Reply To: How do i help my seahorses

Pete Giwojna

Dear Charlotte:

It is good to hear that some of the seahorses are becoming a bit more active.

But you still need to work on the water chemistry in your seahorse tank, since both the nitrite and nitrate levels are way too high. The nitrate is relatively harmless, whereas nitrite is quite toxic, so the next thing you need to do is to get your nitrite level down to zero. (When it comes to nitrogenous wastes, you must maintain zero ammonia and zero nitrite at all times.)

I would suggest dosing your seahorse tank with a good bacterial additive such as Stability by SeaChem, as explained below in more detail:

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In my opinion, one of the most important steps that the home hobbyist can take when preparing a new saltwater aquarium is to cycle the tank using a product such as SeaChem Stability, and one of the most important steps they can take when maintaining their aquarium thereafter is to include monthly boosters of the Stability to help maintain optimum water quality and assure that the biological filtration in the aquarium is functioning at maximum efficiency.

Not only will cycling a newly established aquarium using SeaChem Stability greatly accelerate the cycling process, it provides the aquarium with denitrification ability as well as the usual beneficial nitrifying bacteria. That is extremely important because the anaerobic, heterotrophic, and facultative bacteria included in the SeaChem Stability give the aquarium the ability to complete the nitrogen cycle, not only converting deadly ammonia into nitrite and then breaking down the nitrite into relatively harmless nitrate, as usual, but then taking the process a step further and converting nitrate into nitrogen gas (N2) that bubbles out of the aquarium into the atmosphere and is removed from the tank entirely. That prevents nitrates from accumulating in the aquarium, which is very important for seahorses and delicate invertebrates that are sensitive to high nitrate levels.

Furthermore, the ability of the heterotrophic bacteria in SeaChem Stability to break down phosphates, detritus, waste products, and the grunge that accumulates in the substrate over time and prevents organic wastes from accumulating in the aquarium is especially helpful for keeping seahorses, which have specialized aquarium requirements, healthy and happy in the long run.

Here is some more information on the SeaChem Stability, how to use it properly, and how it accomplishes these beneficial effects in the aquarium, Sandra:

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SeaChem Stability

Stability® will rapidly and safely establish the aquarium biofilter in freshwater and marine systems, thereby preventing the #1 cause of fish death: “new tank syndrome”. Stability® is formulated specifically for the aquarium and contains a synergistic blend of aerobic, anaerobic, and facultative bacteria which facilitate the breakdown of waste organics, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Unlike competing products, the bacteria employed by Stability® are non-sulfur fixing and will not produce toxic hydrogen sulfide. Stability® is completely harmless to all aquatic organisms as well as aquatic plants, thus there is no danger of over use. Stability® is the culmination of nearly a decade of research and development and represents the current state of the art in natural biological management.

Sizes: 50 mL, 100 mL, 250 mL, 500 mL, 2 L, 4 L, 20 L

Why It’s Different

Illustration of Stability’s™ bacteria on biofiltration material. Stability contains a synergistic blend of aerobic, anaerobic, and facultative bacteria

The bacteria used in competing products are inherently unstable. The conditions necessary for their growth and development fall into a very narrow range of temperatures, pH, organic loads, etc. When any of these parameters are not strictly within the proper range, the bacterial culture quickly crashes and dies. Stability® does not contain any of the aforementioned bacteria.

The bacteria strains in Stability® have been in development for over a decade. The necessary conditions for growth of our bacterial strains encompass a very broad range. When other bacteria begin to die off (usually from high organic loads caused by the undetected death of an organism), Stability® simply works harder and grows faster! The strains function in fresh or saltwater. Stability® contains both nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria, a blend found in no other product. Additionally, Stability® contains facultative bacterial strains which are able to adapt to either aerobic or anaerobic conditions. The bacteria in Stability® are non-sulfur fixing, another innovation in the industry. Most other bacterial supplements will form toxic hydrogen sulfide under the proper conditions. Stability® will not, ever.


Use 1 capful (5 mL) for each 40 L (10 gallons*) on the first day with a new aquarium. Then use 1 capful for each 80 L (20 gallons*) daily for 7 days. Fish and other aquatic species may be introduced at any time as long as dosage is maintained for 7 days. For optimum biofilter performance use 1 capful for each 40 L (10 gallons*) once a month or with each water change and whenever introducing new fish or whenever medicating an aquarium.


Q: I’m currently using Prime + Stability together for my weeky water changes, but on the bottle of Stability it says not to run UV. After dosing with Stability how long do I need to wait before I can safely switch back to UV?

The UV and/or Ozone should be kept off for the 7 days you are dosing if you are cycling or for at 24 hours if it is for Stability additions of new fish or water changes. The reason both should be turned off is because UV and ozone break down and kill bacteria.

Q: What is a reasonable amount of time to allow the Stability to come out of the spore state and find a home to attach themselves?

A: The bacteria should be able to find a suitable home within 24 hours.

Q: i just finished cycling my new tank, but i made a mistake of introducing many fishes at the same time. i was wondering if i could use Stability to increase the beneficial bacteria for the increased bioload?

A: Yes, Stability will prove very helpful in removing ammonia and nitrite, including nitrate, as a result of the increased bioload. If your ammonia level is not at zero, a combination of Stability and AmGuard is very useful and great in reducing ammonia toxicity on the bacteria blend as the bacteria consumes the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in the aquarium

Q: Bio-spira has to remain refrigerated in order for the bacteria to survive. Why does Stability not need refrigeration? If there’s living bacteria in the solution, how do they stay alive for so long? Or is there something else besides bacteria in the product altogether?

A: The bacteria in Stability are alive but not active. They exist in a spore form. They can withstand extreme temperatures and do not require food to survive. When you add them to your aquarium, they become active due to dilution.

The bacteria that require refrigeration are active. Refrigerating them slows down their life cycle and they require less food when cold. Because they are active, they do require food, and that is packaged with them. They also will not survive extreme heat or cold and will die when they run out of food.
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Okay, Charlotte, that’s the quick rundown on the SeaChem Stability. As you can see from the instructions above, it takes only about seven days to completely cycle a new tank with this product and establish both the nitrification and denitrification ability of the aquarium. This will allow the biological filtration to complete the entire nitrogen cycle and make it much easier for you to maintain optimum water quality thereafter. Just add a daily dose of the Stability to your seahorse tank until the nitrites are at zero, and then continue adding monthly doses of the SeaChem Stability as indicated above, and your water quality parameters will stabilize at optimum levels.

Good luck.

Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

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