FAQs on FW Sponges, Occurrence in Freshwater
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Related FAQs: FW Invert.s 1, Hydra, Worms, Snails, Bivalves, Crustaceans, Shrimps,
Brackish Crabs, Terrestrial Hermit Crabs,
Weird growth in tank 6/12/17
A friend in the aquatics business suggested your forum because he wasn't sure
about an odd growth in my first tank. It's on it's 3rd week of setting up. No
fish have been added yet. But with this odd growth in my tank I'm not entirely
sure in a couple weeks that I should. I have removed it from the tank.
<Mmm; looks like a sponge off hand; perhaps a bit of Moneran or Protist opportunistic
growth; all transient... not to worry>
Hopefully you all can tell me if I'm doing something wrong to cause something
that could be harmful to the ecosystem so I can straighten out everything before
I add my first fish.
<What's that spiel from Star Trek... I'd go ahead boldly. Bob Fenner>
Freshwater sponge -
Spongilla aquarium care 3/5/15
Hello! There's not much info out there about keeping Spongilla or other
freshwater sponges in the aquarium. So, I thought I'd give it a go and
see if I can learn a little bit and share what I find out if anyone is
<I/we thank you. The only experience I had w/ such was a friend in the
trade, DaveC of Aquarium Flora and Fauna, showing me a patch growing
under a bridge/pond account in Fairbanks Ranch here in San Diego years
I got a small Spongilla specimen from Carolina Biological approximately
one week ago. The specimen is brown-beige in color which is probably
normal for one collected in the winter time. This sponge is being kept
in a clear plastic livebearer baby nursery in my 40 gallon freshwater
I wanted to keep it somewhat isolated since first of all it is pretty
small, and secondly, I was afraid the fish/snails/shrimp might eat it.
The baby nursery is in the front of the tank up near the top and is only
a few inches below a freshwater led light. The livebearer nursery has an
airstone to increase circulation which I am currently not using. But I'm
not ruling that out, either!
After a week, the sponge has not yet turned green but it seems to be
doing ok. It has become adhered to the bottom of the livebearer nursery
and the base has spread out a little. I'm not sure if it has grown any,
I should measure it and keep records on that. At any rate it hasn't
rotted or fallen apart so I take the adherence as a good sign. I'll be
happy to send updates as things progress if you think anyone might be
Here's a link to a page with some great pictures of freshwater sponges
Man, I'd love to have my sponge look like that huge green monster!
<Thank you Joanne. Bob Fenner>
Re: Freshwater sponge - Spongilla aquarium care - Update
Hi guys! I guess it's time to give a little update on my Spongilla experiment.
The initially light-brown sponge gradually became green from exposure to the
bright light. When received, the specimen was a small roundish lump.
As it became greener the shape began changing to include several small fingers.
While it held its own, it seemed that the very slow flow of water through the
livebearer nursery was not good for it as it got a bit covered with biofilm.
Since the livebearer nursery has a place for attaching an airstone (to increase
flow) I had decided to try this to see if the Spongilla would be happier.
But I never got a chance - disaster struck! Of course it did. The
plastic nursery attaches to the side of the aquarium with suction cups.
One day it somehow slipped down the side of the tank, far enough that
the top of the nursery was underwater and the plastic lid just floated off.
By the time I got home several Nerite snails were grazing inside the
nursery, and fish were swimming in and out. And the sponge had been
eaten, although I'm not sure if it was the snails or the fish that got it.
There was one tiny piece of Spongilla clinging to the plastic which had not yet
been eaten. I was able to salvage it, but what to do now?
Didn't trust the nursery anymore and it would certainly be eaten if left
unprotected in the tank. Luckily I had a few of these empty moss ball frames
around - see picture:
Hoping the plastic grid would protect it, I put the remaining tiny piece of
sponge in the ball frame and placed it into my 5 gallon cherry shrimp aquarium.
That was a week or so ago. It's still hanging in there. The piece is still green
and the shrimp and snails have so far left it alone.
I'm waiting to see if it will recover and begin to grow again.
<Can move on up to an inverted berry container (plastic); like those that folks
offer Strawberries in...>
I'll keep you updated if anything interesting happens!
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Freshwater sponge - Spongilla aquarium care - Update
Real quick update for you today! The tiny piece of Spongilla now residing in my
nano shrimp tank continues to do well and appears to have grown a little bit.
<Good; and are slow growing>
This may indicate that Spongilla is not all that difficult to cultivate as long
as basic needs are met. I suspect that they will do best in a mature tank
although that remains to be seen.
However, it will take this small piece a long time to grow to any significant
size so I have ordered another specimen from Carolina Biological. Guess I'm just
<A common human trait, condition>
If I am able to grow these specimens out to at least a moderate size I can begin
to experiment with placement by varying light exposure, current, etc.
One other thing - as I was thinking over the accidental loss of most of my
original Spongilla specimen, I realized that I only assumed it had been eaten.
It's also possible that the sponge had only been knocked loose from its
attachment and may have wound up somewhere in the tank. I have found references
in the literature to insects that predate on freshwater sponges but never found
any mention of snails or fish doing the same.
Maybe there were just no studies about that, or possibly Spongilla produces
chemicals to discourage such predation. Many marine sponges do this.
<Yes; and diverse others produce chemicals that suppress the growth of other
life nearby, sting...>
At any rate the tank is large and heavily planted but I will be keeping an eye
on it to see if my original specimen may have survived. That would be bonus!
<Thank you for your further sharing. BobF>
Freshwater sponges Can you give me any information on how I
would be able to keep a freshwater sponge in an
aquarium? Also any additional info you might know would be
appreciated <interesting if unattractive <G>... follow here my
<best regards, Anthony>
FW Sponges >>Peter? Did you want to ask me
something? LOL! Marina<< >Actually yes,
Do you know of anyone who had tried their luck in culturing
freshwater sponges? >>No, I'm afraid not. >As far as the
alga, I'm coming up empty handed. >>Me too. >Did I send
you an empty mail? Pete >>Yes! You sure
did! LOL! Marina>
Orange growth in freshwater? I have a 20 gallon tank, has
been established for over a year. I have a Betta, 8 white cloud
minnows, 4 blue danios, and an albino Cory cat in there. But the
problem isn't with the fish, they are doing great. However, on my
fake Cabomba plant, right at the stem where the leaves would be growing
out, there are these very strange looking orange puffy growths. I have
never seen, nor heard of anything like this before. <Hmm, me
neither> I searched on the web, but to no avail on information
found. I took one out and tried to examine it, however it turned pretty
much to mush, there were no eggs inside or around the growths either.
What could this possibly be? Thank you for any info you can provide.
Shannon <My best guess is that you actually have encountered a
freshwater sponge (please put this term in your computer search
tools)... Rare in aquariums, ponds... but do occur... this is about all
(my second conjecture would be algae of some sort, third, a gastropod
egg-mass...) that is amorphous, soft/mushy as you describe. Bob