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FAQs on Sponges, Phylum Porifera 4

Related Articles: Sponges in Marine Aquariums

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

Re: Sponge Spa Day     9/9/17
Good morning WWM,
<TT; oh... is this the same friend as on FB?> My two orange ball sponges (Cinachyra alloclada) tend to be more susceptible to debris/minor algae growth.
*yep same as Facebook!*

<I do think this is a common issue in captive specimens... and to a lesser extent on ones in the wild> They are positioned in low light areas to prevent algae and one of them hosts a cleaner shrimp (that is obviously horrible at his job). Occasionally, I will put on some gloves and use a fine makeup brush to gently clean them with my arms in the tank, but I am always afraid I will hurt them.
<Mmm; think this is fine>
*The wild one is so much "holier" than mine.*

This method, with me being so delicate, doesn’t completely clean them off either. How rough is too rough on the surface of the sponge or, more importantly, is this practice not safe for the sponges? What is the best way to safely clean them?
<I suspect that Cinachyra are very tough, resilient. I would do this brushing regularly (weekly) during water changes, gravel vacuuming, what have you; while you're in the tank already. I might add blasting them with a submersible pump during this maintenance period. >
*Good to know. I've sometimes employed the use of one of the turkey basters for this, but wasn't sure I could use a stronger water pump.*

I consider myself something of a sponge collector and, since all the sponges in my system grow very happily, hope this general dirtiness is not a sign of poor health.
<It is not; assuredly. Will toss in a pic of one from the wild... AND invite you out to go dive adventure traveling with us (have done so) on the FB Scuba Diving Friends page... Out to Cozumel next mo!.>
*Thanks! I am so jealous and would love to go another time. I am teaching software classes for most of October, but I am pursuing my scuba license to finally go diving in Cozumel in December. Always wanted to scuba but I am a little claustrophobic. Overcoming my fears so I can join a program to replant coral. Can't very well save the coral if you can't dive, right?*
<<Lots of ways to contribute... less pollution, reproduction... B>>

Here is a photo of SpongeBob Circle Pants the sponge and Patrick the cleaner shrimp: https://www.screencast.com/t/Wco0cN2Qy
<Nice! I would move this specimen up perhaps a few (couple) of inches, onto rock. Bob Fenner>
*Will do!*

Any feedback you have is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
S pozdravem / Best regards,
<Vítejte, Bob Fenner>

Yellow Encrusting Sponge Requirements      5/16/15
Dear WWM Crew,
Thanks so much for the great service! Love the dailies and well as the books!
<Ah! Welcome>
Just a quick question today. I recently took over a friend's reef and now have several pieces of extra-large live rock, one with a good amount of yellow encrusting sponge attached.
The rest of the rock is covered with maroon coralline algae.
I've never been interested in keeping sponges due to their dismal record of survival (at least in the past) but will of course keep this specimen due to its track record. I've also seen this species on live rock in a few tanks over the years.
My question is, should the sponge or algae side face upwards?
<Mmm; likely out of the light... but I'd leave it however it's oriented>
I'm assuming that the sponge is more photosynthetic then the coralline algae due to the bright color.
<Not the warm colors (reds, yellows, oranges) usually>
Sorry, no pic- camera is out of commission.
Thanks so much!!Joe
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Neptune's Sponge Cup rediscovered n Singapore        7/16/14
> http://sgwild.tumblr.com/post/74675627442/neptunes-cup-sponge-cliona-patera-the
<Well-written piece. Had not heard of this sponge. Thanks for sending along Per. BobF>
> Regards,
> Perry

Sponge... mysterious motive/moving source!  – 06/18/14
I've had this sponge for about 6 months.
<A beauty!>
It'll suddenly lift and then sink back down into the sand.
Today I noticed that the rock the sponge is attached to (when I bought it) has a mouth-like opening....and that is what has been causing it to lift and fall throughout the day. Any idea what this is?
<Heeee! Yes... a bivalve/clam... no worries>
Here's a clip of it opening and closing, along with a pic.

