Ocean Rider, Inc. is a Hawaiian-based seahorse aquarium that follows strict organic, "good farming" practices in raising seahorses and other aquatic life. Get Started Today!

Visit us on Facebook  Follow Us on Twitter  Seahorse Photos on Instagram  See our channel on YouTube  FREE eNewsletter Signup!!!

You are here

Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

178 posts / 0 new
Last post
Pete Giwojna
Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear hobbyists:

I am pleased to announce that a comprehensive training program for new seahorse keepers is now available to all interested parties from Ocean Rider!

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Pete Giwojna and I provide tech support for Ocean Rider (seahorse.com). One of my duties in that regard now includes providing a quick training course for new Ocean Rider customers and first-time buyers to get them up to speed on the aquarium care and requirements of seahorses. All newbies are required to complete the training program to my satisfaction before they can be certified and authorized to purchase seahorses, but the training lessons are available to anyone who cares to participate.

The purpose of this training is twofold: (1) to assure that the home hobbyist has a suitable aquarium, completely cycled and with the biofiltration fully established, ready and waiting when his seahorses arrive, and (2) to assure that the hobbyist has a good understanding of the aquarium care and requirements of Ocean Rider seahorses by the time he or she has completed the training and been certified. All of which will help to ensure that things go smoothly and that the home aquarist's first experience with Ocean Rider seahorses is rewarding and enjoyable.

This basic training is very informal and completely free of charge. Ocean Rider provides the free training as a service to their customers and any other hobbyists who are interested in learning more about the care and keeping of seahorses. It's a crash course on seahorse keeping consisting of 10 separate lessons covering the following subjects, and is conducted entirely via e-mail. There is no homework or examinations or anything of that nature -- just a lot of good, solid information on seahorses for you to read through and absorb as best you can, at your own speed. The training course consists of a total of over 180 pages of text with more than 100 full life and color illustrations, broken down into 10 lessons covering the following subjects:

Lesson 1: Selecting a Suitable Aquarium & Optimizing It for Seahorses.
Tank dimensions and specifications (why height is important);
Tank location and aquarium stressors;
Setting up a SHOWLR tank to create ideal conditions for seahorses;
filtration options
protein skimmers
UV sterilizers
titanium grounding probe
substrate
lighting
water circulation
Test kits for monitoring water quality;
Aquascaping the seahorse tank;
artificial hitching posts
macroalgae
Basic aquarium setups for seahorses;
undergravel filters
sponge filters

Lesson 2: Cycling a New Aquarium & Installing the Cleanup Crew.
The nitrogen cycle;
nitrification and denitrification
Step-by-step instructions for cycling a new marine aquarium;
Seahorse-safe sanitation engineers and aquarium janitors;
snails
microhermit crabs
cleaner shrimp
Starter seahorses (hardy, highly domesticated, high-health ponies)

Lesson 3: Reading Assignments (books, articles, and columns devoted to seahorses).

Lesson 4: Water Chemistry, Aquarium Maintenance, & Maintaining Optimum Water Quality.
Basic water quality parameters (acceptable range and optimum levels);
ammonia
nitrite
nitrate
pH
specific gravity
dissolved oxygen
Advanced water chemistry for reef keepers;
Performing partial water changes to maintain good water quality;
Aquarium maintenance schedule;
daily
weekly
monthly

Lesson 5: Feeding Seahorses.
Frozen Mysis serves as their staple, everyday diet;
brands of frozen Mysis
thawing and preparing frozen Mysis
enriching with Vibrance
Recommended feeding regimen;
how to tell if your seahorse is getting enough to eat
Feeding tips for seahorses;
preparing and serving the frozen Mysis
feeding new arrivals
secretive feeders
morning feedings
setting up a feeding station
training the seahorses to use a feeding tray
artificial feeding stations
natural feeding stations
purchasing a ready-made feeding station
elevating the feeding station
fasting seahorses
target feeding
handfeeding
Mysis relicta from Piscine Energetics
Broadcast feeding or scatter feeding -- just say no!

Lesson 6: Compatible Tankmates for Seahorses.
Safe and unsafe companions -- no guarantees;
Tropical tankmates;
fish to avoid
seahorse-safe fish
seahorse-safe invertebrates
Feeding seahorses in a community tank;
Seahorse-proofing a reef tank
safe corals
unsafe corals
lighting the seahorse reef
managing water circulation for a seahorse reef

Lesson 7: Courtship & Breeding.
Courtship displays in Hippocampus (fully illustrated)
brightening
tilting and reciprocal quivering
carouseling
promenading
pouch displays (pumping and ballooning)
pointing
copulatory rise and the egg transfer
Pair formation
Morning greetings
Male brooding -- a true pregnancy
Giving birth -- dawn deliveries

Lesson 8: Raising the Young.
Seahorse fry
Determining ease of rearing
Setting up a basic nursery for benthic babies
Advanced nursery tank options for pelagic fry
the shaded nursery
kriesel and pseudokreisel nurseries
the divided nursery
in-tank nurseries (illustrated)
the greenwater "starter" nursery
hyposalinity for pelagic fry
Delivery day
Culling the fry (if necessary)
Feeding the fry
hatching and enriching brine shrimp (Artemia)
decapsulated brine shrimp eggs
culturing rotifers and copepods
Fry feeding schedule
Weaning -- making the transition to frozen foods

Lesson 9: Disease Prevention and Control.
Captive bred vs. wild-caught seahorses
Importance of High-Health seahorses
Seahorse anatomy illustrations
external anatomy
internal anatomy
Screening seahorses from your LFS
Quarantine tank
Quarantine protocol for pet-shop ponies and wild seahorses
Beta glucan boosts immunity to disease
Early detection of health problems
aquarium stressors
disease symptoms in seahorses
What to do at the first sign of a health problem
The seahorse-keepers medicine chest
first aid kit for seahorses
must-have medications to keep on hand
properties of the main medications
Life expectancy
Hepatic lipidosis (prevalence of fatty liver disease)
Seahorse disease book

Lesson 10: Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus) & Acclimating New Arrivals.
Nature of Mustangs and Sunbursts
multi-generational approach to rearing
hybrid vigor
genetic diversity
selective breeding
Hippocampus erectus species summary
scientific name and common names
meristic counts and morphometric measurements (illustrated)
climate and distribution
color and pattern
breeding habits
breeding season
gestation period
brood size
pelagic/benthic fry
onset of sexual maturity
ease of rearing
natural habitats and natural history
preferred parameters and aquarium requirements
suggested stocking density
successful rearing protocols
feeding the fry
nursery tank designs
rearing and grow out tanks
diet and nutrition
color variations
temperature requirements
wide ranging species with different races
recommended reading
Acclimating new arrivals (step-by-step instructions)
Keeping and culturing red feeder shrimp (Halocaridina rubra)

I will be providing detailed information on these subjects to anyone who is interested in participating in the training course, and then answering any questions you may have about the material I present. I will also be recommending seahorse-related articles for you to read and absorb online.

In short, the training course will teach you everything you need to know to keep your seahorses happy and healthy, and it will arm you with the information you need in order to tackle your first ponies with confidence. It will explain how to set up a new aquarium and optimize it to create ideal conditions for your seahorses.

How long this training will take to complete depends on your experience level as an aquarist to a large extent. For example, if you have never kept seahorses before and you do not already have a suitable saltwater aquarium up and running, it will take at least eight weeks for your training and preparations to be completed before you can be certified. It will take that long to learn the basics of seahorse keeping, set up a suitable aquarium, cycle the tank from scratch to establish the biological filtration, and optimize the tank to create an ideal environment for seahorses. Only then can you be certified ready to receive your first seahorses.

