- This topic has 5 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 16 years, 10 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
January 11, 2007 at 9:15 pm #1071carrieincoloradoMember
You might recall I traded Mr. Big Lips (my elephant ear coral) to my not so LFS for a red tree sponge. They said they had the sponge for three weeks. I put it in high flow, we (the FS and I) were VERY careful that the sponge never touch the air. I feed the tank with marine snow and zooplex (although, I dont think the sponge would eat zooplex, but my polyps will) either daily or every other day. The sponge gets tons of flow, and I\’ve tried turning it so that it\’s not just one side that always get the flow. But he is surely and slowly shrinking. Is there any way I can save it? As it shrinks, is it sending toxin into the water? The horses really love it, I\’d hate to see it die.
Post edited by: carrieincolorado, at: 2007/01/11 16:17January 14, 2007 at 11:26 pm #3283carrieincoloradoGuest
Any thoughts? Should I remove it? I can tell that it doesn’t stink or anything (by touching it, not taking it out) but it is shrinking.January 15, 2007 at 1:12 pm #3288Saint2966Guest
My advice is remove it immediately. I just researched several places in regards to my own shrinking tree. They can release nasty toxins in the water when they are dying. Sponges do not have much chance in the aquarium life span is usually 8 months at best. We gotta find something else bright colored, with a tree shape for these guys. I hate the thought of losing my stock by trying to make them happy. :sick: I removed mine today and suggest you do the same. I also bumped up the carbon in the system.
Good Luck CindyJanuary 16, 2007 at 8:49 am #3292Pete GiwojnaGuest
Yup, that’s a fairly common problem with live sponges in the aquarium. They are filter feeders that typically feed on very small particles such as bacteria and other microbes, and there is simply not enough suitable food for them in most standard aquarium systems. Live sponges do best in large, well-established reef systems with good flow and no protein skimming.
It would appear that your shrinking sponge is simply not getting enough to eat and therefore losing mass as a result. This in itself is not harmful to your seahorses or the other aquarium inhabitants, but should the sponge expire, it could present a threat due to deteriorating water quality and/or the release of toxins into the water as it disintegrates. So it’s generally a good precaution to remove a live sponge when it begins to dwindle away.
That doesn’t mean that your seahorses have to do without sponges, however, Carrie. The latest generation of artificial sponges are so lifelike the seahorses can’t seem to tell the difference. They are cast from molds of actual sponges and are very detailed and realistic. They are made from polyurethane, which gives them a flexible, resilient texture that’s very similar to the living sponges and they are therefore just as attractive to the seahorses as hitching posts. The synthetic sponges are available in a variety of bright colors such as yellow, orange, purple, blue, and red. So I would find myself a colorful artificial tube sponge or finger sponge or tree sponge or two to replace your shrinking specimens if I were you, Carrie.
Best of luck with your seahorse tank and it’s decor, Carrie!
Pete GiwojnaJanuary 16, 2007 at 10:43 pm #3293carrieincoloradoGuest
Is there a supplier of these artificial sponges that can be accessed off the net, and one that is totally trustworthy not to poison the tank? I remember that poor gal who lost 11 horses over night after putting an artificial coral in her tank, so the idea scares the crap out of me. I had another idea, I found a coral supplier that has big pieces of staghorn acropora skeletons. They are stark white right now, but after time they will grow algaes etc. He emailed me a couple pictures of some, and they are awesome, they have the shape of a tree with tons of branches, and he has some pretty tall ones. I just wonder if they are too scratchy and I might need to sand them smoother or something. I took the sponge out last night and put it in my daughters tank, which isn’t skimmed, but it’s a newer tank, so I’m not sure it will do much better in there.January 17, 2007 at 4:44 am #3298Pete GiwojnaGuest
Yes, indeed, the polyurethane that is used to make these synthetic sponges is totally inert in saltwater and completely non-toxic. They are perfectly safe to use in the aquarium. There are several different types and sizes of artificial sponges available and they can be obtained from quite a number of places online, but one that is familiar to most hobbyists is Drs. Foster & Smith, which offers some very realistic, colorful tube sponges:
Click here: Aquarium Decorations & Ornaments for Home Aquariums: Artificial Sponge Aquarium Decorations
Although these polyurethane sponges are designed for aquarium use and are altogether safe, there is one thing the hobbyist needs to be conscious of when using them. Don’t broadcast feed or scatter-feed frozen Mysis when you are using these tubes sponges in the aquarium. Scattered feeding is never a good idea in the first place, but it is particularly ill advised around the fake sponges because there is a chance that frozen Mysis can settle in the opening of the tubes where it would be inaccessible to the seahorses or the aquarium janitors. If that happens, the trapped Mysis would begin to decay and could soon degrade your water quality. So it’s important to target feed your seahorses away from the tube sponges, or to teach them to eat from a feeding station instead in order to avoid any such problems.
Staghorn coral skeletons are also safe to use and look perfectly natural in a marine aquarium, so that’s another good option you can certainly try, Carrie. The coral is not at all too rough or scratchy or abrasive for seahorses and they will gladly use the branches as hitching posts. The only drawback is that the pristine staghorn coral skeletons look beautiful at first but don’t stay that way for long. They do indeed get overgrown with algae and I find that it’s almost always the unattractive brown stuff, which can be rather unsightly. When that happens, cleaning the coral skeletons is more difficult than the artificial decorations.
Best of luck with your aquascaping, Carrie!
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