Pete Giwojna

Dear Don:

Vibrance 1 and Vibrance II are enrichment formulations that have been specially developed by fish nutritionists at Ocean Rider to meet the long-term nutritional requirements of seahorses when used with frozen Mysis, and they are only available through the Ocean Rider aquaculture facility. It is a proprietary enrichment formula that is not offered from any local fish stores, sir.

There are quite a number of enrichment products available that you can consider as an alternative to Vibrance. Some of the commercial enrichment products commonly used by professional breeders are listed below:

AlgaMac 2000 (Biomarine Aquafauna)
AlgaMac 3000 or 3050
AlgaMac Enhance
Astaxanthene biological pigment Natu-Rose
Beta Meal
Culture HUFA
DHA Easy Selco
Kent Marine Zoe
Larviva MultiGain
MicroMac 70
Selcon Concentrate
Selco (Aquatic Ecosystems)

Such products are typically rich in amino acids, highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) and vitamins, but the Vibrance formulations are the only ones that include beta glucan as a primary ingredient to stimulate the immune system.

If you can obtain several different enrichment products, Don, it’s not a bad idea to alternate using a different enrichment formulation to fortify your frozen Mysis each week. That’s one way to help diversify the diet of your seahorses without the need for live foods.

Likewise, another great way to fatten up your ponies and further diversify their diet without having to resort to expensive live foods is to obtain three or four different types of frozen Mysis and then to rotate which type of Mysis you feed to your galloping gourmets at each meal. This is the golden age of seahorse keeping and we are very fortunate that there are now several different varieties of top-quality frozen Mysis that are readily available to feed to our ponies. Different companies use different species of Mysis that they have harvested from different parts of the world. Some of these Mysis are freshwater species obtained from large, deepwater glacial lakes and some of them are saltwater species obtained from the seas, so they naturally have different nutritional profiles. Some of these different mysids are naturally small, maturing at an average length of perhaps 1/4 of an inch, whereas other species are much larger. The jumbo Mysis will often reach an average length 3/4-1 inch in length at maturity.

Furthermore, the different companies that prepare the frozen Mysis for the home hobbyist will add different formulations to fortify the Mysis using different combinations of vitamins and amino acids. Therefore, simply obtaining three or four different brands of frozen Mysis and then alternating which of them you use for each feeding, or each day’s feedings, is a very simple way to add variety to your seahorses diet and to assure that they receive the best possible nutrition. You will find that this simple tip will help keep your seahorses healthier and better fed, and will often result in an increased interest in breeding and mating as a result.

Some of the better brands of frozen Mysis that I would recommend for diversifying the diet of your seahorses include the following:

Piscine Energetics Frozen Freshwater Mysis
Ocean Nutrition Frozen Mysis Shrimp
H2O Life Marine Mini Mysis Shrimp
Hikari Frozen Mysis
Hikari Jumbo Frozen Mysis
San Francisco Bay Brand Frozen Mysis
Gamma Frozen Mysis Shrimp

Both Piscine Energetics Frozen Freshwater Mysis Relicta and Ocean Nutrition Frozen Mysis are composed of freshwater Mysis with an exceptional nutritional profile that have been harvested from pristine glacial lakes in Canada (Mysis relicta). The Ocean Nutrition Mysis relicta is well-fortified with vitamins and amino acids and needs no further enrichment; it can be thawed and used as is, right out of the package, which is very convenient and simplifies feeding your seahorses. The PE Energetics is also naturally rich in Omega-3’s and other fatty acids, and is fortified naturally with phytoplankton.

The brands that use the freshwater Mysis relicta (Piscine Energetics and Ocean Nutrition) have a couple of built-in advantages over other brands of Mysis of marine origin. Because the Mysis relicta are from glacial freshwater lakes, they cannot transfer any sort of parasites or disease organisms to seahorses or other marine fish. Secondly, because they originate in freshwater, they are sodium free, which means that saltwater fish do not need to spend as much energy on osmoregulation and eliminating excess salt after eating their fill of the freshwater Mysis.

The brands that consist of saltwater Mysis (San Francisco Bay Brand, H2O Life Marine Mini Mysis, Hikari frozen Mysis, and Gamma Frozen Mysis) have advantages of their own. For one thing, many people feel saltwater Mysis are less likely to contribute to problems with fatty liver disease, since seahorses have evolved eating Mysis of marine origin, and therefore digest and utilize them more efficiently. Secondly, some experts report better results breeding seahorses when they are fed saltwater Mysis, although they are speaking primarily of live Mysis, rather than frozen foods. Personally, I believe the saltwater Mysis are primarily useful in diversifying the diet of our seahorses by allowing us to feed a variety of mysids with different nutritional profiles to our seahorses. In this way, we can provide our seahorses with a more varied diet and improved nourishment while still using frozen Mysis as their daily, everyday diet.

