Freshwater sponges are a type of animal that lives in the freshwater biotope. Freshwater sponges are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium, and they can also be used in saltwater tanks. In this article, we’ll take a look at what freshwater sponges offer for your tank, as well as some tips on how to keep them healthy. A freshwater sponge is an ideal companion for any aquarium because they are safe to keep and easy to care for.
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What are Freshwater Sponges?
Though most sponges are saltwater, one family lives in freshwater. The only freshwater sponge is the genus Spongilla. Less dramatic than their marine counterparts, they can be brown or gray and sometimes green if there are algae growing on them too. There are 150 species of freshwater sponges found around the world with about six different ones said to live in Illinois’ rivers, lakes, and ponds. They may also be found living in standing or slow-flowing water, such as lakes, vernal pools. Freshwater sponges can grow up to a meter wide but they rarely exceed 15 centimeters tall.
It has been estimated there are about 75 marine species have become adapted to life out of their original habitat and evolved into new genera including Halichondria which is now classified under the family Haliclonaidae within the phylum Porifera along with other members of this group – Demospongeae subphylum Acanthochaetidae.
Freshwater Sponge in Aquarium
In the wild, freshwater sponges are found in areas where there’s high water flow and turbulent conditions. These sponges work like an aquarium filter and filter out particles from their environment for food but can also absorb nutrients if necessary. They accomplish this by drawing dissolved organic matter through their cell walls to create a nutritious soup which bacteria then convert into energy, protecting them against low-nutrient waters.
Freshwater sponges make great additions to reef tanks since they eat algae and small organisms, take up space on the bottom of your tank so other things like corals or crustaceans have more room, and provide some shelter for smaller fish.
Advantages of Having Freshwater Sponge in an Aquarium
- They’re inexpensive. Most species cost less than $20 USD per sponge as compared to corals which range from tens to hundreds, making them an affordable way for people without a lot of money but who still want a diverse and interesting companion for a biotope aquarium. The most appropriate place to buy a freshwater sponge would be to consult your local fish store. They may be able to order a freshwater sponge for you or show you where else to find one.
- They’re relatively easy to manage, freshwater sponges are generally extremely low maintenance, requiring only minimal care (such as providing adequate lighting and other equipments) making them an excellent option for beginners.
- Many freshwater sponge species can be safely eaten by fish in the aquarium. In fact, some aquarists even feed their fish exclusively on freshwater sponges
- The majority of freshwater sponges are small, typically no more than a few inches in height; making them easy to hide or nestle amongst rocks and roots. They’re also relatively lightweight, which makes moving and rearranging them painless
- Aquatic plants will grow around the freshwater sponge; this provides some additional cover for it while providing you with opportunity to turn your aquarium into a planted aquarium.
Disadvantages of Having Freshwater Sponges in the Aquarium
- Some species may be toxic to other aquarium inhabitants such as shrimp. However these cases are very rare so generally speaking they should be safe with fish in the tank. Still, we recommend consulting an expert before introducing freshwater sponges to your aquarium
- Some species may reproduce prolifically and this could lead to a reduction in oxygen levels. You should keep these types of sponges as solitary specimens or at the very back of an aquarium/terrarium.
you can easily keep freshwater sponges in an aquarium but you must understand the dos and don’ts of keeping one. You can buy a freshwater sponge at your local fish store or order one from an online retailer. Though they are really easy to keep; it’s important that you know if you can keep them with your other fish species. To learn more about your fish care, Read our Care Guides and subscribe to our RSS feed.