Re:Fry Time Again

Pete Giwojna

Dear Hooze:

Congratulations on your prolific ponies! Breeding regularly is a sign of healthy seahorses that find the conditions in your aquarium very much to their liking.

The behavior of your pregnant Mustang sounds fairly normal. Gravid males often become shy and reclusive as their pregnancy progresses and may go off their feed as the delivery date approaches, so it’s not unusual that your male is hiding or missing meals shortly before and after he gives birth. Nor is it unusual for pale patches to appear on the male’s swollen brood pouch during pregnancy. This seems to be related to the stretching and expansion of the marsupium and the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy, and very often these pale markings disappear again after the male delivers his brood and his pouch returns to its normal flaccid condition. So I wouldn’t be overly concerned about the blotchy appearance of his pouch at this time either.

The best thing you can do to help your male recover and get back on his feet following labor and parturition is to provide him with plenty of nutritional support. An inadequate diet can be detrimental to a breeding male for obvious reasons. Maintaining a large brood of developing young can be a big drain on the male’s bodily resources, and a nutritious diet rich in HUFA and essential fatty acids is necessary at this time to help the male keep up his strength. That is why male seahorses have an intestinal tract that’s 50% longer than that of females. They need the extra food absorption ability and digestion a longer intestine provides in order to sustain the metabolic demands of up to 1600 rapidly growing fry.

So after your male delivers it’s important to build him up again by providing him with plenty of nutritious foods. Make sure he gets his full share of enriched frozen Mysis when he comes out of hiding, target feeding him if necessary. This is also a good time to tempt him with high-quality live foods such as Gammarus, live mysids, or red feeder shrimp (a.k.a. Volcano shrimp, Halocaridina rubra). Try to provide your male with a nutritious varied diet and make sure he gets plenty to eat while he is churning out brood after brood.

Best of luck with your breeders! Here’s hoping your male bounces back quickly from his latest pregnancy and that the surrogate father you found at your LFS has great success rearing his fry!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

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