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FAQs on Sponge Selection and De-selection

Related Articles: Sponges in Marine Aquariums

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

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Livestocking Pico, Nano, Mini-Reefs; Small Marine Aquariums
Successfully discovering, determining, picking out the best species, specimens for under 40 gallon saltwater systems.
Book 1: Principles, Algae, Invertebrates

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Orange sea sponge. Hlth., No data. Rdg.     11/3/14
‎Hi I have recently added a orange sea sponge to my reef aquarium.
<Mmm; well... some such colored sponges are "okay"; others rarely live; some are dangerously toxic>
It has been fine for the past 3 weeks. Now it has started to emit white/orangey "hairs". I have tried to research this but have had little success, any ideas??Thanks Ed Rabbetts
<Sure.... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongedisfaqs.htm

and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Orange sea sponge
‎Hi bob,
Thanks for the quick response. I have attached a picture to show what I mean. It's not the clearest, but what's happening can be seen at the top of the sponge. Thanks again.
<What did your reading reveal? The name of this Poriferan? Its historical (non) survivability in captivity? BobF>

Rock Beauty, fdg., sponge sel. 2/26/11
Hey WWM,
I think this will be a relatively quick one for you guys. I would like to keep some live sponge in my 180 FOWLR for my Rock Beauty. My problem is, is that there are so many different kinds. I'm hoping you can tell me the best kinds for him so when I go to my local store (Tropicorium)
<Ahh, do say hello for me to Dick Perrin there>
I will know exactly what to ask for. Thanks for you time. You guys are awesome. Daneen
<Most any warm colored (red, orange, yellow) material that they have growing on/with west Atlantic rock will be fine. Alternatively do check your local Asian markets for dried sponge material... that you can soak/restore and augment other foods with... Oh, and my best "advice", do mix in, use Spectrum pelleted food as a base. Completely nutritious and very palatable. Bob Fenner>

Sea Slug Feeding: Sponge-Eating Nudibranch Gift -- Say It Isn't So! 4/4/10
Hello all --
<Hello Brian, Lynn here tonight.>
Great site, and thanks for all the helpful information.
<You're welcome!>
I just recently received as a gift a really pretty sea slug --
<Oh no. People mean well, but it really isn't a good idea to surprise someone with one of these.>
It is purplish pink with yellow horns and a yellow spike off its back. I have identified it as Hypselodoris apolegma - see link for picture http://www.seaslugforum.net/hypsapol.htm
<Thanks, yep these are real beauties but next to impossible to keep long-term.>
I talked to the LFS where it was purchased and they said it could feed on algae,
<They're not even close. These Nudi's feed on sponges alone (including Euryspongia and Dysidea species)>
..but they didn't seem too sure --
<Don't even get me started on sellers not knowing their products. That's why it's so important for the hobbyist to do his/her own research before buying. Unfortunately, in the case of a gift, the best thing you can do is thank the person but advise them that a better option is a gift certificate. This allows you to research and get something that's appropriate to your system.>
The web site listed above doesn't have any info on feeding these animals.
<There's a bit more information within the Hypselodoris apolegma factsheet page that includes all related messages. Please see the post about half-way down the page titled 'Hypselodoris bullocki - feeding and care', dated March 18th and 19th of 2004: http://www.seaslugforum.net/showall/hypsapol
More here: http://www.seaslugforum.net/message/12467
By the way, you'll notice some overlapping information regarding H. bullocki and H. apolegma. Apparently H. apolegma used to be thought of as a color form of H. bullocki, but it has since been listed as a separate specie. Evidently, their traits and requirements are very similar.>
I read on another forum that they eat sponges.
I have a 76 gallon tank with ~ 80 pounds of live rock and 55 lbs of live sand. Do small sponges typically grow in the live rock for it to feed on?
<Sponges do typically occur on live rock, but they may not be the variety that H. apolegma needs in order to survive long-term.>
Or does it eat anything else?
<Not according to what I've read.>
I supplement the tank with Cyclop-eeze - I'm not sure if it eats that at all -- I also add phytoplankton to feed to the copepods, so I was wondering if could be eating them at all?
<Not likely, no.>
If it does only eat sponges, what can I buy to feed it?
<Unfortunately, nothing really, other than the sponges that it eats.>
Or was the LFS correct with it only feeding on algae?
<Nope, these Nudibranchs absolutely do not eat algae. I wish I had better news for you but I would return this little fellow ASAP and exchange it for something more suitable.>
Thanks - any help is appreciated.
<You're very welcome.>
<Take care, LynnZ>

Re: Sea Slug Feeding: Sponge-Eating Nudibranch Gift -- Say It Isn't So! 4/6/10
<Hi Brian>
Thanks for the most valuable information Lynn.
<You're very welcome. I just wish I'd had better news for you.>
I will definitely make sure I don't end up getting another "gift" from a good intentioned family member.
<Yep, they do mean well but it's just not a good idea.>
Right now I think I really can't take the Nudibranch back (plus it would probably just die at the store or someone else's tank, since they think it eats algae). I went to another LFS and did end up getting 2 varieties of sponges.
<What varieties? For the record, I would not have done this, but I can understand your intentions. Unfortunately, you now have multiple organisms that can be a challenge to keep long-term. The reason why Nudibranchs in the genus Hypselodoris are such a challenge to keep is that the majority of the species only eat sponges in the Family Dysideidae. Hypselodoris apolegma mostly preys on species of Euryspongia. Further compounding the situation is that we don't know which species it eats and whether it's even available to hobbyists. If I were in your position, I'd return the sponges and do what I could to return the Nudi as well. I'd also mention that these animals eat sponges, not algae. If you would like to keep the sponges and give them a try however, do be sure to read through Bob's information re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongesii.htm
Hopefully this one will end up feeding on one or the other. If I have any success I'll write back.
<Please do>
By the way - I was a little worried that if it does die, it would release toxic chemicals into my tank, but from what I read, it wouldn't have a negative effect.
<Good news, indeed.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome and good luck!>
<Take care, LynnZ>

