Re:hazy/cloudy water quality

Pete Giwojna

Dear Kay:

That’s a good sign that your 35-gallon hex tank is starting to clear up. I think you’re on the right track now.

Yes, your five-gallon aquarium could be used as a hospital tank, if necessary.

Live sand and live rock are not necessary in a hospital tank. A bare-bottomed aquarium with plenty of hitching posts will suffice for a hospital ward or Quarantine Tank (QT). Ideally, the hospital tank should have one or more foam filters for biofiltration along with a small external filter, which can easily be removed from the tank during treatment but which can hold activated carbon or polyfilter pads when it’s time to pull the meds out. It’s important for the hospital ward to include enough hitching posts so that the seahorse won’t feel vulnerable or exposed during treatment. Aquarium safe, inert plastic plants or homemade hitching posts fashioned from polypropylene rope or twine that has been unraveled and anchored at one end are excellent for a hospital tank. No aquarium reflector is necessary. Ambient room light will suffice. (Bright lights can breakdown and inactivate certain medications and seahorses are more comfortable and feel more secure under relatively dim lighting.)

So just a bare tank with hitching posts is all you need for your hospital ward. No heater. No reflector. No lights. No substrate. You can even do without the sponge filters or external filter in your case, just adding a couple of airstones to provide surface agitation and oxygenation. That’s it.

In a pinch, a clean 5-gallon plastic bucket (new and unused, NOT an old scrub bucket!) can serve as a makeshift hospital tank. It should be aerated and equipped with hitching posts and perhaps a heater, but nothing else. This makes a useful substitute when the Quarantine Tank is occupied or in use and a seahorse needs treatment.

Stay on top of water quality in the hospital tank/bucket with water changes as often as needed during treatment, and and when you are treating the occupants for a health problem, re-dose with the medication(s) according to directions after each water change

Yes, the same techniques used to move your 55-gallon freshwater aquarium should be equally effective for relocating your 35-gallon hex tank marine aquarium, Kay.

Here are some additional tips for handling the seahorses during the move and more information on transporting an aquarium safely.

If your seahorses are mated pairs, then it would be best to use larger shipping bags and confine the pairs together two at a time while you make the move, rather than separating the pair bonded seahorses, which is always stressful for them. In that case, you won’t need to include anything for them to use as a hitching post since they will intertwine their tails and cling to one another for support.

If your seahorses are not mated pairs, then I would bag them up singly to minimize the amount of metabolic wastes that accumulate in the bags while en route. Don’t include a piece of wood or any other rigid objects as a hitching post for them to anchor to — it’s very important to avoid putting any rigid objects or objects with sharp edges in the shipping bag due to the danger that it could cause a leak while they were being transported. You don’t want to risk losing your seahorses because their shipping bag was punctured en route and all of the water leaked out!

If you want to include a hitching post for your singles, just a sprig of Caulerpa will work well. Or you could use a length of flexible airline tubing that you have formed into a closed loop using a small section of rigid airline tubing to join the ends together. Otherwise, bag up the solos without any sort of hitching post. They will be better off without anything to anchor to than they would be if you included solid objects that could possibly puncture the shipping bag.

When it comes to moving the aquarium, Kay, I have to warn you that moving a fish tank from one location to another is a major undertaking that requires careful planning and a great deal of time and effort. Even relocating a small aquarium from one room to another is a painstaking task that can take all day to accomplish, let alone transporting a larger aquarium across town or across the country. Aquariums are fragile objects that were never meant to be portable.

But I know you’re up to the task and there are a couple of other suggestions I would like to share with you that can make the job a lot easier and safer. A good place to start is by reviewing the article in Conscientious Aquarist by Amy Janacek titled "Moving and Transporting Your Livestock and Tanks," which is available online at the following URL:


At the end of the article, you will find links for further discussions on the subject of moving and relocating an aquarium that should also be helpful. After checking out Amy’s article and the relevant discussions, you should be able to tackle the job of moving your aquariums confidently!

Best of luck moving into the larger apartment, Kay!

Pete Giwojna

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