- This topic has 9 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 17 years, 3 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
October 19, 2006 at 10:41 am #961carrieincoloradoMember
My 37 gallon tall is getting ready for my first sea horses. It has a cpr aquafuge (4.6 something gallon refugium with PS). I want to get 2 pair of horses. My question is: What meds etc should I have on hand in case anything happens? I live in a remote area, so most everything is ordered off the net. So a list of meds, etc and a place to get them would be sweet!
My husband and I had to put off our trip to Kona (had to cancel tickets and everything 🙁 ) so I don\’t get to tour OR before buying my horses. I hope to order them by early December.
PS, I have a 12 gallon eclipse for a hospital tank.October 20, 2006 at 12:47 am #2938LeslieGuest
Congratulations on your tank!!
Some of the meds to have on hand include
Neomycin, Kanamycin or Gentamycin
http://www.nationalfishpharm.com/ is one of the best places to get meds online
Sorry to hear about your trip.
LeslieOctober 20, 2006 at 8:20 pm #2939LeslieGuest
I forgot to mention Diamox. This is a human medication we use to treat Gas Bubble Disease. You would need tot obtain it from either a synmpathetic vet or one of the online pharmacies that do not require a script, like this one
Post edited by: leslie, at: 2006/10/20 16:24October 23, 2006 at 11:59 pm #2943Pete GiwojnaGuest
Congratulations on your new seahorse setup!
That’s an excellent idea and I would be happy to recommend some must-have medications all seahorse keepers should keep on hand. A basic seahorse First Aid Kit should include the following items:
Methylene Blue (for reversing nitritepoisoning and relieving respiratory distress);
Betadine (as a topical treatment for disinfecting small cuts, scrapes, or minor injuries);
Formalin (for treating ectoparasites and fungal problems);
Antiparasitic for treating internal parasites (i.e., praziquantel or metronidazole);
Small Syringe with Needle and Cannula (pouch flushes, tube feeding, needle aspirations);
Diamox (i.e., acetazolamide for treating Gas Bubble Disease);
Deworming Agent such as Panacur (for hydroids, Aiptasia, nematodes and bristleworms);
Vibrance (includes beta-glucan to boost the immune system and help prevent disease);
Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics (i.e., neomycin sulfate or Neo3 for treating bacterial infections).
Having these items on hand will allow you to address nearly all of the common afflictions of seahorses promptly and effectively, as discussed below in greater detail:
For additional information on must-have beds for the seahorse keeper and putting together a first aid kit, see the following discussion on this forum, Carrie:
Click here: Seahorse.com – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re:Preparing a 1st aid kit
Best of luck with your 37-gallon tall seahorse system, Carrie!
Pete GiwojnaOctober 25, 2006 at 1:33 pm #2944carrieincoloradoGuest
Thank you both for the reponses! My tank has 50 pounds of live rock, 30 pounds of live sand and some macro algae in it right now. I have a colt coral and an elephant ear mushroom in my other tank waiting to go into the seahorse tank. I can hardly wait to start putting coral in it, but I am being patient and trying to get all my parameters perfect first. The live rock had quite a bit of die off and the algaes seem very faded. I don’t want to have a dull colored tank when the horses arrive. I’m thinking about buying a red sponge that a fish store in the next town has had for several months. How will the seahorses repond to a lot of green? (ie, maidens hair)October 25, 2006 at 10:40 pm #2947Pete GiwojnaGuest
You’re very welcome!
Soft corals such as colt coral are good choices for a seahorse setup and will make beautiful additions to your aquarium. You are doing the right thing by being patient and waiting for your new set up to stabilize and mature before you introduce the corals, and they will benefit as a result.
Macroalgae of all kinds is typically very popular with seahorses and maiden’s hair is no exception. Maiden’s hair algae makes great natural habitat for copepods and amphipods, and you’ll find that your seahorses are naturally drawn to it for that reason. So your seahorses are really going to appreciate it, Carrie, but the color green usually doesn’t do much for seahorses when it comes to their coloration. I find that bright red, yellow, and orange hitching posts are generally the most effective in terms of keeping seahorses like Sunbursts and SunFires looking their best and brightest. Just be sure to include a few brightly colored hitching posts in your tank in addition to the maiden’s hair and your seahorses should be very happy.
