Re:Cost of feeding

#2364
Pete Giwojna
Guest

Dear Curio:

Providing live foods for finicky wild seahorses used to be quite an expensive proposition, but as you know, captive-bred seahorses like the Mustangs you are considering are trained to eat frozen Mysis as their staple, everyday diet and are quite economic to feed. According to Piscine Energetics, an 8-ounce package of frozen Mysis relicta contains approximately 10,000 individual Mysis, which would obviously last a pair of seahorses many months.

For a realistic analysis of feeding costs under typical hobbyist conditions, assuming that the frozen Mysis is used to feed all of the specimens of the tank (not just the seahorses), here’s a breakdown provided by Carol Cozzi-Schmarr of Ocean Rider in response to a similar question in the Horse Forum column in FAMA magazine. As you can see from her detailed analysis, feeding a pair of Mustangs with Vibrance-enriched frozen Mysis should cost no more than $3-$4 a month at most:

[Open quote]
Dear Carol,

I have always wanted to have sea horses but have been scared away mainly because of the high cost of live feeds. I understand that farm raised sea horses are trained to eat frozen mysis shrimp. What will it cost me per month to feed them on this diet?

Thanks, Diane

Dear Diane,’

A pair of farm raised mustangs need to be feed 2 to 5 pieces of the large type mysis shrimp enhanced with Vibrance once per day 6 days per week. This is an average number since the larger they get and the more active they are the more they will eat. Even though it is better for the sea horse, it is hard for most people to feed only once per day and to actually fast their sea horses one day per week so lets assume that you are the typical hobbyist that feeds 7 days per week twice per day. Lets also assume that you have 3 pairs, since most people have several sea horses in their corral. So we now have 5 (pieces) x 2 (times per day) x 30 (days per month) x 6 (sea horses) which equal 1800 pieces of mysis shrimp per month for 3 pairs.

The best mysis that I have ever seen comes from a Canadian Company called Piscine Energetics. This product is collected from cold fresh water lakes in Canada. The collection procedure is very unique. They use a special capturing technique that does not use a drag net which causes the animals to be crushed into small pieces. Instead, they use a special type of net and capture technique that basically transfers the mysis directly from the cold lake water into cold water tanks where they are processed instantly and packaged as frozen fresh and whole mysis. The result is a far superior quality product and the sea horses no it as they go absolutely crazy for them. In contrast, if you attempt to feed them an obviously inferior myis that is poorly processed and/or packaged, broken up and/or freezer burnt the sea horses will look at you as if you are trying to feed them left overs!!

Rather than try and count the number of mysis per ounce myself or convince someone on my staff to do it I asked Patsy from Piscine Energetics if she knew. She said that the actual number does vary somewhat depending on the size of the mysis in the catch, and that they did give their best effort to count them once. If you have ever seen how small these are you can really appreciate this effort!! They came up with a figure of 10,000 individual mysis per 8 ounces!! This breaks down to 1,250 pieces per ounce. At this number an 8 oz package will last you 5 and 1/2 months!! In order to verify that this is a realistic number I asked a few hobbyist how quickly their sea horses consume an 8 oz mysis pack. They said that 2 to 3 months is more realistic because they end up feeding everyone in their whole tank mysis!! So, lets conclude that one 8 oz pack of PE mysis will feed the typical sea horse set up for 3 months.

The cost of one 8 oz bag varies from $8.00 to $15.00 depending on where you purchase it. Most high quality pet stores carry the PE brand. If not you can order direct from Piscine Energetics or on line from Premium Aquatics. Just remember that it is a frozen product so proper care is important. The feeding portion should never be left out of the freezer any longer than it takes to thaw. One should also be careful not to overfeed. Only enough should be fed so that it is eaten within 10 to 15 minutes. Any left overs should be removed as they can cause undetectable ammonia spikes and high bacteria loading which is hard on your animals and filters.

Lets assume that that the cost of the mysis is $15.00 and that the duration is 3 months. This breaks down to $5.00 per month. Adding vibrance will further enhance the mysis by adding important caretenoids, HUFAs, vitamins and minerals to the sea horse diet. The cost of the Vibrance is minimal as it typically sells for $15.00 per 30 grams. This package will enhance approximately one 8oz packages of frozen mysis. Therefore the Vibrance will cost approximately $5.00 per month.

In summary the monthly cost is $10.00 for 3 pairs of farm raised sea horses and their typical tank mates!! I am not sure what the current price is of live shrimp and if they are even available at your local LFS but last time I checked it was about .10 cents each. Sea Horses will easily eat 5 each per day so 6 (sea horses) x .10cents x 10 (pieces each) x 30 (days per month) = $90!!! Wow!! That is a lot of money!! I can see why you have been scared away!! [Close quote]

In short, Curio, the feeding costs should be no obstacle when you’re ready to purchase a pair of Mustangs. Best wishes with all your fishes!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna


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