PDA

View Full Version : Pineapple sponge question


ecophilia
03/22/2017, 12:36 PM
Hi guys,

Can I take pineapple sponges out of the water without them dying? Can they survive exposure to air?

And bonus question - in your opinion, would it be smart or not smart to grow a tiny little lump of chaeto in my Fluval 13.5g "refugium"?

Michael Hoaster
03/22/2017, 12:44 PM
I wouldn't expose them if possible. If not, make it quick! Assuming you are transferring them from one tank to another, just submerge the transfer vessel, corral the sponges into it, and transfer.

Generally, it is smart to add chaeto to a refugium. It's great for nutrient uptake and export.

Is this helpful?

Diana A
03/22/2017, 12:52 PM
Pineapple sponges happen in new tanks and they usually disappear within a few weeks

ecophilia
03/22/2017, 12:52 PM
I wouldn't expose them if possible. If not, make it quick! Assuming you are transferring them from one tank to another, just submerge the transfer vessel, corral the sponges into it, and transfer.

Generally, it is smart to add chaeto to a refugium. It's great for nutrient uptake and export.

Is this helpful?

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your reply! :) Yeah, that's very helpful. I'll try to come up with a method to avoid air exposure, I really want to keep them.

As for the refugium, it's just a small compartment on the back of the tank - but I'm guessing amount of space doesn't really matter for the chaeto as long as it gets sufficient light?

ecophilia
03/22/2017, 12:53 PM
Pineapple sponges happen in new tanks and they usually disappear within a few weeks

Aww. They've already been here for about a month, so perhaps I'll lose them soon then ): Haha, what a pity!

Michael Hoaster
03/22/2017, 01:05 PM
Right, sufficient light is needed.

Running a tank super clean, using things like charcoal and protein skimmers, can starve sponges of food. That is why they often disappear in reef tanks. So it depends on your priorities and what you hope to grow.

Good luck!

ecophilia
03/22/2017, 01:10 PM
Right, sufficient light is needed.

Running a tank super clean, using things like charcoal and protein skimmers, can starve sponges of food. That is why they often disappear in reef tanks. So it depends on your priorities and what you hope to grow.

Good luck!

Thank you! I don't use any filter at the moment, only a skimmer occasionally. I do water changes every week, only sometimes stirring up the sand bed. Hopefully my sponges will stick around!

Ron Reefman
03/22/2017, 06:01 PM
Sponges are one of the major families in the ocean that are, at best, very difficult to keep in a tank. There are a few. A couple of photosynthetic sponges can do well and there are a few that like to grow under our rocks away from the light and unfortunately, our eyes. I've tried more than my share of careful transfers from the Florida Keys to my tanks and have met with consistent long term failure. They survive for weeks and even up to 3 months, but they always end up slowly fading away.

I wish it wasn't so because there are so many really cool shapes and colors, maybe as good as the variety of corals. Heck, I'd be willing to have an all sponge tank if that's what it took. But they feed on very small particles, even smaller than what corals will accept. And they need it in the water longer than just 10-30 minutes that coral takes to capture some food. It's too bad more of them aren't symbiants for zooxanthellae like corals so they could be fed through photosynthesis.

ecophilia
03/23/2017, 10:28 AM
Sponges are one of the major families in the ocean that are, at best, very difficult to keep in a tank. There are a few. A couple of photosynthetic sponges can do well and there are a few that like to grow under our rocks away from the light and unfortunately, our eyes. I've tried more than my share of careful transfers from the Florida Keys to my tanks and have met with consistent long term failure. They survive for weeks and even up to 3 months, but they always end up slowly fading away.

I wish it wasn't so because there are so many really cool shapes and colors, maybe as good as the variety of corals. Heck, I'd be willing to have an all sponge tank if that's what it took. But they feed on very small particles, even smaller than what corals will accept. And they need it in the water longer than just 10-30 minutes that coral takes to capture some food. It's too bad more of them aren't symbiants for zooxanthellae like corals so they could be fed through photosynthesis.

Hi Ron! Thanks for your comment. I have come to terms with losing my cute little sponges, I'll just enjoy them while they last ;)

Also, this is helpful because I have looked at maybe purchasing some sponges for when I populate the tank, but your comment has made me reconsider. Thanks!

Michael Hoaster
03/23/2017, 12:48 PM
Ron's assessment is pretty spot-on, unfortunately. But there is hope for would-be sponge keepers, IF they give enough priority to their care.

First, I must admit to a similar lack of success with them. I have had limited success with hitchhiker sponges that came in on live rock. They have survived and grown for two plus years.

This brings me to the first of a few key points. I have read many articles on sponges, and one thing they all said was that the sponge must come to you still attached to its rock. None of the sponges I have purchased online have come that way, and all have perished. Since none of the dealers seem to understand or care, in my opinion, the best way to get viable sponges is to buy live rock with sponges attached. It's not an ideal solution, admittedly. Ideally, you'd collect your own, with rock attached.

Sponges feed on dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and possibly the smallest of phytoplankton, nannochloropsis. Most aquariums generally have ten times the DOC of natural seawater, so food is not really a problem. However, there is one nutrient that is lacking in most aquariums - silicate. Silicate is a building block component of sponge skeletal structures, like calcium is for corals. Most folks avoid it because it tends to cause diatom blooms. Snails also need it to build their shells. A lack of silicates is probably the reason some have small sponges that hang on for years, but never really grow much. The fix? Dose sodium silicate. I ordered some from an online chemical store-easy. After dosing, I get a small bloom on my front glass. I easily clean it with a magnet cleaner, and the water borne diatoms are taken up by the sponges. If you want sponges to grow, give them silicate!

The last piece of the puzzle is placement and orientation. Unless they are the photosynthetic variety, sponges need shade. Most of us bathe our tanks in wall-to-wall light. Put a sponge in bright light and it will be covered in algae in days. This clogs the pores and the sponge starves. Carve out a nice shady spot for sponges to prevent this. Sponges need current in order to feed, so current is critical. Finally, orientation is also important. Look for the excurrent syphons, which are the bigger holes on sponges. Orient the sponge so that the big holes are on the downstream side of the sponge. This way they can work with the current, rather than against it.

That's about it. Sponges are a real challenge, especially in this era of super hi-tech tanks, where the water is stripped of life. I think more would have success, if we just made their ideal conditions a higher priority. I have never seen a dedicated sponge tank. I do think I have pretty close to ideal conditions in my lo-tech tank, so I still hope to put it all together, one of these days…

Ron Reefman
03/23/2017, 04:43 PM
Michael, I agree with everything you said, but I'll deviate on the light issue just a little bit.

Lots of sponges really don't like light, including the few that do survive in our tanks under the rocks. But I snorkel in the Florida Keys in as little as 2 feet of water and there are many crazy pretty colorful sponges growing in the full light of the Florida sun with very litter water depth to protect them. Sadly, even those have perished in my tank over a too short time frame.

Ruise
03/26/2017, 01:21 AM
My pineapple spenges have stuck around for quite a while...they got less after a while, but right now they're booming. They like to grow in the corners of the glass and behind the filter intake thing where it's dark and I can't reach to clean the glass.