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FAQs on Sponge Identification 1

Related Articles: Sponges in Marine Aquariums

Related FAQs: Sponge ID 2, Sponge ID 3, Sponge ID 4, Sponge ID 5, Sponge ID 6, Sponge ID 7, Sponge ID 8, Sponge ID 9, Sponge ID 10, Sponge ID 11, Sponge ID 12, Sponge ID 13, Sponge ID 14, Sponge ID 15, Sponge ID 16, Sponge ID 17, Sponge ID 18, Sponge ID 19, Sponge ID 20, Sponge ID 21, & Sponges 1Sponges 2Sponges 3, Sponge Selection, Sponge Compatibility, Sponge Systems, Sponge Feeding, Sponge Disease, Sponge Reproduction

Nerites and sponges Hi Bob, First thanks for all the hard work you put in answering questions.  I have found WetWebMedia to be a fantastic resource. <Thank you for your kind words> On the freshwater snails FAQ at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnailfaqs.htm the first question is about white scale appearing in a tank with Nerite snails. I have a 40 gallon SW tank with wildlife collected from the Sebastian Inlet (a man-made inlet between the Indian River Lagoon and Western Atlantic, on the Treasure Coast of Florida.)  Attached is a picture (albeit a poor one) of similar sounding white scale that began appearing in my tank, after the arrival of checkered Nerite snails.  I suspect they are Nerite snail eggs or egg cases, as close up they are semi-translucent, and look about half filled with something.  They appear on the back glass (I leave algae growing there, the Nerites cruise for it, and the blennies, crabs and grass shrimp snack on it) usually in a trail that has been mowed clean by a Nerite.   <Mmm, do look like the right shape... Please see here: http://www.wildsingapore.com/chekjawa/largfoto/r422fx.htm> On to my question… I recently collected a sample from a sponge colony, and have not yet identified it.  I'm hoping you can help.  The full colony was about 12 inches wide by 6 across, encrusting on rock about a half inch thick, with stalactite like outgrowths an inch or two in length.  It was in a semi-shaded spot in the shallows - about 4 feet deep or so.  It is orange in color.  I removed a strip from one edge of the sponge colony.  The sponge article at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongesii.htm mentions the importance of taking substrate, but this sponge was on rock, and live rock can't be taken in FL, though life can be taken from the rock, with the proper license. <But the sponge can?...> At first, in my tank I rubber banded it to a small piece of rock, then decided to set it on a larger piece of base rock, clipping one end under another piece of rock - somewhat dubious of how it would fare after being taken from its home. <Actually... was in Bonaire last week... diving under the municipal pier (that you now have to pay for, and have a guide... due to "terrorism" bogeymen), and they rope-attached a bunch of gorgeous sponge colonies to the pilings following last years' hurricane troubles... and they're definitely adhering, coming back...>   After a day only a day and a half, it had grown enough that it was secure on the base rock.  A fragment that broke loose during the rubber banding (and why I didn't like that approach, too worried I'd put pressure constricting too much area) had fallen to the bottom of the tank, and I left that sitting base down on a piece of shell fragment.  The second sponge photo I've included shows that fragment, and how much it has grown (both photos were taken after 4 and a half days in the tank.)  It doesn't seem to be growing invasively, but growing quickly where needed to secure itself. The only sponge I've seen online that is orange and native to the area in shallow water is the fire sponge, but no fire sponge pictures I've seen have the same structure, not to mention the fact that I braved the back of my hand to check for a sting before collecting, and handled it while placing it in the tank.  Any ideas? <Take a read through Paul Humann, Ned DeLoach's work on ID'ing "creatures" of Florida et al.... This is about the best, most complete, readily available guide (have their three volume set on my roll top as am sorting through the last trips slides currently. Bob Fenner> Thanks,

Creature identification - sponge 9/14/03 Hello everybody! <howdy> Every day something new comes up in my new LR. What I noticed in the last few days are some "creatures" which stick on my red microalgae but also below a live rock. There are about 10 already. They look like worms and are small (half an inch or smaller), fat and hairy and with a "mouth" on one end. I do not know if they should be removed or are "innocent" for my new reef. <they are harmless if not helpful: they are Sycon sponges> I am attaching a snapshot taken from my VCR. Hope it helps. Thanks, Thanassis, who is very excited with every day's new discoveries on his new LR <agreed... a marvelous hobby, revealing the marvels of nature. Best regards, Anthony>

