cured and properly handled live rock/sand is a treasure> Ammonia only reached 05 ppm for 3 days after I put the 90 lbs of rock in, and didn't spike at all after I added another 60 lbs 2 weeks later. NO2 spiked to 2 ppm with the first load and to 1 ppm with the second load. NO3 reached between 25 and 50 ppm (the granularity of my test kit). All these measurements are on Salifert test kits. Thanks for putting up with all my ramblings. I really appreciate this site and its sponsors. <and again... I appreciate you helping me/us to illuminate some concerns in our industry for the benefit of others> Henry
<with kind regards, Anthony>

RE: lettuce sponge with feathers? Hi again Bob, <Hello> Thanks for your speedy reply! I looked through the cnidaria section of the web site, but haven't seen anything resembling this. I am sending you a couple pictures I took of this lettuce sponge with it's bright red "plumage". <Yes... See what you mean. This looks more like a "red" algae (likely a blue-green/Cyanobacteria) growing on the surface of your sponge> I am not sure that I can snip it off since it covers a pretty wide area and is inside the folds of the sponge. Do you think it looks like a hydroid from these pictures? <No, an algae> I am worried that the sponge might be dying or something. If you look close you can also see tiny red (algae?) spots all over it. There are even a couple of small bubble algae growing the other side of it. <Yes> As always, I appreciate your valuable advice. Laura <You might want to either place this animal/colony in a less bright setting, or alternatively move the lighting to shield it from so much intensity... also check on your nutrient levels (esp. phosphate, nitrates) and try to curtail... best by enhanced skimming, the growth of purposeful, competing macro-algae (like in a sump/refugium), maybe even a mud filter addition. All these terms can be searched on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Lettuce sponge with feathers? Hi Bob! <Hello there> I have searched and searched through this web site but could not find anything similar to this problem... I have had an orange lettuce sponge in my reef tank for about 3 months now. It has been doing fine, but a few weeks after I got it, I started noticing a red feathery type of growth on it. The "feathers" continue to spread and grow larger, and I have no idea what this is. Is it a type of harmful algae, or just a natural part of this sponge? A turbo snail wandered onto it once and ate most of it off, but it just grew back. Any ideas? <Likely some type of hydroid. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidaria.htm I might leave all alone... but am inclined to mention that if your sponge seems to be suffering from this growth, I might "snip" it off... with sharp scissors... with part of the sponge where it's attached... and siphon/vacuum out as much of the material as you can after. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Laura

Another one snookered by good looks (the sponge... not mine) 2/13/04 Ohh What did I do, what do I do....? Please advise, I purchased an orange tree sponge, against my better judgment but I could not resist the color it added to my seahorse tank. <yikes... you know where this is going> It has only been a few days and the color is quickly fading... <alas, this specimen is not likely to see the end of the month let alone even a measly year of life in captivity. It should not have been collected or sold IMO> I had cut back on skimming cause I understood this would take up it's food <flawed advice... skimmers take out far more good than bad. If the opposite were true, you have to take the corals and other invertebrates out of your tank because they compete for nutrients and foodstuffs <G>. Point being... even without a skimmer, the food supply needs to be supplemented. Please (!) do skim... always> If I go back to skimming full time, do you think it will pull out the toxins? <not adequately... chemical filtration and water changes needed here too. Better still... the sponge like any new fish, coral, anemone, etc... should have been put in a proper 4 week QT first> Should I just pull it and doom it to compost pile :( <I'd prefer to see it go to a 10 gall with some deep fine sand and strong water circulation. Cheap set up and a better chance at survival> I have read that a cutting may be taken but am not sure how or where this would be mounted or set to recover.... I have read that QT is good but how can there possibly be enough food in a QT either for a healthy sponge or an ailing one? <true... tis where the DSB or refugium come in> Can these things rebound? <not easily or likely. Frankly, I'm betting yours will be dead in 2-4 weeks> Can or should I leave the sponge in the tank for the horses to hang onto (they do have plenty of other hitching posts, the sponge just added color, appeal and height) I certainly do not want to pollute my tank nor do I want to kill the sponge if it has a chance to make it.. I should have listened to that little voice in my mind... Thanks for you input <trust your instincts my friend.. research all new livestock before you buy them... and QT all for 4 weeks without exception for peace of mind if not safety. Anthony>

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