On the other hand, experienced marine aquarists and hobbyists that have had seahorses before and already have a suitable saltwater aquarium up and running can be certified much more quickly. I will run through the same basic information with them, but most of the information I provide will be familiar material for such hobbyists and they should be able to review it and get up to speed quickly, plus they should have well-established aquariums ready, fully matured that they can fairly quickly adapt in order to make them more ideal for seahorses. In a case like that, certification can be completed as soon as they have absorbed the material I provide and are confident they have a good grasp of the specialized requirements and aquarium care of the seahorses.

In order to provide you with the best possible assistance during the training, I will need to know a little more about your background as an aquarist and the type of aquarium you have available to serve as your seahorse tank, So in order to get started, it will be helpful if you could tell me how experienced you are with saltwater aquariums. Have you ever kept a marine aquarium before? If so, how long have you been involved with the saltwater aquarium hobby? Do you have one or more marine aquariums up and running at this time? If so, how long have the tanks been in operation?

Do you have an aquarium up and running at this time that you intend to use as a seahorse tank? If so, can you please describe the aquarium system you will be using for your seahorse tank? How large is the aquarium (length, width, and height)? What kind of filtration equipment is installed and running on the aquarium? What type of lighting system does the tank you? How long has the proposed seahorse tank been up and running? Please list all of the current inhabitants of the aquarium you will be using as your seahorse tank, if any.

If not, if you don't have an aquarium for your seahorses as of yet, that's just fine. I will be providing you with lots of recommendations and options in that regard so that you can pick out a tank that is just right for your needs and interests. And I will be working with you personally every step of the way until your new aquarium is ready for seahorses and you are well prepared to give them the best of care, regardless of how long that may take.

I strongly encourage anyone and everyone who is interested in seahorses to take advantage of this outstanding free training program. Go through all the lessons with me and get your seahorse tank up and running in time for the latest crop of Mustangs and Sunbursts, which will be maturing this Spring. The latest generation of Ocean Rider Hippocampus erectus seahorses will be hardier and better adapted to aquarium life than ever before.

The free lessons are available to anyone who is interested. You do not have to have Ocean Rider seahorses to be eligible for the training -- it is open to all hobbyists regardless of where they may have obtained their seahorses, or whether they have any seahorses at all. Many of our trainees are simply doing long-term research on seahorses and have no plans to keep them in the near future; they just want to learn as much as they can on the subject for that fateful day when and if they decide to take the plunge...

If you would like to give the seahorse training program a try, just send me a brief e-mail off list ([email protected]) with your full name (first and last) along with the information requested above, and I will get you started out with the first lesson right away.

Best wishes with all your fishes!

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna

Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2010/01/23 03:52Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2010/02/10 04:12

JLyn13
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Hi Pete,
I'm a knew aquarist and I've recently taken an interest in seahorses and have decided to start a tank devoted to them. I've gotten a lot of information from Seahorse.com and now I'm interested in getting certified and taking the lessons 1-10.
From, Jocelyn Louie

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Dear Jocelyn:

Excellent! I have your e-mail address from your follow-up message and I will contact you off list with the necessary information and get you started on the lessons right away. You should receive the first lesson no later than Monday, January 18.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Jocelyn! Welcome aboard!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

JLyn13
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Hi Pete!
I've completed the training and purchased several books that you've suggested. I've also looked into tanks and have found some seahorses at a local pet store. They look healthy and the pet store has everything I need for a seahorse tank. Is there anything I should look for at the pet store on Oahu that sells seahorses?

From JLyn

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Dear JLyn:

Okay, it sounds like you are really making good progress!

If your local fish store has everything you need to set up a suitable seahorse tank, then pick out an aquarium you like that meets the specifications we discussed in Lesson 1. Of course, you'll need to get your seahorse tank up and running, with the aquarium completely cycled and the biological filtration fully established, as explained in Lesson 2, before you bring home any seahorses from your LFS.

When you are ready to add the seahorses, there are two things you must be sure to do before you bring them home. The first is to give them a thorough visual inspection to make sure that the ponies are healthy, and the second thing is to make sure that the seahorses at your LFS are not the delicate Hippocampus kelloggi seahorses that have been widely imported during the last year or two.

Here are the warning signs and symptoms to check for when you're giving a seahorse at your local fish store (LFS) a visual inspection, JLyn , as outlined in the "Sygnathid Husbandry Manual for Public Aquariums, 2005 Manual":

<Open quote>
Physical Examination -- Visual Assessment

When performing an initial physical exam, the posture and buoyancy of the seahorse should be closely scrutinized. A seahorse bobbing at the surface is abnormally and positively buoyant. Buoyant animals will often struggle to maneuver deeper into the water column. They should be evaluated for air entrapment problems such as air in the brood pouch (males) or hyperinflated swim bladders. If the tail is extended outward caudodorsally or ‘scorpion-style,’ examine the subcutis of the tail for gas bubbles (subcutaneous emphysema). Subcutaneous emphysema of tail segment also appears to be a condition restricted to males.

Just as abnormal is a seahorse that is lying horizontally at the tank bottom for extended time periods. This may be an indication of generalized weakness or it may indicate negative buoyancy associated with swim bladder disease or fluid accumulation in the brood pouch or the coelomic cavity.

Evaluate the seahorse’s feeding response. Seahorses normally forage almost constantly during daylight hours. An individual that consistently refuses appropriately sized live food is behaving very abnormally and should receive nutritional support to meet its caloric needs.

The rate and pattern of breathing should also be evaluated. Rapid breathing and ‘coughing’
(expulsion of water in a forceful manner through the opercular opening or the mouth) suggest gill disease [or gill parasites].

The entire body surface including the fins should be examined for hemorrhagic regions,
erosions, ulcerations, excessive body mucus, unusual spots, lumps or bumps as well as the presence of subcutaneous gas bubbles. Evaluate both eyes for evidence of periorbital edema, exophthalmia, and any testicular or corneal opacities. Since seahorses are visual predators, maintaining normal vision is absolutely essential to successful foraging. The tube snout is also very important to normal feeding activity. It is utilized like a pipette to literally suck prey out of the water column.

Evaluate the tube snout for evidence of edema, erosions, and successful protraction/retraction of the small, anterior, drawbridge-like segment of the lower jaw. Close evaluation of the tail tip for erosive/necrotic lesions should also be performed.

Finally, the anal region should be closely evaluated for redness, swelling, or tissue prolapse. For closer evaluation it may require getting the seahorse in hand. If this is the case, wear non-powdered latex gloves to prevent injury to the integument of the animal.
<Close quote>

If the seahorse passes this visual examination, and is eating well and behaving normally, with none of the red flags or warning signs discussed above, only then should you consider taking him home. That's a quick checklist you can use to determine if the seahorses at your LFS appear to be healthy or not before you make a purchase.

The next most important thing is to double check with the dealer to identify the seahorses you are interested in so that you can make sure they are not the delicate Hippocampus kelloggi seahorses, which are utterly unsuitable for beginners.

Unfortunately, the Hippocampus kelloggi that are available nowadays have proven to be very problematic. For more than two years now, I have been getting numerous e-mails from H. kelloggi owners urgently requesting help with treating various health problems, so it doesn't appear to be a particularly hardy strain of seahorses at this stage in its development. I believe part of the problem is simply that H. kelloggi have not been cultured or selectively bred for aquarium life as other species that have been around much longer, and as a result, the kelloggi are just not as well adapted to aquarium conditions as of yet. Whatever the reason, hobbyists should beware that H. kelloggi seahorses seem to be very disease prone and appear to have very little resilience when they develop a health problem.

Many people suspect that the H. kelloggi are merely pen raised, and have therefore not benefited from the sort of intensive aquaculture and selective breeding that produces superior captive-bred livestock here in the US. Net pens are a low-tech, low-maintenance method of farming seahorses that basically involves raising them in large enclosures in coastal waters. It is a common practice in Indonesia, many Asian countries, and the Philippines. In some cases, entire lagoons may be fenced off for that purpose. In the simplest form of pen rearing, broodstock are released into these enclosures, and then they and their progeny are pretty much allowed to fend for themselves thereafter. Any offspring that survive to marketable size are periodically harvested from the holding pens or lagoons.

