Re:raising baby pixies and Zulus

Pete Giwojna

Dear SF:

I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t have better success with your first broods of Pixie babies. Both newborn Pixies (Hippocampus zosterae) and baby Zulus (Hippocampus capensis) are among the easiest of seahorse fry to raise because they are relatively large and thus able to eat newly-hatched brine shrimp right from birth, and because they orient to the substrate and begin hitching right away, so there are normally very few problems as floaters or surface huggers. But like all seahorses, they are challenging to raise and there is certainly a steep learning curve during your first few attempts at rearing.

If you can provide me with a little more information about your nursery tank and your feeding schedule for the fry, I will be able to provide you with a little better guidance regarding how to improve the survival rate of the newborns. How big is your nursery tank? Doesn’t have a bare glass bottom? Does it include sponge filters or any other form of filtration, or do you just rely on daily water changes to maintain the water quality? How often are you making water changes and siphoning the fecal pellets off the bottom? How often do you feed the baby seahorses and how much? Do you decapsulate the brine shrimp eggs (Artemia cysts) before you hatched them out?

Sometimes when you lose a batch of seahorse fry for no apparent reason, it’s an indication that the nursery tank has had an outbreak of hydroids. Have you seen any indications of hydroid colonies or the mobile hydromedusae (tiny silvery micro-jellyfish) on the sides are bottom of your nursery tank? Please get back to me regarding the specifics of your nursery tank and rearing techniques, and whether or not you think hydroids may have played a role in your losses, SF, and we’ll go from there and work on improving your success rate.

Best of luck with your prolific pint-size pigmy ponies, SF!

Pete Giwojna

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