Sponge hitchhiker - 9/11/03 Crew: Thanks for the reply. <Very good>  You guys and girls are the greatest! <We try>  After looking over my new, curing LR yesterday, I discovered a small red sponge (kind of how Columbus "discovered" America). <cool>  It is about an inch long and not as wide. <small> At first I thought it just has not rotted yet, but then later I noticed the...(wait while I look it up)...oscula(!) was open. <Did you just say oscula? Whoa> Now, I am more than a little excited! <Yeah, open osculae do that to me too.....wait.....>  While I am looking around some more, I noticed that my powerhead has slumped a little off the glass (DAMNED SUCTION CUPS). <Say it again!!!!> I fix the powerhead and in the process make a little debris mess that quickly engulfs the entire tank. <DAMNED SUCTION CUPS!!!! I agree>  I normally would not be concerned with only the LR, but now I got this little sponge to worry about.  So, I am looking at it as if to say, "hang in there man", and I couldn't believe my eyes - IT WAS BREATHING! <Uh......>  I mean, you could see the body pumping up and down. <Likely feeding, but also trying to remove the debris>  Am I that easily amazed, or is this incredible? <very cool!!!>  It was looking for food, right? <Possible. Again, could have been removing debris as well>  After my long-winded story, I need to know if I have any chance of continuing this sponge's life? <hard to say. An ID will be very important for its survival. I recommend identification first. May need to employ some library research here. Check the internet as well>  Can it be one of the easier ones to keep - I mean, it made it this far, right? <hard to say> What can I feed it? <Depends on identity, me thinks.> Thanks for all you do so well, I am a lifer! <Thank you. -Paul>  Rich Ps:  I like that the new book target release is just "2004", so you don't have to keep bumping up the monthly estimate :D. <Exactly>

Not So Super Snot - Mysterious Growth in Reef >Hello everyone, >>Good day. >I hope you can help me with a 'mysterious' growth in my reef tank. To describe it without sounding gross, will be difficult, because it indeed looks GROSS! It grows under my rocks, is opaque and whitish, (clear in spots) almost like a milky glass that dripped into the tank. >>Mmm.. sounds like reefs not.  (I just made that up.)  It could be a bacterial/algal growth, I've never seen anything quite like this, though. >I haven't touched it yet because I can't get to it. I brought a sample of my water down to the LFS to make sure my numbers looked good, (my test kits are about 8 months old and I was getting conflicting results between the kits) and, all is within guidelines for a healthy environment.   >>Kit quality is important here, brand, as well as age (8 mths. doesn't seem to be too old, as long as stored properly) are important. >This 'white' stuff has been around for about 4 months. I don't know if it's soft or hard. Any clues?? >>Sorry, I personally don't have one.  I believe I've seen photos of encrusting sponges that may resemble this, a web-page appropriate size photo would be helpful. >Also, I have had another form of growth that is ugly. It's blackish/green, and clogs everything.   >>Now *this* sounds like Cyanobacteria, and this would indicate an issue with excess nutrients.  Of course, not knowing your actual results, as well as what exactly was tested for, means that I can't give you a more specific direction in which to go other than address nutrient control. >I blow it off when I see it and take it out of the tank. It's about 1/8 inch think and it's full of air bubbles. When I squish it between my fingers, it deflates. Any clues with this one? >>Again, this sounds very much like Cyanobacteria.  Use the Google search bar on our homepage with this search term. >Thank you everyone of you. It's nice to have a place to ask questions and not be ignored!!  Pamela >>Quite welcome, and I hope this has helped a bit.  Marina

Red Mystery Growth I see little red growths that look like small, sprouting corals on my Live Rock.  I have seen the same on decorator corals that you can buy in the store.  Any idea what they might be?  The largest is a quarter inch in size with the tip branching out like a tree.  They are completely red and hard.  It appears they are growing, but cannot be sure. Thanks in advance.  I'll try to get a photo if you cannot identify with my poor description... Timothy K. Bossert <Well, Timothy, it is kind of hard to say what these are without a picture, but I'll hazard a guess that you're looking at a sponge of some sort...Or maybe even a macro algae, or even a form of coralline...If you could get a photo, we could probably get a more accurate description of what these things are...Regards, Scott F>

This sponge wont stop growing what is it? help. 12/31/03 Hi my name is Brock Schell, <Hi Brock.  Adam here today.> and i am hoping you can help me. I have been trying to identify this sponge growing in my aquarium and no one seems to know what it is. It is pale yellow in color and started growing on the underside of a piece of live rock. Now it has spread all the way up onto the sides and top of the rock! Like I said it is pale yellow and where it is growing on the sides and top it looks kinda of like shag carpet or kind of feathery. I would like to know if it is toxic to the other critters and if I should take action to get rid of it. <Some sponges are toxic, but generally only if they die, eaten or damaged.  If the sponge threatens to encroach on corals, I would perhaps take action.  If the occasion comes where you damage the sponge in the act of moving something else, I would be prepared to change some water and run some carbon.  If at some point you feel that it must be removed, I would scrub it off of the rock with a wire brush in a separate container and discard the fouled water.  Sponges do have remarkable regenerative abilities though, and it may just grow back.  In the mean time, enjoy the fact that an animal that rarely thrives in aquaria is doing so well in yours!  Happy New Year!  Adam> Thanks Brock