<Neato! 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>

Sponge Questions; stkg./sel. & husbandry   8/22/11
Hi, I'm a senior at Wilson College and I am doing my research thesis on sponges. To give you a brief overview of my project, I am hoping to isolate the secondary metabolites from 3 different species of sponge and then creating a "fish food" containing the secondary metabolites. Then I will be feeding the sponge-enhanced fish food to several species of fish and observing the reactions of the fish upon consuming the food.
<Mmm, I did something similar as a "senior report" of sorts in college w/ some of the local (S. Cal.) sponges "cultured" by the giant Damsel the Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicunda)... as part of studying its effects on colouration... some work of which had been done by others (including Carl Hubbs) in the mid 50's>
Currently I am concerned with my ability to keep and maintain the sponges in an aquarium. Can you please suggest a few species of sponges that are not too challenging to keep in a tank and also some guidelines on how to set up and maintain the tank and organisms?
<Mmm, such info. is about... Ours here: http://wetwebmedia.com/spongeselfaqs.htm
But I would do a good computer search bibliography... w/ the assistance of a reference librarian... Read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm
Bob Fenner>

sponge growing from coral, curio    5/6/11
This was given to me by a friend in Fla about 20 years ago. I am wondering how long it will last ,since it hasn't changed a bit all the time I have had it. It obviously is a sponge growing out of a coral. Mike Adams
<Mmm, possibly for many decades more. Both materials are resistant to biological decomposition.
Bob Fenner>

Purple rope sponge... ID, no pic    10/7/09
I love your site guys very informative and helpful. I work at Exotic Aquatics in Balt., Md and regularly use your site for help or just to check my own knowledge!
I have what I believe to be a small purple rope sponge. It is maybe eight or nine inches long and three or four in diameter; attached to a small branch of live rock with rope like pieces growing out of it and extending I to the water various lengths to 6".
I can't find much info on these as aquarium specimens and need some general care and maintenance info. Am I possibly misidentifying this sponge?
<Mmmm, could you send along an image or two?>
Does he eat particulate matter from the water like other sponges?
<Due to the color you mention, this is likely a non-photosynthetic species>
How and what is the best way to feed? And is there any way to know/detect his status and health?
<For a store... likely just non-decomposition>
Lastly, is be possibly toxic and maybe not a good aquarium animal at all?
<Odds are that this specimen is non-toxic>
Thanks for your help guys.
Dave Phelps
Balt., Md
<Please send along a well-resolved pic of size. Bob Fenner>

Re: Purple sponge, ID... more  10/7/2009
Here's a pic of that sponge. This is the best i could get; its at a strange angle to the glass.
One thing, I might have mislead you a little bit: he is no longer at the store but in my home reef tank now; that's why I was concerned with feeding. But in here it should be very similar as my aquarium is well established and running for 3+ years. Thanks again for your help.
Dave Phelps
Balto., Md
<This might be an Aplysina cauliformis... but such identifications are difficult w/o sampling the colony for structural elements... Do you know the ocean of origin? BobF>

Spider Sponge Care 6/14/09
<Hi Kiet>
Hope the crew is doing well. I have a couple of questions I was hoping you could help me with. I normally do not put anything (fish/coral/invert) into my tank without doing research on the care requirements. I was at a local reef club meeting and won a frag of Australian Spider Sponge. I have not been able to find much information on this beautiful animal and was hoping you would be able to provide some. My tank is setup as a SPS reef with MH lighting and high flow. Where should it be placed in the tank?
What are the lighting and flow requirements? From what I've read, the symbiotic Zoanthids should be fed a couple of times a week. I appreciate any help that you are able to provide.
<Don't really have too much info on this animal. I have read reports from being hardy to best left in the ocean.
Take a look here.
And here. http://www.defineyourreef.frihost.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=35
I would suggest posting your question on one of the forums. A link to our forum is here.
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Iotrochota birotulata (green finger sponge) 11/04/2008 Hey guys, <Hi Craig.> My girlfriend found a beautiful sponge tumbling in the surf after a storm (Delray Beach, FL). <Love Delray, especially the gas lights.> I've ID it using your article on sponges as a green finger sponge. It is coated in the golden Zoanthids, which makes for quite a spectacular sight! <Can be quite beautiful! I've seen it several times while diving.> It has been doing quite well for the last couple of months that it has been in my tank, with only small patches of degradation where it seemed to have been getting too much light. <I'm impressed! Sponges who are exposed to air often die. Perhaps your didn't have too much exposure. But a word of caution that many sponges can be quite noxious if they up and die, so do keep a close eye on this specimen.> Does this organism prefer the dark? <Mmm, While diving I have generally seen this sponge in open areas of the reef, not necessarily in overhangs and at shallow depths as opposed to greater depths. These factors would lead me to conclude that no, they do not prefer dark, but this is merely based on my personal observation.> My main question regards feeding. What types of food should I provide it? <Ahh, a very good question! I'm not sure if the diet of this sponges is understood at all, but my best guess would be very fine particular matter as it is a filter feeder.> Should it be target fed? <Not a bad idea.> How frequently? <Mmm, not sure.> Night/day? <Night would likely be better as I am assuming that is when the Golden Zoanthids (Parazoanthus swiftii) are open.> Any advice would be greatly appreciated! <I have not heard of this specimen often being kept in the home aquarium, it may be because many sponges tend to be rather difficult to keep and can cause major problem if they die.> Thanks so much for the great resource! <Wish I could tell you more.> Craig <Cheers, Mich>

