Dear Holly & Craig:
Okay, guys, it sounds like you’re on the right track. Your 35-gallon reef tank would indeed likely need some modifications in order to make a good habitat for the seahorses. You would probably need to moderate the water flow somewhat and you would need to relocate the coral banded shrimp (Stenopus hispidus) and any anemones or corals with large fleshy polyps equipped with powerful nematocysts (many LPS corals as well as certain SPS corals have potent stinging ability and could pose a possible threat to the seahorses). Emerald Mithrax often do well for seahorses providing they are small specimens and there is enough algae in the aquarium to keep them well fed.
If you’re going to use a tank as small as 14 gallons for seahorses, you’ll want to stick with the Sunbursts which are somewhat smaller on average than the Mustangs, and you’ll want to request small specimens. In that case, it would also be best if you limited yourself to one mated pair of small Sunbursts plus a good cleanup crew.
If you would like to include small hermit crabs as part of your cleanup crew, Holly and Craig, it’s very important to obtain dwarf or microhermit crabs for a seahorse tank — species that start out small and remain small even when they reach their maximum size, such as the species listed below:
Dwarf Blue-leg hermits (Clibanarius tricolor)
Left-handed hermit (Calcinus laevimanus)
Mexican Red Legged Hermits (Clibanarius digueti)
Scarlet Reef hermit crabs (Paguristes cadenati)
Those are all examples of dwarf or microhermit crabs that will serve well as sanitation engineers for a seahorse setup, guys.
For living hitching posts, you may consider soft corals of all kinds (with the exception of like gorgonians and sea fans, which would not thrive in this particular set up) as well as colorful macroalgae. As far as macros go, I highly recommend red grape Caulerpa (Botryocladia), decorative Gracilaria or Ogo in various colors (yellow, gold, red, brown), and Dragon’s tongue (Heymenia) in particular.
There is only one other thing you must do if you would like to participate in the Ocean Rider Seahorse Training Program, Holly and Craig, and that is to contact me via e-mail off list. The seahorse training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail, so we must first establish e-mail contact before we can begin the lessons (when you post here on the discussion forum, I do not have access to your e-mail address). So please send me a brief note to the following e-mail address, and I will get you started out with the training material as soon as I get your message:
Best wishes with all your fishes, Holly and Craig! I hope to hear from you off list very soon.
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Training Program Advisor