Identifying a boring sponge 12/16/03 Dear Reefers, <howdy> In Calfo and Fenner's excellent book, Reef Invertebrates, it says that a boring sponge has no place in the reef aquarium. <true... for any aquarium set up with the (proper) intent to last for years <G>> I have a piece of rock which I purchased with Corallimorpharia (mushroom corals) sitting in my quarantine tank about to be moved into the main tank, and I noticed that it has a light beige coloured sponge growing inside the rock. <from what locale/species? Atlantic? Pacific?> It appears flush with the surface along and in depressions over the whole rock, as if someone had plastered and smoothed over the holes with putty. Could this be a boring sponge? <very very unlikely> What is the best way to identify potentially harmful sponges? The picture in RI does not show the edges of the boring sponge illustrated and its relation to the rock. The picture shows large holes in the sponge, whereas my one only has small pores. Are there any useful distinguishing features to look out for? Thank you Eric B <it may be best for us to find a scientific reference for this, although I wonder if Steve Tyree's hobby work on Porifera would help here? (dynamicecomorphology.com). Else, there are so many genera and species of boring sponge, we could not possibly describe them by mail, alas> PS - With regard to your reply about detritivores which process snail faeces, the nearest place which I have found in the UK for a Critter Kit is Tim Hayes of Midland Reefs near Birmingham, in case anyone else is looking for these. Its a 120 mile round trip for me - so I hope they don't die on the way back!   <Ahhh... excellent. Tim is a friend of ours, and our UK distributor (books). Very nice chap... best regards to all :) Anthony>   

Fire sponge 11/5/03  do you have any information on a yellow fire sponge????  <I have no idea what exactly you are looking for, my friend with such a generic question. We get queries from all walks of life seeking different info... species ID, natural distribution, husbandry, etc. Let me ask you to please browse through our archives here at wetwebmedia.com (do a search with the Google tool at the bottom of our index page). Begin there mate. Anthony> 

Sponge ID - 2/11/04 Well, I DID find 2 sponges that are in my tank, Leucetta sp, and this ugly one I have been looking at for months>>>a white sponge. <Sorry for the delay. These pictures still look like a faded Leucetta sp as well> I recently asked someone on your team what it could be and I think it was Fenner that said it sounded like "reef snot"! <Sounds like Fenner> UGH! Was that gross or what. <Well, I'm a guy. Takes a little more than the mere mention of snot to gross me out> I could be mistaken about Fenner though, maybe it was one of the other guys! <Still sounds like Fenner> In any case, my tank has it! <Not a bad thing. Some can't keep sponges alive even if their very existence depended on it> thanks for the sponge tip though, I had no idea. <Well, good luck to you. Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul> Pam

Unknown life forms, Syconoid sponges I've got a 55 gal F/O tank running for about 4 months now. The inhabitants include a Yellow Tang, a few damsels, a few hermit crabs, a snail and a pincushion urchin. A week ago I noticed a colony of organisms growing on some of my coral skeletons. They are oblong shaped, translucent, and on the end that's not attached to the coral they have an upside-down lamp shade (mouth?) <excurrent siphon> .....I guess? I would venture to say that they're some kind of filter feeder.  <a Syconoid sponge. Delightful, harmless> They don't move at all, even when I touch them. Can you Identify them based on my description?  <yep> are they beneficial? <yepper> and what are they eating?  <filter feeding (nanoplankton) and dissolved organics> I tried to draw it in the attached BMP. <a d=fine drawing!> Romane Avril <best regards, Anthony>

Syconoid sponges Just a quick question. I have recently noticed small objects that appear like small white tuffs of cotton. Like the ends of a Q-tip. These things are everywhere. After a few days they pop open and become a small mound of transparent tubes that seem to quickly fade away.  So, what are these awful things ,and how do I get rid of them...Thanks for your help. Warren <not really awful at all... they are Syconoid sponges and they appear in mature tanks with live rock. Booming populations suggest a nutrient control issue (overfeeding, skimmer that does not yield a full cup of skimmate 5-7 times weekly, etc). But the syconoids themselves are quite beneficial filter feeders. Best regards, Anthony>

Syconoid sponges I forgot to ask you in my last e-mail if you could tell me what the following described (things) are in my reef tank. When I purchased my last live rock I noticed some small white things on the rock when I put it in my tank. They look almost like small balls of cotton with a small hole at the tip of them. I looked in my coral book and they almost look like Nutting's Sponges. What ever it is they are multiplying quickly and starting to overtake my one large piece of live rock. <they are Syconoid sponges, desirable filter feeders and present no harm or danger. Their proliferation indicates a nutrient export problem in your tank though. Most commonly from a skimmer that doesn't yield dark daily skimmate (every day!) or a simple lack of water changes . Overfeeding too. Likely poor skimming though> Do you have any idea how I can get rid of them since they are multiplying so quickly. <simply nutrient control and they will wane/starve> If I have to take them out by hand it would take me so long that I would be better off destroying the whole rock. <good heavens no! Do you work for the military? Killing everything in sight as a first response <G>?!?  These are harmless and helpful creatures that are thriving because of a flaw in your maintenance schedule> Thanks for all your help! Now I am helping others with the expertise you are giving me.   <very good to hear! Thanks kindly, Anthony>

