Pete Giwojna

Dear Nigel:

Yes, sir, a one or two gallon aquarium would be plenty spacious enough for a pair of dwarf seahorses. The suggested stocking density for Pixies or dwarf seahorses (Hippocampus zosterae) is two pairs per gallon, which is a very conservative figure, so a two-gallon aquarium can easily house four pairs of pixies or eight adults.

No, sir, you cannot count on adult Pixies or doors seahorses to eat frozen baby brine shrimp or any other frozen foods consistently. Dwarf seahorses are pretty lazy hunters. They like to anchor their tails to a convenient hitching post and wait for their food to come to them, rather than chasing after potential prey. In most cases, attempting to get them to eat frozen food just results in polluting your aquarium.

It can sometimes be done with lots of time, patience, and perseverance, and it isn’t really as difficult as most folks imagine to train adult dwarves to eat frozen foods IF you have a role model to teach them. Zulus, tubers, barbs, young erectus, etc. all make great teachers, and most adult zosterae will learn to take bits of frozen mysis or sometimes the frozen form of Cyclop-eeze readily enough with such role models to show them the way. But some dwarves just don’t get it and never learn to eat frozen fodder and, in my opinion, it’s just not worth the effort of trying to train any of them.

Why? Because training adults to eat frozen food by no means frees the dwarf seahorse keeper from the need to hatch out huge amounts of baby brine shrimp every single day. Think about it. Anybody who keeps any amount of dwarf seahorses for any length of time always has zosterae fry on his hands. The fry need copious amounts of newly hatched Artemia nauplii daily anyway, so it’s simply easier and more efficient to hatch out enough bbs for the adults at the same time. Many hobbyists prefer to raise dwarf fry in the same tank as their parents, so maintaining an adequate feeding density of Artemia nauplii for the newborns automatically assures that the adults are equally well fed. For me, there’s just no percentage in spending a lot of time and effort trying to train adults to eat frozen food, and running the risk that the uneaten frozen food will degrade your water quality, when I still have to keep a battery of brine shrimp hatcheries cranked up full blast for the babies anyway.

In my experience, Artemia nauplii are the best food for Hippocampus zosterae in any case. Either 1st-instar nauplii from decapsulated cysts, fed to the seahorses immediately after hatching while the nauplii’s yolk sacs are virtually intact, or 2nd-instar nauplii that have been enriched, make a highly nutritious diet that meets all the dwarf seahorse’s requirements.

Wow, you must of had a clunky old air pump or something if you’re sponge filter was too noisy for you, since they have no moving parts. Sometimes the continual bubbling can be annoying, but I actually find it rather soothing. It’s difficult to say whether the alternative filtration system you are contemplating would be practical for such a small aquarium.

If you can mount an Azoo palm filter on a 1-2 gallon aquarium and then screen off the intake sufficiently to prevent it from sucking up the newly hatched brine shrimp (Artemia nauplii) the dwarf seahorses require on a daily basis, then that could be a workable alternative. But you would have to use very fine netting — the type used on a brine shrimp net, for example — or perhaps use a sponge prefilter on the intake instead. In the end, I suppose it will depend on how low you can adjust the output from the filter. Before you try that set up, though, Nigel, please contact me off list at the following e-mail address and I will send you lots of additional information on dwarf seahorses that discusses several other methods for filtering such an aquarium: [email protected]

Don’t make your final decision on what type of filtration is best for your 1-2 gallon aquarium until you’ve looked over the additional material I will send you. It will tell you everything you need to know about the care and keeping of dwarf seahorses.

In the meantime, there have been a couple of other discussions on the Ocean Rider Club message board regarding dwarf seahorses that you might also find to be of interest, so please check out the following links when you have a chance, Nigel:

Click here: – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re:Setting up my very firs,com_simpleboard/Itemid,144/func,view/catid,2/id,1394/#1394

Click here: – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re:Dwarfs – Ocean Rider Cl,com_simpleboard/Itemid,/func,view/catid,2/id,1000/#1000

Click here: – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re:pixies – Ocean Rider Cl,com_simpleboard/Itemid,/func,view/catid,2/id,1216/#1216

And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Alisa Abbott’s guidebook (Complete Guide to Dwarf Seahorses in the Aquarium, 2003, 144 pages). That’s one book every Pixie owner and dwarf seahorse keeper should have on hand. I proofed Alisa’s dwarf seahorse book for TFH publications and wrote the preface for it, so I’m quite familiar with her guide, and I highly recommend it.

You can obtain a wide range of medications decide for aquarium use, including neomycin sulfate, from National Fish Pharmaceuticals at the following URL:

Click here: Fish Medications

Best of luck with your new dwarf seahorse setup, Nigel!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

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