Thread: The sponge tank
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Old 12/14/2018, 06:40 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 142
Wow this is mindblowing!

Seems like the bacteria are more important than anything else to ensure the success with the sponge. Do you change water to make up the lost of nutrients or dose anything else such as silica for the sponge?

I've started carbon dosing recently in hope that my current sponge will do better than my not so good past records But i cannot imagine overflowing the skimmate back into the tank

Amazing setup!

Originally Posted by philbo32 View Post
Thank you.

My set up uses a remote deep rubble bed which is dosed a few mLs of distilled malt vinegar every couple of hours via a peristaltic pump, water from the main system slowly flows through it which provides bacteria to feed the filter feeders. I check on the colour and smell of the rubble to assess whether to increase or decrease the amount of carbon to dose.

I use a protein skimmer to aerate the water, the skimmate is allowed to overflow back via a tube in the bottom of the skimmer cup into the final compartment of my sump prior to where it is pumped into the display so that plankton goes straight to where the majority of the sponges are in my system. Skimmate is mainly made up of algae and bacteria which I think are more beneficial in the system than out.

I use two reactors one with GFO and the other houes Activated carbon which I do not replace very regularly as I use it for bacterial growth.

I have recently added drift wood from a local beach to the main tank, and an older more rotten piece to the sump which is now covered in amphipods and copepods feeding on the bacteria and fungi associated with the wood. I have also seen new worms and I am hoping for some shipworm to add to the diversity.

The water is also filtered by land plants; a mangrove and samphire (AKA sea asparagus). I have just ordered some sea arrowgrass (AKA sea coriander) seeds and I will be adding another planter to the left side of the tank. I can't grow any seaweed in the main tank because the tangs and filefish eat it all... So I am having to make do with growing plants out the top of the tank instead. The added benefit is that I can eat the samphire with my pan fried salmon for breakfast.

The plan is to try and get some more sponges which means searching coral frag rocks in my LFS looking for any signs of sponges buying the coral but mainly to cultivate the sponge. The coral frag is just an added bonus lol.
Plus I may invest in some more live rock for sponges but that is a bit hit and miss that I will get anything interesting.

I have not had a lot of luck buying sponges online. I prefer to buy them when they are small and shop bought so that I can get them into my system as soon as possible. This seems to be key to reducing transport stress. As soon as they are stressed, they just seem to bleach and disintegrate.

The tank is slowly changing into a salt marsh/lagoon tank.

The sump is crammed full of tube worms, vermentid snails, small trochus snails, loads of starfish, very few and small aiptasia anemones, small sponge colonies, and masses of pods. I did have a very large limpet population up until about a year ago; around the same time a few species of starfish got into the system and now I have thousands of starfish and no limpets...

The fish get pellets and flake food every morning.
They also get two seaweed sheets (mix of red, brown or green) plus four cubes of frozen food every 1-3 days.

The tank is always evolving, its good to keep seeing new species appearing and thriving.

In the main display there are three tangs, one indonesian firefish, one fireball angel, a pair of filefish, a pair of pyjama wrasse, a royal gramma, a pistol shrimp, and a couple of porcelain crabs, a large number of different species of snails and starfish (which all came from live rock). One night, a few months ago my wife and I counted over 300 starfish on the front glass.

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