The benefit of this technique is that it allows seahorses to be raised cheaply, and therefore produces specimens for the aquarium trade that are relatively inexpensive. (It is the low-cost of the H. kelloggi that attracts most hobbyists.) The downside is that pen raising does not strengthen and improve the seahorses generation after generation, making them ever better adapted for aquarium conditions, as does Western-style aquaculture. So the pen raised ponies are not generally as hardy and adaptable as captive-bred-and-raised seahorses.

Such operations (net pens) are controversial with environmentalists for a number of reasons. Since the enclosures are open to the ocean, there is a real risk that adults or their fry may escape from the pens and establish colonies in the wild that may pose a threat to endemic seahorse populations. The pens are no barrier to disease organisms or parasites, so pathogens and parasites imported on foreign broodstock may spread to fishes in the wild (or vice versa). Wastes from the high density of penned animals are carried directly to ocean on prevailing tides and currents and may have a negative environmental impact on the surrounding area. There is no way to monitor the penned animals, hence no way to determine whether the seahorses they contain are actually born and raised in the enclosures or are merely wild-caught seahorses maintained in holding pens prior to being shipped off to unsuspecting consumers.

Pen-grown ponies can thus be risky for the hobbyist because of the circumstances under which they were raised. In essence, a mesh barrier is all that separates them from wild seahorses. There is no guarantee they will be disease free. Although many of them learn to accept frozen Mysis, there is no guarantee they will eat frozen foods since they are often accustomed to foraging for live prey. There is no guarantee they will be able to adjust to aquarium conditions since they are essentially raised in the sea. There is no guarantee that they are even captive bred, since the pens are not secure and livestock is introduced and removed from the pens and lagoons on a continuous basis. There is no guarantee they will be friendly and sociable rather than shying away from their keepers, since they are unaccustomed to the human presence. Pen-raised ponies are particularly misleading because they are almost never advertised as such -- they are typically called captive raised or even captive bred seahorses, which can lead the unwary consumer to assume that they have been painstakingly raised using intensive mariculture techniques and rearing protocols. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In light of the health problems so many home hobbyists have been having with their H. kelloggi for some time now, I have been discussing the needs and requirements of this species with advanced aquarists and experts that have worked with H. kelloggi in the past. The consensus seems to be that the current crop of H. kelloggi are being shipped out to hobbyists while they are still too young (the two-inch long juveniles are no more than 3-4 months old) and that they are not well adapted to aquarium conditions because they are likely being pen raised. The tiny H. kelloggi juveniles would fare better if they allowed them to grow up for a few more months and shipped them at the age of around six months.

However, the primary problem folks have been having with their H. kelloggi may be due to their temperature requirements. The people I conferred with maintained that H. kelloggi is a deepwater seahorse and is therefore adapted for lower light levels than most seahorses and also requires cool water temperatures (Lisa Coit et al., pers. com.). They feel that this species should be maintained in temperate tanks rather than tropical aquaria, and that H. kelloggi will only thrive if they are maintained at a water temperature of 68°F or less (Lisa Coit et al., pers. com.). They report that if the H. kelloggi are maintained at standard aquarium temperatures for a tropical marine aquarium (i.e., 75°F-78°F) they will be plagued by various bacterial infections and suffer over the long term as a result.

In short, there are several problems with the H. kelloggi that are currently reaching the United States. They are likely being pen raised in Asia, they are being shipped to the consumer while they are way too young and small to thrive, and they are being kept in tropical aquariums rather than the cool water or temperate tanks that they need. This combination of unfavorable circumstances is quite deadly and is dooming most all of the H. kelloggi that come into this country to an early demise. Heat stress is making the H. kelloggi susceptible to a variety of health problems, but especially bacterial infections, most often Vibrio in one form or another.

It doesn't seem to matter much where they were purchased here in the US, because they are all coming from the same breeders overseas, with the types of problems we have discussed, and are not being raised here in the USA. As a result, at this time, Hippocampus kelloggi is a seahorse that is best suited for expert aquarists and experienced seahorse keepers who can't provide them with well-established aquarium equipped with chillers that can maintain a constant water temperature of 68°F or less.

Unfortunately, the juvenile H. kelloggi are being marketed here in the states as "captive raised" seahorses and many inexperienced seahorse keepers are giving them a try because they are offered at a bargain price. At first glance, they appear to be an economical way to get started with seahorses, and when they sicken and die after being maintained in a tropical tank, many beginners are discouraged as a result and are ready to abandon the hobby when the inevitable happens. Don't make the same mistake! Leave the delicate H. kelloggi seahorses to the experts that can provide them with a large, well-established temperate aquarium and with the best possible care.

That's the best advice I can give you at this point, JLyn. Make sure you have a suitable seahorse tank fully established before you go shopping for your ponies, give the seahorses you are interested in a very thorough visual examination and make sure they are eating before you consider making a purchase, and avoid H. kelloggi seahorses at all costs.

Best of luck with your first seahorses, JLyn!

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna

rross
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Pete. I would like to take your seahorse training program. My wife and I were at the facility a week ago. It's a fantastic place, I'd love to work there.I have had aquariums for atleast 25 yrs. Saltwater for about 15 yrs. I have a 55gal freshwater, a 40 gal. salt, a 10gal. salt. a30 gal. fresh, and a 2500 gal. pond in my backyard for koi. The horses will be going into the 40 gal. which measures(36in. long x 20in. tall x 12in. deep. Ready to get started!

Ross

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Dear Ross:

Your 40 gallon aquarium can make a fine seahorse corral and I would be happy to enroll you in the training program and explain how to optimize your tank to create ideal conditions for seahorses. But I need to know your e-mail address and rather posting it on the forum here for the general public to see, I prefer that you contact me off list at the following e-mail address: [email protected]

As you know, sir, the seahorse training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail. Once I receive your e-mail address, I will then enroll you in the training course and reply to your e-mail, sending you the first of the lessons. The lines of communication will then be open, and I will be corresponding with you from then on, answering any questions or concerns you may have following each lesson. From there, we will proceed at a pace that is comparable for you until you have completed the entire training program. We just have to make contact via e-mail before the training program can begin...

So just shoot me a quick e-mail off list with your full name (first and last) and I'll get you started out on the training program right away, Ross.

Best wishes with all your fishes!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

sadasalaskar
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Dear Pete

Great :woohoo: I m very much interested in enrolling myself for training program for new seahorse keepers. I m having marine aquarium for last 3 years ( size :- L 5ft, H 3ft, B 1ft 6inch). Truly I have never kept Seahorse in my tank as I didnt had any knowledge on Seahorse keeping. And was never confident that i could give proper care to them. But always dream of keeping a tank fully devoted for such gentle pets.

Please enroll me in your training program which is via email. So that i can educate myself in careing and keeping of seahorse.

My Full Name : Sadanand Salaskar

With warm regards
SadanandPost edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2010/01/20 06:13

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Dear Sadanand:

That's just fine! I have received your follow-up e-mail off list and you are now officially enrolled in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program. In fact, by the time you see this message, you will probably already have received the first two lessons.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Sadanand! And good luck with the training course.

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

JLyn13
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Hi Pete,
It's me Jocelyn I was looking at the website again and I just found out that Ocean RIder doesn't ship within the state of Hawaii. I can understand why and I was just wondering if you could maybe recommend some seahorses that I can find on the island of Oahu. This would be much appreciated. Thanks so much.
-Jocelyn

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Dear Jocelyn:

Yes, you're quite correct -- Ocean Rider (seahorse.com) does have a strict policy against selling any of their livestock within the State of Hawaii. This limitation is necessary to prevent the accidental or intentional release of seahorses that are not native to the islands into Hawaiian waters where they may have a negative impact on endemic seahorses and ecosystems.

