Re:Stocking question

Pete Giwojna

Dear April:

All of the fish on your wish list are small, passive fish that typically do well with seahorses. They would all make compatible tankmates for a pair of Mustangs under the right circumstances, so I foresee no problems with your proposed lineup in that regard. The fairy wrasse and the Amphiprion ocellaris clownfish are active, aggressive eaters that will compete with your seahorses for frozen Mysis, but that is a situation that is relatively easy to deal with by giving the other fish their fill at feeding time first of all and then target feeding your seahorses afterwards to make sure that they get their fair share of the gourmet Mysis.

However, in my opinion, a 29-gallon biocube is not large enough to safely accommodate the fairy wrasse, which normally requires more swimming space and water volume in order to thrive in the aquarium. For this reason, I would scratch the fairy wrasse off of your wish list.

But I foresee no problems with the other specimens as long as they are carefully quarantined for 30 days before you introduce them to the aquarium to make sure they are healthy and free of pathogens or parasites. For best results, you should introduce the pair of Mustangs to the aquarium first of all, so that they are the established residents of the tank, and then introduce their tankmates at a later date after they have all passed through quarantine. It is very important to quarantine fish that you obtained at your local fish store or from online wholesalers and retail outlets because they may have been exposed to a long laundry list of pathogens and parasites during their stay at these establishments, and it’s very important that you don’t introduce disease into your seahorse tank along with any new additions.

As long as they are healthy individuals that have been quarantined properly, April, I see no problem

with adding a Firefish, Royal Gramma, Tangaroa Goby, and Amphiprion ocellaris clownfish to your seahorse setup. I would recommend one each for the Firefish, Royal Gramma, and Goby, which are likely to be territorial toward conspecifics, but the Amphiprion ocellaris clowns can be kept in pairs if you wish.

Also, April, you should be aware that a 29-gallon biocube may require some substantial modifications in order to make it suitable for seahorses. For one thing, they tend to run on the warm side, and you may need to change the lighting system to LED lighting or a set of basic fluorescent lights to help prevent overheating. Tropical seahorses such as Mustangs and Sunbursts will thrive at water temperatures ranging from 72°F-77°F, with 75°F being optimal, but it’s important to avoid temperature spikes because they will begin to experience heat stress when the water temperature approaches 80°F or above for any extended period of time.

In addition, the biocubes may produce rigorous water currents that could be too overpowering for the limited swimming ability of the seahorses. You may need to modify the output from the primary circulation pump by using a spray bar return adjusted so that it roils the surface of the aquarium in order to soften and diffuse the water flow.

If you haven’t already done so, April, I would like to invite you to participate in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program, which is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail and which is completely free of charge. The lessons are very informal, yet quite comprehensive, consisting of a total of well over 200 pages of text with well over 220 full color illustrations, broken down into 10 separate lessons. They will teach you everything you need to know about the care and keeping of seahorses in a home aquarium so that you can tackle your first ponies with complete confidence. The lessons will be sent you one at a time via e-mail, so you can read them and study them at your leisure, working at your computer from the comfort of your own home. If you would like to give that training course a try, April, just send a brief e-mail to the following e-mail address and I will get you started out with the first lesson right away: [email protected]

Best wishes with all your fishes, April!

Pete Giwojna

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