Re:Female eating trouble

#3879
Pete Giwojna
Guest

Dear Ed:

Thanks for sharing the good news with us, sir! That’s very encouraging that your female would eat the softbodied adult brine shrimp on her own when she was confined with it in your breeding bin. She should regain her conditioning and put on some weight quickly if you can provide her with three feedings a day of the adult brine shrimp. Let her eat her fill for an hour or so and then return her to the main tank between feedings.

However, Ed, since you’ll be feeding her regularly with adult brine shrimp from your LFS, there are a couple of precautions you must be careful to observe for best results. First and foremost, you must be careful to disinfect live food beforehand to assure you won’t be introducing any pathogens or parasites along with the prey items, as discussed below.

There is one potentially serious drawback to feeding your seahorses living prey on a regular basis. There is always the chance that you can introduce disease into your aquarium along the with the live food. Live Artemia (brine shrimp), for example, are known disease vectors for a long laundry list of fish pathogens, and should be treated with caution in that regard – especially if obtained from your local fish store (LFS). The aquarist who relies on live foods for his seahorses MUST take special precautions to eliminate this potential danger!

Fortunately, there are a couple of simple measures that can minimize such risks. Decapsulating Artemia cysts, for instance, removes all known parasites and pathogens, effectively sterilizing brine shrimp eggs. Large public aquaria routinely go a step further, disinfecting live foods by administering a 10-minute freshwater bath and then rinsing it thoroughly through a 100-micron strainer before offering it to their seahorses (Bull and Mitchell 2002). Home hobbyists should do the same (a brine shrimp net will suffice for the strainer). Brine shrimp — the chief offender as a disease vector — tolerate this disinfection process extremely well.

Secondly, you must be aware that unfed adult brine shrimp are virtually nutritionally barren, and it is therefore vital that they be enriched improperly before you offer them to your seahorses. It is a great idea to enrich the brine shrimp with Vibrance, but make sure you use the lipid-rich Vibrance I rather than the low-fat formula (Vibrance II) for the Artemia. Adult brine shrimp are a good source of protein, but they have very little fat content. The lipid-rich formulation in Vibrance 1 (the original Vibrance) is thus ideal for enriching brine shrimp, transforming them from nutritionally barren, empty calories into a high-fat powerhouse of vitamins and nutrients that’s loaded with color-enhancing carotenoids. As an added benefit, enriching brine shrimp with Vibrance is also an excellent way to get your seahorses to ingest beta-glucan, which will boost their immune systems and help keep them healthy.

In your case, Ed, you can combine the enrichment and disinfection steps simply by placing a portion of adult brine shrimp (enough for one feeding) in a small container of freshwater and then adding the Vibrance 1 or other enrichment formula to the freshwater. For enriching or “gut packing” live artmeia (brine shrimp), or other live shrimp or live food of all sizes. Blend 1 teaspoon of Vibrance into 1 cup of water for 3 minutes. Add this to the live food vessel for 30 minutes, or until you see the gut of the animal turn red. Rinse the brine shrimp and feed immediately to your seahorses or other fish.

Best of luck fattening up your female with the softbodied adult brine shrimp while she recovers from her weak snick, Ed!

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna


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