Re: bioeroding sponge pictures   6/24/08 Dear colleagues, you sent me photographs of bioeroding sponges for a talk I will give in July or posted images in the Internet. Bioeroding sponges appear to increase in abundance and damage corals to a larger degree than before and I would like to make monitoring agencies aware of this. Therefore, I would like to ask your permission to use the pictures mentioned below in my talk and to put the talk with your photographs on a CD that will be distributed at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA. The use of your pictures would strictly be for non-commercial purposes. The CD is planned as a basis to organise future surveys that work in a replicate way at different sites. Additional info on the CD will include the list attached. The pictures will be clearly marked with your name and the list on the CD will provide the www s where they came from together with the photographer's name as far as I could find out. A note says that the pictures should not be re-used without your permission. I would also appreciate if you could let me know if respective pictures have previously been used in a publication, so that I can cite it appropriately. The pictures that I would like to use are: Aka (=Siphonodictyon) coralliphagum by Vincent Maran from doris.ffessm.fr/ Aka (=Siphonodictyon) coralliphagum by Florent Charpin from florent.us/reef/carib/index24.html Siphonodictyon coralliphagum by Bob Fenner (?) www.wetwebmedia.com/spongesii.htm Cliona aprica, caribbeaa and tenuis by Sven Zea from coralpedia.bio.warwick.ac.uk/en/sponges/ Cliona cf. celata by Manuel Mora from www.asturnatura.com/especie/cliona-celata.html Cliona cf. celata by Maurice Loir www.marevita.org/index.php?option=classification&path=Porifera/Demospongiae Cliona cf. celata by Jonathan Gross from www.seaotter.com/marine/research/cliona/celata/html/celata.jpg.html Cliona cf. celata by Alex Iturrate from www.asturnatura.com/fotografia/submarina-fotosub/cliona-celata/864.html Cliona cf. celata by Bernard Picton (?) from www.seaslug.org.uk/marinelife/sponge_guide/sponges.asp?item=C3020 Cliona chilensis by Helmut Lehnert from guiamarina.com/gallery/main.php Cliona delitrix by Catherine Gras and Vincent Maran from doris.ffessm.fr/ Cliona delitrix by Florent Charpin from florent.us/reef/carib/index24.html Cliona delitrix by Chris Freeman and Cristina Diaz from striweb.si.edu/bocas_database/ Cliona cf. varians (posted as viridis)from www.horta.uac.pt/species/Porifera/cf_Cliona_viridis/cf_Cliona_viridis.html Cliona cf. viridis by Floren Charpin from florent.us/reef/carib/index24.html Cliona cf. viridis by Enric Ballesteros from www.ceab.csic.es/~dani/clionids.html Pione cf. lampa (as vastifica) by Jacob Dafni www.dafni.com/spongia/Tetractinomorpha.htm Pione cf. lampa (as vastifica) by Klaus Jost www.jostimages.com/galerie/underwater/sponges-reef-inhabitants.html Pione lampa by Klaus R?zler (in an email to me) Please let me know whether I can use your pictures for a scientific talk and on a free CD given out to monitoring agencies. It would furthermore be very helpful to receive pictures of common species of bioeroding sponges that are not yet included in the above list. Thank you for your time and consideration and especially for taking the photographs in the first place! Kind regards, Christine Dr. Christine Schoenberg Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg Faculty V Bio- and Environmental Sciences Department of Zoological Biodiversity and Evolution 26111 Oldenburg Germany <You are certainly welcome to the free use of my content for your purposes. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Great! Thank you. Christine

