- Aug 2, 2022
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The original must have colonized the system years ago as a hitchhiking gemmule attached to drift wood or waterfowl. After discovering it growing I began cultivating them around the system until they began to pop up naturally. This particular species has three distinct growth phases- first spreading out as a free floating gemmule until it attaches onto a surface and begins to encrust it with tissue. Second, they begin building intricate 3d shapes resembling brain coral. Lastly they begin branching out into waving tree shapes in the water column- this entire process taking 5-8 years. As they do not like to be disturbed, the pictures are of the first 2 stages of development, I am not breaking off a 5+ year old sponge I've babied along just for some pictures. Over the years and lots of trial and error, they have grown throughout the pond network and seem to be thriving. The color differences are if they decide to host a symbiotic algae, that can depend on how much light they are getting, the availability of planktonic animals, and water current if you curious. The holes on them also retract and expand slowly to push water through their bodies to filter out their food. I think they definitely add an exotic, marine sort of appearance to the pond and I rather enjoy them!. They do not like fish however, only growing in the first pond and series of streams connecting it to the second. Fish will nibble at them, but more vital is they will eat the slow moving gemmules capsules floating in the water; interrupting a very sensitive point in their life cycle. If you have any questions feel free to ask!