The release of captive specimens is widely acknowledged to have the potential to do considerable harm under certain circumstances. The primary concerns are that such releases could introduce diseases into seahorse populations, could pose genetic threats to wild populations, and could disrupt the structure and normal function of seahorse communities, and may therefore actually result in extirpations (localized extinctions) of native seahorses.

The fact that Ocean Rider cannot provide livestock for you will have no effect whatsoever on the training lessons since you do not have to have Ocean Rider seahorses, or seahorses of any kind, in order to participate in the training course.

However, seahorses are still being imported into Hawaiian from sources other than Ocean Rider. Under the circumstances, your best option for locating seahorses will be to contact the local fish stores in your area and ask them to notify you the next time they receive a shipment of seahorses. (I am not in a position to recommend any particular pet shop or fish stores.) As always, Jocelyn, captive-bred-and-raised seahorses are much preferable to wild-caught seahorses or pen-raised ponies, when you have a choice. Lesson 9 (disease prevention and control) discusses how to screen seahorses from the pet store to make sure they are healthy before you make a purchase, so be sure to keep those guidelines in mind when you are selecting a seahorse from your local pet store.

Best of luck finding the perfect ponies for your new seahorse setup when the time comes, Jocelyn!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

JLyn13
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Thanks Pete,
I'll keep looking!:)

saburner
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

I would be interested in your course.
I have been keeping H kellogi for over a year and a half and have been into aquaria for 20+ years.
Scott

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Dear Scott:

Excellent, sir! If you have been able to keep your delicate Hippocampus kelloggi seahorses alive for a year and a half, you are obviously doing a lot of things right already, Scott, but I would be very happy to enroll you in the seahorse training program.

As you know, it's a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail. In order to sign you up for the lessons, Scott, I therefore need to know your e-mail address, and rather posting it on the forum here for the general public to see, I prefer that you contact me off list at the following e-mail address: [email protected]

So please send me a brief e-mail off list including your full name (first and last), which we need for our records, and a brief description of your H. kelloggi aquarium and how it is equipped, and I will reply with the first lesson right away.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Scott! Keep up the great work!

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna

saburner
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Thanks Pete.
What a great course.
Not only have I learned so much about seahorse raising I now feel that I have a go-to source for information without sorting through a plethora of conflicting info and opinions.
I would recommend this course to anyone who keeps a marine system with or without horses.
My LFS currently has three ponies that where sent to her along with the two I had ordered. She hid them in her office tank away from the public as she didn't want to let them go to anyone not prepared to house them properly. I told her about this course and she agreed to make any prospective horse keepers take your course prior to adopting.
The three ponies in the office are now safe as when she mentioned selling them her husband (whom never had shown an interest in any of her fish) has fallen for the horses. She says he spends hours watching the horses where that time before had been spent on line.
A world of thanks,
Scott Burner

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Dear Scott:

You're very welcome, sir, and thank you for all the kind words! It is good to know that even an accomplished aquarist and experienced seahorse keeper like yourself finds the training course to be useful and informative.

It sounds like you handled the situation at your LFS very nicely, Scott. I'm glad to hear that the staff at the fish store are now aware that there is a place for hobbyists to go in order to learn all about the care and keeping of seahorses before they take the plunge, and it's great that the three extra seahorses have now found a home with dedicated, conscientious aquarists. Well done!

Best wishes with all your fishes, Scott! Keep up the great work!

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna

Lee Lobaugh
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

I have been interested in Seahorses for years. They are fascinating to watch and would love to have my very own ponies. I would never embark on any kind of project without learning everything I can. To me the seahorse is a very precious living creature. I have never had a saltwater aquarium and have been told that they are very hard to maintain I want my saltwater home to be the very best for my "little ones". I look forward to learning and caring for my seahorses. I have had freshwater aquariums and enjoy the many fish I had . The Ocean Rider, Inc facility was very impressive and I applaud the work being done there. I am looking forward to learning all I can about these wonderful little creatures and eventually having my own seahorses to admire. Thank you for taking the time to share all your knowledge with others. lee

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Dear Lee:

Completing the Ocean Rider seahorse training program is the best possible research you can do on the care and keeping of seahorses, and I will be happy to enroll you in the training course and walk you through each of the lessons until you feel you are ready to take the plunge and set up a home aquarium devoted to seahorses.

As you know, the seahorse training program is completely free of charge and is extremely comprehensive. It will explain how to select a suitable aquarium and optimize it for seahorses in far greater detail than we can possibly manage on a simple discussion forum such as this. The Ocean Rider seahorse training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail, Lee, so I need you to contact me off list ([email protected]) with a very brief message before we can get started. I will then respond to your e-mail, and once we have opened the lines of communication and established contact via e-mail, I will begin sending you the lessons and answering any and all questions you may have after you've had a chance to go over each of the installments.

The correspondence course is designed to teach you the basics of good aquarium keeping as you go along, Lee, and I will be working with you personally via e-mail every step of the way until you are ready to tackle your first seahorses with confidence.

Please get back to me at the following e-mail address at your earliest convenience, Lee: [email protected]

Best wishes with all your fishes, Lee!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

Akamu
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

I would like to participate, I sent you an email.

I have not purchased anything yet so this should be great!

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Dear Akamu:

Thank you for getting in contact with me off list, sir!

You are officially enrolled in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program and the first lesson should help you decide which aquarium system is best suited for seahorses as well as your own needs and interests.

Good luck finding the perfect ponies for your purposes from your local fish stores in Hawaii!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

vickiboe
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!
ajd2468
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Hello Pete,

My name is Anthony and I would liked to be enrolled in the Seahorse Training Program. I am a new aquarist so I'm hoping this will get me ready to take care of the little ponies!! Thank you so much!!

Anthony

Greybolt03
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Hello I am interested in the course I ve been keeping aquariums for 25 years now I started with fresh water, tank when I was 13, moved on to fowler about 8 years ago,then switched to a reef tank 5 years ago.. I don't have a tank or set up for horses yet but would like to get one soon,
Thanks, Mike

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program! Get certified here!

Dear Mike:

Very good, sir! Your previous experience with freshwater aquariums as well as marine aquarium keeping will serve you very well as a seahorse keeper, Mike, and I would be very happy to enroll you in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program.

However, the seahorse training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail, Mike, so before we can begin the lessons, we must first establish e-mail contact. If you will send me a brief message expressing your interest in the seahorse training program to the following e-mail address, I will respond and we can then begin the training once we've established e-mail communication:

[email protected]

I will be looking for your e-mail message and get you started out with the training material as soon as I hear back from you via e-mail, Mike.

In the meantime, best wishes with all your fishes, sir!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Training Program Advisor

tjsmith
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

I would like to take the seahorse training course. How do i go about getting the info to complete?

thanks.

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear TJ:

The seahorse training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail. If you would like to participate, just send me an e-mail off list with the information regarding your background as an aquarist (if any) and basic information on any marine aquariums you are already keeping, along with your full name (first and last), which I need for my records. You can contact me at the following e-mail address at any time: [email protected]

I will then enroll you in the training course and reply to your e-mail, sending you the first of the lessons. I will be corresponding with you from then on, answering any questions or concerns you may have following each lesson. From there, we will proceed at a pace that is comparable for you until you have completed the entire training program. We just have to make contact via e-mail before the training program can begin...

So just shoot me a quick e-mail off list with the information requested above and I'll get you started out on the training program right away, TJ.

