Re:More babies????

Pete Giwojna

Dear David & Sheena:

Wow, another population explosion for your prolific ponies, guys! That’s very impressive – you’re obviously doing a lot of things right and your ponies feel very much at home under your diligent care, displaying a very healthy interest in courtship and breeding.

As you know, Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus) are different color morphs of the same species. Hippocampus erectus has an enormous range of the wild, crossing many lines of latitude, with a normal gestation period of anywhere from 14-30 days, depending primarily on water temperature. In the aquarium, gestation for erectus is usually 2-3 weeks. Also, it is standard operating procedure for a pregnant male to re-mate within 24 hours after delivering his latest brood, so pair-bonded males are typically pregnant pretty much nonstop throughout the breeding season. As long as your aquarium conditions remain unaltered, the gestation period for your erectus will remain remarkably consistent from now on, guys. Therefore, under the current conditions in your seahorse setup, David and Sheena, it sounds like the normal breeding cycle for your Hippocampus erectus is going to be around 16-17 days or just over two weeks.

If you are getting overwhelmed by your population explosion, it is relatively easy to turn off the breeding behavior in Mustangs and Sunbursts by altering their seasonal cues. Just gradually drop your water temperature (no more than 2°F daily) to between 72°F-74°F and reduce the hours of light your aquarium receives to less than 10 hours per day, and that will alter the output of key hormones (primarily gonadotropin) and shut down breeding. If you want your seahorses to resume breeding, then gradually raise the water temperature up again (but no higher than 77°F) and increase the photoperiod for the aquarium to 12 hours or more a day, and the hormones will begin flowing again, stimulating renewed breeding.

Best of luck with your baby boom, David and Sheena! Keep up the good work, guys!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

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