Question on unknown life form Hi, do you know what this is? It's been growing on my live rock it looks cottony but see through and there is a black dot in the middle looks alive but it just grew there should I remove it?  <Looks something like a bit of amorphous sponge... you could take a look through a low power microscope at a bit of it and likely make a good determination (to the phylum level at least). I would leave it as is> Its right there in the middle white a lumpy like mashed potatoes. Weirdest thing I've ever saw. Email what you think I should do. Thanks <Observe, enjoy. Bob Fenner>

Strange Organism... Tunicate perhaps I have a 66 gallon reef tank that is doing extremely well, everything is growing in this tank! I have sponges, live corals, Caulerpa, fish, inverts of all sorts. One of my new soft coral acquisitions has something strange that I cannot identify growing on it's native rock right next to it. Please try to identify it and if required I will extract the coral assembly from it's resting place and position it for a better photo if you wish. <a better photo may be needed here but the creature does look to likely be a tunicate or sponge by the large excurrent/exhalent siphon depicted in the photo. The fundamental contrasts between the two organisms is as follows. Solitary Tunicate:  * Respond rapidly to being touched (closing apertures/openings) * Have two large openings (one atop and the other just slightly lower)…or… One large opening atop and many small holes around the body systematically (patterned) * Inward and mobile tentacles line the openings (apertures)  Sponge:  * Are slow to respond if at all to being touched (holes are permanent) * Have spiked outward projections around openings (spicules) but no inward projections * Have a rough or porous texture (sponge) and not slimy/mucous or smooth (tunicates)> I'm a bit nervous as to what it might be, if bad will it cause me a lot of grief. Please advise because if its not common I don't wish to kill it either. Van Vlaardingen St.Hubert, Quebec, Canada <no need to worry... it is a safe and fascinating filter feeder either way. If is a sponge, it is no more noxious than many popular corals and Zoanthids> P.S - Your site is one of our references for saltwater up here in the cold north, keep up the good work. <it is very redeeming to hear! Thank you. With kind regards, Anthony>

Invertebrate ID- Syconoid sponges Greeting gentlemen - <Holiday cheers, my friend> the attached pictures (I hope they come through okay!) were taken from my 120 gallon FOWLR tank.  The little white invertebrates that I tried to capture in the pictures have begun to take over my live rock.  First of all, what are they?   <harmless, helpful filter-feeding Syconoid sponges... their proliferation is evidence of a slight nutrient control problem. Likely a lack of protein skimming (daily or almost daily dark skimmate?) and/or weak water change schedule, overfeeding, overstocking, etc> I have tried to ID them in various books, etc, but haven't found anything that I would consider a match.  Second of all, will they pose a problem to my fish (Naso Tang, Yellow Tang, Huma Huma Trigger & Lunare Wrasse)?   <nope... harmless> If there anything I could add that might help "thin them out"? <with the above listed heavy fish load... I suspect that you need to may thin out your fishes in the future, my friend. Even if they are young/small... their cumulative adult sizes about 36". We need a serious tank to house these critters... 300 gall would be nice (the Naso and the lunare are the deal breakers here... potential of 16-18" for Naso and around 10-12" for wrasse).> Any advise/suggestions would be, as always, much appreciated. Happy Holidays! Aaron Paget <with kind regards, Anthony>

Creature ID continued Encrusting sponge huh?  If it is, they will over run the tank in no time....as far as not giving a good description...there's not much to describe...about 15 to 20 black round dingle berries about 3/8 of an inch and these did not grow that large over a period of time...they just appeared. The rock they are on was barren except for the few polyps and in time it developed a good growth of hair algae which my tang ate away and then they showed up shortly after the haircut. What say you now? <I say that I hope you are a better story teller if you have children than descriptive of your reef. I'm hoping your not a cop either or employed in a vocation that requires keen perception. Ha! For starters... what is the texture like? Smooth or rough, does it shrink at night or always stay the same size, any hairs, pores, tentacles or polyps, mucus ever sloughed, which if any fish will graze upon it, occurs only in light, only in shade or in both, does it change in shape or color, respond to light or movement... just for starters. Better yet... here's a good question: know anybody with a digital camera <G>. Best regards (and appreciative of you being a good sport <G>). Anthony>

- Critter ID - Hello guys... <And hello again.>   I forgot to mention one other critter.  Poking out of several pieces of my live rock are these tube shaped white fuzzy looking things that appear to have a "hole" at their top.  They get kinda tall, maybe 1/4 inch from rock to tip (so far as I can tell anyway) and they appear to have "antennae" like things at the very top.  They never move and nothing seems to bother them and they don't appear to bother anybody.  I'm just curious as to what they are.  I have 7 different size pieces of live rock and they appear on just about every one. <They are a type of sponge, although once again, the name escapes me - very common, and again, a sign that things are progressing well in your system.>   Maureen
<Cheers, J -- >