Best wishes with all your fishes!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

whodakind
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

hi i would like to join the training program. i'd been keeping saltwater aquarium for the last 4 yrs now i know the basic about keeping saltwater fishes and corals in captivity, but i wanna upgrade on keeping seahorses. i have two right now i live here in hawaii in the big island i've been in you guy's seahorse farm i really wanna learn more about seahorses. thanks it's just to bad you guy's don't sell here in the big island... but yes i understand why and respect that as a hobbies myself... so plz inroll me on seahorse training program. my name is fred i have called you guy's there before asking about selling me a seahorse..LOL! anyways my email is [email protected]..

ounce again thank so much
you guy's website help so much!

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear Fred:

Yes, sir, you're quite correct -- Ocean Rider (seahorse.com) does have a strict policy against selling any of their livestock within the State of Hawaii. This limitation is necessary to prevent the accidental or intentional release of seahorses that are not native to the islands into Hawaiian waters where they may have a negative impact on endemic seahorses and ecosystems.

The release of captive specimens is widely acknowledged to have the potential to do considerable harm under certain circumstances. The primary concerns are that such releases could introduce diseases into seahorse populations, could pose genetic threats to wild populations, and could disrupt the structure and normal function of seahorse communities, and may therefore actually result in extirpations (localized extinctions) of native seahorses. I'm glad that you can understand the rationale behind Ocean Rider's policy in that regard, Fred.

However, the fact that Ocean Rider cannot provide livestock for you will have no effect whatsoever on the training lessons since you do not have to have Ocean Rider seahorses, or seahorses of any kind, in order to participate in the training course. In short, Fred, I would be happy to enroll you in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program and I will get you started off with the first lesson immediately. Look for in your inbox later today, sir.

In the meantime, Fred, I will be very grateful if you could send me a brief reply to this message that includes your full name (first and last), which I need for my records. And it will also help me to provide you with the best possible guidance if you can tell me a little more about the marine aquariums that you are currently keeping, especially if one of them will be serving as your seahorse setup.

Best wishes with all your fishes (and invertebrates), Fred!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

whodakind
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Aloha Pete,
Thanks for replying on my enrollment for the Seahorse Training Program... I'm, sorry for not putting my full name but here it is my full name is frederick Lazaro but can call me fred for short.about my tank right now currently have a 30 gallon reef tank, a 20 gallon just for seahorses and a new 55 gallon still cycling not ready for anykind... well let me tell you about my 20 gallon where I have my seahorses now..I'm currently using aqua clear as my biological filtration and a 20 ponds of live rocks I have put artificial corals around the rocks so my seahorses have something to hold on I have a uv sterilizer and got me a CPR bak pak protien skimmer but I think it's to big for my tank, cause it's giving out a lot off micro bubbles in the tank which it's bad for seahorses.So I took it out and tommorow I'll go to petco and buy me one of those biocube protien skimmer that i think will be better.i do 20 percent water change every sunday, I did it that way so I won't for get it... and I do regular test for my water.And my seahorses are doing good I had them for about 3 months now and they look really happy, but I think they're bought female,hoping to find a male someday,And Wishing to keep my babies for a long time with you guy's help.

Ounce again thank you so much.
[email protected]

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear Fred:

You're very welcome, sir!

Thank you for getting back to me with your full name and the additional information regarding your current aquarium systems. I'm glad to hear that your seahorses have been doing so well and completing the training course will help assure that they remain healthy and happy.

The microbubbles a common problem with the CPR Bak-Pak line of protein skimmers, particularly when the skimmer is our new and going through their break-in period. There are some simple modifications you can make to the skimmer to eliminate the microbubbles, or you may have to install a CPR bubble trap to contain them so they aren't released into the aquarium. Here are some comments and suggestions from other aquarists who have had similar difficulties, explaining how they were able to correct the problem:

<open quote>
I have a CPR bak pak and you can make a silencer to reduce the noise. Also, when a protein skimmer is new, it often makes bubbles. As per CPR's instructions you should also be able to reduce noise and bubbles by lengthening the airline tubing to about 2ft. If this does not help the bubbles, CPR sells a bubble trap which you can place over the tube which pours into the tank, thus removing the bubbles. Sometimes the bubbles are caused by inadequate air flow. You can remove the mushroomlike black plastic piece from the tube which comes out of your tank into the air. To be sure the skimmer will make even more noise but you can make the silencer to help this. Take an empty film canister with a lid and drill a hole in it. You want the hole big enough to fit your airline tubung but not so big that it will fall off. Put the tubing through the hole in the bottom of the canister. take another piece of tubing very short maybe 1/4 inch to half inch and stick that into the grey film canister lid.
Put the lid on the film canister with each tube inside and the small one hanging out a bit. The two pieces of tubing do not need to touch inside the canister. Voila you have increased your air flow and reduced the noise! Good luck.

Michelle
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Gia,

You put the open end of the airline tubing into the bottom of the film
canister.

-----main airline tubing-------- (filmcanisterhere- (lid)small piece of
tube here----

the little piece of tube sticks out the end of the lid of the canister and a
small amount goes inside. Let me know if you need more help. I will try to make
a better diagram.

Michelle

tipsicat@... <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OceanRider/post?postID=s3MPcU-U50_Tn1z6K9J... wrote: Michelle,
That sounds like an interesting idea! I have BackPack also. But don't quite
understand....do U put an airstone at the end of it or just leave it open?
Gia]
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Thanks for the info on noise reduction!

I have a CPR bak pak also, and I was frustrated with bubbles coming
out below the water surface-no matter how I adjusted the air intake,
I still got bubbles in the outflow. So, I asked my husband to shorten
the vertical piece of black piping that returns water to the tank.
The return flow tube (the elbow shaped black piece attached to the
vertical piece) now is located partially out of the water, so any
bubbles offgas at the water/air surface. That solved the bubble
problem.
Chris
<close quote>

Best of luck finding a stallion to keep your lonely female's company, Fred! You should already have received the first three lessons in the seahorse training program, sir, and I will keep them coming regularly now that I have all of the information I need.

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna

bostonscoob
Seahorse Training Class Requirements
timbrown
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Is it too late to join the Seahorse training program? I would love to do it.

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear Tim:

No, sir -- it is never too late to sign up for the seahorse training program. The training course is an ongoing project that is always available free of charge to anyone who is interested in learning more about the care and keeping of seahorses.

I received your e-mail off list, Tim, and you are now officially enrolled in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program. In fact, you should receive the first lesson by the end of the day.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Tim! Good luck with the lessons, sir.

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna

dbaran
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

I'm very interested in taking your seahorse training course. I'm brand new to keeping aquariums. I have a 14 gallon biocube that is dedicated to seahorses of which I have two. I also have a pipefish and several clean-up crew. Recently, I lost one of my seahorses. I don't know why, he seemed to just waste away. I desperately searched the internet for help and discovered so much that I didn't know about seahorses; I'm glad I found this site!
Please sign me up for your classes; I look forward to hearing from you,
Deborah Baran

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear Deborah:

I would be very happy to sign you up for the Ocean Rider seahorse training program, but in order to do so I need you to contact me off list so that we can communicate by e-mail. Just send a copy of your post to the following e-mail address, and I will enroll you in the training course and get you started out with the first lesson right away, Deborah: [email protected]

The seahorse training program is a very comprehensive correspondence course conducted entirely via e-mail, so I need to have your e-mail address in order to assure that you receive the lessons, Deborah. As soon as I receive your e-mail, I will send you a reply, and we will get started on the lessons immediately.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Deborah!

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna

dbaran
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Thanks,
I sent you an email.
Deborah

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear Deborah:

Okay, it did indeed receive your e-mail off list and I have enrolled you in the free Ocean Rider seahorse training program. By now, you should already have received the first lessons.

Best of luck with the training course, Deborah!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

moseahorselover
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Hi all-
I am looking into starting a saltwater tank. I would be a beginner. My sole purpose for wanting a saltwater tank is to get seahorses. I am an avid seahorse lover. I would love to enroll in the seahorse course, if someone could direct me as to how! I want to make sure I do everything right. Glad to see there are many passionate people out there for seahorses. Thanks in advance for any guidance.
Sarah

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear Sarah:

I would be very happy to enroll you in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program, but I will need to know your full name (first and last) for my records in order to do so.