Sponge ID -- 01/03/10
I didn't find any info on Eudistoma obscuratum in the sponge section. I ordered a sponge, called a Red Velvet Sponge, after being assured by the supplier that it was of the easiest care level.
<... no, not so>
It was listed as a Eudistoma obscuratum,
<Mmm, no>
but it sure looks similar to Mycale laxissima.
<Mmm, maybe>
I wasn't able to find any useful care info on the Eudistoma obscuratum, and the few pictures I located look nothing like my specimen. (Except, of course, for the photos provided my supplier.) What do you think? Thanks for your help.
<Oh... where to start here... Have you read our scant coverage re Poriferans in aquariums? Mainly this last page/file:
below... and the linked FAQs files above. As you'll find, the non-photosynthetic sponges (gauged by general colour in this case) are not easily maintained under most captive conditions; and some have dire metabolic activities. I would return this specimen. Bob Fenner>

Brown tube sponge Commercial source 5/11/09
I wonder if you could help me to source some commercially available samples of unprocessed brown tube sponge Agelas conifera, which I would like to use in some scientific experiments.
Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, yes... would this need to be live? Am Bcc'ing some marine livestock wholesaling friends in the trade who deal in tropical W. Atlantic invertebrates in the hope they will contact you. Oh, actually, found the
link to Ken Nedimyer of Sealife Inc... Do contact him directly re:
Bob Fenner>
Burton W. Blais, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
Research and Development Section
Ottawa Laboratory(Carling)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Re: Brown tube sponge Commercial source
Thank you so much for your help in this. The sponges do not need to be live (ideally they will not have received chemical treatments). My main interest is to conduct a research project into the potential use of
certain sponge extracts in preventing pathogenic bacteria from contaminating food manufacturing environments.
Thanks again,
<Ah, yes... am familiar... have an acquaintance who was pursuing similar compounds in Gorgonians (now graduated from SIO). Do write KenN... he can either collect the Agelas for you or will know who will. Cheers, BobF>

Syconoid Sponges…Water Quality Indicator? - 09/09/08 Hello again, <<Hi Kathy>> Once again I need your wonderful assistance, <<Okay>> I have a 55 gal. FOWLR. I added the live rock about 9 months ago...I find that I have some Syconoid sponges. <<Not to worry, harmless if not beneficial…and adds to your biodiversity>> In all my research I am finding "They can reach plague proportions if the tank is neglected or has other nutrient control issues." <<Mmm…>> I may be getting to that point. <<A matter of perspective I suppose…I actually try to induce sponges to grow in my tank. Though some burrowing or encrusting sponges can be problematic (I have an encrusting black photosynthetic sponge that will overgrow anything, if not kept separated), the Syconoid sponges will stay for the most part to the cryptic areas of your tank. Their proliferation "may" be an indication of water quality issues such as excessive organic material, but not necessarily. Their presence will likely help with such if that's the case, but your water tests should bear this out>> By nutrient control, what do you mean? <<Limiting excessive nitrogenous compounds…generally a result of overstocking, overfeeding, poor maintenance…all the above>> I bet you mean over feeding, too much of one thing not enough of another. <<One aspect, yes>> The bioload is as follows, 1 yellow tang, <<Really does need a bigger tank (75g +)>> 1 royal grammar, 1 tomato clown, 1 yellow clown goby, 1 blue damsel, and 1 sleeper banded goby. I also have 1 cleaner shrimp, 4 banded troches snails and 3 scarlet reef hermit crabs. After 15 years of set up I began to have nitrate and ammonia problems. I found your web site and found an excellent information...and realized I had sooo much to learn <<Hee-hee! I'm "still" learning…>> ...at the end of 2007 I ripped out my undergravel system <<A good move in my opinion…and likely the source (detritus accumulation) of your water quality issues>> ...(ever so slowly) and added 65 lbs of LR.(It is also when I added the snails and crabs). <<Very good>> All of the fish (they are about 7 to 8 years old) have survived wonderfully in the last year, at one point we did have a small problem with bacterial infections but with meds and some more research switched up their diet... Stopped the krill (found it to be like junk food) and fed food with higher protein... <<If you haven't already, do get some New Life Spectrum pellets for these fishes. Highly palatable and nutritious…>> and my yellow tang started the red blotch and red streaks...gave her more vitamin C (Spirulina), she is now looking good. <<The spectrum food will help here…as would a larger system for the tang>> I feed 1 times daily flakes (prime reef and the Spirulina) and frozen bloodworms and mysis shrimp soaked in Kent Zoe and ZoeCon. <<Do be careful not to overuse these supplements…can also cause water quality issues re>> I also feed Formula One and two marine pellets. <<Spectrum?!>> For the next two feedings just the flakes and pellets. <<Variety is good>> I also offer some seaweed on a clip 3 to 4 times a week. <<Excellent>> I have been soaking their food in the morning every day, <<Ah yes…a clue to the sponge proliferations>> but with the many Syconoid sponges I thought I would just soak in the Kent Zoe and ZoeCon 3 x's a week. <<This is plenty>> Hopefully, this is what you mean by nutrient control. <<Indeed>> Perhaps, less feedings per day or also reduce the amount... <<Multiple smaller feedings is best…but I do believe in feeding (not starving) one's fishes>> I will read anything you tell me to... <<Perhaps a peruse here, and among the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i5/Filtration/Filtration.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/besttgsreefs.htm >> Also, I am curious is there a predator that will perhaps eat these little sponges...? <<Probably [grin]…but honestly, I wouldn't sweat the sponges mate>> Thanks so much all you do! :) Kathy from Kansas <<Is a pleasure to assist. Regards, EricR from South Carolina>>

