View Full Version : Live Sponge, Sea Squirt Filtration Scrubbers
01/02/2006, 12:37 AM
http://www.dynamicecomorphology.com/ -->Click on DE publishing.
Anyone have experience with this type of filtration as opposed to the heavy use of skimmers, or links with more information on sponge/sea squirt filtration?
Any input is appreciated. :)
Thanks in advance.
01/02/2006, 01:32 PM
01/02/2006, 06:26 PM
I have some experience with a sponge scrubber on my setup. I read Steve Tyree's books. I have a 55 gal sponge scrubber on my ~ 700 gal system , running since 2001. The scrubber will only sustain small sponges. (approx. 0.5 inch to 1 inch). they will do better with supplemental feedings, but that defeats the purpose...
Macroalgae have been much more efficient at removing nutrients. I also run carbon every one or two weeks to remove excess nutrients and to clear a slight yellowing of the water. I have not seen the need for a skimmer, since all animals are doing well.
01/02/2006, 08:21 PM
Thank you so much for replying, ShipMate. :)
How long have you been using this system, where did you get your sponges from, what species are they, and exactly what is in the 100, 150, and 110 gallon tanks?
01/03/2006, 12:21 PM
Shoot, I guess I got excited and missed the "running since 2001" part. :lol:
01/03/2006, 01:56 PM
The "110" is actually 2 separate 55 gal tanks, one draining into the next by gravity. The upper one is used for various macrolalgaes.
The lower one is the actual sponge scrubber, it has no lighting other then ambient lighting. Water just flows through it longitudinally and then drains into the main sump were the ca reactor/heaters/ and probes are.
The sponges have been obtained from trades and buying them at LFS when i saw them on small rocks. Tunicates have proven to be too demanding feeding wise to keep long term. I have one (over a year old). Featherdusters will grow profusely in the areas with higher flow, but require steady, consistent supplementation with live phytoplankton.
I will try and take some pics tonight to show you.
01/03/2006, 06:50 PM
Do you have a white type of sponge that sticks to powerheads or to the walls? I came across some at an lfs in a low light tank that is white and ,according to one of the workers, feels prickly, sort of like a bristleworm. It has little spikes, kind of like fiber glass, covering it and is shaped like a bleached cheetos puff snack.
They look similar to this trio but the ones I saw acually lie on the walls and powerheads and are not erect like the ones pictured.
01/03/2006, 07:05 PM
Here are some pics of the ones I saw at the lfs in a low light tank with some corals. What type do you think they are, and do you have any of them in your tank or scrubber?
01/04/2006, 09:48 PM
01/05/2006, 12:32 PM
I had posted a question about the book in this link:
However, I have found no one that had read it. )-:
PS - That picutre of the sponge on the live rock looks awesome. Is that from you system?
01/05/2006, 01:30 PM
lol. No, the top pic is from an issue of Reefkeeping magazine. :lol:
ShipMate has read it. :)
Here is a review by Bob Fenner/the WWM team online:
"Steve Tyree continues in this updated version in his CMAT (Captive Maintenance Advanced Techniques) to, in his own words, "examine the leading edge and advanced techniques utilized to maintain captive ocean organisms". As a completely self-produced work (writing, images, graphics, lay-outâ€¦) this is an admirable work of some new and important ideas in aquarium set-up and operation.
This is an account of Steve's personal odyssey in keeping and culturing attempts with different groups (cnidarians, sponges, ascidians) utilizing simple, readily available gear and tools. To his credit he has pursued and developed his concepts through experimentation and delving into the scientific and engineering literature. What we have here is a historical relating of Steveâ€™s attempts (not always successful) at devising and understanding the utility and processes of cryptic organisms (particularly poriferans/sponges and tunicates/sea squirts) in the wild and in captivity.
Even casual divers and folks handling live rock can tell you of the prominence of these cryptic organisms and their biotopes. The living component/matter of so-called Live Rock is made up more of Sponge material than any other phylum of life. Some places in the oceans the Sea Squirts are obviously populous, though most are inconspicuous or hidden under dark spaces. There are speculations that in the tropical West Atlantic, that the sponge life passes about the entire volume of water through their bodies every few days. That their presence is important in living systems in situ and captivity should come as no surprise.
Steve makes a plausible argument that instead of Berlin Systems, utilizing Live Rock and skimmers, that folks might instead be better off using heterotrophs as and associated with sponge and sea squirt life, as these use the "same" organics as skimmers remove.
You have an inkling of the failure of current trickle filter designs? Good, Steve and I do too. Somehow George Smit et al.s designs from the mid eighties lost their purposeful denitrators. This is covered here.
Steve needs an editor, big timeâ€¦ he reminds me of so many of my "educated-derelict" friends from college itâ€™s painful. He has good ideas, an enterprising mindâ€¦ but the sentence structure, spelling and word usage here is atrocious. The relating of experimentsâ€¦ designs, results shinesâ€¦ itâ€™s the trying to understand the sentences that will bother many readers.
Some general statements are unsupportably sloppy: p.34: "The water is kept anoxic with 1 ppm oxygen and is not allowed to become completely devoid of oxygen". The term "anoxic" needs replacing with "hypoxic".
The books layout, introduction and logical presentation of concepts is laudable, and illustrations nice, but the photographs and their reproduction here on the cover and the books middle are terrible.
The basic premise here of the importance of cryptic organisms and their potential as overall moderators, maintainers of water quality in captive systems cannot (at least not by me) be disputed. Steve does a good job of making his arguments on this point, but would do well to have a good editor assisting in making them clearer.