One potential drawback to using Mysis of marine origin is that it has the potential to transfer parasites or diseases to marine fish, since it is harvested from the ocean and there is no guarantee that the saltwater Mysis are free of pathogens and parasites when they are collected. Some companies who rely on saltwater Mysis will therefore sterilize the Mysis after they have collected it in order to eliminate any such possibility. Marine Mysis also has a higher salt content than freshwater Mysis, and marine fish will need to devote a bit more energy to eliminating excess salt after eating a big meal of marine Mysis, but that is something that they have evolved to cope with and is therefore their normal state.

In order to diversify the diet of your pet ponies, I recommend obtaining at least one brand of freshwater Mysis (e.g., Ocean Nutrition or Piscine Energetics) and at least two different varieties of saltwater Mysis (e.g., San Francisco Bay Brand, H2O Life Marine Mini Mysis, Hikari Frozen Mysis, or Gamma Frozen Mysis). Go with small packs of each of the different types of frozen Mysis you obtain, because you will be rotating which one you use for your seahorses’ daily feedings, and they will therefore last a long time.

Just use a different variety of frozen Mysis when you feed your seahorses each day, and they will receive a more rounded diet as a result. You may notice an increase in appetite, increased activity levels, and a renewed interest in breeding and mating when your seahorses are receiving a varied diet consisting of different brands of premium quality frozen Mysis. Not only is this a good way to keep your broodstock in top condition during the mating season, it’s also an excellent way to fatten up underweight seahorses.

An added advantage of rotating different brands of frozen Mysis when feeding your seahorses is that they will not balk at eating a substitute if your favorite brand of frozen Mysis runs out or becomes unavailable. The ponies will be accustomed to eating a few different brands of frozen Mysis, and should not miss a beat if one particular type is unavailable for a time…

Here is some additional information about the primary brands of frozen Mysis that are available here in the United States to help you make up your mind regarding which ones you would like to invest in and feed to your galloping gourmets:

Ocean Nutrition Frozen Mysis Shrimp

Freshwater Mysis relicta from Canada packed in convenient pre-measured cubes. Specially sealed for freshness, premium quality nutritionally fortified mysis shrimp that have been enriched with vitamins and amino acids. Great way to increase variety to the diet of fresh and saltwater fishes.

Ingredients: Mysis shrimp (Mysis relicta), water, vitamins (ascorbic acid, beta carotene, biotin, hydroxocobalamin (source of Vitamin B12), niacin, riboflavin, thiamine HCL), amino acids (dl-methionine, l-lysine, taurine), and trace elements (calcium chloride, potassium iodide, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, magnesium carbonate, and zinc sulfate).

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 4.7% min
Crude Fat 0.3% min
Crude Fiber 0.8% max
Moisture 97.0% max

(Protein as a percentage of dry matter 61.5%)

Hikari Jumbo Frozen Mysis & Hikari Frozen Mysis

Hikari Bio-Pure Mysis Shrimp are vitamin enriched and fortified to increase their nutritional value. Three-step sterilization ensures optimal quality – food is free of parasites, harmful bacteria, and foul odor. Water-packed in convenient, mess-free "no-touch" cube packs.

Hikari Jumbo Mysis Shrimp measure approximately 1 inch, whereas the regular Hikari Frozen Mysis are very small, rarely more than 1/4-inch in length at most.

Ingredients: mysis shrimp, water, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (stabilized vitamin C), riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, choline chloride, folic acid, pantothenic acid, inositol, niacin.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein 10.5% min
Crude Fat 1.0% min
Crude Fiber 2.0% max
Moisture 85.0% max

Feeding Suggestions: Feed no more than your fish will eat within a few minutes two times per day. Avoid over-feeding to prevent water quality problems.

San Francisco Bay Brand Frozen Mysis

100% saltwater Mysis shrimp.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein 4.60% min.
Crude Fat 0.45% min.
Crude Fiber 0.50% max.
Moisture 93.0% max.

Feeding Instructions
Feed twice daily, but only what your fish will consume in three minutes. Remove any uneaten food. Never overfeed. Keep unused cubes in your freezer.

H2O Life Mini Marine Mysis Shrimp

Saltwater Mysis shrimp.

The perfect frozen food for seahorses, sea dragons, and other Sygnathids. H2O Life Mini Mysis Shrimp are half the size of the freshwater mysis, making these meaty morsels ideally suited for fish species with small mouths. Nutritious and tasty shrimp are intact and very "lifelike" to trigger voracious feeding response. H2O Life Mini Mysis Shrimp is enriched with Vitamin C and phytoplankton for coloration and nutritional balance. Great for all carnivorous marine and freshwater tropical fish.

Ingredients: Marine Mysis Shrimp and Potassium Ascorbate (source of stabilized Vitamin C).

