Re:Mother’s Day

Pete Giwojna

Dear Lisa:

Congratulations on your six-week old Sunbursts and the new brood that arrived so appropriately on Mother’s Day!

Yes, it could be that your young pair of Sunbursts will produce even larger broods in the future as they become more attuned to one another physiologically and more experienced at mating. The first few broods produced by virgin males are often inordinately small in number. This has to do with a number of factors including the smaller size of the young studs, their inexperience at executing the copulatory rise and transfer of the eggs, and differences in the level of key hormones resulting from their relative unfamiliarity with the female.

Brood size in Hippocampus erectus typically ranges from 100 to 800, Lisa, with the largest broods being produced by the biggest, most experienced stallions. Young studs generally produce broods ranging from 50-150, whereas older, larger males may produce broods of several hundred fry. However, the old warhorses that produce the biggest broods often breed much less frequently.

I would cull the newborns just as you did with the first brood, Lisa, and then start looking for foster parents for any of the healthy youngsters that you can’t handle on your own right now. When the juveniles reach the age of 2-4 weeks old, you can consider shipping them out to adoptive parents that aren’t in your area. Remember, local aquarium societies may have a number of members who would just love to take healthy baby Sunbursts off your hands, and Ocean Rider allows you to disperse the youngsters as you see fit up until they are 30 days old.

Best of luck with your prolific ponies and all their progeny, Lisa!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

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