Clathrina canariensis   3/5/08 i would like to ask for the following information about the Clathrina canariensis: 1. ecology 2. the location now of the first discovered Clathrina canariensis 3. the complete name of the person who gave the valid name of the said sponge thank you very much. you'd be a great help. i need it so bad. <Ahh, this "type" information must need be searched at a large library or online (through the Zoo Abstracts, BIOSIS...) likely... A good deal can be seen here: http://zipcodezoo.com/Animals/C/Clathrina_canariensis.asp But not the type locality... Bob Fenner>

Question on sponge... hlth., fdg.   11/1/07 Hi, <Sammy... my bro-in-laws name...> Photo below shows my red sponge that is developing dark fringes. I had this for about 4 weeks now. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? <Mmm, a bit of both... sponges do often have some (in this case) algae growing on their outer margin areas... and all sorts of other animal groups members in and on them... but this specimen has a bit too much "new" material... I'd cut down on the light intensity/move the specimen... to a less bright setting> If the ladder, what can I do? Also, can you tell what kind of sponge this is <Can't... need bits of material... treated, look under a scope... Did you collect this specimen, or know about where it came from?> and what food and lighting it prefers. Thanks, Sammy <Again... a matter likely of experimentation... for size/particles... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/spongefdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellow Candy Hog, Bimaculatus same fish?  - 09/10/06 Bob. Thank you for your response. <Welcome> As much as I don't want to I will wait until the next tank and just fit this or a fairy wrasse into the plan. The last thing I need is to separate fish or find a new home like I tried for the Powder Blue Tang. Having been to two different stores and seeing different tanks marked with the same common names and yes one store had the same fish with a different name on each tank it was in! I wanted to be sure. <Understood... and agreed> Oh, I am witnessing something cool: sponge migration! I didn't believe it at first when I first saw it. <Yep... many are motile...> I only thought it was growing. But no, this small ball sponge is slowly reorienting to another side of the rock it is attached to. The normal tiny spicules are actually large finer glass shard looking affairs spanning rock moving towards better flow. This is very cool. This large specimen was easy to spot but I notice others doing the same. There goes the idea I had that they stay put and grow out! Sincerely, James Zimmer   <BobF, down in Jamaica for a week>

Smoking Sponge/Have A Havana   - 03/26/2006 First I would like to say hi and thank you to the entire crew for the services you provide.  WetWebMedia is the my first stop for any new information I seek regarding this hobby.  <Thank you.> The background of my system is as follows: 26 gallon display with approximately 20 gallon refugium/sump (Chaeto/4-5"dsb).  In the display there is 50-60 lbs. of live rock and 1" live sand.  The tank inhabitants include 1 Kuda seahorse, a pair of red banded pipefish and a Mandarin Dragonet. There are also several gorgonians, a mushroom leather, button polyps, Tridacna crocea clam and an orange ball sponge.   The system has been running for just over a year, however  the inhabitants have only been in the display for about 2 months.  I wanted to give the system time to mature and to give the microfauna a chance to get established.  <Very well planned my friend.> Since the initial cycle there have been no detectable ammonia, nitrites or nitrates.  ph range is 8.3 - 8.4 And temp range is 79F - 80F.  All filtration is handled by the refugium and a Tunze classic skimmer (which claims to be plankton friendly) that I started using 12 hr/day since stocking the tank. I drip Kalk to handle calcium/alk, and 20% water changes are done every other week.   Everything has been running great, however today while feeding the seahorse and pipefish, I noticed the sponge started releasing something smokey looking into the water column through it's pores.  As fast as I could I hit the net to find out what this was.  The only information I could find was that the sponge was releasing sperm as a form of reproduction, but I cannot find any information on how this will affect the system or other inhabitants. I have tried to provide as much information as possible and would appreciate any information or advice you can provide as to what actions should be taken at this point. Again thanks to the entire crew for the service you provide.  My current setup has run smoother with less maintenance than any other system I have ever had, and I owe the majority of my success to you. <No, you owe it to yourself with your patience and careful planning.  We are just an information tool for you to use which I believe you have used quite well.  No problems having the smoking sponge.  James (Salty Dog)>