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein 8.6% min
Crude Fat 1.6% min
Crude Fiber 0.5% max
Moisture 87.8% max
Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids 0.5%
Vitamin C per kg 1,000 IU

Gamma Frozen Mysis Shrimp

Frozen saltwater Mysis shrimp.

Highest quality ingredients.
Rapidly packed, sealed & frozen.
Gamma irradiated: This completely eliminates any risk of introducing harmful parasites or bacteria into your aquarium, and also means that the food is completely safe to store in your freezer.
Blister packs are designed to dispense one measured cube of food at a time, leaving the rest of the product sealed within their separate blisters. A quick and convenient way of feeding fish.
Each pack contains approximately 100g of food.

Piscine Energetics Frozen Freshwater Mysis

Freshwater Mysis relicta from Canada.

Encourage exceptional appetite and growth – even in the most finicky eaters! Piscine Energetics (PE) Mysis relicta boast naturally higher fatty acid profiles and Omega-3’s than enriched brine shrimp. PE Mysis are harvested live from pristine glacial lakes in Canada, flash frozen in premium condition with no binding agents or fillers. PE Mysis induce an energetic feeding response in aquarium fish.

Ingredients: 100% Mysis relicta

Guaranteed Analysis (from dry weight)

Crude Protein 69.5% min.
Crude Fat 8.35% min.
Crude Fiber 2.75% max.
Ash 5.5% max.

Feeding Directions:
If clouding is a concern, rinse PE Mysis under cold running water or thaw in water and then pour off water prior to feeding. Please remember to not to over feed. Only feed as much shrimp as your fish will eat in 2 or 3 minutes. Remove any uneaten food.

General Information

PE Mysis Are:

The Curator’s Choice: Used by over 90% of public aquariums in North America.
Freshwater Mysis (Mysis relicta): This eliminates the possibility of parasite or disease transfer to marine fish.
Sodium Free: As fish don’t need to eliminate excess salt, it’s easier on their systems. Most other brands offer a coastal or marine cousin of Mysis relicta.
Alive on harvest and immediately flash frozen in premium condition: That’s why PE MYSIS is clean and intact.
High in Fatty Acid Profiles (EPA and DHA) related to the food chain found in deep cold waters, where PE MYSIS is harvested.
High in Omega-3’s: Greater values of Omega-3 can be found in PE MYSIS than krill and enriched brine shrimp.
Free of Binding Agent: No fillers or water added to packaging.
Nutritionally Complete: PE MYSIS does not require the addition of vitamin or color enhancement products.

What is Mysis relicta?
Mysis are not a true shrimp though they do closely resemble and are, in fact a primitive relative of the shrimp found in the oceans. There are 58 genuses of mysis which make up the Mysidae family.

PE MYSIS is 100% Mysis relicta which is one of the two types of freshwater Mysidae. All other species of Mysis are either saltwater or estuarine (i.e., brackish water) species.

PE MYSIS are part of the zooplankton, the small invertebrate animals found in lakes that feed on microscopic algae (phytoplankton) as well as other zooplankton. In turn these organisms form the basis of the food supply for many fish.

There are two differences between PE MYSIS and the other zooplankton typically found in lakes.

1.) PE MYSIS have a longer lifespan and usually live upwards of two years. The typical zooplankton, composed of animals known as copepods, cladocerans, and rotifers, live anywhere from only several days to several months. PE MYSIS is a nutritionally complete food. PE MYSIS is a natural product enriched by the food chain of the lakes from which it is harvested. This is because of Mysis relicta’s highly diversified eating habits. The extremely high levels of EPA and DHA (fatty acids) is related to the food chain found in deep cold waters, such as those where Mysis is harvested. These fatty acids not only provide your fish with essential nutrition, but also stimulate an energetic feeding response.

2.) PE MYSIS range in size from newly released young of about one-eight inch to adults of up to 3/4 inch. The other zooplankton are normally much smaller ranging from one one-hundredth to one tenth of an inch in total length. It is the size of the Mysis that makes them of interest as a fish food. Fish that consistently feed on Mysis grow much faster than those feeding strictly on the other smaller zooplankton. Mysis are extremely high in nutritional value and are salt free.

Okay, that’s the quick rundown on the main brands of frozen Mysis you will find for sale in your local pet shops and fish stores, Don. Most of them will carry several different brands, but if your LFS is limited in that regard, you could always order all of the different brands listed above online.

For instance, virtually all of the main brands of frozen Mysis can be obtained from Dr. Foster’s & Smith at the following URL:

In general, the brands of frozen Mysis that have already been fortified with various vitamins and amino acids do not need any further enrichment using Vibrance or any other enrichment products. Hopefully, diversifying the brands of frozen Mysis you use and the varying the enrichment product you used to fortify the frozen Mysis will provide your ponies with the best possible nutrition and keep them in peak condition, Don.

Best wishes with all your fishes, sir!

Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

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