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Getting Started - Seahorse Aquarium Basics
Getting Ready For Your Ocean Rider Seahorses
Make sure to read our Beginner's FAQ's and our article on Tank Cycling.
Ocean Rider Giant Tropical Farm-Raised Sea Horses are so well adapted to the aquarium environment that they Feed-EZY on frozen mysis shrimp enhanced with Ocean Rider Vibrance® This diet will ensure long term survivability, high health, high mating frequency and beautiful, vibrant colors! Forget about live food!!
By choosing Ocean Rider sea horses, not only are you getting a superior pet free of parasites and pathogens typical to wild caught sea horses, you are making an eco-friendly choice because your purchase helps to protect the wild populations and their marine habitats.
We hope that you find the following information helpful and that it gives you the confidence you need to set up your saltwater aquarium tank just for Ocean Rider sea horses. You will find that it is well worth the effort, and that the expense is minimal for the enjoyment that your sea horses will bring you.
Make sure your tank is cycled!
All Ocean Rider sea horses are pre trained to feed on frozen mysis shrimp from Piscine Energetics enhanced with Ocean Rider Vibrance. Forget about live food!Our recommended feeding regime is: 2-5 frozen mysis shrimp enhanced with Vibrance per sea horse per feeding 2 times per day, 6 days per week with one fasting day . Not only is this diet easy to use, but it will ensure long term survivability, high health, high mating frequency and beautiful, vibrant colors. Make sure you have a good clean up crew and that you siphon out left over feed within 15 minutes. If it is left in the tank, you risk serious water quality problems.
Ocean Rider does not recommend the feeding of live foods except as an occasional, once a month treat. When you do feed live foods, we recommend our iron horse feeds. Live brine shrimp must be enriched with Vibrance. Unenriched brine shrimp lacks essential nutrients and may be harmful to your seahorse.
Ocean Rider Sea Horses are social, vertically oriented animals that do best in groups in a dedicated sea horse only tank with plenty of comfortable hitching posts and low currents. Ocean Rider sea horses do pair bond, but will court and mate with others when in a group situation, which means you will have the opportunity to witness this magnificent mating dance frequently! With proper care and set up Ocean Rider sea horses will mate every 25 to 30 days. The males are not territorial but will spend a lot of time showing off!
Ocean Rider Tropical Sea Horses will mate every 25-30 days in the right conditions. The lfry are born looking just like adult sea horses! The average life span is from 4 to 6 years!
How to Distinguish Male from Female
The male will have a smooth soft pouch like area at the base of its abdomen between where the stomach meets the tail on the front side. He also has a fin here but it is less obvious. He will point his trunk down and blow up this pouch during the mating display. Males may show off like this to each other, but will not harm each other in the process. The female will have more of a pointed stomach with a very obvious fin at the base of the stomach.
Ocean Rider Sea Horses are like chameleons and will change colors frequently according to their mood and environment. By manipulating the lighting, background, water quality and feeds you will be able to bring out the colors you want. We recommend orange/red artificial corals for optimizing color.
Hitching Posts can be live or artificial marine sea grasses, algae's, and corals . Our favorite artificial corals are the bright orange stag-horn and pillar corals found at SigNature Coral.
Sea Horses themselves do not need special lighting, but your tank mates may!
Large sized gravel, pebbles, sand and live rock are all okay. We recommend dark colors for optimizing the sea horse colors.
Water Quality Parameters
Always check that the water quality parameters are within acceptable ranges before introducing any sea horses. You should buy a good quality saltwater test kit in order to monitor your saltwater tank properly. New saltwater systems MUST cycle completely before stocking sea horses into the tank. This usually takes about 2 weeks. Check that the water quality parameters are within acceptable ranges BEFORE introducing the sea horses.
Acceptable parameters are:
Temperature: Range 68F to 82F Optimum: 75
PH: 8.2- 8.4
Specific Gravity: Range: 1.022 - 1.026 Optimum: 1.0245
Tank Set Up
There are many wonderful types of filtration equipment and tank setups available that will make excellent homes for your Ocean Rider sea horses. If you are new to the hobby or are converting from fresh to salt water, you may want to take some time and read up on what your options are. It is worth taking the time to understand the basics of the hobby so that you can make the appropriate purchases that will ensure your success.
Choose a system that fits your pocket book, accommodates your living area, your management schedule, your specific tank mates and tank load. Maintaining optimum water quality is essential. Avoid systems that produce a lot of bubbles and strong currents. Protein skimmers are highly recommended, especially in large systems. Rather than endorse specific systems Ocean Rider would rather provide you some guidelines and some examples of what systems work for others so that you can decide what works for you.
Tank height: 20 inches minimum is recommended
Tank Volume and Stocking capacity: 10 gallons for 2 to 4 individuals, 25 gallon for 4 to 10 individuals, 55 gallon for 10 to 15
100 gallon for 15 to 25, 150 gallon for 20 to 30
These include but not limited to: blennies, gobies,draganets, mandarins, percula clowns, some butterflies, tangs and wrasses, soft and hard corals, plants. Know any others ? We'd love to hear from you.
Damsels, Triggers, Tomato Clowns, Anemones, and any aggressive fish.
Clean Up Crew:
These include Nazarus snails, turbo grazers, sea cucumbers, various cleaner shrimps, brittle stars, starfish, and hermit crabs
Ocean Rider Acclimation Procedures
Please check that your basic water quality parameters are within acceptable range (temperature: 68F -80F, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, PH 8.2 - 8.4, Specific gravity 1.021-1.025, saturated oxygen).
Please acclimate your sea horses slowly, but do not take more than 45 minutes to complete the procedure. Open your box away from any bright lights. Check temperature upon arrival and turn off aquarium lights. The best way to acclimate is to:
- Float the bag in your tank for about 10 minutes to equalize temperatures.
- Then partially open the bag, clip it to the side of the tank and add 1 cup of tank water. (Do NOT aerate the shipping bag during acclimation)
- Wait 10 minutes.
- Remove 1 cup of water and add another cup of water from the tank.
- Wait 10 minutes.
- Repeat this procedure 1 more time.
- Gently net and release the sea horses into the tank, discarding the water left in the bag.
Feeding & Care Procedures
All Ocean Rider® Sea Horses are pre-trained to feed on frozen mysis shrimp from Piscine Energetics enhanced with Vibrance®. Our recommended feeding regimen is: 2-5 frozen mysis shrimp enhanced with Vibrance® per sea horse per feeding 2 times per day, 6 days per week with one fast day per week.
Don't worry about feeding the sea horse immediately upon arrival. Give them 24 hours to adjust to their new home before introducing the frozen mysis. These sea horses are very well fed before leaving the farm and can easily go a day or two without food.
Feeding: Sprinkle a "pinch" of Vibrance® onto the frozen mysis. Allow the mysis to thaw. Gently mix the Vibrance® into the mysis so that the head is now red. Apply the feed to sea horse tank. You will see that they recognize this food quickly and will even take the mysis off the tank bottom. This high quality frozen mysis shrimp, combined with Vibrance® creates a food that is very high in HUFA's (especially the DHA Omega 6 DHA series) and cartenoids which are essential components to the diet of the sea horse. This is such a good diet that we recommend that you "fast" your sea horses one day per week.
Feeding of live food is for your entertainment and is not necessary. Ocean Rider does not recommend feeding live foods more than once or twice per month. If you do choose to feed live, please use our Iron Horse feeds or live brine shrimp enriched with Vibrance®. Feeding marine shrimp (or any other live food) from the wild may introduce pathogens to your seahorse tank.