Re:Hitching post

Pete Giwojna

Dear msgtk:

Yes, if you can make those modifications, that should certainly do the trick with regard to reducing the water flow to acceptable levels. If you can remove one of the polyps and replace the RSM skimmer with Tunze nano skimmer instead, and reduce the flow by 50%, then you should be in business.

You’re absolutely correct — the 34-gallon Red Sea Max is a beautifully designed aquarium system loaded with very desirable features, and it would be a shame to put her in mothballs. If you can reduce the water flow as you are planning, then you would have the makings of a very nice seahorse system indeed.

Choosing the right decor for the RSM can also be very helpful in that regard. For instance, reef keepers that must accommodate both the needs of corals that prefer powerful currents and the seahorse’s need for slack-water retreats will often create tall rock formations a foot or so down current from the strongest water flows to intercept and deflect or divert that strong flow of water, thereby creating eddies and slack-water zones where there is relatively little water movement downstream. Seahorses will hold in these low flow areas when they want to move away from the current, so it’s a good idea to position convenient hitching posts in the lee or down-current side of such formations. Perhaps you can arrange the rockwork in your 34-gallon Red Sea Max to accomplish the same thing and reduce the water flow down current so it’s more suitable for seahorses.

If it’s not practical to create a taller rock formation to intercept and diffuse the output from your filter, you can accomplish the same thing using tall artificial plants instead. For example, Sea Garden synthetic aquarium plants make good hitching posts for seahorses and their synthetic Sargassum plants would work well to "soften" the output from your filter somewhat. The Sea Garden saltwater series of "Fancy Plants" are very realistic, completely safe for saltwater, and very easy to maintain. Just rinse them under warm running water before installation and periodically thereafter for cleaning. There’s a very nice selection of them available and seahorses can’t seem to tell the difference between them and the real thing.

For background decorations in tall tanks, I especially like the SeaGarden synthetic Sargassum plants because Hippocampus erectus is often associated with Sargassum in the wild and is famous for its rafting ability on mats of these plants. So it’s a natural biotype for erectus, and of course the Sargassum grows nice and tall, which is what we want for aquascaping tall tanks. I suggest ordering one or more Large, Tall, and Extra Large examples of both the Sargassum fluitans (reddish brown in color) and the Sargassum platycarpum (green in coloration). They range in size from 12 to 24 inches in height, so I think if you group the taller plants together in an attractive arrangements along the back of your tank directly in front of the output from the filter, they will help diffuse the current as they interrupt the water flow and wave in the water stream. In so doing, they should effectively conceal the filtration system and enhance the beauty of the aquarium, creating a colorful natural background with shades of green, brown, and red.. They sway in the current just like the real plants and are very easy to clean and maintain. Just rinse them well under warm water when they need cleaning.

The SeaGarden Fancy Plants I mentioned above are available online from Drs. Foster and Smith at the following URL:

I also like your plans to upgrade to the Marineland Deep Dimension 150 gallon tank to house most of your corals and fish — that should make an outstanding reef system!

Best of luck with your aquarium upgrades and modifications, msgtk!

Pete Giwojna

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