It’s good to hear that your Mustangs (Hippocampus erectus) arrived in good condition and are doing so well. Hippocampus reidi are tropical seahorses that share the same aquarium requirements as your Mustangs and would make good tankmates for them. The suggested stocking density for large seahorses such as H. erectus and H. reidi is one pair per 10 gallons, so ordinarily a 24-gallon aquarium with an efficient filtration system should be able to house a pair of each safe.
However, the nanocubes have some limitations that would make adding another pair of seahorses to your system a risky proposition. A number of our other members have tried fairly large (24-gallon) Nano cubes for seahorses and found them to be unsatisfactory in certain respects.
Other Club members who have tried the 24-gallon Nanocube for their seahorses report that it is quite unsuitable right off the shelf and requires substantial modifications in order to make it marginally useful for seahorses. For starters, they have a bad tendency to overheat, the pump needs to be upgraded, it has no means of filtration so you must provide a biofilter of some sort, and small powerheads should be added to eliminate dead spots and improve the circulation. Even with those modifications, for best results, you must stock the Nanocube sparingly, be very careful to avoid overfeeding, and practiced an accelerated maintenance schedule, including weekly water changes.
As an example of what I’m talking about, here’s an exchange from the discussion forum regarding the 24 gallon Nanocube:
Hey everyone! I’ve read the posts about the experiences some people
have had with seahorses in nano cubes and I have a few questions for
them if they catch this post. I have purchased a 24 gallon nano cube
and have done alot of research on it and found out that you have to do
a ton of upgrades on it to make it suitable. The pump has to be
upgraded, there is no true filtration, you should add another power
head for water flow to elimate dead spots. Even then there isnt a
protein skimmer that you can purchase for the nano. So my questions
are where there any upgrades made to the tank? Were you able to keep
other fish alive in the setup or did you give up on it all together?
I don’t think that you should have a lot of problems and this is
why. Yes, all of my seahorses have died in a 24 gallon nano cube
setup and I have figured out why. I had a setup with sand, coral,
and two clown fish. I also had the normal cleanup crew snals,
shrimp, etc. I could not figure out why my seahorses kept dieing.
You must understand, that there should not be any other tank
inhabitants within the nano cube when you have seahorses. I would
not even advise sand. All you need is a few hitching post and
maybe, a few large pieces of liverock aligning the back of the
tank. You could add a few snails and only a few hermit crabs.
Note, the hermit crabs will clean up whatever the seahorses will not
eat. You could also add a cleaner shrimp or peppermint shrimp. You
may want to keep it a very low minimal when deciding about adding
anything else in the tank. You don’t want the seahorses deprived of
any mysis shrimp when they are feeding. You don’t want to add any
coral. Why? Because you want to eliminate any possibility of over
feeding and polluting the water. You will also want to do a water
change every week. 20% percent only, and afterwards check the Ph to
make sure it is stable.
I have 2 nano cubes. One nano I have houses
coral, two clown’s, two gobies, crabs etc. No seahorses. The other
nano is a new setup. It is about 2 1/2 weeks old. I am going to
wait about another two weeks to begin adding seahorse’s. At the
moment there are only liverock in the tank. I am not going to add
sand to this tank at all. The live rock are positioned at the back
of the tank. I want to try to leave a lot of open space toward the
front of the tank. Today, I will be adding two snails. I will not
be adding anything else but two hermit crabs only to cleanup after
the seahorses have eaten. The crabs will be added only after the
seahorses have been added. In a nano cube setup, the trick is to
not add too many inhabitants and to do a water change at least every
week or two weeks.
What you could do is add a lot of dead coral
liverock if you can find it. If not, try to find a lot of hitching
post that will work well. Sometimes you could even make them
yourself. So, I hope this has helped you and if there is any
information out there that you or anybody else have please forward
it to me because I am still learning things as I go along. [End quote]
And here is Kristie Cowans’ assessment of nano tubes with her seahorses:
JBJ Nano Cubes and seahorses don’t mix…
Don’t do it, not the Nano cube — I just sold a brand new 24 gallon JBJ Nano
cube only weeks out of the box because with the lights on for 8 hours a day
the water boiled up to 86+ degrees!!! So then I drilled the crap out of the
lid and installed a computer fan — it was so loud it was comparable to an air
driven popcorn maker. While I was researching the fan problem I would drop
frozen water bottles into the tank all day long. I know the owner of the
company who makes JBJ and let me just say he is a shrewd business man always
looking at the bottom line. These Nano cubes should come with a warning
label about how hot they make the tank water. If you want some opinions
about other Nano brands maybe on reef central in the Nano cube section
someone may have better advice-but I regret putting my horse’s through that
kind of heat exposure and luckily none of them got ick from the constant
temp. fluxuation as I would put the ice bottles in the water.