Re: Help with ID please Hey guys,   OK, I shine my flashlight on my tank often. But tonight, I was checking on them a little later than usual and I saw the strangest thing. So weird that I pulled out the camera, and took 2 shots (attached). It looks like a jelly fish, although I'm pretty sure it's not. It has a brownish color, about 4" long. It appears to be coming out of a rock, but I can't tell because it is in a difficult area to see. It is waving in the current, and the end of the jelly-like sac appears to be slightly ripped.   The next day (today), it is still visible, and appears to be shriveling/breaking up/dying (assuming it was alive to begin with). <Do think so. Looks like a sort of sponge> I put up some video also, you can see it here: http://briefcase.yahoo.com/unidentified122000 You will need the user name and password: User: unidentified122000 PW: WetWebMedia You also need QuickTime to view the video. <Neat> The video files are named 'Unidentified 1' and 'Unidentified 2' I took them with a digital still camera, so the quality isn't the best. Not to mention I was aiming a flashlight and holding the record button with one hand, but it should help with the ID. You might want to lower the volume, because the camera picked up my loud ass pumps. <Ha!> Feel free to laugh at my camera work. Thanks a lot, Adam Karp <Oops. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> P.S.  Bob, I'm looking forward to meeting you at the Brooklyn Aquarium Society meeting on May 19th. <Oh, be seeing you. Bob>

Hey Bob, any explanation as to why I have never seen it before?   <"They come and they go"... many transient organisms arise and "disappear" in live rock use> Also, do you know where I can find any info on sponges of this type?  I've never heard of a jelly-like sac of a sponge? Thanks again, Adam <Mmm, maybe through the references associated with our coverage: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: unidentified marine pest Hi. Over the last week, an incredible number of an organism I can't find an identification for has taken over my fish only marine setup.  It is roughly egg shaped with a tab on one end which sticks to the glass/rock/coral skeletons and a tuft on the other end.  The organism is completely colorless and appears to have a soft body.  Most are no bigger than 3 or 4 mm, but one rock has a clump of these animals with individuals around 1 cm.  They do not match pictures or descriptions of Aiptasia or various sorts of worms from the Wet Web Media site.  Any insight as to what these are, their danger (or lack thereof) to the system, and/or what I can do to rid the tank of them in the form of tank inhabitant additions would be appreciated.  The 55 gallon tank currently houses a Monodactylus argenteus and 2 Neoglyphidodon melas as well as 2 unidentified hermit crabs (collected from the Gulf Coast of Florida).  I am considering the addition of a Chaetodon auriga to the setup...is this a bad idea given the infestation or do you think the butterfly may help eat the things? <Patrick, sorry it took so long to answer your email. Unfortunately my internet service has been down. About this critter: The scientific name is alluding me at this moment but what you are describing is a small type of sponge. They are absolutely harmless. Eventually their shape will change somewhat and they will take on a flat appearance. Frequently I see these animals in the overflow box of my aquarium. I wouldn't really call what you are describing as an infestation...this critter is not the least bit harmful to anything. Normally, these guys appear with a rise in nutrients (DOM or DOC). I would be surprised if the butterfly doesn't make short work of these sponges>   Thanks, Patrick.

Strange algae? I have been slowly developing what looks like a black, hard,  rubberized growth on some rocks and apparently weaker stinging corals.  When I scraped it off , it kind of felt like rubber as well.  Any thoughts on what it might be and if I should try to scrape it all away.  It started to grow on a birds nest coral. It does not seem to grow very fast and I can not recall seeing it or hearing about what it may be anywhere else. It is not easy to scrape, in fact you have to use a razor.  Fish or crabs are not interested.  Thanks in advance for any thoughts you may have. If you need, I will try to send a picture later.  Thanks. <Sounds like a blue-green algae, but might be a type of encrusting sponge. It's rare that either takes over, as in coating live corals in an otherwise well-run marine aquarium system. Do you measure nutrients like phosphate, nitrate? Would help to know re your lighting, filtration make-up. Please take a look on: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ re Cyanobacteria, sponges (articles and FAQs). Bob Fenner>

RE: Strange algae? I appreciate your quick response. I had also thought perhaps a type of sponge. To me it did not seem like a blue green due to its rubbery and hardened state. It has spread since first noticed and covered what was coralline rock.  My tank is 500 gallons using an ETS 2000 skimmer, 6 250 watt metal halides.  10% water changes every 2 weeks. I do have some blue green on some other rocks and am trying to improve circulation by adding 3 sea swirls.  Have you ever seen or heard of this black rubber type growth before? <Oh yes. Bob Fenner>