Colorful sponges are often really good choices in that regard, Carrie. For example, tree sponges and tube sponges are usually brightly colored (red and orange shades are common) and their shape and texture seem to make them irresistible to seahorses as hitching posts. Very often, all the seahorses in the tank can be found clinging to the same tree sponge together, eschewing other nearby holdfasts that appear every bit as comfy and attractive to human eyes. Tree sponges are everything both you and your seahorses are looking for in terms of aquarium décor.
If you pick up that red sponge from your LFS, be sure to position it in the aquarium where it will receive relatively brisk water flow and low light in order to discourage the growth of algae. (Seahorses seem to like brightly colored artificial tube sponges and tree sponges just as well as the real thing, and the faux sponges are a lot easier to keep, of course.)
Best of luck with your new seahorse system, Carrie! Just be patient and get your water quality parameters stabilized exactly where you want them before you do anything else, and you’ll be starting off on the right foot.
Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2006/10/27 14:13October 27, 2006 at 6:11 pm #2957Pete GiwojnaGuest
I need to amend my my last response regarding the corals you are patiently waiting to add to your seahorse tank. As Leslie Leddo reminded me, the elephant your mushroom coral you mentioned is NOT safe to keep with seahorses or other small fishes!
As I mentioned before, soft corals have very little stinging ability and generally make good choices for a modified mini reef that will include seahorses. This includes most zoanthids and mushroom anemones (corallimorpharians) in general. However, as Charles Delbeek cautions, "One notable exception is the elephant ear mushroom anemone (Amplexidiscus fenestrafer). This animal is an active feeder on small fish and will envelope them whole with its mantle then slowly digest them by extruding its digestive filaments into the space created. No small fish are safe with these animals in the tank."
So you will need to exclude the elephant ear mushroom coral from your seahorse tank and find another home for that particular specimen, Carrie. Some of the soft corals that generally do well with seahorses in a low/moderate light, low-to-moderate flow reef tank with PC lighting are listed below, and would make good substitutes for the elephant ear:
Finger Leather Coral (Lobophyton sp.)
Flower Tree Coral – Red / Orange, (Scleronephthya spp.)
aka: Scleronephthya Strawberry Coral, or Pink or Orange Cauliflower Coral
Christmas Tree Coral (Sphaerella spp.)
aka: the Medusa Coral, Snake Locks Coral, or French Tickler
Cauliflower Colt Coral (Cladiella sp.)
aka: Colt Coral, Soft Finger Leather Coral, Seaman’s Hands or Blushing Coral.
Toadstool Mushroom Leather Coral (Sarcophyton sp.)
aka: Sarcophyton Coral, Mushroom, Leather, or Trough Corals.
Bullseye Mushroom Coral (Rhodactis inchoata)
aka: Tonga Blue Mushroom, Small Elephant Ear Mushroom (rarely)
Clove Polyps (Clavularia sp.)
Stick Polyp (Parazoanthus swiftii)
Green Daisy Polyps (Clavularia sp.), Indonesia
Orange & Green Colony Button Polyps (Zooanthus sp.), Fiji
Pulsing Corals (Xenia spp.)
Red Ricordea (Ricordea sp.), Indonesia, occasionally Solomon Islands
Lavender Hairy Mushroom (Actinodiscus sp.), Tonga
Pimpled Mushroom (Discosoma sp.), Indonesia
Other low light corals that should be suitable include genera such as Cynarina, Scolymia and Trachyphyllia, as well as non-photosynthetic gorgonians such as Subergorgia and Didogorgia, and perhaps wire corals such as Cirripathes spp.. However, supplemental feedings of zooplankton may be required to maintain these corals in good health.
The small polyped stony (SPS) corals generally have weak stings that should not pose a threat to seahorses. Depending on conditions in the tank, SPS corals such as Acropora, Montipora, Pocillipora, Porities, Seriatopora and Stylophora can be tried at your discretion.
Best of luck with your new seahorse tank, Carrie, and the seahorse-save corals you eventually add to it!
