Re:Help!!! Strange seahorse behaviour

Pete Giwojna

Dear devine:

Okay, that sounds good! You acclimated your new seahorses properly and your water quality parameters are spot on, so it’s not an issue with water quality. You needn’t have any concerns about ammonia poisoning or nitrite toxicity.

Under the circumstances, I’m now inclined to think that his behavior is normal and that your Hippocampus reidi is periodically scouring the bottom and rockwork hunting for ‘pods. Copepods and amphipods are tiny crustaceans that inhabit the substrate among the meiofauna, and seahorses love to eat them. The ‘pods take shelter in and amidst the rockwork and it takes a sharp eye to search them out and slurp them up. It sounds like your new H. reidi may be scrutinizing the bottom of the aquarium and rockwork intently from time to time when it gets hungry, grazing on the abundant pods population between meals. Seahorses will adopt some odd postures when they are busy searching every nook and cranny for copepods and amphipods, hanging upside down at times and all but standing on their heads in order to search within the cracks and crevices in and under the rocks. I think your H. reidi may simply be heading behind the rockwork and staring down at the bottom because that’s where the best hunting happens to be in your aquarium. That’s standard operating procedure for most seahorses…

So he may be acting strangely at some times, when he is hungry and searching in and around the rocks on the bottom for pods, and then behaving normally and perching in the usual upright position again when he’s had his fill and is not hungry. In the absence of any other symptoms indicating a health problem, this is probably nothing for you to worry about.

Since you are new to seahorse keeping, devine, I would like to invite you to participate in Ocean Rider’s new training program for seahorse keepers. This basic training is very informal and completely free of charge. Ocean Rider provides the free training as a service to their customers and any other hobbyists who are interested in learning more about the care and keeping of seahorses. It’s a crash course on seahorse keeping consisting of 10 separate lessons covering the following subjects, and is conducted entirely via e-mail. There is no homework or examinations or anything of that nature — just a lot of good, solid information on seahorses for you to read through and absorb as best you can, at your own speed:

Aquarium care and requirements of seahorses;
Selecting a suitable aquarium for seahorses;
size (tank height and water volume)
aquarium test kits
Optimizing your aquarium for seahorses;
water movement and circulation
hitching posts (real and artificial)
Cycling a new marine aquarium;
The cleanup crew (aquarium janitors & sanitation engineers);
Water Chemistry
optimal parameters
water quality & water changes
aquarium maintenance schedule
Feeding seahorses;
Compatible tank mates for seahorses;
Courtship and breeding;
Rearing the young;
Disease prevention and control;
Hippocampus erectus
natural history
professional rearing protocols
Acclimating Ocean Rider seahorses.

If you’re interested, I will be providing you with detailed information on these subjects and answering any questions you may have about the material I present. I will also be recommending seahorse-related articles for you to read and absorb online. And you will be joining the Ocean Rider discussion forum, where you can search the archives for information and read through any of the posts that catch your interest as part of your crash course on seahorse keeping.

In short, the training course will teach you everything you need to know to keep your seahorses happy and healthy, and you will learn a great deal about their habits and behavior so you’ll have a better idea of what is normal and what is not..

If you would like to give the training course a try, just send me a quick e-mail off list ([email protected]) with your full name (first and last) and some more information about your seahorse tank, which we need for our records, and I will get you started on the first lessons right away.

Best of luck with your new Brazilian seahorses, devine!

Pete Giwojna

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