Re:raising pixies and Zulus

#3205
Pete Giwojna
Guest

Dear SF:

You might also consider setting up a bare-bottomed 10-gallon aquarium as a divided nursery to increase the survival rate of your dwarf seahorse and Zulu fry. The basic Divided Nursery tank design, which simply involves separating a standard 10-gallon aquarium into two or more different compartments with a common water supply using perforated tank dividers. All of the equipment and filtration goes into one of the resulting compartments while the other compartment(s) serve as the nursery or nurseries for the fry. The perforated barrier allows water to circulate freely between the compartments while acting as a baffle that greatly dampens the turbulence generated on the equipment side.

It is also very effective at keeping newly hatched brine shrimp confined to the fry’s nursery compartment, especially if two or three of the perforated plastic dividers are sandwiched together side-by-side with a small 1/8-1/4-inch gap between them, forming a double barrier (Abbott, 2003). In your case, D, I would go one step further and cover the perforated tank dividers with plastic window screen or better yet the plastic mesh sold in craft stores for needlepoint projects to increase the effectiveness of the barriers (Abbott, 2003). Then I would darken the equipment side and position a strip reflector or table lamp at the end of the nursery compartment opposite the filtration side, in order to draw the baby brine shrimp (bbs) away from the tank divider and filters, while concentrating the bbs in a smaller area so the fry can feed more efficiently (Abbott, 2003).

All of the gear is thus isolated on one side of the partition safely away from the fry and their food. The larger volume of water a divided tank provides gives the nursery greater stability as far as fluctuations in temperature and pH go, makes it easier to maintain optimum water quality, and increases your margin for error accordingly (Abbott, 2003). With the tank divided in this way, any sort of mechanical, chemical or biological filtration you care to provide can be safely operated in the equipment area without disturbing the delicate fry in the nursery area (Abbott, 2003). The developing young thus enjoy all the benefits that better filtration and a large water volume can provide, while being confined in a smaller nursery compartment, making it easy to maintain an adequate feeding density (Abbott, 2003).

To provide efficient biofiltration for the divided nursery, SF, I would install a fluidized sand filter on the equipment side. Fluidized bed filters use a fine sand media suspended in upflowing water currents that provides a tremendous amount of surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow, and allows the filter to nitrify large amounts of ammonia while maintaining high overall water quality and stability. Once the fluidized bed has cycled, there will be no ammonia or nitrite spikes with such a nursery.

I know a number of hobbyists who use divided nurseries or variations on this theme for raising benthic seahorse babies like Pixie and Zulu fry.

Best of luck with your rearing projects, SF!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna


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