Dorid feeding in captivity

August 24, 2001
From: Brian K. Penney

Hi Bill,
A question for the Forum: has anyone had much luck feeding Cadlina luteomarginata or related species in captivity? I have been trying recently without much luck, and I see in Steve Bloom's thesis (1976, University of Washington) he tried feeding experiments with this species but never reports them.

I am reasonably sure I have the correct sponge for food – we often find Cadlina on Aplysilla glacialis, and fecal samples suggest that is what these individuals were eating before capture. The sponge is freshly collected and in good condition. Also, several other species (Anisodoris nobilis, Archidoris montereyensis) are not feeding as enthusiastically as I have seen them do elsewhere. Therefore lab conditions seem a likely suspect. I have tried changing flow regimes and oxygen levels with no luck. Any advice on what else to vary?

Hope all is well down under. Sorry to all those I missed at the WSM meeting: I'll be free to come out again next April when my dissertation is complete!

Penney, B.K., 2001 (Aug 24) Dorid feeding in captivity. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Brian,
In theory, if you have the right sponge and its fresh and healthy you should have no problem. However that's easy to say and often the most dedicated and diligent attempts fail - while another time when you don't really care and don't try very hard, success is unlimited! I think the hardest thing is keeping the sponge colony healthy. Sponges are bags of nasty chemicals which are just waiting to be released at the slightest disturbance. As you are probably well aware, a sick sponge can quickly poison an aquarium. When you consider that you are attempting to keep a sponge alive and healthy while it is being eaten alive by a nudibranch, it is no wonder that there are many failures.
Good Luck,
Sorry I don't have any secret answers,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (Aug 24). Comment on Dorid feeding in captivity by Brian K. Penney. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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