The training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail, Sarah, so if you will please send a brief reply that includes your full name to the following e-mail address, I will respond to your e-mail and then get you started out on the first lesson right away: [email protected]

It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or if this will be your first saltwater aquarium, Sarah. The training course is very comprehensive and is designed to teach you the fundamentals of good aquarium keeping as you go along. After you've had a chance to read over each lesson and digest the information thoroughly, I will answer any remaining questions or concerns you may have until everything is perfectly clear to you, and I will be working with you personally in this way until your new aquarium is up and running, ready to receive your first seahorses. The lessons will teach you everything you need to know about the care and keeping of seahorses and how to establish your aquarium to create ideal conditions for the ponies.

Please contact me off list ([email protected]) at your earliest convenience, Sarah, and we'll get started right away.

Best wishes with all your fishes!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

chances
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

I would love to take your training course. I have had many fresh water tanks and a couple brackish our smallest being one gallon and the largest being a hundred gallon and we have been considering starting a marine tank for years. Thank you

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear chances:

Excellent! Your experience keeping freshwater aquariums and working with brackish setups should be very helpful and I agree that completing the seahorse training program will be a great way to learn the basics of marine aquarium keeping.

However, the seahorse training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail, so in order to get started I need you to contact me off list at the following e-mail address: [email protected]

Just send me a brief message to the e-mail address above stating that you are interested in enrolling in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program, and I will make all of the necessary arrangements and get you started off with the first lesson right away, as soon as we have established e-mail communication.

In the meantime, best wishes with all your fishes!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

Leeannakg87
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Hello, I am very new to the whole saltwater aquariums. I have a 15g JAD aquarium. It has been up for 12 weeks now. I have 1 turbo snail, 3 nassarius snails, 2 red-legged hermits, 1 blue-legged hermit, 1 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp(who is about to spawn), 1 fire shrimp, 1 emerald crab, 2 FP clownfish, 3 soft corals, and 1 long tentacle anemone. I am going to be moving everthing into a 30g and getting maybe two more fish. I also have a 65g glass aquarium with a 20g sump. Its been going for about 2 weeks, in this one I have 2 turbos, 2 blue-legged hermits, 1 azure damsel, and 1 black & white O. clownfish. We will be adding more fish, but slowly. I would like to know as much about seahorses as possible. I will be getting a tank for them and I want it to be prefect for them. I was also wondering when you buy the horses, do you get to pick the color and sex or no? I was hoping that I could get a couple of pairs when I was ready for them, but I also would love to have a varity of colors. And what do you do with the babies? I was just wondering. Please let me do this training, because as I said I want to learn as much as possible before I get my. Leeanna.

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear Leeanna:

Yes, of course -- I would be very happy to enroll you in my Ocean Rider seahorse training program, but it is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail, so before we can get started with the lessons we need to establish communication via e-mail off list. We'll be all set if you can just prepare a very brief e-mail message that includes your full name (first and last) stating that you would like to participate in the seahorse training course and send it to me at the following e-mail address: [email protected]

I will then respond to that e-mail, enter you in the training program, and send you the first lesson right away. From then on, I will be working with you personally as we go through the lessons and I will be answering any further questions or concerns you may have until you are ready for your first seahorses.

Yes, when you place an order for seahorses with Ocean Rider you can certainly request seahorses of a certain sex or with the desired coloration, Leeanna. When you place an online order for highly domesticated, High-Health seahorses with Ocean Rider (seahorse.com), just be sure to fill out the "Comments" section of the online order form. That is the place where you can request seahorses with special traits when you place your order. This includes coloration, gender, or perhaps requesting a pregnant male, if you so desire. The "Comments" section on the online order form is also for any such special instructions you may have regarding your order, such as delivering the seahorses on a specific date.. When Ocean Rider subsequently fills your order, they will look over the current crop of seahorses and do their very best to select specimens that meet your specifications from their available livestock.

Be sure to point out specifically what you're looking for in your seahorses. If you want active specimens that tend to swim a lot and explore their surroundings, say so. Or if you want ponies with lots of personality that will interact freely with their keeper, tell them that. If your main goal is to obtain colorful seahorses, then ask for yellow or orange Sunbursts was the most vivid, intense coloration. If you want two pairs of seahorses with different coloration, then I would suggest ordering a pair of Mustangs with bold markings and a nice lined pattern as well as a pair of brightly colored Sunbursts. (Mustangs and Sunbursts are different color morphs of Hippocampus erectus, so they have identical aquarium requirements and will even interbreed freely but typically have different coloration.)

You can always get male/female pairs, and you can usually get either males or females, and if you're willing to pay a little extra, you can often obtain a pregnant male. Ocean Rider will then try their hardest to pick out the seahorses that are the closest possible match for your preferences, although there may not always be specimens available with all of the particular features you are looking for when your order is filled. It's the next best thing to handpicking the seahorses yourself.

When it comes to babies, Ocean Rider seahorses are prolific breeders and Mustangs and Sunbursts are considered moderately easy to raise, although that is always a challenge for the home aquarist. There is a always a steep learning curve when it comes to rearing newborn seahorses, and it's quite common -- perhaps even the rule -- for the home breeder to lose the entire brood during his first few attempts at rearing. But as you refine your methods and become more proficient at providing suitable live foods for the newborns and work out the feeding regimen that's most efficient for your particular circumstances, your results will get better. You will have more of the fry surviving for longer periods, until eventually you are able to raise a few of the fry from a few of the broods to maturity. That is a realistic goal for any home hobbyist working with Mustangs and Sunbursts who is willing to put in the necessary time and effort, which can be accomplished using a basic nursery tank and a staple diet of newly hatched brine shrimp. (Lesson 8 of the seahorse training program is devoted entirely to raising the babies and includes comprehensive information and instructions in that regard.)

If you feel that you are not up to the challenge of raising the babies, Leeanna, Mustangs and Sunbursts can easily be prevented from breeding by adjusting the environmental parameters in the aquarium (i.e., water temperature and the photoperiod). Just gradually reduce the water temperature to 74°F or below and keep the aquarium lighted for 10 hours a less each day, and the seahorses will not breed because these environmental cues affect their hormonal levels. If you want to stimulate breeding in your Mustangs and seahorses, on the other hand, gradually raise the water temperature to 77°F-78°F and keep the aquarium lighted for 12 hours or more daily and your seahorses will respond accordingly.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Leeanna! I hope to be hearing from you via e-mail off list very soon so that we can begin the training program.

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

fiskybizniz
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Hi Pete, my husband toured the Kona facility and super impressed with their efforts and results. Because we've enjoyed fish keeing since 2005 we would love to know if our tank would make a suitable home for a pair? It may help you to know we are Bob Fenner followers so we've lived by his rules understanding it's best to accept more NO's than a YES in what we would like to have in our tank vs. what is really best to put in it. Our stock is limited to animals he has recommended to adapt well and we do feed the highest quality diet because it makes too much sense to work hard at keeping the animals healthy and alive. Oh duh!

TANK: The tank is 72 inches long, 18 inches wide & 32 inches deep. We're using a proteien skimmer for filtration. I can't recall the turnovr rate of our pump, but as you know you purchase based on tank size and what you'll be keeping. It's the one they make in it. Our goal was to have a darn good FOWLR system keeping peaceful reef safe type fish. We house two live rock stacks that we call our inner and outer reef towers. The remainder landscape is baracles, fake plants and corals that we rotate and sun for cleaning.