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)>

Preserving sponges 3/7/06 This is trivial but I need some assistance.  I would like to know how to treat or preserve sponges we picked up along the Florida Gulf.  I don't know the technical name for these particular sponges but they are finger like and orange in color.  I would like to keep them in my office as a travel souvenir and would like to find out how to keep their gorgeous color.  Any suggestions?  Lesa Hassinger <<Unfortunately, I don't think this is possible.  You may be able to find info on preserving sponges for use as a sponge (bathtub, etc.), but this will not preserve their color.  You could also try alcohol or formaldehyde, but neither of these makes a very safe/desirable storage medium.  Drying them without any other treatment will likely result in loss of color as well as some stink!  Last but not least, I am almost sure that your collection of these animals was illegal. Definitely so if you did not posses a fishing license.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>>

Canister Sponges - 12/20/2005 I have a rather large (18"tall 6"diameter), darkly tinted canister filter that is running empty. I kept it this way since when I got the tank. I noticed a few sponges in it. I thought it would be cool to see how they would do if left alone. I can't quite tell if they are sponges or not, it is hard to find good info about them. They are off white, slightly clear buffs with a single valve on each. Each sponge textures its self to the rock  its on and have no distinctive shape. Each tends to grow where there is  little to slight to no light and there are quite a few in the main display as well. I was unable to find many similar items on your website. Well now the thing is filled with sponges, one can hardly see through it. I am just wondering if that many sponges will take too many nutrients away from the rest of the tank (55 gallon) or if this will be helpful to the health of the tank? <Neither really. This mass growth indicates an overabundance of nutrients.> At the moment I only have a single colony of zooanthids due to the fact that I am still trying to get the tank back into shape. The last owner left it near death… I am still quite new to the hobby; this is my first tank, so any help will be useful. <Most likely you've got Syconoid sponges of some sort. They do prefer low or no lighting, and the unfiltered, unskimmed water is almost pure food. Once you get the nutrients under control, they'll die back. I would invest in a skimmer, clean out the canister filter and place media within it. Then just keep up regular water changes and clean the filter media at least twice a week.> Thank you. <Sure. - Josh>

Sponge Complacency - 12/13/05 Hello WWM: <<Hello Frank>> I always like to preface my letters by letting you know how much you have helped me.  While I know not to stick with one source for information, you guys have definitely the ones I trust the most. <<Thank you...tis nice to know, redeeming to hear.>> I also learned early on (at the expense of a Rainford Goby) to do extensive research into any piece of livestock before I purchased it. <<Ah...very good...>> However, the thought of doing research on an orange tree sponge before buying it.  After all, I thought, its a sponge. <<Mmm, and a living thing (i.e. - livestock).  Do understand that researching your purchases does more than save lives of possible prospects, it can save the lives of those already in your care.  For instance, you bring home a creature on a whim, let's say a sponge, that sponge proves to be an inappropriate purchase for your system, breaks down releasing toxins, and wipes out your entire system...  Okay, maybe a bit dramatic...but hopefully you get the point.  Please research everything...>> I have since read how difficult they are to keep in an aquarium setting. <<Dismal survival rate, yes.>> I went to my LFS who recommended Kent's ZooPlex Invertebrate food, which I administer into the water using a bulb feeder around the area of the sponge.  My question is, is this enough to sustain it? <<Not likely...  We don't really know much/enough about these organisms to be successful, but a mature refugium/DSB would go further toward sustaining it.  Even so, this sponge doomed to slow starvation...and that's only if it has been handled correctly since collection (no exposure to the air).  Truly a poor choice/purchase my friend.>> I read that they also need good water flow, <<yes>> about how many gph would you recommend in a 55 gal reef tank? <<Minimum 10x the tank volume...20x would be better in my opinion.>> I am currently around 300 gph from one filter (coming from the sump) and a pump going in opposite directions. <<Adding another pump in the 200-300 gph range with converging streams for all to create random turbulent flow couldn't hurt.>> Thanks in advance, Frank <<Regards, EricR>>

