Dear Diamond Dancer:
Okay, to get you started, let’s begin by going over a simple itemized list of the equipment and accessories you would need for keeping seahorses successfully in a home aquarium, and then go over how to set up a new system and optimize it for seahorses in more detail. Unless they are listed as optional, you will need to line up the following items, if you don’t already have them. Wherever possible, I will provide links to show you where you can obtain the items listed below:
1) A suitable aquarium of at least 30 gallons (the taller, the better).
2) Glass Cover or hood for the aquarium (optional – seahorses aren’t jumpers).
3) Strip reflector or light fixture to fit the new aquarium.
4) Florescent bulb(s) for the strip reflector or light fixture.
5) External filter to provide water movement and supplemental filtration.
6) Titanium grounding probe to protect against stray voltage (optional).
7) A quality protein skimmer (optional but highly recommended).
8) Ultraviolet Sterilizer (necessary for wild-caught seahorses but not needed for Ocean Riders).
9) Sump/refugium (entirely optional).
10) A thin layer of live sand (1/2″ to no more than 1″ deep) for the substrate.
11) Well-cured live rock (optional).
12) Hydrometer for checking specific gravity or salinity.
13) Saltwater test kits for measuring the following aquarium parameters:
dissolved oxygen (optional but highly recommended)
14) Aquarium thermometer.
15) Instant Ocean artificial salt mix
16) Natural or Artificial Hitching Posts
17) Package of Frozen Mysis to feed the seahorses (e.g., Piscine Energetics, Hikari and Gamma are all good brands to choose from).
For best results with seahorses, when you set up the aquarium strive to maintain stable water conditions within the following aquarium parameters at all times, which are ideal for Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus):
Temperature = optimum 72°F-75°F (22°C-24°C).
Specific Gravity = range 1.022 – 1.026; optimum 1.0245
pH = range 8.0 – 8.4; optimum ~8.2
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = range 0-20 ppm; optimum 0-10 ppm
In order to give you more personalized information and help you decide which seahorse setup is best suited for your needs and interests, Diamond Dancer, I would need to know which type of seahorses you are planning on keeping and how many of them you want to have in your herd, since that will determine the size of the aquarium that will be most suitable in your case.
In addition, if these will be your first seahorses, Diamond Dancer, then I would recommend that you read through the Ocean Rider Seahorse Training Program beforehand to assure that you will be well prepared to give your ponies the best possible care when they arrive. The training course is completely free of charge and I would be happy to send you the complete training manual in PDF format as an attachment to an e-mail so that you can download it, save it on your computer, and then read through the material at your leisure from the comfort of your own home.
The training manual is quite comprehensive, consisting of several hundred pages of text and more than 250 full color illustrations, and it will teach you everything you need to know in order to keep seahorses successfully in a home aquarium. It will explain how to optimize your aquariums to create an ideal habitat for the ponies.
If you would like to examine the free manual for the training program, just send me a brief reply to that effect via e-mail, and I will send you a copy in return. (The seahorse training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail, so you must first establish e-mail communication before we can proceed with the training.)
You can reach me anytime at the following e-mail address:
Best wishes with all your fishes, Diamond Dancer!
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support