TANK RESIDENTS: A dozen or so Scarlet hermits & cleaner crabs (pinkie finger size), 2 cleaner shrimp, 2 low light corals, 1- 5 inch Foxface, 1- 3 inch Percula Clown, 1- 2 inch six line wrasse, 1- 3.5 inch diamond Goby and 2- Lyretail Anthia's. The larger female Anthia is 2.5 inches and making the turn to male. The smaller is 1 inch. We would like to add another female Anthia to restore our harem of 3. So the seahorses would be a last add in if you think they would work out.

FEEDING SCHEDULE: We do feed twice a day and easy to add mysis to each feeding. Right now, our current a.m. cups include bio plankton, nori and we rotate mysis, crab or plankton as the meat of the day. Our p.m. cups include frozen formula II and dry formula 1, II and thera A soaked in a combination of marine plankton, zoo plankton and cromoplex. We haven't seen baby shrimp with this pair of cleaner shrimp but if they mate that will be an added snack for everyone as they cycle. The food cups are dumped into a feeding tube we installed in the sump directing it to the intake which shoots it out our bulk heads. Food goes everywhere to assure needless competition during eating.

The tank is peaceful and except for getting checked out at first we expect our fish would be more inclined to ignore sea horses but figure you would know best. The observation at the farm that concerned us in putting sea horses in our tank was the feeding method. We would consider that diretional feeding. We do have a directional feeder that we use to stock the tank with pods but I'm putting a huge amount of work into the food cups so I don't have to spend a lot of time on each individual feeding. Do these seahorses grab food floating by? All we saw was a glob of mysis right in front of their face fall to the tank bottom waiting for them. That would not work in our tank. We do have a dead area in the tank that would allow food to mimic what we saw but our tank is too large to assure the sea horses would always be there so still best to assume they could be out anywhere enjoying a fair amount of territitory when a feeding comes up.

Your feedback would be most appreciated.

Sincerely,

Debi Stanley-Viloria

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear Debi:

I am pleased to hear that your husband enjoyed the tour of the Ocean Rider aquaculture facility and seahorse farm during his visit to Hawaii -- that is an experience that anyone with an interest in seahorses would find thrilling and thoroughly fascinating (the spectacular seadragons alone are worth the price of admission)!

When considering whether or not your particular community tank would be suitable for a pair of large seahorses, Debi, the two primary concerns we must examine our behavioral issues and feeding issues. Physically, the actual setup of your marine aquarium is excellent for seahorses. It has the superior height that is so important for seahorses as well as plenty of water volume for the community of fish you are keeping, meaning that there should be plenty of room to accommodate a pair of seahorses as far as the carrying capacity of your aquarium goes, and my preferred setup for seahorses is a FOWLR supplemented with a good protein skimmer, so I foresee no problems in that regard.

Regarding the specimens you are keeping, soft corals in general, Scarlet reef hermit crabs (Paguristes cadenati), cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis), and gobies in general make fine tank mates for large seahorses. And "Nemo clownfish" -- percula clowns (Amphiprion Percula) and false percula clowns (Amphiprion occelaris) -- are the ONLY clownfish that I recommend keeping with seahorses. Behaviorally, I agree with your assessment -- the six line wrasse, Foxface rabbitfish, and lyretail Anthias will most likely simply ignore the seahorses, rather than reacting to them territorially or aggressively. The seahorses are so different in appearance and behavior that they are unlikely to be regarded as unwelcome competitors or unwanted intruders.

So in terms of the other inhabitants behavior, I believe that a large pair of seahorses such as Mustangs or Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus) could do well in a tank like yours. I am a little leery of the pinkie-finger sized cleaner crabs simply because I don't know which type of crabs you actually have, and crustaceans in general are not trustworthy with seahorses once they grow to a certain size. It would be helpful to know what species your cleaner crabs are, Debi, so that I will have an idea what size they may grow to. (Crabs and crustaceans in general are opportunistic predators that are likely to attack anything they can overpower. They may be entirely peaceful and inoffensive when they are small, but even a small crab can cause a lot of trouble as it grows. They may double in size following a molt (i.e., ecdysis) so they grow surprisingly fast, and even a tiny crab that's completely docile at first can grow large enough to turn predatory almost literally overnight if it's a species that reaches a respectable size. One day it's a miniature crab that's cute and entertaining in its own bumbling sort of way, and the next day following a successful molt, it can become a dangerous bully that regard its tankmates with a culinary eye.)

If you can identify your cleaner crabs for me, Debi, I can give you a better answer as to their compatibility; otherwise, be prepared to relocate the cleaner crabs if you want to give seahorses a try in your community tank.

That brings us to the feeding issues, Debi, which are definitely an area of concern with your particular tank. The clownfish, six line wrasse, Foxface, and Anthias are all active, aggressive feeders that will have a great liking for the frozen Mysis that will be the staple diet of your seahorses. Since the seahorses orient to the substrate of the aquarium, and must wait for the frozen Mysis to drift down to them within reach, the other fish are going to have first crack at the food while it is suspended in the water column.

The feeding system you are currently employing in your community tank is what I call "scatter feeding" or "broadcast feeding," which is frowned on by seahorse keepers under most circumstances because target feeding the ponies or teaching them to eat their frozen Mysis from a feeding tray are much better options for most hobbyists. Seahorses certainly do grab frozen Mysis as it is floating by, and they will carefully search over the bottom for leftover frozen Mysis when they are scatter fed, Debi. In fact, seahorses are more apt to aggressively snap up the frozen Mysis when it is moving, drifting by a lifelike manner. But seahorses are deliberate feeders that must track their prey carefully and then slurp it up from a very short distance away, and if the frozen Mysis is whisked past them too fast, they will be unable to target it properly and feed until it has settled on the bottom.

With this feeding method, Debi, the problem is not going to be getting the seahorses to eat the frozen Mysis when it is broadcast fed, but rather to make sure that they get their fill at feeding time, since the other fish are much faster and can easily outcompete them for the leftovers. You're going to have to experiment to determine the right amount of frozen Mysis to add to your feeding cups in order to assure that the seahorses get enough to eat during the feeding frenzy.

That's not as easy as it sounds, since if you go overboard and add too much of the frozen Mysis, overfeeding will cause a whole new set of problems. The worst thing you can do when feeding the seahorses in a intricate reef or live rock environment is to overfeed the tank and scatter a handful of frozen Mysis throughout the aquarium to be dispersed by the currents and hope that the hungry horses can track it all down. Inevitably some of the frozen food will be swept away and lodge in isolated nooks and crannies where the seahorses cannot get it (Giwojna, 2005). There it will begin to decompose and degrade the water quality, which is why ammonia spikes are common after a heavy feeding. Or it may be wafted out into the open again later on and eaten after it has begun to spoil. Either outcome can have dire consequences.

So the challenge you're going to face when feeding the seahorses is to determine the right amount of frozen Mysis to add to your feeding cups in order to make sure that the seahorses are getting enough to eat at mealtime WITHOUT overfeeding the tank in the process. A good cleanup crew can be enormously helpful for cleaning up leftovers when you are broadcasting the food throughout the tank, Debi, so you may want to bolster your cleanup crew by adding lots of nassarius snails and more microhermit crabs.

Providing you can work out the proper amount to feed during each meal, I do feel that a pair of seahorses could do well in a community tank such as yours, as long as you stick with hardy, highly domesticated seahorses like Ocean Rider Mustangs and Sunbursts that are hearty heaters and can hold their own in mixed company.

It's usually best to avoid otherwise docile tankmate for seahorses if they are aggressive feeders that could out-compete them for food, Debi. However, I find that such concerns are generally unwarranted when it comes to farm-raised seahorses that eat frozen foods. In the bad old days of seahorse keeping, it was indeed absolutely imperative to avoid keeping active fishes that were greedy eaters with wild-caught seahorses that were dependent on live foods. It was difficult enough to come up with sufficient live food for the seahorses in the first place, and active fishes would greedily dart around the tank and busily scarf up all the live food before the horses got much more than a taste. But that is no longer the case with Ocean Rider seahorses, and the feeding habits of potential tankmates need no longer be an overriding concern (Delbeek, Oct. 2001).