RE: Strange algae? (sponge) Bob, again thanks for your reply.  Should I get worried and start scraping where possible.  Any near term concerns.  Terry <Mmm, I would move any stony or soft corals that are in the path of this sponge (higher up, to areas of greater circulation). Typically, "something" will become rate-limiting, a predator will arise in a captive sponge population, reduce or restrict its over-growth... in a period of weeks to months. Again, I would check on some source of food (likely a chemical supplement) that is favoring this type. Bob Fenner>

Mystery Animal? Hello! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> Could you please tell me what this is in the picture. The yellow and lime color that appeared near the bottom on the live rock it is starting to get little bubble in it. <Well, Cecilia, it looks to me to be a sponge; it looks to me like a Callyspongia species. These types of sponges prefer semi-exposed areas in the aquarium with moderate current, and diffused light. Whatever you're doing to keep it alive and growing- just keep doing it!> Also did you ever heard of A M T filters good or bad. I want to purchase one. Thank you. Cecilia <Well, Cecilia, I have not personally heard of this brand, so you may want to put out a post on the WetWebMedia chat forum to hear what some of other users of this brand might think>

Unidentified reef tank object Hello bob, I haven't been a reefer a long time. I really enjoy the hobby. The other day i was doing a cleanup in the tank which it really need " Under filtered", But that's a different story. Anyway i had picked up one of my Fiji rocks and had found something growing on it. It's fuzzy and soft like a sponge. In fact i took a photo of it maybe you can identify it. Hope to hear back. Thanks Jim:
<Does look like a sponge to me. Bob Fenner>

Creature from the Black Aquarium...  2/21/03 Hi Phil,<Hey Jim!> I just got a better pic for you on the invert I was trying to ID. Thanks Jim <Well Jim, even with the pic we were a little stumped.  My friend/fellow WWM Crew member Anthony contacted me about this creature.  He wrote this:  "The creature you were asking about is a very common sponge of the genus Sycon (commonly referred to as a Syconoid sponge). They are prolific harmless filter feeders that flourish in tanks with high nutrients. People often describe them as "puffs" or "pillowy". They have a dingy off white color."   So this is harmless and should go away after nutrient levels drop.  Use a protein skimmer and weekly water changes to help control nutrients.  Hope this helps! Phil/Anthony>

Syconoid sponges of the genus Sycon - 2/24/03 Just e-mailing to thank Phil & Anthony on the ID of the invert in question. After reading the email I checked out the sponge FAQ and saw the description that other hobbyists had given and fits the creatures I have in my reef tank. <glad for the ID. It is a common and innocuous creature, rest assured> And yes the air intake into my skimmer had clogged and was giving little skimmate and yes I was adding a little too much  "food " additive for my ailing Lemnalia. <no worries... predictable and easily remedied to be sure> One hobbyist described it the best .. " like the end of  a Q-tip". By the way . Would these sponges be a good source  for pygmy angels? <not significant... but no harm either. Its the standard angels (not dwarf) that favor sponge in the diet> Thanks again  for your help.. truly appreciated. Jim/Long Island <our pleasure. Do be sure to stop in and say Hi at the BAS and Long Island aquarium club meetings Bob and I will be giving in May (9th and 11th respectively). Best regards, Anthony> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/upcoming.htm

Soaking Up Information On Sponges! Dear Bob, I am hoping that you have seen something like this and can tell me if it is harmful or not. <Scott F. here tonight> On the underside of some of my live rock there is a whitish grey flat smooth growth.  In one area it is 5 inches in diameter. My reef is about 4 yrs. old and I started seeing this several years ago, but didn't think anything of it.  It appeared harmless and I didn't know much about what was normal and what wasn't.  Most of my knowledge since has come from your book and talking with other reefers.  This growth seems to be spreading to different areas of the reef. Do you have any idea what it is or what I should do about it? <Hard to be certain without a picture, but it sounds to me like it may be some form of sponge or other cryptic organism. I don't think that you should be concerned about the animal...It's all part of the wonderful diversity that arises from healthy live rock in an established system...I'd enjoy it! You might want to get a copy of Steve Tyree's book "The Porifera (Living Sponges)", which will provide a lot of information about these interesting animals> Thank you for taking the time to educate those of us who have a lot to learn.  Your knowledge and education is invaluable to us.   Phyllis <Glad that you find the site so helpful! We have as much fun bringing it to you as I hope you have visiting it! Good luck! regards, Scott F>

Cotton ball looking things in my tank Follow-up 5/31/03 I have a 40 gal salt water setup and in the past month I've noticed little cotton ball looking things with small tentacles growing on my rock and some of my corals I have 2 bigger ones 1 in round growing under a polyp rock should I be concerned<They could be a number of things my guess would be sponges but couldn't say for sure without a picture.  There's probably a picture on the WetWebMedia.com site.  Cody> <<Anthony Calfo with the follow-up. Do a Google search of our website and beyond for Sycon or Syconoid sponges. IN our FAQs there are a couple of pics of a small Sycon species that is quite common... dingy white and pillowy. Do consider. Best regards, Anthony>>

