Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Sea Sponge (

scottysgirl 12-06-2007 02:01 AM

Sea Sponge
Are sea sponges impossible to keep? I have heard that they are hard and was wondering if anyone had personal experience. I think they are such cool creatures but wouldn't want to get one just to have it die

crystalclear83 12-06-2007 09:02 PM

I know they should not be pulled out of the water, and if you see the store dude or dudette pull it out of the water at any time at all it will die! You must bag it underwater and keep the bag full of water! I know because I found out the hard way doing that for a customer once.

SeaSerpant 12-15-2007 08:20 PM

Wow easy come easy die.

ziggy222 12-21-2007 05:07 AM

theres so many types of sponge its hard to answer.some will die if exposed to air and some won't.air can get in the holes in the sponge and then it can't depends on the particular sponge,if it sucks air in when its out and all kinds of stuff.most sponge is very easy to keep but theres so many kinds.some need light,some need no light at all.the big drawback of sponge is this.sponge has antibiotics in it for its own health.if it dies, the antibiotics goes into the tank and it will kill all your corals in a large enough amount.thats why lots of people don't keep sponge and also thats why people don't put antibiotics in a reef to cure fish disease.

caferacermike 12-21-2007 06:25 PM

I know several folks that keep yellow, orange and blue sponges. I really like them myself. Over time you will grow several types just on your rock work. the first is a white color and then you will get this black "liver sponge". It may actually be a tunicate of sorts. Generally easy to keep but you should wait about a year for your tank to mature before adding one. That way you can have enough dissolved organics floating in the water for them to absorb. I once met an individual that a their refugium full of sponge, they said it absorbed excess nutrients much like Xenia fuges.

bettababy 12-22-2007 02:59 AM


Originally Posted by ziggy222
the big drawback of sponge is this.sponge has antibiotics in it for its own health.if it dies, the antibiotics goes into the tank and it will kill all your corals in a large enough amount.thats why lots of people don't keep sponge and also thats why people don't put antibiotics in a reef to cure fish disease.

Can I ask where you heard that sponges contain antibiotics that will wipe out a reef tank? I found one reliable article about the antibiotic content of some of the sponges found in the Great Barrier Reef...
but, nowhere did it say anything that would lead me to presume that sponges in an aquarium will wipe out corals or anything else if they die off. in order for your statement to be true there would have to be such a high concentration of antibiotics in the water to do harm... and anyone running a reef tank without a skimmer and proper filtration is asking for trouble anyways. A skimmer, good filtration media, and proper maintenance, will protect an aquarium from such an event as you suggest. Also, the use of carbon in a filter will help to avoid any issues. Antibiotics are "medicines" and carbon will soak these things from the water if they are introduced. Did you know that a tank (reef or otherwise) with carbon in the filter can be given a full strength dose of most any medicine and it will filter out of the water as soon as it hits the carbon. You could expect that tank to be completely free of any traces within 48 hrs... 24 if you have enough turn over rate.
Understanding that most people choose not to run carbon in a reef tank for fear that it soaks up too many needed nutrients from the water (also, this is not entirely accurate.. it's a matter of how often you are doing water changes to replenish the tank with the needed nutrients regularly), if there is die off of any sort in a tank, carbon can be a great friend.
I have had sponges growing in my reef tanks over the years... clear, white, yellow, purple, and even a bright orange red species have all thrived in my tanks at various times, and always in my reefs. The sponges go through various phases of die off as time goes on, changing forms and density according to what the environments allows. I have had some very sensitive corals in these tanks, and never was any harm done to anything from sponge. My worst battle with sponge was a white species that attempted to grow over some of my mushrooms. Once I removed the shade from above the mushroom, the sponge died back and then grew in a different direction into the shade.
Sponge can be very beneficial to a reef aquarium such as caferacermike has pointed out. Sponges are filter feeders, which means they help to clean the organic waste from the water. Some sponges are partially photosynthetic, although most of the common ones found growing naturally in a healthy reef tank tend to rely on shade and good circulation to thrive.
Not all sponges react the same way to air as was described, either, though it is a good idea to not expose them unless you know exactly what species it is and if it is safe or not. Some corals also have the same issues with air exposure.
As for tunicates, these are not even realted to the sponges. The only thing they really have in common is their sensitivity to their envrionment, and the fact that they are both filter feeding animals. Tunicates are members of the phylum Chordata, while sponges belong to the phylum Porifera.

So, would I suggest keeping sponges in a reef tank? Absolutely! My suggestion would be to keep doing your research, never take a sponge from a wild environment and introduce it to an aquarium (this could be deadly to your entire tank), and keep your tank healthy to encourage them to grow naturally. Choosing live rock from different places, different types, and using things like live sand and refugiums on your tank will all encourage new types of growth to develop over time. Have fun, enjoy, and just keep up with your maintenance... which is something you'd need to do anyways in order for the tank to thrive.

ziggy222 12-29-2007 02:44 AM

yeah i heard the same as caferacermike about people using sponge in their refugium like eric borneman with great results i think he grows his,rather than putting in a buch at once.i also heard of a xenia refugium but i saw a experiment was done on that and the system with the xenia just was'nt very stores did steer me away from sponge when i just started out and was running a small tank 29gallon saying if the sponge dies i can loose alot of my other corals if i don't catch it in time.more so than with other corals.i don't really care why it could happen but the best explanation i have been given so far was because if they die,they release antibiotics that other corals don't care for.i think it was on discovery channel.every store i ever was in told me never put fish meds in a reef,they could have copper in them as well which will kill coral for sure.thats why many reef keepers have a small hospital tank set up for their sick fish.all reef stores around here also keep a seperate tank in which to treet fish especially if their using copper based meds.

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