Request about pictures 10/17/05 Dear Mr. Fenner <Josefin> My name is Josefin Wollblad and I'm writing an essay concerning Tedania ignis at Uppsala University, Sweden. I'm wondering if I can use the pictures at www.webwetmedia.com for the essay. It would be very helpful and I would appreciate it a lot. It would be great if you could get back to me as soon as possible. Thank you very much! Best Regards, Josefin Wollblad <You are welcome to use my content for free per our stated policy: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMUsePolicyStmt.htm.  I do hope/trust those that are posted will work for you. Am away from the originals, but can re-scan, send you larger on my return Nov. 1. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Orange Frilly Sponge Hello again Crew, haven't had to ask a question in quite a while.  My LFS has a sponge for sale.  He didn't know the name of it which lead me to the internet.  I believe I have found the same sponge on saltwaterfish.com.  They call it an "Orange Frilly Sponge".  They do not provide a scientific name, just that it eats plankton.  Here is a link to the page: Saltwaterfish.com--Orange < http://www.saltwaterfish.com/site_11_03/product_info.php?products_id=78 6&parent_category=4&category_search=63&root_parent_id=4>  Frilly Sponge. I don't know if it is photosynthetic or not.  Basically, I don't want to spend money on it and find out later that it's toxic to everything in my tank or to me.  Any info you can give would be appreciated. >>I can't give much info on it, but I can tell you that they almost always don't do well in aquariums. I would avoid it and spend the money on something else! Rich>.

Re: Creature ID - sponge? Dear Crew, <Dawn> After sending the mail below, I think I have located something very similar in the sponge section... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongeidfaq2.htm  Not certain how I missed it, it's right there! <Happens to me all the time> The only difference seems to be the color.  The one in my tank (pic attached to original email), is the color of a raspberry.  Any idea what kind of sponge it is? <Not without actually taking a small piece and "melting" away the tissue, examining sclerites... Not easily discerned to species> Thanks again, Dawn Branam <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

How do I quarantine a sponge?   I am worried about nutrition and sufficient water movement in the small tank.  My display is 180 gallons.  Thanks. << Do not quarantine a sponge!!!  It is crucial for them to remain in water at all times.  That is the primary concern.  Make sure it never leaves water from the store to the bag, and from the bag to your tank.  It needs to be moved from tank to tank by placing a bag or bucket into the water and sliding the sponge into it. Sponge do not do well in a copper tank, or other quarantine type of tanks.  I highly recommend always keeping them in a well established reef tank with ample plankton and water movement. >> << Adam Blundell >>

-Holy syconoid sponges!- Greetings Crew! I took my AquaC Remora off to clean the maxi jet and cup tonight and I looked into the body of the skimmer and noticed thousands of what appear to be Syconoid sponges growing on the walls of the skimmer (see attached photo). <And what a collection!> The photo is looking down into the skimmer! My understanding is that these guys are not really bad but should I have that many....and should they be in my skimmer?! <These guys are harmless filter feeders and are doing only good things for your water quality.> The majority are in the chamber that dumps back into the tank. <A perfectly harmless place for them to be.> Looks like I'm looking into a cave full of stalagmites and stalactites. <Be sure to wear your hard hat> The Remora is on a 55 gallon reef tank (no fish). The tank is fairly new (2 weeks) as I recently moved everything over from my old 20 gallon. The skimmer is broken in but it doesn't seem to make as much skimmate as it did on the 20. <The tang is new, give it some time and I'm sure you'll get to relive the stinky skimmate of your past :) -Kevin> Thanks for taking the time.... Keith 

