I suspect that Ocean Rider does not recommend the jumbo Sunbursts for beginners for several reasons. First of all, the large seahorses typically don’t handle long-distance shipping from Hawaii as well as the younger six-month-old Sunbursts, so OR wants to make sure that an experienced seahorse keeper who knows how to handle them and acclimate them properly is waiting at the other end of the line to receive them. Beginners tend to want to aerate the shipping bag as soon as it arrives, or drip acclimate the seahorses and prolong the acclamation process, which is very counterproductive and harmful after they have been in the shipping bag for 24 hours or more due to the rapid rise in pH that results and the subsequent conversion of harmless ammonium into toxic ammonia.
Secondly, the large size of the jumbo Sunbursts means they are best suited for large, well-filtered aquaria, whereas first-time seahorse keepers tend to start out with smaller tanks in the 20-30 gallon range that are fairly simple setups.
Thirdly, the large Sunbursts are considerably more expensive than the six-month-old Sunbursts, and it is generally better for novices to start out with less-expensive specimens when they are learning the ropes and gaining firsthand experience with seahorses. If they make a rookie mistake such as overcrowding or overfeeding/underfeeding or adding an incompatible tankmates, it’s best if they are keeping an affordable seahorse that’s super tough and more tolerant of such mistakes, and whose loss would not be so devastating that it discourages them from keeping seahorses thereafter.
Finally, the larger Sunbursts are older and a little more set in their ways than the young adolescents that are just hitting sexual maturity. This means they may not adapt quite as well to a strange new environment or to new tank mates or to a change in their diet than the younger ponies, which typically take such changes in stride. An older seahorse that’s been eating jumbo Mysis relicta from piscine energetics all its life may have a little more trouble making the transition if all the hobbyist has to offer him is Hikari frozen Mysis or Gamma brand Mysis.
For these reasons, I believe Ocean Rider feels the large Sunbursts are best reserved for more experienced hobbyists that are familiar with seahorses.
Best wishes with all of your fishes, Haynes!
Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2006/08/04 11:18