- This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 16 years ago by Pete Giwojna.
May 14, 2007 at 10:42 pm #1199cazblackieMember
iv recently become interested in keeping saltwater fish and have always loved seahorses…i wanted to keep them with clown fish (and maybe some other peaceful fish)
i wanted to research it all properly and have looked at loads of websites, most have said that clown fish arent suitable and that seahorses are better kept only with eachother, but i see you guys have said certain clown fish are ok!
when purchasing them, is it better to buy the seahorses first or visa versa? or are they ok to buy at the same time?May 14, 2007 at 10:54 pm #3579LeslieGuest
Hi and Welcome!!
Either the Amphriprion ocellaris or Amphiprion percula would be fine with seahorses.
It is best to add the seahorses first. Let them settle in, be sure they are eating well and then add yor other fish.
LeslieMay 15, 2007 at 11:30 am #3582FERS4REEFGuest
Hi nice to see you take intrest in these wounderful animals.I’ve been a reef keeper for about 3 years and I’ve got to say seahorses took to my heart quick. Although I’ve had some bad luck but things are looking up.In answer to your question I’ve read many articles about clown fish and the advice you got is accurate,but be sure to set up a quarintine tank for the new additions or it could cost you alot of time and money getting rid of the problem.I battled ich for a while I believe it was introduced from cycling damsels.But never the less quarintine everything including your ponies just for a week or two.To see there specific feeding habits.I’ve just got two african blue stripe pipefish to add to my 4 ponies 1hippocampus reidi 1 barbori and 2 hippocampus kudas.Can’t wait to hear about your ponies.Hope you have great success.Never give up SEE YA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!May 16, 2007 at 9:57 am #3583Pete GiwojnaGuest
Most clownfish are indeed undesirable tankmates for seahorses, but as Leslie pointed out, the Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula) and the False Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion occelaris) are exceptions that do very well with the seahorses as long as you quarantine any clownfish obtained from your LFS before you introduce them to your seahorse tank and providing you feed the seahorses properly to make sure they get their fair share at dinnertime.
As I said, most species of clownfish, such as Tomato Clowns (Amphiprion frenatus), Maroon Clowns (Premnas biaculeatus), and Skunk Clownfish are surprisingly aggressive and territorial, and should be shunned on that basis. Others do best when keep with anemones, which are a threat to seahorses. All clownfish are prone to Brooklynella and Marine Velvet (Amyloodinium), and should be considered Ich (Cryptocaryon irritans) magnets as well (Giwojna, Feb. 2004). The only species I would recommend as companions for seahorses are captive-bred-and-raised Percula Clowns (Amphiprion percula) and False Percula Clownfish (A. ocellaris).
The clownfish that Ocean Rider offers are Amphiprion occelaris that are born and raised at their High-Health aquaculture facility and they will make fine tankmates for seahorses. (Think "Saving Nemo" — those are the clowns that do well with seahorses, providing you are willing to target feed the seahorses, as discussed below):
When keeping seahorses in an appropriately elaborate environment, it is imperative that you feed them properly! Domesticated seahorses thrive on enriched frozen Mysis as their staple, everyday diet. But the worst thing you can do when feeding the seahorses in a intricate reef or live rock environment is to scatter a handful of frozen Mysis throughout the tank to be dispersed by the currents and hope that the hungry horses can track it all down. Inevitably some of the frozen food will be swept away and lodge in isolated nooks and crannies where the seahorses cannot get it (Giwojna, 2005). There it will begin to decompose and degrade the water quality, which is why ammonia spikes are common after a heavy feeding. Or it may be wafted out into the open again later on and eaten after it has begun to spoil. Either outcome can have dire consequences (Giwojna, 2005).
The best way to avoid such problems is to target feed your seahorses or set up a feeding station for them. See my online article in Conscientious Aquarist for a detailed discussion explaining exactly how to set up a feeding station and train your seahorses to use it:
Click here: Seahorse Feeders
Personally, I prefer to target feed my seahorses instead. The individual personalities of seahorses naturally extend to their feeding habits. Some are aggressive feeders that will boldly snatch food from your fingers, while some are shy and secretive, feeding only when they think they’re not being observed. Some like to slurp up Mysis while it’s swirling through the water column, and some will only take Mysis off the bottom of the tank. Some are voracious pigs that greedily scarf up everything in sight, and some are slow, deliberate feeders that painstakingly examine every morsel of Mysis before they accept or reject it. Some eat like horses and some eat like birds. So how does the seahorse keeper make sure all his charges are getting enough to eat at mealtime? How does the hobbyist keep the aggressive eaters from gobbling up all the mouth-watering Mysis before the slower feeders get their fair share? And how can you keep active fishes and inverts with seahorses without the faster fishes gobbling up all the goodies before the slowpoke seahorses can grab a mouthful?
Target feeding is the answer. Target feeding just means offering a single piece of Mysis to one particular seahorse, and then watching to see whether or not the ‘horse you targeted actually eats the shrimp. Feeding each of your seahorses in turn that way makes it easy to keep track of exactly how much each of your specimens is eating.
There are many different ways to target feed seahorses. Most methods involve using a long utensil of some sort to wave the Mysis temptingly in front of the chosen seahorse; once you’re sure this has attracted his interest, the Mysis is released so it drifts down enticingly right before the seahorse’s snout. Most of the time, the seahorse will snatch it up as it drifts by or snap it up as soon as it hits the bottom.
A great number of utensils work well for target feeding. I’ve seen hobbyists use everything from chopsticks to extra long tweezers and hemostats or forceps to homemade pipettes fashioned from a length of rigid plastic tubing. As for myself, I prefer handfeeding when I target feed a particular seahorse.
But no doubt the all-time favorite implement for target feeding seahorses is the old-fashioned turkey baster. The old-fashioned ones with the glass barrels work best because the seahorses can see the Mysis inside the baster all the way as it moves down the barrel and out the tip. By exerting just the right amount of pressure on the bulb, great precision is possible when target feeding with a turkey baster. By squeezing and releasing the bulb ever so slightly, a skillful target feeder can keep a piece of Mysis dancing at the very tip of the baster indefinitely, and hold the tempting morsel right in front of the seahorse’s mouth as long as necessary. Or if the seahorse rejects the Mysis the first time it drifts by, a baster makes it easy to deftly suck up the shrimp from the bottom so it can be offered to the target again. In the same way, the baster makes it a simple matter to clean any remaining leftovers after a feeding session. (You’ll quickly discover the feeding tube is also indispensable for tapping away pesky fish and invertebrates that threaten to steal the tempting tidbit before an indecisive seahorse can snatch it up.)
In short, target feeding allows the hobbyist to assure that each of his seahorses gets enough to eat without overfeeding or underfeeding the tank. And it makes it possible to keep seahorses in a community tank with more active fishes that would ordinarily out-compete them for food, since the aquarist can personally deliver each mouthful to the seahorses while keeping more aggressive specimens at bay.
The key to keeping active specimens like firefish and occelaris clownfish or cleaner shrimp successfully with seahorses is to feed the other fish and inverts with standard, off-the-shelf aquarium foods first, and once they’ve had their fill, then target feed the seahorses.
It’s generally best to introduce the seahorses first so that they are as the established residents of the aquarium before you add any other fish. That way the tankmates will be the newcomers in the aquarium, so they won’t regard the seahorses as unwelcome intruders or have an established territory that they try to defend from the seahorses. It just makes for a little smoother arrangement if the peaceful seahorses are introduced to the aquarium first.
Best of luck selecting suitable companions for your seahorses, cazblackie!
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