I’m sorry to hear about the problems you’ve been having with the seahorses from your LFS. With pet shop seahorses you can never be sure if they are captive bred and raised, wild caught, or pen-raised seahorses, which which can sometimes make feeding them a bit problematic.
If the surviving seahorse from your LFS won’t accept frozen foods, then your only real option at this point is to provide her with some tempting live foods to get her eating and help keep her strength up. Once she is in good condition again after building up her strength with the live foods, you can take all the time you need to wean her off of live foods and onto frozen Mysis.
I haven’t met a healthy seahorse yet that could resist the red feeder shrimp (Halocaridina rubra) from Ocean Rider, and they are very easy to keep on hand. Even adult brine shrimp can work well in the short term and help your finicky female recover and put on some weight as long as you enrich or fortify brine shrimp before you offer it to your seahorse.
So the first order of business is to obtain some choice live foods — whatever you can obtain locally — to provide your starving female with some nutritional support and get her eating again. Small ghost shrimp, Gammarus amphipods, adult brine shrimp, and/or newborn guppies or mollies may be available from fish stores in your area. Just get some live food into her as soon as possible. If she’ll eat the live foods you can obtain locally, that should be enough to keep her going until you can get an order of red feeder shrimp delivered, which will buy you time to work on training her to eat other foods.
Once your finicky female is eating live foods well and has fattened up a bit, then you can concentrate on weaning her onto a staple diet of frozen Mysis. I wrote an article that explains how to go about training wild seahorses to eat frozen foods, which may be helpful in your case. It is available online from the Breeder’s Registry at the following URL:
Click here: FAMA Nov 1996. Seahorse Nutrition – Part II: Frozen Foods for Adults
It should give you a pretty good idea of how to proceed, but bear in mind that it’s several years old; the article was written before the advent of captive bred seahorses and doesn’t apply to farm-raised ponies. Ocean Rider seahorses, and captive-bred-and-raised seahorses in general, for that matter, are trained to accept frozen Mysis as their staple, everyday diet and should not require live foods at all except as an occasional treat.
In addition, the following link will direct you to some detailed feeding suggestions which discuss proven techniques for thawing and enriching frozen Mysis with Vibrance, as well as a lot of other information that might be helpful. The feeding suggestions are listed in my response to a discussion on the Ocean Rider Club under the subject "Not feeding? Or just pods?" You can read them online at the following URL, so please check them out when you get a chance, Chris:
Click here: Seahorse.com – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re:Not feeding…
When your female is ready for more training, I would suggest carefully target feeding her with Piscine Energetics frozen Mysis relicta, as described in the feeding suggestions.
Providing your 55 gallon tank doesn’t house any incompatible corals or fish, it should make a fine set up for a pair of Mustangs or Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus). The following discussions should give you a pretty good idea of how to set up the tank so that seahorses will thrive in it.
There have been a few other threads on the Ocean Rider Club discussion board at seahorse.com from hobbyists who were just starting out with seahorses that discuss setting up an ideal system for seahorses, filtration, feeding, lighting, circulation and so on. I’ve provided links to those discussions for you below, so please check them out. I think they will answer many of your questions about keeping seahorses:
Click here: Seahorse.com – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re:ok stocking density…
Re:Hello, newbie here! – O http://www.seahorse.com/option,com_simpleboard/Itemid,144/func,view/id,1004/catid,2/
Click here: Seahorse.com – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re:Setting up a 100gal for
Re: Guidance on Keeping Seahorses:
Re: New to seahorses and I have lots of questions!
Re: Tank set-up advice
Re:New with lots of questions 🙂
Best of luck training your pet-shop ponies to eat frozen fare, trulyshy!