Re:Sunburst color advice from any owners????

Pete Giwojna

Dear Heather:

The Osram Grolux fluorescent bulbs will enhance the coloration of bright red or orange seahorses, but they will have no affect on yellow seahorses or ponies of any other color.

If you don’t have red or orange seahorses, then a different type of lighting then the Grolux bulbs will produce the best results. For example, Paul Groves, curator at Underwater World in Perth, recommends combining a triphosphor (6500k) fluorescent tube with a Phillips TL Blue fluorescent tube to produce the best overall lighting for a seahorse exhibit. After much experimentation, he found the above combination of lights really encouraged the coloration of the seahorses as well as being aesthetically pleasing to the eye. He reports that the diversity in colors displayed by Hippocampus subelongatus was much less under any other lighting. So if you want to accent the colors of red, orange, or purple seahorses, Osram Gro-lux fluorescents are ideal; for other seahorses, try a 6500k triphosphor fluorescent in conjunction with a Phillips TL Blue fluorescent to keep them looking their best. Avoid metal halide lighting for your seahorse exhibit. High-intensity lights such as metal halides will stimulate the production of excess melanin and cause colorful seahorses to darken.

Aside from the lighting, a myriad other factors can also influence the coloration of seahorses and all of these factors need to be accounted for and addressed in order to keep your seahorses looking their best and brightest. For example, seahorses will often react to stress by expanding their melanophores and darkening, so anything that stresses the seahorses can adversely affect their coloration. I wrote a two-part article on coloration in Hippocampus for Conscientious Aquarist not long ago, and that would be a good place for you to start when reviewing the environmental conditions that can affect the coloration of your seahorses. The first article discusses how Hippocampus uses its amazing color changing ability, while the second part explains how seahorses accomplish their chameleon-like color changes and then discusses the various factors that affect their coloration in pigmentation in some detail. It is loaded with suggestions on how to keep colorful seahorses looking their best and brightest. You can read the articles online at the following URL’s and enjoy Leslie Leddo’s magnificent photographs:

part one:

part two:

Best of luck restoring your Sunburst to its brightest, Heather!

Pete Giwojna

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