Dwarf seahorses and Gorgonians, sys. 8/29/08 Hello Mr. Fenner & crew at WWM! <And to you Elena> Thank you for taking my question. I've read your website (among many others) and there is so much information that is contradictory it makes me cry! <How would you help here?> Your site opened my eyes to so much & I try to learn something new every day to help keep my tanks and inhabitants be as healthy & happy as possible but my dwarf seahorse tank needs help!!! My first mistake with the dwarfs was to only read seahorse sites. I didn't get to your site until after the fact. I'm having trouble picking the correct hitching posts for my dwarfs. The gorgonians I chose, I fear, were a tremendous mistake; as was the red tree sponge that I was told was GREAT for seahorses!. In with my 7 dwarfs, in a 6.6 gallon (23.5"L x 9.25"H x 7"D) w/ 1.5 gallon refugium, I have a green lace, 1 red & 1 yellow finger, 1 rusty & 1 purple brush & deadman's fingers. <I will interject here... this very small volume is dangerously unstable inherently... Unsuitable for any "good" sized colony of sponges, cnidarians... I will skip ahead and encourage you to simply use some "dead" gorgonian skeletons (rinds) or artificial media made for aquariums for "hitching posts"> There is a Penguin 100 BioWheel & Reefsun 50/50 lighting (6500* k trich daylight phosphor plus actinic 420 phosphor 18" 15 watt bulb). The tank was set up in January & the Georgians were added in June, the dwarfs just 21 days ago. The Gorgonians were fine until the dwarfs came. I'm guessing it's because I had to modify the BioWheel with sponges to the flow & intake to protect the ponies. Now I see the yellow finger is becoming covered with brown slit(?) <Mmm, maybe a mix of algae, Protozoans, bacteria... dead metabolic products from decomposition> & the others are rarely showing their polyps. The ponies love the yellow & use it to sleep together at night & well as a local hangout for morning greetings. The polyps used to show all the time on the yellow & this past week less and less have been coming out & today 1 or 2 are showing. Do you have any suggestions? <Mmm, yes, assuredly. One, to keep a good volume of pre-mixed water on hand... for the time coming when this system will crash... to move the Seahorses to likely, or if you're fortunate to "catch" this process, to remove the non Seahorse life (and toss) and change out the water to save them> My next question is, are there Gorgonians I should remove & others I should add? <I would not try keeping them period in this setting. Too little chance of "success" (the ones you have are slowly dying... and too great a likelihood of death of all from "crashing"... i.e. a cascade of death, decomposition... resulting in poisoning...> Can you suggest anything else to be used as hitching posts? <I have, above> One last question.... I hear so many different answers to clean up crews in dwarf tanks. In your opinion what would a good clean up crew be for them? <Really? You, your gear, regular (weekly) maintenance... no "crabs, hermits, snails..."> Years ago, before dwarfs were seen on line, I acquired a small herd & kept them in a 10g tank with plastic freshwater plants and a bunch of snails. They were fed BS (not decapped BBS) & flourished for 3 years until I was hospitalized for many months. My family just couldn't keep up the many feedings & extra cleanings a tank like that requires & by the time I came home I only had 3 left & they were too far gone to help. <Ahh, well do I remember the many years of even "Comic Book" ad-sales of Floridian Seahorses, the keeping, feeding of Sea Monkeys/Artemia> When I started this tank I wanted it as natural as possible (& I hated those tacky plastic plants!) <There are some very nice decor items nowadays...> but I have to say it was much easier then! I could really use your help. There's just too much out there & contradictions fly at the speed of light. I just need a consciousness, intelligent, black and white list (is there such a thing?). I just want to do right by all the inhabitants in the tank. I know I'm in the right place, you guys just rock! Thank you for giving us a site with no hidden agendas! Elena <Welcome Elena... Again, I would remove the Sponges, Gorgonians... go with artificial media, skeletons here. Bob Fenner>

Question regarding Steve Tyree's Sponge Filtration Concept - 7/1/08 Dear Bob/WWM crew, <SB in Bs> I am very interested in integrating Steve Tyree's sponge filtration model in my current aquarium. However, I consulted the opinions of several experts and they all said that though sponges filter feed from the water, they excrete ammonia as metabolic wastes, therefore contributing ammonia to the aquaria. They all agree that algae is better choice for nutrient control in aquaria. What are your opinions regarding this? Thanks. Best regards, SpongeBob in boxers <Mmm, most all animals produce ammonia (or analogs urea, uric acid) to degrees via amine catabolysis... Sponges don't make much, and there are (in well-enough) arranged set-ups mechanisms for dealing with such... Of SteveT's many semi-novel ideas the cryptic zone (low, no light, circulation) use of Poriferans is worth investigating. Bob Fenner>

Sponges and Water Quality... sys., sel. 3/19/08 I have a 55 gallon reef aquarium with only three small damsels separated by live rock and a few soft corals. Water parameters are 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, 10-20 ppm nitrate, 8.2pH, 75F, and a KH of about 300 ppm. I have no protein skimmer for my tank, and I believe that may be why my nitrate is pretty high. <Would help...> However, my corals are doing fine so I see no reason for a skimmer just yet. <There are many successful systems that do w/o> I use 2 x 96W T5 lamps for the corals, and they are all about 7" from the light source. This tank is just over a year old. I perform 10% water change weekly and 50% monthly. <I see> I was wondering if adding a store bought non-photosynthetic sponge would be possible for my setup. I have moderate water flow throughout the tank with water flow being extreme around the power heads. I actually want a more attractive ball or moon sponge now that I have seen a great deal of sponge growth in my aquarium. I'm guessing the dissolved organic compounds are plentiful. So far, one sponge has completely covered a Tonga branch "live" rock (...) so that all I see is a yellow porous crust instead of a multicolored rock (about 0.25 square feet of sponge). I feed the sponges twice daily with plankton and I'm hoping they eat the algae I scrape off the aquarium glass as well. The reason I am asking is that after I read your sponge section, my general impression about store bought sponges is that all of them will die from starvation due to inadequate feeding or a lack of light (I do not want a light dependent sponge). <Many do... but not all. Most perish due to poor collection, holding and shipping practices> Will a ball sponge thrive or at least not die in my tank? <Mmm, depends... what species?> Will sponges lower my nitrate levels? <They can> Could you please list some species that are easier to care for? <Is this not posted on WWM? Will look... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/spongeselfaqs.htm> And finally, are all blue sponges photosynthetic? My pet store has a few blue ones tucked away under some live rock that seem to be doing quite well so I am puzzled as whether the color blue = symbiotic algae. <Mmm, no, not all are.> Thank you for your time and consideration, Sincerely, Henry. <Thank you for sharing. BobF>

Re: Sponges and Water Quality - 03/20/08 I'm going to guess on the species here since my store labels them all by this nomenclature: color + shape + sponge. E.g. Orange Ball Sponge. :) I think the species is Cinachyra sp. <Mmm, can be done: http://www.google.com/search?q=Cinachyra+sp.+use+in+aquariums&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7GGIC> After some more reading I have found that most of the food I feed is actually only a minute part of a good diet for the sponge. Before I make the purchase, I'll have to find a way to culture up some bacterial soup for daily feedings. Thanks for your help. <As with most Poriferans, do take care to avoid introducing air into the colony... Bob Fenner>