Although competition for food is always an issue with seahorses, it is no longer sufficient reason to automatically exclude entire categories of fishes as potential tankmates. There's no denying that your Foxface and Anthias, for example, are active feeders; they will definitely love the taste of frozen mysis and can complicate feeding your seahorses. Same with your clownfish and six line wrasse and even the cleaner shrimp. But there are ways around that...

For instance, the same thing is true with regard to pipefish and decorative shrimp, yet no one disputes that they make splendid companions for seahorses. Nowadays, almost every seahorse setup includes a few Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni), Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis), or Fire Shrimp (Lysmata debelius). They are popular additions to a seahorse tank because hobbyists like to use them to augment their cleanup crews and add a splash of color and activity to their tanks. Aside from their utility as attractive scavengers, they often perform a useful service by grooming the seahorses, which is fascinating to watch, and regularly reproduce, releasing swarms of nauplii many seahorses love to eat. Peppermint Shrimp are especially popular because they are natural predators of Aiptasia rock anemones and do a wonderful job of eradicating these pests from the aquarium.

Yet once established in the aquarium, those beautiful red shrimp species are much more active feeders than seahorses. They'll come flying across the tank the moment that enticing scent of frozen mysids hits the water, raiding the feeding station and snatching mysis right out of the 'horse's snouts. Does that mean they're incompatible with seahorses? Heck no, you just shoo the pesky shrimp out of the way at dinnertime and target feed the seahorses, making sure each of them gets its fill. Well, a percula clownfish, Lyretail Anthias, (or a Foxface RabbitFish) is no more of an aggressive feeder than the ever-popular cleaner shrimp are, and no more difficult to deal with than the mischievous shrimp at feeding time.

For captive-bred seahorses, which eat enriched frozen mysis as their staple diet, it is customary to feed the more active fish and inverts their fill of standard aquarium foods first, and then target feed the seahorses with frozen mysis, using the feeding wand or baster to discourage any fishes that might try to steal a bite while the seahorses are eating (Delbeek, Oct. 2001). This works quite well providing the fishes are suitable tankmates for seahorses.

That's SOP for many seahorse keepers and is not much different than the situation in a species tank when one of your seahorses is an aggressive eater with an insatiable appetite that tends to monopolize the feeding station, and one of your other seahorses is a deliberate feeder that has to examine every morsel of mysis forever before he finally eats it.

And if you scatter feed the frozen Mysis and figure out the proper amount to add to your feeding comes so that you avoid underfeeding or overfeeding the ponies, that can also work well. Hardly an insurmountable problem.

Aquarists that are accustomed to catering to the demands of delicate wild-caught seahorses routinely exclude all butterflies, tangs, rabbitfish and wrasses as a matter of course, and rightly so. But as long as your tank is big enough, such precautions are no longer strictly necessary when it comes to farm-raised seahorses that are born and bred for life in the aquarium. For example, here’s an example of such a mixed community including Ocean Rider seahorses that’s proven to be very successful for a home hobbyist:

“My tank is a 150 gallon tall (3 1/2 feet) with a 50 gallon sump system giving me 200 gallon volume of water!! a good amount of live rock (approximately 125 pounds)! I use Aragonite sugar sized oolitic sand. For filtration and circulation I use a Rio 3500 with a backpack overflow and I have a protein skimmer, UV sterilizer, two sponge filters, a magnum 350, an emperor 400 and I use purigen -- NO carbon.

I house approximately 30 sea horses along with a lot of snails both turbo grazers and Nassarius for detritus! I keep two scooter blennies, several wrasses, 3 butterfly fish, and a naso and kole tang! I also have 3 clowns. Usually you don't see sea horses in a tank with fish and normally this might be a problem! However, I have ONLY … captive raised sea horses and they were in the tank first and I decided to try the fish with a second tank cycled and in the wings to move the fish to should it have been an issue! Well the … horses were not ill effected at all -- in fact the truth be told the sea horses were somewhat bullish with the fish (Susan, 2003).”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: wild-caught seahorses and their captive-bred counterparts are very different animals. These differences extend to the types of fishes that make satisfactory tankmates for each. The feeding habits of farm-raised seahorses make it possible to keep them with fishes that would be absolutely out of the question for wild horses.

In short, Debi, I do think it's worth trying a pair of Mustangs or Sunbursts in your community tank, providing you are willing to target feed the seahorses or to work out the proper amount of frozen Mysis to use when scatter feeding them. Ideally, the seahorses would be the first fish to be introduced to the aquarium, rather than the last, but as we have already discussed, I don't believe the fish in your marine aquarium are likely to react aggressively towards the seahorses at all.

If you want to give the seahorses a try, go ahead as long as you stick with hardy, highly domesticated, High-Health Mustangs or Sunbursts, but have a Plan B ready to put into action just in case things don't go as planned. In your case, that could be relocating the seahorses to a sheltered area in your sump temporarily if they are being harassed in any way by the established residents of the tank.

Also, before you give it a go, I would encourage you and your husband to complete the Ocean Rider training program for new seahorse keepers. It's completely free of charge at this correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail. If you want to give the training course to try, just contact me off list ([email protected]) with a quick e-mail that includes your full name (first and last), and I will get you started off with the first lesson right away.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Debi!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

jdude12345
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

hi my name is jules i happen to love sygnathids i have a red sea max that has been runing for five years now and we have had many pairs of seahorses wwhen can i start the course? because i wanted to get the first buyers special before the sale ends. thanks:woohoo:

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear Jules:

You can get started on the seahorse training course as soon as you contact me off list with your full name (first and last), which I need in order to enroll you in the training program. Just send a brief e-mail to the following address, and I will reply and send you the first lesson right away: [email protected]

The training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail, so we need to establish e-mail communication in order to proceed.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Jules! I hope to be hearing back from you off list shortly so that we can get you started out with the seahorse training.

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

I would love to go through the course! I have a 14 gallon tank set up with water already cycling.

About my current 14 gallon tank- its depth is 10 1/2 , width is 20 , and height is 16 1/2 . Currently it holds 2 of crushed coral as its substrate. The water temp is a steady 76 degrees (I have a heater). I test my ph, nitrite, nitrate etc with a strip test that I use also on my 29gallon tank all levels are in the correct range. (I also get both tanks tested with tubes and such at my local LFS every two weeks). Currently my tank has one fake plant and an aqua blue hanging filter.

I am an avid fan of fish raising freshwater fish since I was young and have moved on to saltwater in my adult life. It is a hobby I share with my children whom love fish as well. I can't wait to get started!

Pete Giwojna
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Dear Mac:

No problem, sir -- I would be very happy to enroll you in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program and get you up to speed on the care and keeping of seahorses as soon as possible.

The only additional information I require is your full name and your e-mail address, which you can provide for me when you contact me off list via e-mail, as explained below, Mac:

You can get started on the seahorse training course as soon as you contact me off list with your full name (first and last), which I need for my records. Just send a brief e-mail to the following address, and I will reply and send you the first lesson right away: [email protected]

The training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail, so we need to establish e-mail communication in order to proceed.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Mac! I hope to be hearing back from you off list shortly so that we can get you started out with the seahorse training.

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

zack168
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

HI Pete I would like your training coarse .thanks Tom

JLyn13
Re:Seahorse Training Program -- get certified now!

Hi Pete,
I've been really busy lately with school work and I've just finished reading through all ten lessons again. I'm still working out the finer details of keeping and maintaining a seahorse tank in my home, but I'm still looking forward to a tank in the future! Thanks so much for the lessons and I'm still doing some extra research.
Please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]
From, Jocelyn Louie

Pages

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

 

© Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved - Ocean Rider Inc. Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Design & Development: Gatman Inc.