Finally, here are some modifications Estefano recommends for upgrading the filtration system on 24-gallon nano cubes to make them more suitable for seahorses:
1) add a protein skimmer – Sapphire aquatic is comming out with a very high quality venturi skimmer that fits perfectly in on of the back compartments of the biocube. check http://www.nanotuners.com; then click on skimmers, you will see the biocube29 skimmer there. there are others available, however this is one of the top quality skimmers out there.
2) SPRAY BARS!!! very important, all these nanocubes have very powerful pumps that are designed to turn water over 10-15 times per hour, as you may have read from previous recommendations from Pete you will know that this is not suitable for seahorses, adding spraybars (from loc-line, 1/2 inch; available at marinedepot.com) is a very good upgrade. they also have a check-valve available which you can use to slow down the water flow.
3) UV steralizer – CADLIGHTS has created an in chamber UV steralizer I would strongly consider adding to a setup like yours. go to http://www.cadlights.com and click on the UV steralizer from the list, its only $55 and a really nice upgrade for your new tank.
And here are some suggestions from Estefano for preventing overheating in the nanocubes and BioCubes, which is very important in order to protect your seahorses from heat stress:
I wanted to add that the jbj nanocube runs extremly hot in comparison to other cubes, usually with a delta of 7-8 degrees higher in comparison to the ambient temperaute. I would strongly suggest doing a few mods to lower the temperature of the jbj-12
1) Reverse the fans so that BOTH fans blow INWARDS instead of out. This is very easy to accomplish and all you have to do is remove the screws holding the top. One word of advice is to make absolutely sure the top is airtight when you put it back on in order to prevent humidity from entering from entering the sealed hood and minimizing the heat that is put back into the water from the lights.
2) Upgrade the pump to a minijet 606, they are very cheap and you can adjust the waterflow right on the pump, they also produce less heat than the standard pumps, therefore lowering the temperature of the water.
3) You can also upgrade the reflector in order to further minimize the heat by allowing mroe airflow through the canopy, nanotuners.com has them on sale for $15.99
4) Another thing you can do is to upgrade the fans of the canopy to a higher CFM, the standard ones are rated at 8 CFM, you can buy faster ones that produce upto 15 CFM, however I must advice you that this also ups the noise it produces.
5) Run the tank with no canopy: you can simply remove the canopy altogether, this will greatly reduce the temperature however your evaporation rate will greatly increase.
I would try to invert the fans first, if the temperature is too how, I would upgrade the pump next, if you still need more temp drop you can upgrade the reflector, if all else failts, remove the canopy.
In short, all things considered, adding another pair of seahorses to your 24-gallon nano cube would probably be pushing things. I would recommend making some of the upgrades and modifications suggested above and gaining more viable firsthand experience with your new seahorses before you consider adding any additional specimens.
Remember the three golden rules that should always guide your actions when stocking any seahorse setup:
I. Under stocking is ALWAYS better than over stocking. Always! That is the one immutable law that governs the seahorse-keeping universe, and if you violate it, the aquarium gods will exact swift and terrible retribution!
II. When in doubt, under stock. Don’t push your luck! If you have any doubt whatsoever as to whether or not your system is running at capacity, it probably is. In such a situation, you MUST err on the side of caution.
III. Don’t mess with success! If your seahorse setup has been running smoothly and trouble-free for a prolonged period at it’s present level of occupancy, try to resist the temptation to increase your herd. Why risk upsetting the balance in a system that has settled into a state of happy equilibrium? Rather than risk overcrowding an established tank, consider starting up a new aquarium when the urge to acquire some new specimens becomes overwhelming.
When stocking your aquarium, consider these golden rules to be your commandments. Obey them, and your system should flourish. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow thee all of thy days. Break them, and you will soon find yourself teetering on the brink of disaster. Abandon all hope ye whom embark down that dark road to ruin.
Best wishes with all your fishes (and invertebrates)!