Sponge... Adding A Dried Tree Sponge To A System... Not A Good Idea! - 09/14/07 Hi. Is it safe to put a dried Red-Orange branching sponge (Ptilocaulis sp) to a saltwater tank for decor purposes only? I have a 55 gal. FOWLR and I find it attractive to put one of these together with my live rocks. Thanks. <No. This is not safe. These can be quite toxic when they die and can wipe out your system. A dried dead one sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.> Larry <Cheers, Mich>

Calyx aquarius (Fan Sponge) Requirements 1/23/07 We are trying to get information on the Fan Sponge ( calyx arcuarius)<aquarius>. We would like to know the web site to get this information such as the characteristics, description, main diet, habitat, location, reproductive methods, picture, and bibliography. Thank you for your help as we were in many different sites and unable to find information. <Not something that would live long under aquarium conditions. I know little or nothing on the species except to say I know of no dealer who even sells them. If Mr. Fenner is aware of any info, he may inject something here. Continue Googling my friend.><<I concur with your statements, direction James. RMF>> Thanks. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Gorgonia red / Ellisella sp. 11/21/06 Hi, WWM Crew <Hi, Wikus. JustinN with you tonight.> After burning my fingers, not doing proper homework before acquiring species for my tank, I decided that reading and asking more is better than dead inhabitants. <I agree wholeheartedly -- now if only we could get more people to think that way...> So after Googling for "Gorgonia red / Ellisella sp.", I still did not come up with any useful information. <Mmm, a Google search for Ellisella alone turned up a few results, albeit very slim on information..> Could you perhaps tell me it this species is suitable for home aquariums (6ft std. with 2 x 150MH and 4 T5's, skimmer and sump filter). I mostly keep LPS and softies. <Very nice sounding setup. Have you considered the possibilities re an inline refugium?> Thank you, Wikus <I could be wrong here, but from what I gathered on the few pages that I did find, this species is a zooplankton consuming species, not photosynthetic. Non-photosynthetic Gorgonians tend to not fare well in home aquaria, where their consumption demand simply cannot be met. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Sponges In My Sump For Filtration? - 01/19/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I will be having a DSB in an unlit sump and wondered if there were any sponges I could put in the sump to help filtration? Thanks, Ben <<With few exceptions sponges don't usually fare well in our little captive environments, and a large sponge gone "bad" can do real damage (poisoning). You're best bet is to employ the encrusting and cryptic sponges (Diplasatrella, Monanchora, Phorbas, Spirastrella) found on/in live rock. Place a few pieces in the sump and those sponges for which the conditions are right will develop and grow. Regards, EricR>> 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>> Another One Wants Us to do Their Homework For Them 12/5/05 Hi, <Welcome!> I am a child in the 7th grade, <<By now you are a young lady. MH>> I have a project to do in Life Science and I'm doing it on Sponges and I need about (10min - 20 max) different kinds of sponges by Wednesday. I will appreciated it if you can find some for me. Thank You. <Lisa, nothing in life comes for nothing... you need to be looking up these yourself. I would recommend you start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm . Best regards, John>

Bee Sponge husbandry Hi Crew! :) <Wallace> I recently bought this orange sponge coral and had problems identifying it. I finally found out that it was a "Bee Sponge" but I haven't had any luck trying to find any info on it! the only thing I could find on it was the following website from LiveAquaria: http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?pCatId=2161 <Acanthella species... there isn't much I could find re its husbandry either> Would you be able to tell me a bit more about it or where I can find info on it? I've tried searching the net with not much luck. E.g.. How do I feed it? How much light does it require (is there such thing as too much light for it) ? is it best placed in substrate or rock ? How do I maximize it's health etc. Many Thanks Guys! WK <Am responding (though I know, can relate little) as no one else has chimed in here. I cannot even tell you whether this organism is photosynthetic or not... but can tell you where I would next seek useful information. The reef-oriented bulletin boards, ReefCentral, Reefs.org... do query the folks there, other aquarists... for input from people who have actually attempted care of Acanthella sp. AND do keep good notes re your efforts and share these. Bob Fenner>

Sponge additions? Thinking of adding some sponges to my reef. I have good water quality except my phosphates are 0.8. Good water movement but no dark areas to put them. What do you think add them or forget them. Thanks Vince. < Sponges can be difficult to care for, especially if you do not know how they were handled. I first want to mention that sponges cannot come in contact with air. Oxygen will clog the pours in the sponge which will therefore suffocate that area and cause it to die off. Algae will also clog the pours causing the area to eventually die off. Because of this, I recommend first lowering your phosphate levels to prevent any unwanted algal growth from forming on the sponge. It's also important to keep the sponge in an area with strong amounts of current and little amounts of lighting. If you cannot find an area which fits this description, I would forget it. Hope this helps, Graham.>

- Orange Breadcrumb Sponge - Hello Web crew, <Hello to you.> Hope all goes well on your end, <When it's going, it does... thanks for asking.> I have a question about the Orange breadcrumb sponge I was thinking of purchasing I have found some info on it like feeding of sponges but nothing that really specifically talks about the husbandry of such a sponge like lighting, water flow difficulty of care. I would like to get a sponge and was wondering what you guys and gals think of this type of sponge as I hold your advice in high regards. <It is not that easy to keep... requires specific foods.> I have never had any sponges (except for the kind that hitch hikes on live rock). The LFS has a real nice healthy looking one that stands about 5-6 inches tall and is really bright orange which would add some color and uniqueness to the system. Please let me know what WetWeb thinks. <Well, for starters, don't expose it to the air - this is sponge-rule number one. Next, you will need to feed planktonic foods and other dissolved organics which is the no-so-easy part. Likewise, strong water flow will be required to encourage its long-term survival. For some more background, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm And also consider picking up the new Wet Web Media publication, Reef Invertebrates, which has an entire chapter dedicated to the sponges.> Thanks again, James <Cheers, J -- >

