HOW TO CARE FOR MARINE BLUE SPONGES
The blue sponge makes a great addition to the marine tank. Read more to learn how to care for this species.
The blue sponge is a beautiful marine specimen that can add a great deal of color to the home aquarium. Without the proper knowledge of marine blue sponge care, however, many aquarium hobbyists find these creatures difficult to keep in the home aquarium. Blue sponges require a certain amount of water movement, light, and salinity in the water to thrive and unless the aquarium owner studies the requirements of this species prior to introducing it in the home aquarium the blue sponge may die very soon after being introduced. Read more about the requirements and care of blue sponges to ensure that the sponges in your tank thrive as they should.
About Blue Sponges
There are over 8,000 different species of sponges in the ocean and some of them exhibit striking shapes and colors. The blue sponge, for example, is known and loved for its brilliant shade of electric blue that lights up the saltwater aquarium. Sponges are one of the simplest forms of multicellular aquatic animals – the don’t have tissues or organs and their cells remain largely unspecialized. While many species of sponge can grow very large in the home aquarium under the proper conditions, the blue sponge is unique in that it tends to row better than other species from very small pieces. Every specimen of the blue sponge species has a unique shape which makes it a very unusual addition to the reef tank.
Like all sponges, the blue sponge feeds on bacteria and detritus in the water, absorbing water and food into the many pores on its body. Sponges are very useful as filter feeders in the home aquarium and they also help to filter out ammonia and nitrogen from the water in the tank. Though adequate light is important for keeping blue sponges healthy, these creatures are non-photosynthetic so they require supplemental feeding with various forms of phytoplankton and zooplankton.
One of the most important elements of marine blue sponge care is filtration. Sponges are filter feeders and, as such, they feed on the bacteria and detritus in the water. If the aquarium lacks adequate filtration and water movement, a sponge may starve. You can help make sure your sponge gets enough food by providing supplemental meals of marine snow, phytoplankton and zooplankton. Stirring the aquarium substrate once in a while to release food particles into the water may also be helpful.
In addition to feeding and filtration, adequate lighting is also crucial to the survival of marine blue sponges. Though sponges are non-photosynthetic creatures, low level lighting is required to reduce changes in the algae growing on their surface. If you plan to keep a sponge in the same tank as corals, you may want to look for species that prefer low lighting or simply place the sponge in a shadier area of the tank. In addition to being sensitive to bright lighting, sponges are also sensitive to changes in water chemistry. While sponges can tolerate changes in aquarium temperature, it is best to maintain a salinity equivalent or as close as possible to sea water to ensure that your sponges thrive.
Perhaps the most difficult part of raising marine blue sponges is actually getting the sponge into the tank because it can be very harmful for the sponge to be exposed to the air. When taken out of the water, air becomes trapped in the atria within the sponge and it may keep food and water from reaching the cells. Once a blue sponge is successfully introduced into the tank, however, it can grow quickly under the right conditions. Sponges should be placed on live rock well away from hard corals because they have a tendency to expand rapidly.
In general, sea sponges of any kind are not recommended for the novice aquarium hobbyist because they can be very difficult to care for and they may be more sensitive than other marine invertebrates to the kinds of mistakes novices are likely to make. Also, it can be very challenging to find compatible tank mates for the sea sponge. When a sponge dies, it becomes very toxic and it has the potential to wipe out an entire tank's worth of inhabitants. In addition, many fish and invertebrates actively feed on the marine sponge so if you plan to keep your sponge in a tank with fish, you need to be sure that the species of fish in your tank do not feed on sponges. The best environment for a marine blue sponge is a non-photosynthetic reef aquarium with no fish or invertebrates to feed on them.
The marine blue sponge can make a beautiful addition to the saltwater reef aquarium but without the proper knowledge of marine blue sponge care, marine aquarium owners may find that these creatures do not survive for long. Blue sponges require adequate water movement to be able to feed and low lighting to control the growth of algae. If these conditions are met, most marine blue sponges are able to adapt well to the home aquarium and they can grow and thrive.
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