Re:changing colors

Pete Giwojna

Dear Billie:

Adding the Vibrance to your seahorses’ diet is going to help in the long run by assuring that they have the carotenoids they need to produce bright pigments, but there a myriad of other factors that could be affecting the coloration of your Sunbursts, and they will also need to be addressed in order to keep them looking their best and brightest.

A good place to start would be by reading through the two-part article on coloration in seahorses that I recently wrote for Conscientious Aquarist online magazine. You can read the articles at the following URL’s and enjoy Leslie Leddo’s magnificent photographs:
part one:

part two:

The first part of the article discusses how seahorses use their amazing color-changing ability, and the second part explains how they accomplish their color changes and goes over the various factors that can influence their coloration for better or for worse. It is loaded with suggestions on how to bring out bright colors in your seahorses and keep them looking their best, so you may find that section particularly helpful in restoring the coloration of your Sunbursts.

The lighting system is one of these factors, Billie, and if the lighting in your reef tank is too intense, that may be causing your seahorses to darken. For instance, seahorses that are kept under metal halide lighting will often produce excess melanin to protect themselves against the ultraviolet radiation they associate with bright light, and the melanin (i.e., black pigment) causes the seahorses to darken as a result, just as we will develop a deep tan in the summertime in response to the bright sunlight. The article on coloration in seahorses explains the type of lighting that is best for bringing out bright colors in your seahorses.

If you can advise me regarding the current aquarium parameters in your reef tank, Billie, I would be happy to look them over and see if there’s anything that needs to be adjusted in order to provide optimum conditions for your Sunbursts.

Best wishes with all your fishes and invertebrates, Billie!

Pete Giwojna

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