Steve states: "This book contains the foundation for a new zonal approach to maintaining tropical reef organisms. Captive reef aquarist(s) and reef scientist(s) can utilize this zonal approach to enhance the diversity of organisms maintained within captive reef systems." For the purposes of reviewing filtration methods, seeing how Steve "did it" (trials, tribulations of isolating his cryptic assemblies, keeping the light and predators off of themâ€¦" this book and its series are well worth the effort for advanced reef aquarists."
01/12/2006, 07:07 AM
I just ordered his premium cryptic pack, should be here tomorrow. It is a test for my 30 cube. I'm still trying to figure out various methods I will use to measure it's success. The cube is layered, photosynthetic corals at the top, with tiers sloping down to shadow for non-photosynthetic corals. I have a small HOB skimmer currently on it, no sump (yet), because I don't want the tank drilled. So, we'll see how it goes!
01/12/2006, 01:17 PM
That sounds like a cool experiment. Keep us posted on the results.
01/12/2006, 01:25 PM
The funny thing is, Steve was spending the past few nights poking and spying around for a sea squirt in the systems, but he thinks he's run out. So, I'll be getting that later. Yeah, I'll keep you posted, I do want to see if anything will be quantifiable in this little tank.
01/16/2006, 02:23 AM
Any updates, Amy?
01/25/2006, 04:40 PM
I keep wondering if the current sponge base on our 1+ yr old reef tank is comparable to what Steve is advocating implementing. We have tons of sponges, or all colors (white, red, pink, blue and black) in both the tank and under the chaeot in our 'fuge. I am very interested in hearing about your experiences, thanks for sharing :)
01/25/2006, 07:29 PM
Ok folks, well, ummm.. I have not wanted to post on the matter because I feel a bit 'taken' actually. A lovely red and white cooler arrived 2 weeks ago or whenever. With I forget how many bags, 15 or 21 I think. My eyes were ablaze! I started looking, found the one frag I had ordered. Exciting.
Then, the sponges and bi-vavlves and sea-squirts. Well, I have a huge rock full of black sponge already, in the cooler there were a couple slivers of rock, I mean slivers, with little pieces of black sponge. There were a couple with small pieces of white sponge as well. One with a pretty yellow ball sponge, about 1-2cm in diameter. A black tube sponge, maybe 1 1/2" that was cool. Bi-valves, maybe 2-3, too tiny to barely see. And the bag labled 'tiny sea squirt', I really haven't seen a squirt on that piece of rock yet, but it must be there.
So, what I have naturally on my rocks, beautiful oranges, pinks, yellows and all other shades, and what others probably already have on their's, is a TON more. I've had very cool squirts come in on LR and an oyster I have before too, large ones. Keep what you have and I don't recommending this kick-start pack.
So, I would say yes Tom, he is probably advocating that scenario in the bigger picture. These little things would not manage any impacting filtration for a LONG time yet though, based on their size. I didn't bother to do any tests before putting them in the tank like I had planned and monitoring, because the LR in there has 1m times more sponge already I'd say.
So, that is my story! :)
01/25/2006, 11:02 PM
Some food for thought, the idea is to use animals to filter your tank. Sponges and tunicates can do an excellent job at clearing the water of particulates such as bacteria, phytoplankton etc., after all that's what they eat. I think we all know what happens after an animal eats ;)
01/26/2006, 12:40 AM
Well, I think I will stick to my current stock of sponges and my oversized skimmer. Thank you very much for candidly sharing your experiences Amy, it has helped to prevent others from falling too easily into the same trap. There are several times in my aquarium experience where I felt like (or flat out knew) I had been "taken". Thank you for helping to keep me from adding to my personal "number", your experience was not endured in vain. For someone with a new tank, and not using live rock (IE: using base rock or agrocrete), I guess it would be a good "deal", but like you, I feel some good quality LR brings much more to the table (or tank, if you will).
I've been to Steve Tyree's place a couple times and the setup is well thought out, yet simple.
I converted a 25g fuge to hold the sponges I find in the system not for their filtering ability but just because it adds to my enjoyment.
These are some of the ones I've found in the system over time.
This one is still in a lit fuge.
Most of the above have been moved to one end of a 100g tank with the return, overflow and light at the other end. Circulation is minimal though there is a slight current but some of the pictures above show how delicate these are and they wouldn't hold up to SPS tank style flow.
01/26/2006, 02:52 PM
Sorry to hear your story, but thanks for sharing it.
Maybe his pack would be great for people that make there own live rock and want to seed it with some sponges.
01/26/2006, 03:13 PM
I agree Chris, that seems to be who the pack would be best suited for.
01/26/2006, 05:40 PM
Son of a puppy Amy...that's a real dissapointment. You would think that for $150 the package would include sponges/tunicates on rock pieces that were wider than a toothpick. :mad:
All you guys have good sponge growth despite the fact that you skim heavily 24/7?
01/26/2006, 07:05 PM
yes, despite the fact that it seems like we shouldn't, but in our tank we have good sponge growth in both the tank and the 'fuge. About the only place that really doesn't is the prop tank, but then again that tank is all about flow and lighting, not really a "sponge friendly" environment :)
01/26/2006, 07:44 PM
Eh, it was a learning experience! I got a couple neat little things, little, but neat :) . I think you're right about seeding LR to begin with. Mine, in all my tanks, has always had a ton. I'm not sure what I was expecting.
Steve - you wanna frag your blue one???? It's a beauty!
The blue has done well in my system but I "think" it requires light. The "chunk" of blue was from a larger piece when I was separating it from the rock that had the brownish-gray sponge attached. The blue ones I keep in the tanks under VHO.
01/27/2006, 02:22 PM
I agree with Sparkss
Skimming and sponges...The skimming is necessary for gas exchange along with excess nutrient removal. Sponges and feather dusters should be allowed to grow naturally in the sump of fuge. The type and amount will depend on the amount of food. Very flexible but it takes time.
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