MAC Speaker Topic - Steve Tyree
Natural Zonal Reef Filtration:
The Cryptic Sponge Nutrient Loop

Steve Tyree has spoken to three previous MACNA conferences about the utilization of low light cryptic sponges in captive systems. It was speculated back then that the sponges could be significant filtration devices consuming pelagic bacteria and dissolved organics. The past 15 years has seen some incredible scientific research being done on coral reef platforms that actually supports Steve's initial theories and speculations. He has maintained his research into these natural filtration systems for 20 years. He recently combined his own research with some of the new scientific research in a ground breaking book released in early 2016.

This presentation will be based upon that book and will also explore the new Sponge Nutrient Loop that scientists have identified. The different types of systems and living filtration devices that can be based upon these techniques are overwhelming. Steve was first intrigued by cryptic sponge filtration when he made some interesting observations on his captive SPS systems. Sponges were proliferating even in systems heavily filtered by protein skimmers. The initial question of what were these sponges consuming sent Steve on a long 20 year journey. Culminating in a new zonal perspective on the tropical reef platform.

Zones based upon light levels, water currents and particulate sizes appeared to be interacting or exchanging nutrients. Scientists were also making the same discoveries at this time and have even defined the Sponge Nutrient Loop. Natural tropical reef platforms themselves contain sponges that are significant and sometimes dominant components. This presentation however will be geared to the captive aquarist that is interested in employing these techniques and methods. Specific techniques described within Steve's latest book will be discussed.


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