Pete GiwojnaOctober 29, 2006 at 4:22 am #2967carrieincoloradoGuest
Thanks Pete for the correction, I find it very interesting indeed! The Elephant ear that I planned for the seahorse tank is in another saltwater tank of mine, and I have observed a mandarin perched all over it, a blenny swim in and out of it and a wrasse hover in it and never had a problem. In fact, I was feeding a cleaner shrimp a piece of raw shrimp (cannibal! as the kids would say) and he sat within the elephant ear and ate his food. I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a possibliliy that something could happen when I am not looking, but I must say that I was quite surprised to read (and do further research) about this coral that I’ve raised with no idea that he could be dangerous! Here’s what I have planned for the seahorse tank, most of which I already have on hand ready to move into it:
Red tree sponge
some awesome red macro algae (not sure what it is, but it grows like a little tree attached to some rock)
orange paddle sponge
sun polyp coral (loves to munch raw shrimp)
Alveopora coral (had it for several months now, and seems to be very happy, plan to keep it up current of any soft corals)
fuzzy mushroom coral
various zoos attatched to the live rock I will move from a smaller tank
snails and more snails
exactly 11 hermit crabs, very small in size
one sea hare
2 sexy shrimp
2 saltwater acclimated mangroves
pods and macro algae in the aquafuge
And of course, the 4 seahorses I plan to get, and three fish I have waiting:
A bicolor blenny, a sixline wrasse, and a green mandarin that eats cyclopeeze. (woohoo! My other one will eat mysis and brine too!
I can hardly wait to order the seahorses!!October 29, 2006 at 4:41 am #2969carrieincoloradoGuest
oh, and PS,
I spoke with the local vet and she called in a script for diamox, since I really wanted it for my first aid section of my fish cabinet…. now to get everything else!November 1, 2006 at 11:19 pm #2995Pete GiwojnaGuest
Wow, that’s a very nice collection of corals and invertebrates you have assembled and it sounds like they are all thriving! I’m glad to hear that you’re elephant ear mushroom coral has been a model citizen so far and cause no problems for any of its tankmates. It may be that your particular elephant ear mushroom happens to be a species that is relatively harmless — that’s the trouble with common names, you can never be sure exactly which specimen you are talking about if all you have to go by is its common name. As you know, there are great many different types of mushroom corals, most of which are completely innocuous in the aquarium. The dangerous species — the one you must watch out for in the aquarium, particularly if you’re keeping seahorses and other small, bottom-dwelling fishes — is Amplexidiscus fenestrafer.
Your sponges and macroalgaes, gorgonians, clove polyps and zoanthids are all perfectly safe with seahorses, but several of your other corals are not. The sun polyp coral (Tubastrea spp.), Alveopora coral, and plate coral are all LPS corals which have large fleshy polyps that can deliver potent stings. Likewise, the fuzzy or hairy mushroom corals have more powerful stings than ordinary mushroom corals that are harmless. This does not necessarily mean you need to exclude these corals from your exhibit if you will be adding seahorses to the aquarium. Seahorses will learn to avoid them, and providing stinging corals are properly placed in the aquarium, seahorses will often do well with one or two carefully chosen LPS corals. But an aquarium crowded with LPS corals could certainly be problematic.
If you want to try keeping seahorses in an aquarium with lots of LPS corals, Carrie, you must take special precautions to seahorse-proof your reef system before you introduce the seahorses. When designing a reef tank that will include seahorses, one must anticipate the different ways they might be injured in such a setup and then take precautions to prevent them from coming to harm. The process of rendering your reef system seahorse safe is much like the measures new parents take to childproof their house when they are expecting their first child. Intake tubes for the filters should be shielded, siphon tubes should be equipped with filter baskets or screens, and so on…
For instance, when powerful water movement is combined with overflows, there is a risk that seahorses could become pinned against an overflow or even go over it (Delbeek, Oct. 2001). Therefore, in the seahorse reef, overflows must be baffled and/or screened off, or the water flow should be adjusted sufficiently to prevent that from happening.
Likewise, although seahorses have no problem with strong currents in the wild, in the confines of aquarium, it is possible for them to come in contact with stinging corals if they are struck by a sudden powerful wave or surge, or are overwhelmed by a strong, unexpected current (Delbeek, Oct. 2001). The hobbyist needs to take this into consideration when placing water returns and corals in the seahorse reef, particularly if species with powerful nematocysts such as Euphyllia torch corals, or Catalaphyllia elegant corals, or other LPS corals will be part of the exhibit (Delbeek, Oct. 2001). If possible, keep the water currents steady and unvarying so the seahorses can establish holding areas in the sheltered spots and low flow zones without getting blindsided by unpredictable currents.
