Re:Seahorse not eating also

Pete Giwojna

Dear Rich:

I’m very sorry to hear that your pony was unable to recover from this problem. All my condolences on your loss, sir!

I have seen one or two cases over the years in which healthy seahorses choked to death after accidentally ingesting a foreign object while feeding from the bottom. When this happens, a foreign object of some sort apparently lodges within the tubular snout, disrupting the flow of water over the seahorse’s gills so that it eventually suffocates. (It appears that the seahorse’s powerful suctorial feeding mechanism is much better at sucking objects into its tube mouth than it is at expelling something it has accidentally snicked up.)

If an episode like this takes place when the aquarist isn’t around to witness the event, he will return to discover to his or her dismay that a perfectly healthy seahorse is now lying dead on the bottom of the tank for no apparent reason. Choking or suffocating on a foreign object this way is an extremely unusual occurrence — as I said, I have heard of only a couple of such instances in all my years — but it is one more reason why it’s a good idea to train your seahorses to eat from a feeding trough of a some sort rather than slurping up frozen Mysis from the sand or gravel.

Please let me know if you can verify that your seahorse choked on a foreign object, Rich. If so, we seahorse keepers will need to be more diligent than ever to help prevent such accidents in the future.

Pete Giwojna

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