Brown sponge?? Hi, Bob Hope you are doing well, your site has been invaluable to me over the past three years of reefkeeping.  I just have a quick question.  I have a dark brown substance (almost diatom color) growing on one of my live rocks, under and around a Ricordea, At first I thought that it was some time of algae, but I let it alone and as it has grown, it now appears to be some type of encrusting sponge, with water in/out openings.  What are your thoughts on what this is (i.e. have you ever seen sponge this color?) <Yes... in fact I don't think there's a color or mix in sponges that I haven't seen...> and should I let it grow or scrub it off? <I'd leave it as is... very likely much more beneficial than detrimental> it doesn't appear to be bothering the Ricordea at all.  I know you guys are busy and I appreciate all the hard work you do saving our inhabitants from our otherwise bad/fatal mistakes. Thank You for your time, Thom Stephens <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Identifying Unknown Hey Bob, <Hi there> I'm a big fan of your site!! I have a 20g reef tank that purrs like a kitten, but every now and then things begin to appear in my tank.  <I'd leave out the "but"... "new things" will pop out apparently from well set-up, maintained systems> Usually the new growths or inhabitants are exactly what is expected of a reef system, but recently I have a stumper. Can you please take a look at the attached pic and see if you can take a shot? No takers yet! <The purple bit behind the gorgeous encrusting red algae? A sponge (Poriferan) colony of some sort... the larger osculae (mouths) are for incurrent water. Bob Fenner> Thanx, Dr Jon Sherman

Red or Orange Ball Sponge? Hi Bob, This past weekend I added a sponge to my reef. The sales lady told me verbally that it was an orange ball sponge, but on the list she wrote up for me (to keep what I have straight I have to have it written down) she wrote down red ball sponge. I have read your information on the site, but it doesn't say how to tell them apart?  <Hmm, well, both these terms are applied to what I suspect are the same species... of the genus Cinachyra... One of the more common sponges found in the trade... collected out of the tropical West Atlantic as well as the Indo-Pacific... often a reddish or more dark orange will change in captivity to a more washed-out yellow, even looking "dirty" with age, diminished conditions/health> It certainly looks like it's an orange color, but I would like an opinion from someone who has seen them to make a decision. It is quite solid and the holes that take water in can be seen quite clearly when feeding it (I've been using a mix of invertebrate smorgasbord and phytoplankton SP?) <"Borg", you will be assimilated... sorry 'bout that... walk the "plank"...> Seems happy so far . . . Also, the piece of live rock on it, that had the white mushrooms on it, is definitely growing coral. It's white and flat, with a honeycomb shaped brown spot pattern to it. Little tentacles come out of each one. <Neat> They are definitely getting larger, slowly. When I can get a picture that is half-way decent I will send it to you to see what you think it is (-: if you don't mind. I have scraped two of the mushrooms off the rock and moved them away, but can't get 3 of them off. Lastly, haven't bought my new light yet. I had tried to buy the Formosa DLS a month ago, but when I got to the store we found that it had a defective ballast. Last week I called and was assured that they had mine in, and would hold it for me. When I got there, the only one they had was the broken one, and they couldn't understand why I had been told to drive the hour and a half over to get it. So, I'm looking on the internet now, and it will cost me a little more, but at least I will have it. And considering the price of gas . . . I might have been better off doing that to start with, LOL!  <You're so right> Anyway, that's how I ended up with the sponge and some sun polyps that they said didn't need the light. Attached is a pic of the sponge . Thanks! Cari <Very nice image. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Name that picture please Mr. Robert Fenner, I hope you might be able to identify what the growth on my live rock might be. I have enclosed a picture. I have gone to liverock hitchhiker all around the internet. Though I think I have heard descriptions that come close, knowing what it might be is more of a help. I'm sure it is a harmless filter feeder. My fish and invertebrates are not harmed by it's presence. Do you have any thoughts? Thank you for your time. Creg PS The actual size is about that of a silver dollar <Hmm, does look like some sort of cup-shaped filter feeding invertebrate... likely a type of sponge... As you suggest, not harmful. Bob Fenner>

Unidentified encrustation on live rock Bob, I've got some sort of...thing...growing on my live rock. It is a clear, hard, encrusting organism that was present (but unnoticed) when I purchased the rock, and has spread to adjoining rocks. When I initially noticed it, it looked like someone had poured super-glu over the rock and allowed it to dry. Since live rock is "fossilized" I assumed this was some quartz-like deposit because it was clear and hard. A few days ago I noticed that it had spread and that there was a cup-like formation in the middle region of the organism (leading me to wonder if this is some kind of really hard sponge?), <Good guess> but this has subsequently disappeared--some sort of reproductive mechanism?  <Maybe... or perhaps feeding?> Anyway, I've reviewed all your articles and can't find a reference to anything that sounds like what I've got. Any help would be appreciated--and btw, thanks for all the fascinating articles! <Yikes... could be a bunch of things... Do you have an inexpensive microscope? Need more close detail> Don't know if this is pertinent in this case but I've currently got a 30G tank that's been running for about 3 months, CPR Bak Pak IIR, live rock, aragonite substrate, totally insufficient lighting: 40W (we're building a new 75G tank/hood now), a few fish, snails, crabs, a starfish, and an incredibly large number of hitchhikers/'pods. Salinity 1.024, ph 8.2, temp 79, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0. Thanks again! -Michelle <Hmm, at any length, wouldn't worry too much over this new "flat hard blob"... will likely cycle out, not be harmful in the meanwhile. Bob Fenner>