One good way to accommodate both the needs of corals that prefer powerful currents and the seahorse’s need for slack-water retreats is to create tall rock formations a foot or two down current from the strongest water flows to intercept and deflect or divert that strong flow of water, creating eddies and slack-water zones where there is relatively little water movement down current. Seahorses will hold in these low flow areas when they want to move away from the current, so it’s a good idea to position convenient hitching posts in the lee or down-current side of such formations..
Another excellent way to accomplish the same thing is to use small powerheads to create and direct current wherever needed. A properly positioned powerhead can thus bathe your prized Acropora formations in a brisk water stream precisely without generating too much water movement elsewhere in the aquarium. Just be aware that powerheads can become death traps for seahorses if their intakes are not properly shielded or screened off, and take the necessary precautions (Delbeek, Oct. 2001). Carefully conceal the intakes amidst the rockwork where they will be completely inaccessible to seahorses, otherwise shield them, or screen them off with a sponge prefilter.
So you must be sure to monitor the seahorses closely in a tank with LPS corals at first in order to assure that there are no strong currents that could sweep the seahorses against the corals. And to be safe and eliminate all risk, most seahorse keepers would eliminate such corals from their setups.
Also, Carrie, you should be aware that although zooanthids and colonial polyps in general are safe for seahorses, they can present a risk to both the aquarist and each other. So you must be sure to observe a couple of precautions when handling the zoanthids and placing them in your aquarium.
First and foremost, many of the commonly available Zooanthus (button polyps) and Palythoa (sea mats) species contain a very toxic substance in their mucous coat known as palytoxin, which is one of the most poisonous marine toxins ever discovered (Fatherree, 2004). Palytoxin can affect the heart, muscles, and nerves, resulting in paralysis or possibly even death, and many hobbyists have reported numbness, nausea and/or hallucinations after merely touching these corals (Fatherree, 2004). When you handle zoanthids and palythoans, you cannot help picking up some of their protective slime on your fingers, and so much as rubbing your eye, picking your nose, or a small cut on your finger can be enough to land you in the hospital. When handling Zooanthus are Palythoa species, it’s very important to wear disposable latex gloves, avoid touching your mouth or eyes, and carefully dispose of the gloves immediately afterwards (Fatherree, 2004).
Secondly, zoanthids and other soft corals such as mushrooms may wage border battles if you place them in close proximity to each other (and the zoanthids almost always lose out to the mushrooms in these skirmishes). So be sure to allow adequate space between the colonies. Some rapidly growing Zooanthus colonies can be aggressive to soft and stony corals alike as they rapidly spread over the rockwork, but in general they are quite peaceful, and you can always slow down their rate of growth by reducing the nutrient loading in the aquarium.
In short, Carrie, it’s best to avoid any stinging animals with powerful nematocysts when establishing a modified reef system that will include seahorses. This means fire corals, anemones, and any corals with polyps that feel sticky to the touch must be excluded. When a seahorse brushes up against them or attempts to perch on them, the nematocysts or stinging cells of these animals can penetrate the seahorse’s skin and damage its integument. Needless to say, this causes pain and discomfort and can leave the seahorse vulnerable to secondary bacterial and fungal infections, which may take hold at the site of injury. Soft corals and small-polyped stony (SPS) corals are generally acceptable, but large-polyped stony (LPS) corals must be regarded with caution. These include genera such as Catalaphyllia, Cynarina, Euphyllia and Trachyphyllia that have large fleshy polyps which often have tentacles equipped with powerful stinging cells.
For more details, please see the following post on this forum which discusses seahorse-save corals and how to set up a suitable reef tank for seahorses in considerable depth:
Click here: Seahorse.com – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re: eahorse/zoanthid tank.
Also, be sure to check out the following two Horse Forum columns which discuss keeping seahorses in reef tanks. They are available online on this site at the following URL’s:
Best wishes with all your fishes (and invertebrates), Carrie! (By the way, great work lining up the Diamox — that’s the hardest of all the medications to obtain.)
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