-Orange crumb sponge- <I apologize that you had to send a few; one found its way into Anthony's box who is busy working on the new book> I was thinking of getting a sponge and a fish store here in my town has a very nice healthy looking what they Call Orange crumb sponge. I have looked all over and haven't been able to find any information specifically talking about the husbandry of this sponge. I would like to know what you think, the lighting required <None, this sponge is not photosynthetic if it's a Stylissa or Stylotella sp. (guessing!)>, I found stuff on feeding, water flow needed... etc. of this sponge. I would like some information before I purchase said sponge. <Large sponges like this (as opposed to the tiny ones commonly imported on live rock) have generally failed to thrive in captivity either from poor handling or improper water flow and feeding. If this sponge is what I think it is, it has a pretty dismal survival rate. If you care to try one of these sponges, make sure it has ample water movement, and I'd suggest daily doses phytoplankton (rotating different species to assure food diversity). It would also be a great idea to install a refugium to help generate some additional natural foods. You can check out the sponge chapter in Bob and Anthony's book Reef Invertebrates as well. Good luck! -Kevin> Thank you, James Wesley

Sponges and Those Who Sponge From Them >Hello all, >>Good morning, Marina today. >I wanted to share an experience and ask a question as well. Yesterday I received a red ball sponge (Pseudaxinella lunaecharta) from an online livestock retailer (I will omit the name here). I just wanted to say something that most more experienced aquarists probably already know - that some species are just not a good idea to mail-order. >>Mail order or purchase from any retailer, indeed. >The sponge came without any attached substrate and had some small patches of white/clear surface material, which I understand is dead/dying tissue. I complained to the vendor and they told me to keep them posted about the specimen's condition, and call them if it gets worse - maybe I can get a credit. >>"Maybe"? Not good enough for me (I'm a real hardnose when it comes to customer service), I hope you paid with a credit card. >This is fine from a business standpoint, but they are still selling sponges that are almost certainly going to die in short order. >>Especially since they question no one regarding suitability of final setup. >I think we as consumers can do a great deal to discourage this practice among dealers. >>We vote with our dollars, yes? >I am also suspicious that, while the vender packed the bag ALMOST full of water, some air became trapped in the sponge during shipping - it looks like its blowing a bubble out of one of the openings. So that's my two cents there. >>I wouldn't want to be a sponge. >The question I have is now that I have this compromised specimen, what is the best way to attach it to some live rock? I have some reef-safe epoxy - would that harm the sponge? >>I don't think so, you could use that or cyanoacrylate (superglue) on a small portion. If you're still not positive or comfortable, you could try some fine monofilament (fishing line) and mechanically affix the specimen. >Right now it is sitting with its base gently wedged between two rocks, but this is not a viable long-term placement. Also, after 24 hours the opercula have opened and some of the white patches seem to have disappeared. Does this mean the sponge is looking up, or is it just false hope? >>Can't say for sure without actually seeing the damage and then this occurrence firsthand, but if it appears healthier, then I would not give up hope. >Finally, is it a bad idea to leave a damaged sponge in the system? >>I would prefer it to be in a quarantine system. I believe in q/ting EVERYTHING (a bit hardnosed about that as well). You can certainly watch it closely, as when they "go" they don't go as quickly as say, anemone. I would think you'd have some time to remove it should it be necessary. >If it goes downhill fast will it poison the tank? I read somewhere (I think WWM) that the really noxious sponges are mostly the photosynthetic ones. I can only find very meager info about this species - is the formal name above outdated? Thanks. Nick >>Not sure about the rest of these queries at all. If I were you I would hit our forums http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk as well as http://www.reefs.org (though I've not seen too many folks very knowledgeable on sponges frequenting this site), and finally you might have more success on http://www.thereeftank.com as well as http://www.reefcentral.com . Marina

Sea sponge Source Dear Sir We are the one of Aquafeed manufacturer in Thailand. We are interesting to do research and development about sea sponge application in Aquafeed. Could you advise me about the supply sources of frozen fresh sea sponge or supplier? We really need to know good supplier and well established company. I am looking forward to hear your reply soon. Thank you in advance for your support Yours Sincerely, Ronnachai Mhordee Procurement Manager INVE (Thailand) Ltd. <Unfortunately I don't know where I might refer you to directly. Perhaps SaltCreek(.com) in the U.S., makers of Ocean Nutrition formulated foods (they use sponge material in some of their products). I would try the World Mariculture Society for leads on supply sources. Bob Fenner>

Sponge developing in 500 gallon tank - 2/11/03 Bob, when I normally think of sponges, I think of low illumination. <You are mistaken, my friend. Most all sponges have symbiotic BGA and a few are nearly 100% photosynthetic. The reef is covered with many sponges in full sunlight. The common macro-species (red/orange tree, ball and finger sponges... doomed to die) are lower light> Ironically, this is near the top and in an area of relatively good circulation. <Have you referenced the sponge called "chicken liver sponge". Rubbery and just dreadful... variably colors too> As far as any current chemicals, only Kalk for makeup water and a Kalk reactor. Very confusing to me. I know you can not offer a magic wand, but should I be alarmed and is this longer term a problem. <Still limited in part by nutrients... start there> My rocks are glued in and difficult to scrape. I have recently introduced an Imperator angel and have had a yellow tang, purple tang, flame angel, potters angel, Sailfin and Desjardin tang and a bicolor angel. None are interested. I think even they would have a hard time getting this stuff off. Any steps you would advise taking. Thanks again for your time. <Definitely nutrient control and export. Small things can make a huge difference here... like never allowing the thawed frozen pack juice into your aquarium (always strain meats through net and discard juice)... else it feeds nuisance algae, sponge, feather dusters, etc to bloom. Daily skimmate, weekly changing of carbon, larger weekly water changes, etc. Best regards, Anthony>