Another sponge destined to be dried... sigh 4/20/04 hey crew, I just bought a sponge from the store and was wondering where to place it. I read on the site that placing into the substrate or into live rock was not safe; cuz of rotting. the site said to stick it onto a receipt type of thing; but that sounds "scary" to me, wouldn't that hurt the sponge??? kokee from Texas <even without knowing what species of sponge you have (no pic or description here) it is almost certain that yours will die sooner (weeks/months) rather than later (over 1 year). Please do not buy creatures that you do not know how to care for but rather research them first and be an educated consumer. If not out of respect for the animals we keep and the precious living resource, then for the waste of time/money spent on specimens not likely to live. Read more in the archives at wetwebmedia.com about the reason why if you like. Best of luck, Anthony>

Are sponges helpful or harmful to the human race? I'm working on a biology report on the phylum Porifera, and I need to know if sponges are important to mankind.  Do they have any monetary, beneficial, or harmful affects on mankind? <Almost entirely beneficial... as "cleaning sponges" yet used in some countries, sources of biologically important molecules (for science, medicine) as well as filter feeders par excellence, helping keep the shallow seas "clean", balanced, and to large and diverse degrees useful in ornamental use in marine aquariums (mainly as common organismal make-up of live rock). There are toxic (to touch) and stinky species... but these are of minor importance. Bob Fenner>

Sponge 3/28/04 I need this info ASAP: I know Niphates digitalis grow up to 12 inches in height, but how wide do they get? How long do Niphates Digitalis (pink vase sponge) live? Basically I am asking the for lifespan and width of Niphates Digitalis (Pink Vase Sponge) as soon as you can get that info to me. Thanks, Jane <please do take the time to help yourself by browsing our archives and beyond. Make use of the wonderful and seemingly limitless resource that is the Internet. May I suggest that you begin with a keyword search of this organism by its scientific name on Google.com Anthony>

Halichondria pannicea Dear Bob Fenner, I am a second year marine biology student and I am perusing my third year dissertation on bleaching events in Halichondria pannicea. As of yet we have not been able to keep the sponge for more than a few days in the lab. Do you have any tips on removal from the shore or on cultivation of the sponge once in the lab? Any information you have would be gratefully received. Thanking you Lee Hother-Parkes <I do. Are you removing a bit of the substrate with the specimen colonies? I would chip a bit off with the animal. Are you transporting them w/o exposure to air? I would as in either a bag or an all-plastic jar and closure underwater. Once the specimens are on-board I would place them in a cold (with a bag of ice) cooler, keeping the temperature of their water a few degrees below ambient. For culture tips I am sending you to the much more cultured friend Anthony Calfo. Bob Fenner>

Culturing Live Sponges 3/11/04 Cheers, Lee Anthony Calfo in your service. I'm not sure how involved you want to get culturing these sponges (time of experiment/research... intended use/goal) but I'll assume you want to achieve maximum growth/mass. I can share some tips with you from an aquaristic perspective. I have admired the Poriferans and actively keep them (I have one small display dedicated to the collection and culture of sponges found incidentally in our reef aquaria). Our best success (defined here as continuous growth for more than one year) I believe is achieved when sponges are kept in systems with deep sand beds. I'm a strong proponent of natural filtration methodologies and feel that fishless refugiums and/or deep sand beds contribute invaluable (diversity and volume) nutritive elements to such traditionally "difficult" to keep filter feeders. In a perfect world... set up a deep bed (15 cm or more) of fine oolitic sand for 6 months or more (dry sand seeded with a small handful of live sand is fine). Feeding the system (indirectly via other organismal feeders... or directly in smaller portions) with meaty and plant-based foods (zoo- and phytoplankton substitutes) will certainly help support the infauna targeted in the deep sand bed. Weekly stirring of the sand manually or the employ of bio-turbators (sand-sifting fishes, Ophiuroid starfish, etc) will be helpful if not necessary to liberate nutritive times for your sponges IMO (dissolved and particulate). There's much more to go into regarding fundamental water quality. Presume "reef-aquarium" conditions (strong water flow, stable supply of bio-minerals, etc). For additional reading, do consider the works of Steve Tyree (really useful for his bibliographies!) on cryptic refugiums and a book entirely on Poriferans. Find them at dynamicecomorphology.com

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