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Old 05-31-2008, 11:33 AM
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zoanthid covered red ball sponge thread

Many people are admiring Kathy's new sponge and would like to get one. I am starting this thread so we can all share tips on how to care for them

Post pics, what and if you feed it, growth shots, etc....

Here is Kathy's:


Here is mine. When I first put it in my tank, I worried that the sponge part would die. After a few days, it started putting out little tube shapes at the opening. It seems to put out the tube shapes when I stir up the sand bed as well. I did try to keep air exposure to a min when putting it in the tank. The zoanthids are almost always out. They actually polyp more on the dark side of the sponge. There may just be more polyps on the side I put facing the back.
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Last edited by LeslieS; 05-31-2008 at 12:09 PM..
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Old 05-31-2008, 11:35 AM
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Here is the info from Sealife Florida:

Red Ball Sponges, Pseudoaxinella lunchearta, are a fairly common sponge from Florida and the Caribbean characterized by their bright red color and ball shape. About 1% or less of these sponges will be encrusted with Parazoanthus swift, which is an encrusting zoanthid that is primarily found in sponges. When the polyps of the zoanthids are opened up, the sponge almost takes on a fuzzy appearance because of all the polyps. These encrusted ball sponges tend to be most common in areas where there is a lot of current and a lot of turbidity, so I suspect that they will need frequent, regular feeding to thrive.

Sponges are filter feeders, primarily feeding on bacteria and dissolved organics, so they can be a little challenging to keep in some reef tanks. If not fed regularly with some sort of planktonic food, the will slowly starve to death in most reef tanks, so be prepared to feed them on a regular basis. Most sponges will have a small amount of substrate attached to their bases which can be superglued or epoxied to a rock so they will stay put in your aquarium. You can also wedge the sponge into a crack in the rockwork of your tank, but I would not recommend “planting” them in the sand because the base may end up dying. Contrary to everything you’ll read about sponges, these sponges can be safely removed from the water and exposed to air for brief periods of time without any lasting damages. We’ve handled thousands of these sponges over the last 30 years and most have been exposed to the air for brief periods of time without any problems, so don’t make a huge deal about not letting the sponge touch the air while you move it from tank to tank or while you mount it on a rock..

Our target size for the zoanthid encrusted ball sponges is 3” to 5” in diameter and about that many inches tall. The zoanthids will usually be yellow, but occasionally we find some that are almost white. The sponges are wrapped in paper towels and submerged in water for shipping and they generally ship real well and will do well in your tank.
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Old 05-31-2008, 11:50 AM
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Hi Leslie!!
I'm not so sure they are both the same. In your the lines look white and mine has only looked more of a tan color, nor do they look like continous lines when closed but more bumps. I'll try & get a pic of them before I leave.

I like yours though

I am going to move mine out a little further than it is now so it will get better circulation around the rear facing side. As I mentioned on the nano thread, it easily grabbed the mysis but it seemed too large for it to eat. I like your idea of stirring the sand bed to release the smaller sized food it seems to desire.

I'll post the closed shots later today when I get back home.
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:19 PM
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Where did you get it Sea Life Inc??
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:03 PM
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Yes, they are from Sea Life, Inc.

Also, I e-mailed them to ask if they noticed different kinds of zoanthids encrusting the sponges or if they are just 2 different colors as they state in their description. Here is his response:

Leslie,
As far as I know it is most likely the same species of zoanthid that encrust
the different sponges, just different color morphs. I'm not an expert in
the genetics of zoanthids, but if they are like ricordea, the same species
can have several different color morphs, mostly based on the different
clades of zooxanthellae living in the tissues. In the wild we see primarily
white or yellow encrusting zoanthids and they seem to look about the same to
me. During a summer when the corals bleach due to heat and UV stress, the
ricordea and some of the zoanthids also bleach. In a reef tank, if the
light is too weak the zoanthids can pale out, and if it's too intense they
can bleach. The biggest challenge for keeping the zoanthid encrusting
sponges it going to be keeping the sponge alive and "happy".

Regarding orders over the next three weeks, starting Monday I'll be training
for a week long underwater research project, so my shipping schedule for the
next few weeks will be really messed up. For more information about the
mission you can go to my non-profit's website at www.coralrestoration.org ,
and during the mission you can actually see us living and working underwater
via live webcams at http://www.uncw.edu/aquarius/ . There will also be
updates posted on the coral restoration website. Ken

Last edited by LeslieS; 05-31-2008 at 01:29 PM..
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:23 PM
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How are they cared for (flow light)??
Spot feed??
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Sponges are filter feeders, primarily feeding on bacteria and dissolved organics, so they can be a little challenging to keep in some reef tanks. If not fed regularly with some sort of planktonic food, the will slowly starve to death in most reef tanks, so be prepared to feed them on a regular basis.
I have only had mine for about a month so I cannot say if it is thriving or dying at this point. I stir up the sand bed about 2x a week to put micro food particles in the water stream. This is usually a result of making a mess during the water change. Also, once a week the tank gets phyto and cyclopeze.

Sea Life gives the below information in their description of red ball sponges, but I am not sure of the light requirements of the zoanthids. I think low light is OK, but cannot remember where I read this.

"They inhabit a fairly wide range of habitats from 10 feet of water to well over a hundred feet of water, and from inshore to offshore zones, so they are tolerant of all kinds of water quality and temperature conditions and are thus well suited for aquarium keeping. "
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:38 PM
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Clearly they are not the same encrusting organism. The 1st shot is a zoanthid type organism ( no reason to doubt parazoanthus swifti) The second I believe is considered a sponge parasite of some sort.

Either way these are not easy animals to care for.
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Old 05-31-2008, 03:02 PM
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Here is a close up to my best ability of the zoanthids on the second pic. ID anyone?
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Old 05-31-2008, 03:58 PM
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hmmm maybe they are the same.
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