Keeping Blue Sponge- Haliclona sp. 2/16/03 Hello everyone, <cheers> I just had a question about Blue Sponges...Are they hard to keep what kind of lighting and water flow do they like... <They are unique among Poriferans in that they like very high light, very (!) strong water movement and they are both calcareous and heavily photosynthetic. Basically, treat them like an sps coral. The big catch is that they cannot be exposed to air for long or at all. Bag them completely underwater and release them underwater> Do they need phytoplankton or what do they need to eat? <Little or no phyto needed. They are symbiotic with BGA> I was thinking about getting one but wanted to make sure I knew about it before I do this. I have attached a picture for you. <If you have metal halides and reef quality water... go for it. Notice the "rock" that the sponge is attached to in your picture? That is Porites nigrescens... a living sps coral that is getting killed by the sponge. Steal the branches of living coral away and you've got a 2 for 1 deal <G>> Oh by the way thanks for the info on the cleaner shrimp and how often they shed their shells. Kit <Always welcome :) Best regards, Anthony>

Blue Sponge & Flame Scallops-up - 2/16/03 Thanks for the prompt response. I have power compacts 50/50's (10K and blue actinic) Yes I had read about not exposing them to air. OK so since I don't have metal halides I should not get one. <Truthfully, the lack of halides doesn't totally exclude you fro keeping blue sponge. Under fluorescents, if you can get the sponge within the top 10" of water with mostly daylight lamps and not so much actinic blue (just like you will have to do for sps corals)... this sponge can live well. Be sure to change your lamps every 6-10 months. Definitely an expense/bummer about PCs/VHOs. Halides though are a much better value (cost of light produced, PAR per watts, life of bulbs at 2-5 years each!, etc) and they would be better for growth in this sponge> I don't have the coral yet in my 90 gal reef getting one on Tuesday. But I plan to have mostly LPS and SPS and a few fish... <try to go with mostly LPS or mostly SPS... the two together are incongruous (low vs. high light and heavy vs. no-target feedings... not to mention heavy chemical warfare in the long run... post 1 year)> Right now I have a Regal Tang, Domino Damsel, Cleaner Shrimp, Flame Scallop,1 hermit crab and some snails...I plan to get a few more fish (On Tuesday getting 2 Perculas and a bubble coral) Let me know what you think. <I think you should find the jerk that sold you the flame scallop and kick him in the jimmy <G>. Poor bugger (the Fileclam- AKA "scallop") is doomed to die of starvation within a year if it even gets that far. Unless you have a live phytoplankton reactor... seriously. A very difficult animal and most starve to death slowly. Sorry to be a buzz kill, my friend. But you needed to know/asked <G>. Best of luck. Anthony>

How About a Sponge? - 2/15/03 Hello again: 55 gallon FOWLR here. So far 25 pounds of LR. I have nice coralline algae on rock, but no sponge life. Are there any that are easy to keep? Thanks, Rich <Some sponges are heavily photosynthetic (symbiosis with BGA), but most sponges are decidedly heterotrophic and need huge amounts of food that we cannot produce or provide for the aquarium. The common red, orange and yellow tree and finger sponges of the Atlantic are still shamelessly promoted for cheap in the industry. Few survive months if even weeks of import. There are just a few hardy exceptions. The yellow/orange Moon/ball sponge (Cinachyra sp.). Even still... sponges are some of the most toxic creatures in the sea. Their death in the aquarium can easily kill fishes and some invertebrates. Not recommended for casual keeping. Anthony>

Chicken Liver Sponge- invasive 6/4/03 I have a 180 gal. reef tank that's been set up for 1 1/2 years. Most of it's contents came from two other tanks which where running for about 4 years. I had purchased a Turbinaria coral from my aquarium club auction (Brooklyn Aquarium Society) about 3 years ago which had a small brown sponge on the rock. At the time I thought it was a great deal, 2-for-1. Unfortunately I've been battling the spread of this sponge-from-hell for the last couple of years. I've done everything from removing rocks to injecting Kalkwasser/Muriatic acid to pulling it off the rocks. <Yowsa... look out for the flamethrowers and napalm, next!> This stuff just will not die. I have tried to ID the sponge, the best I can guess is it looks like chicken liver sponge (Chondrilla). <Doh! that sounds like the invasive bugger> I was hoping you might know of a natural predator e.g. Nudibranch, sea star or reef safe fish that I might try to control this sponge? Thank you. Kevin Moriarty (aquanut) <try some urchins instead, my friend... truly lawnmowers on a reef. May or may not help here... sponges are certainly noxious... and chicken liver sponge does have a horrible reputation. Best regards, Anthony>

Acclimation of sponges Your book, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", has been instrumental (along with a few selected other works) in allowing my wife and I to setup a very rewarding 75 gallon reef aquarium. Having had several months to establish good water quality and carefully develop a good bio-mix (snails, crabs, a blenny or two, peppermint shrimp, a number of the more hardy soft corals, etc.) we would like to add one or two specimens of sponge. My question is this: In your book, and others, it states that the sponge should never be exposed to air. This I understand. But in the same section of your book, when referring to Red Ball Sponges, it states "never add shipping water to your aquarium or quarantine system". Again, this is always the usual practice when introducing a new specimen to a tank. What I cannot figure out is how I can keep the sponge from being exposed to air for even a moment, and at the same time not introducing any of the shipping water into my system. Is there a method that I am not aware of that can meet both of these requirements? Thanks for your guidance on this matter. Hugh Hegedus >> Hugh, thank you for writing. Sorry for the confusion re the transfusion... Basically what is typically done to avoid exposing specimens to the air is a kind of Boris Karl off pouring of new water (from your system) into the shipping or acclimation container with a spill/pour off of now-mixed shipping and system water out to waste. Either a few of these pour ins/outs or some variation of a drip (in of new/system water) and spill/pour out (of mixed water) over a period of several minutes... and you're done. Now if you can produce that blood-curdling laugh and grimace while you're at it you'll have conquered two genres at once! Have attached a piece on Sponges, from an upcoming tome ("The Best Livestock For Your Reef Aquarium") for your perusal. Bob Fenner

