Re:dead seahorse

Pete Giwojna

Dear seahorse:

Yikes — that doesn’t sound good! Because its body is encased in a heavy, bony exoskeleton, a dead seahorse does not float. Rather, they can typically be found laying flat on the bottom when they have expired.

But you shouldn’t have any problem determining if a seahorse is alive or dead. Is it still breathing? Normally, when a seahorse breathes, you can clearly see its mouth and gill covers opening and closing rhythmically. Does the seahorse have eye movement? That is, will its eyes track nearby objects as they move? Or are its eyes fixed and unresponsive? Does the seahorse respond to external stimuli? Does the seahorse react at all when you touch it?

As I said, a dead seahorse does not float and is usually discovered laying prone on the bottom. So you would not expect to see a dead seahorse standing up on the bottom in its normal upright posture. But if it is not dead, your seahorse is certainly not acting normally. It would normally be clinging to a convenient hitching post with its prehensile tail, not sitting on the bottom motionless with its tail curled around itself three times like a corkscrew, so something is clearly wrong with your pony.

If you can provide me with some more information about your seahorse and your seahorse tank, I may be able to help you figure out what the problem is or, at least, what has gone wrong. Can you tell me what kind of seahorses this is (i.e., what species it is)? Is the seahorse captive bred and raised or is it a wild-caught pony?

Please provide me with your current aquarium readings for the following water quality parameters:

Ammonia (NH3/NH4+) =
Nitrite (N02) =
Nitrate (N03) =
pH =
specific gravity or salinity =
water temperature =

Can you please describe the aquarium system you are using for your seahorse tank? How large is the aquarium (length, width, and height)? What kind of filtration equipment is installed and running on the aquarium? What type of lighting system does the tank you? How long has the proposed seahorse tank been up and running? Please list all of the current inhabitants of your seahorse tank, including both the fish and invertebrates.

Please get back to me as soon as possible with the additional information I requested and I will try to help you figure out why your seahorse is having problems or what has caused its demise, if you confirm that it is indeed dead.

Here’s hoping that your seahorse is just a heavy sleeper that is behaving oddly. All my condolences on your loss if the pony is actually deceased. Either way, we should try to determine what may have caused it’s difficulties.

Pete Giwojna

Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2009/06/18 00:09

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