Sponges are the simplest kind of multi cellular animals. Sponges belong to the Phylum Porifera, meaning pore bearing, as their entire body is a system of pores, which permit a continuous flow of water through their bodies. There are about 10,000 known species of Sponges. Only 150 of these live in fresh water. They are rather plant like in appearance and often resemble Corals in forms and colors. Their vivacious colors and Coral like appearance augment the visual effects of an aquarium. Let us have a look at some of the basic features of Sponges to help us know them better and take proper care of them in our aquariums.Compatibility.
In aquariums with strong lighting, sponges should be avoided or placed in the shadows of rockwork to limit the overall amount of light exposure. Being a filter feeder, the Sponge demands very strong water flow. This is necessary to ensure that the sponge is receiving adequate quantities of water (and, more specifically, the nutrients in the water) to feed it. Sponges need excellent water conditions with low-to-non-existent nitrates and ammonia.
Habit & Habitat. Sponges are found all over the world, from the Polar Regions to the Tropics. They are chiefly marine, with around 150 species accustomed to freshwater environments. Sponges are predominant in warm waters. Adult Sponges are sessile in nature i.e., they permanently attach themselves to a Rock, Reef, or the Ocean Bottom. Sponges prefer clear waters to murky waters, as dirty waters may clog their pores and obstruct their breathing & nutrition intake.
Morphology. Sponges come in a large variety of colors, shapes, and structures. They are a cluster of cells without any tissue or organ. They have perforated bodies and they respire, eat, and excrete through their pores. They can assume different shapes such as, Tubular, Conical, Cup-Shaped, Fan-Like, etc. Sponges come in assorted sizes, ranging from a few millimeters to over two meters in height.
Feeding. Sponges feed on small organisms such as, Bacteria, Plankton, and minute particles of Organic Matter, which they filter from the water that flows through their bodies. Some species of Sponges also produce their own food by Photosynthesis.
Ideal Aquarium Conditions. Sponges adapt easily to their environment. An aquarium with Sponges calls for pristine water conditions with high to a moderate level of water currents. The lights should be very dim or may be completely avoided near the Sponges, in order to thwart any Algal growth on the Sponges. Most importantly, Sponges should never be exposed to air, as it would lead to their death.
Aquarium Breeding. Most of the Sponges are Hermaphrodite i.e., they have both, male and female sexual organs. Such Sponges reproduce asexually by external Budding. In the process of external Budding, a small piece of Sponge detaches itself from the main body and lives on to form a new Sponge. Most of the Aquarium Sponges reproduce by the means of external budding.Fresh Marine, a single stop online shop, which caters to most of the requirements of an aquarium, has the following different types of Sponges, readily available for online shopping. Both of these Sponges belong to Halichondrida Order and Halichondrida species. Clump Red Ball Sponge.
This brilliantly colored Sponge is moderate, non-predatory, non-poisonous, and is a cheerful addition to an aquarium. It is native to Caribbean Sea and may grow to around three inches in size. It occurs in bright Red, Yellow, and Orange colors. Its natural habitat consists of shady regions like Cliffs and Rock Overhangs, and therefore, it is a natural choice for Ridges & Ledges of Aquarium Terraces and Reef Aquariums. This Sponge is a Hermaphrodite, and therefore, it easily breeds in an artificial environment. Clump Red Ball Sponge requires moderately warm water temperature, strong water currents, mildly alkaline ph levels of water, and low illumination. It is Omnivorous and feeds mainly on Planktons and other Microorganisms. Exposure to air might prove fatal for this Sponge and it requires regular attention.Orange Frilly.
This Red/Yellow/Orange colored Sponge originates in the warm waters of the Tropics. Its body is supple & elastic, and assumes the shape of a trunk at the base. Orange Frilly is non-aggressive, non-venomous, and compatible with Reefs. It is a survivor by nature and attaches itself to Rocks, Reefs, or other immobile aquarium inhabitants. Its exterior changes according to its environmental conditions. Unlike Clump Red Ball Sponge, Orange Frilly reproduces sexually even though it is Hermaphroditic. It also requires moderately warm water temperatures, low illumination, slightly alkaline ph levels, and moderate to strong currents. Besides Planktons, it also feeds on Salty Shrimps and Marine Invertebrates.
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