Re: Sponges Anthony: <I'll try to respond, as Anthony seems on holiday> Here's a picture of the gorgonians. I just redirected the power head behind them and that seemed to make them open up significantly. <Yes, appear healthy> It seems they like the water flow to change, not just be vigorous. The polyps opened up a lot today and the main difference is I rotated the output of the powerhead a little. This picture was also taken a half hour after adding DT's, which also gets some of the polyps to come out, but not as much as the changed water flow. I decided to get rid of the red tree sponge. On closer examination, it had several open holes in the back, where you couldn't see from outside the tank, and more of the transparent decay. I did not want to risk my tank since you mentioned they produce more toxins than other organisms. I will keep the orange tree and ball sponge a little more and perhaps I will have enough time to get the 10 gal tank in shape before putting them there. It will also be easier to have a vigorous water flow with just one power head. <Okay> As far as the labor at the suppliers, I think both TB Saltwater and Gulf View are very small operations. At least Dave Barge is pretty much a one man show, with his wife and son helping him pack. He personally dives for everything he sells, and seems fairly knowledgeable and caring. <Impressive> I have talked to him about his business and he does not employ anyone to help with the collection and shipping. He may just not realize how difficult it is for the sponges to survive long term. <Agreed. Very common> I do agree with you that this type of misinformation is bad and all concerned should strive to know more about the animals they are dealing with (collecting, selling or buying) for the benefit of the ocean and the hobby. At least these Florida outfits are culturing the rock they sell and not collecting from a living reef. It is hard to tell where transshipped rock is coming from and under what conditions it was collected. <Impossible in my estimation. Thank you for the follow-up. Bob Fenner> Regards,