Re: (update) Unidentified encrustation on live rock Bob, I know you're at MACNA right now, because I was there today (made some nice purchases in the exhibit hall including "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" which I have been wanting and a FREE copy of "The book of the Marine Aquarium" from one kind vendor), but I wanted to thank you for your help and let you know that what I've got definitely appears to be some sort of sponge. <Okay.... am in Detroit on the way back...> We attempted to photograph it (no, I haven't touched a microscope in 15 years--yuck), but couldn't get a clear shot. My boyfriend (being male and therefore prone to such descriptives) said to tell you that "it looks more like mucus than superglue."  <Great!> Anyway, after dusting it off with a turkey baster, we realized that it is no longer hard, but has a soft top layer that is impacted by water pressure, (and poking) and counted five "feeding mouths" (?) that appeared shortly after the tank was fed. These are cup-like and slightly elevated from the rest of the organism, but almost transparent and therefore difficult to locate <Ah! Is either (well, likely), either a sponge of some sort.... or a tunicate/Ascidian> As I mentioned previously, it is spreading onto two other covering rocks, being located on a rock that forms the bottom of a triangle formation, so apparently it's happy in its' shaded environment. I hadn't planned on keeping any sponges so now I'll have to do some research to figure out what type it might be, and how to care for it (although complete negligence so far seems to be the ticket).  <You are so right my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Thanks again! -Michelle

Pillowy Syconoid sponges Anthony, Thanks for the help, was a little scared of the sponges, not knowing what they were! All seems to be going well. Doug <always welcome, my friend. Syconoid sponges, small feather dusters, copepods, etc. without any significant nuisance algae usually indicate a very nice and consistent level of dissolved organics in the display for invertebrates. Sounds like you may have struck a nice balance. Best regards, Anthony>

Orange sponge do you know the phylum, class, and order of the orange sponge? also: do you know where I could find pictures or information on its internal structures and bodily functions? I have a report due, any information would help. -Justin <Please see here re the Phylum Porifera: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm and here re literature searches: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm Bob Fenner>

Coral (sponge) identification Bob, I was wondering if you could Id. this orange sponge I have attached .  <Anthony Calfo in your service just the same while Bob travels> I just purchased it two days ago it appears to be very healthy could you tell me lighting ,water flow, and what to feed it and how often.  <I'm sorry to say, my friend that you have one of the most challenging species to try to keep. Some folks feel it shouldn't even be imported for the masses or at least such casual purchases (better for special order and advanced aquarists). It is a shame that they are so inexpensive as to be tempting. They are obligate filter feeders of foods not entirely known or replicable to science and aquariology. Some say live phytoplankton may keep these animals for some months to a year. Odds are that yours won't live to see six months I'm afraid. Besides possibly phytoplankton (live not bottled (too large particle size))...strong laminar flow will also be necessary. Some feeding by absorption from sediments may also be in order. You might try keeping it in a muddy well circulated refugium (fishless)> I have been feeding it Reef Vital DNA, Black Powder, and Spectra Vital put out by Marc Weiss.  <you really don't want to know my personal opinion here <wink>> I just recently found your web site and I was very Impressed I spent hours reading the information. Thank you for your time, Travis Pierson <good reading.. please continue to do so. May I also suggest that you browse photos to make a list of desired animals for your display and then research them to see which ones will be most suitable to the way you'd like to run your tank. I myself have worked with reef invertebrates for a living for a decade and even wrote a book about the... and I would not attempt to keep this specific sponge. For what its worth. Best regards, Anthony Calfo

Strange white puffs in my sump! Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro this morning.> I have a 150 gallon tank with a trickle filter underneath. The lower section of the trickle filter has white puffs all over! They are all over the bio-balls (just the ones under water), they're on the sides of the trickle filter-underwater, and they are starting to grow inside my protein skimmer! What the heck is this and what should I do?! <I don't know what exactly it is, my best guess is a type of sponge. Regardless, it is probably a harmless filter feeder and should be left alone.> I can take a digital picture if it would help! <Sure> Thank you in advance, Kevin Ballard <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Sponge ID Please could you tell me what this is?  I saw this on my saltwater tank and It very slowly started moving from my live rock to this corral its on in the picture. There is a another bigger one in the back, but I cannot get a clear picture of it. There are also little small ones all over the live rock. Could you please possibly let me know what these things are ? Thank you, Rome

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