Are these just (pineapple) sponges?

Joe31415

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I've had two pineapple sponges on the base of one of my corals for quite a while now (getting bigger and bigger too). Just this morning I noticed quite a few, maybe two dozen, little tiny 'tubes' sticking out of the sand bed. They're, maybe 3 or 4 mm tall. I was getting ready to pull one out to see what it was and noticed another pineapple sponge in sand near a cluster of these tubes.
Are these the beginning of pineapple sponges? Some other sponge? Whatever they are, they popped up overnight. I pay pretty close attention to my tank and I'm quite sure these weren't present (at least above the sand) last night and I noticed them this morning with nothing more than ambient light in the room.
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Also, not that it makes a huge difference here, but these were taken with the tank lights off and a holding a flash light to them, so the colors are, for lack of a better word, correct.
 
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Joe31415

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As long as they're just sponges, I can safely ignore them then, right?

Also, since my tank is still pretty young and going through it's ugly stages I have a TON of algae (my whole tank looks like it's wearing a toupee). However over the past day or two, I've noticed all the algae has tiny white specs in it (my sand is black BTW). Usually it has air bubbles caught in it, so I know it's not that. Now I'm starting to wonder if those are sponges also. I'm having a small spirobid worm outbreak (nothing too concerning) and these are probably a quarter of the size of the spirobids. In fact, you can see how much smaller they are than even the black sand that's caught in the algae.
One of my current theories is that it's just rock dust from the dry rock. Either one of the snails is chipping away at it (never heard of snails doing that though) or just just from me manually tearing the algae off the rocks every day. It's just odd that I only noticed it recently.
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