Re: Diatom Filter now Sponges Anthony: Thanks for the reply and I appreciate the extra comments on the gorgonians and sponges. <my pleasure and thank you for putting up with my venting of an industry gripe> Although I kept a 120 gal FO tank many years ago (when I lived 45 min.s from the beach in El Salvador, and I caught all my own livestock) and also have had a FOWLR 10 gal nano-tank for the past three years, <all excellent to hear!> I have no experience with corals and the like. More than fish or even corals, though, I like the other life on the rocks and around the reef the best. <yes... so very fascinating!!!> In fairness to Tampa Bay Saltwater, they were not the vendor I used. I bought my rock from Gulf-View.com and also in fairness to gulf-view, they only offered free Ricordea polyps for the purchase of live rock. <yes...thank you for the clarification. And indeed, to be sure... I do not intend to single out any one vendor as representative of a whole industry. In fact, I asked only as a bit of a personal survey based on reports from aquarists that can be so heartbreaking. Indeed Bob has had to listen to such queries and stories for many decades and I know that in part it has been a motivation in his writings and teachings (books, lectures, this very web site!) to inspire responsible and Conscientious aquarium trade activity. After seeing the practice of collecting inappropriate animals shift or at least waffle between selling and giving away animals that have a staggering mortality and prospect in captivity... I just took a moment to vent my frustration and dismay at seeing yet another beautiful animal collected inappropriately when so many other hardy ones are available for our study and viewing pleasure.> I did ask if the sponges and purple gorgonians would do OK and if they wouldn't mind giving me a few of those instead of all the Ricordeas I had coming to me. <wow... the Ricordea polyps were a MUCH better choice... yet I still would never offer them to someone getting new live rock (risk of ammonia spikes, etc)> Dale Barger was very accommodating. Perhaps he could have tried to discourage me and not said sponges might be OK, but I need to take responsibility for not doing more research before going for the pretty specimens at the last minute, while I was placing my order for the rock. <I think we all need to take responsibility for the collection and distribution of such animals. If a vendor wants to have continued good business (short of exploiting an endless stream of uninformed aquarists, then they need to conduct themselves responsibly with a long view for their customers and the living resource (reefs) that support them. And as consumers, we cannot depend on the above. We must resist impulse purchases and be informed before we buy. If we cannot expect a collector to collect responsibly, then we can strong arm them fiscally with the power of our dollars.> So far I am very happy with the rock I got but now I need to see what I can do to keep the life forms alive and really be a conscientious marine aquarist (love Bob's book). <yes... agreed. All friendship aside, it is far and away one of the most important books on aquarium science ever written in my opinion. An amazing reference> I will take you up on your offer to help me try to keep these beautiful creatures alive. <excellent... if your gorgonian is indeed purple, it may very well be photosynthetic and rather easy to keep assuming it gets an amazing amount of linear water flow. (well over 10X tank turnover). And gorgonians are believed to be some of the most active phyto feeders that we know of. The sponge... wow... I just don't know where to begin short of setting up a small dedicated tank for it. It's requirements are nothing like your symbiotic reef inverts, corals, polyps, and much of what is on the live rock. Lets identify the species first. Quite frankly, if it is a red tree sponge... I will be surprised if it lives to see 8 months (not even 8 weeks for many). Was the sponge even shipped in an airless bag? Were you instructed to release it under water without exposing it to air? If not... we may not have to bother discussing husbandry for it (and perhaps you can empathize even more with my passion for seeing this for nearly a decade... such a waste, it is heartbreaking). Some sponges (like the demo species on your live rock) can easily take exposure to air... while others will not tolerate the slightest exposure (air becomes trapped inside of them and they cannot purge it... they die within months). Hmm... lets establish this first and then ID the species if we can move on. Steve Tyree of Dynamic Ecomorphology has written an incredible book on sponges. You may want to look up his thorough work on the topic> I will also do some research on the phyto plankton and zooplankton reactors. So far I've been feeding DT's concentrated phytoplankton, trying to baste it close to the various organisms and leaving the sump pump off for a while. <and remember that it must always be refrigerated (from point of purchase through use) and less than six months old (else it clots to a larger particle size that cannot be used/eaten by your hungry captives. Also... the instructions on bottled phyto rarely emphasize the need to whisk it in a blender before using it...again to reduce particle size. Dr Rob Toonen recently did a comparative study on these products detailing this. Still, DT's has a wonderful reputation. Please do continue to experiment with it> I guess you are saying the sponges and gorgonians really need more zooplankton, rather than phytoplankton. Correct? <actually not at all. Most coral prefer zooplankton. Many gorgonians strongly favor phytoplankton... with sponges it varies or is not clearly known (although they are inclined to eat more minute plankton... perhaps phyto, bacteria, etc).> I have one orange tree sponge, one red tree, a red wall sponge, two purple gorgonians and the Christmas tree worms on a clam. Here are some pictures to make sure we are talking of the same creatures. I had some focus problems but hopefully you can make out enough from the pictures to see what I have. <yes... thank you , my friend. The pictures help so much... although the bad news just got a little worse. At least two of the three sponges will be dead within weeks rather than months, I am sorry to say. And what's worse is that sponges have a greater concentration of natural toxins than even most cnidarians (stinging animals like coral)... so not only will you have the pollution from their rotting tissue, but you will have to deal with some extra noxious compounds. I believe I can make out the telltale watery translucence of the beginnings of decay on the first picture of the orange tree sponge. And the decay has been clearly observed on your red tree sponge as you have inquired with thoughts of possible new growth. I'm sure you can see a little better why I feel so passionately about vendors providing such difficult, dangerous and doomed organisms to aquarists that haven't been duly advised. It is a great dis-service to customers, the industry and life. These free animals just cost you some money for the extra water changes and chemical filtration (extra carbon and poly-filters would be great) just to temper their death and byproducts in your tank. OK...some good news now... the picture you queried as "Porites" is actually/likely a Siderastrea radians "Star" or "Starlet" coral. It is perhaps one of the hardiest corals on the face of this earth!!! A wonderful coral that can adapt to a wide range of light and water movement. And the small coral polyps you pictured with the burgundy corallines is a solitary cup species. Cladocora is just one of several similar looking genera that this coral might be. As it develops, do compare it to pictures in Paul Humann's great dive book series including the book Reef Coral for a better ID.> I have higher resolution pictures but I didn't want to clog your internet connection should you have a dialup connection. <no need but thank you for the consideration> I would really like to keep the encrusting sponges alive. <they require little maintenance. regular fish feeding (sources of carbon incidentally from feeding and excrement) and a mature inline refugium are often all that is needed> Please note the ones in the picture of the Red Tree Sponge (on the rock behind the red tree) and the Burgundy Sponge picture. Behind the red tree is a big area of orange sponge, and on the upper right hand and lower left hand corner of the orange is also a brown sponge that looks more like a brain surface, with ridges and the like. There's also some yellow growth. What can I provide for them? <as above> The free standing sponges seem to be doing OK but it has only been a few weeks and I would not like to see them starve. The red tree sponge seems to be growing. <it is dying, my friend... a loss of pigmentation> One of its fingers is growing some translucent tissue on its tip, and that growth looks like it is starting to get some of the orange color (can't see the color in the picture). The consistency of the tissue is similar to the orange tissue of the sponge. It is just clear instead of orange. <the odds of this being growth are astronomically small... but lets be patient and hope for the best instead. Please give us an update if you like in a couple of months. It would be very exciting to hear that you have been an exception and great success story! We will be sure to quiz you on your husbandry with hope of gleaning some tidbits to share with other aquarists to improve all of our success with this animal in captivity. As a rule, you will never see a tree sponge in a typical reef tank make it to 2 years old. Most never see 6-8 months indeed> The orange tree has a lot of little tubes sticking out from it. They seem to open and close at different times. <siphons... a filter feeder> They come out at each of the white "dots" in the attached picture. I assume the wall sponge is the same as a ball sponge. <yes> There are also a couple of corals that came with the rock. They were just part of the rock and neither the vendor nor I specifically requested them. The rock came from 40 ft of water so I am hoping these corals will survive with the 110 W of power compact lighting that I have. <yes... S. radians will easily and the Cladocora like polyps are very weakly symbiotic or not at all> I think one is a Porites and I have no idea what the other one is (see the Burgundy Sponge picture. Can you help me identify both of these? I will likely be purchasing your book in the next couple of weeks. <please... you can hear me ramble for free by reading the FAQ's here <smile>. Ha! Thank you my friend> I have heard a lot of good things about it. I had not planned to get much into corals but I guess I need all the help I can get! <as we all do... and the first half of the book is on reef style aquarium husbandry (tanks with live rock).. covering all of the basics. There is a table of contents on my website (www.readingtrees.com). Do browse it first if you like> The Burgundy Sponge picture also shows the Christmas tree worm to the right of the rock, right below the featherduster crown. It is different than most other Christmas trees I've seen when diving in Belize. <yes... so many species/colors of worms... many feeding by mucus in pursuit of trapped organisms> The ones I've seen are usually blue or red and fairly light colored. These are dark gray with yellow dots and some white filaments, larger than most I've seen. <yes... beautiful!> I intended to take it very slowly when setting up my tank but I ended up with a few fish when a friend gave up on his tank when his return pump broke. He said it was either my tank or certain death so I took a purple tang, blue tang, royal Gramma, cleaner shrimp, fire shrimp and 7 scarlet snails. They all seem to be feeding well. I also got a couple of dozen snails after the ammonia and nitrites subsided. <a very nice selection and all quite hardy> The stats for the tank show 0 ammonia, 0.1 ppm nitrites (holding at that level for a couple of weeks, I know I need them at 0 - waiting patiently for now.), 25 ppm nitrates, 450 Ca, 8.2 pH and 3.2 meq/l Alk. Ca pH and Alk have been steady since the tank was set up a month ago. I have been tracking all measurements every couple of days. <great chemistry especially for a new tank> Based on a table at marinedepot.com, my Mag 7 pump should be delivering 420 gph on a 5' head and the two Maxijet 900s are doing 230 gph each, or about 960 gph total turnover. <yes not bad... but more for the gorgonians and sponges and especially if you may get more coral in the future> I will see about getting another Maxijet and perhaps plumbing the sump return with more than one nozzle. The AquaC EV120 with Mag 5 pump just recently started producing a thick skimmate. <excellent!> It took almost a month of very wet foaming before it settled into better production now. I don't know if this is due to the skimmer itself or other water chemistry that just took a while to settle down. <not likely any skimmers fault... either the screwy young chemistry, or you made a better tuning/adjustment. Good skimmers such as this could easily produce skimmate daily on a young tank with fresh live rock and fishes> I may make the 3 hour drive to Dallas for MACNA. I'll certainly look up the whole crew. <that will be awesome! Yes, at least Bob, Steve and I so far> Maybe I can even write up something about my new aquarium setup experience for your site! <Yowsa! that would be awesome... you might even get a group hug from WWM for it... but don't let that stop you from writing the article anyway <smile>. Indeed, a piece on your new experiences and perhaps one later as a follow up (pushing my luck yet?) would be so helpful to the many WWM readers. Please send it along to this address when you have a f=draft or polished piece ready. It will be so greatly appreciated!> Regards, Henry
<kindly, Anthony>
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