- This topic has 6 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 16 years, 3 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
June 4, 2007 at 10:38 pm #1218tammypMember
:unsure: Hello Pete<
My 85 gallon , 30 in height Tank is doing great. I purchased Macro algea. I still need more. I like the seaweed blade grass. I also have encountered the fleas of saltwater (AIPTASIA) . I sucked 3 of them out, Cut some of the algea pieces they were on. Still have a couple left Hoping I reach them. 30in height tank is not the easiest reach when you need to go to the bottom. My question is purchasing Peppermint shrimp should I get a few. Would you recommend where I can get these guys. I do not want to go to LFS> To afraid of seroius contimantation. I wish OR had them for purchase. Also should I go ahead and introduce Clown Fishes from OR now. Water- PH 8.2 , ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and Nitrate is 2 still hoping the break in of the protien skimmer will bring it down. Also I have been doing 3 gallon water changes 2 times a week.is this okay? its just easier for me. Hopefully a good way for the tank also.
Thanks for your time.
Tammy P.June 5, 2007 at 2:50 am #3663Pete GiwojnaGuest
It sounds like your 85-gallon extra tall aquarium is progressing nicely! The aquarium parameters you listed are excellent, and you needn’t be concerned about the low level of nitrates in the tank. We like to keep the nitrates below 20 at all times and below 10 whenever possible, so your reading of 2 is really very good.
Aiptasia rock anemones are pretty much inevitable when you begin stocking an aquarium with live rock and macroalgae. A few isolated Aiptasia rock anemones won’t pose a serious threat to any of the larger seahorses such as Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus), which will be careful to avoid them.
However, Aiptasia rock anemones can rapidly increase in number and become a threat to seahorses when they are so numerous it is difficult for the seahorses to avoid coming in contact with them. The danger is not that the Aiptasia will capture and consume a small seahorse, but rather that their stinging cells or nematocysts can penetrate the integument of the seahorse and leave it vulnerable to secondary infections. So it’s a good idea to remove them on sight and take measures to control the spread of the pesky rock anemones.
Aiptasia rock anemones can easily be killed by injecting them with a number of solutions — Kalkwasser, boiling water, lemon juice, a number of commercial products (e.g., Joe’s Juice) — and in the tank like yours that’s difficult to work in, Tammy, I would recommend getting a colony of peppermint shrimp to do the work for you.
Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) will do a fine job of controlling Aiptasia rock anemones and they do great with seahorses. They are popular additions to a seahorse tank because hobbyists like to use them to augment their cleanup crews and add a splash of color and activity to their tanks. Aside from their utility as attractive scavengers, they often perform a useful service by grooming the seahorses, which is fascinating to watch, and regularly reproduce, releasing swarms of nauplii many seahorses love to eat. Peppermint Shrimp are especially popular because they are natural predators of Aiptasia rock anemones and do a wonderful job of eradicating these pests from the aquarium.
One rule to keep in mind when buying your Peppermints is to select the largest possible cleaner shrimp for your seahorse tank(s). Seahorses will actively hunt small cleaner shrimp and they are quite capable of killing shrimp that are far too big to swallow whole, so the cleaners need to be large enough that they are not regarded as potential prey. Add a few good-sized peppermint shrimp to the seahorse enclosure and they will happily clean up all of the smaller Aiptasia rock anemones. If you pitch in by periodically injecting the largest Aiptasia, you will soon have the Aiptasia rock anemones under control.
I don’t know of anyone that sells cultured peppermint shrimp, Tammy, but that’s all right — there is little or no danger of contamination from these decorative shrimp. That’s because peppermint shrimp and invertebrates in general are not susceptible to the same pathogens and parasites that plague seahorses and other marine fishes. If they were carrying any of the parasites that could bother seahorses, it would be as hitchhikers, and that’s unlikely because those same parasites normally cannot survive long without a suitable fish host. So you can relax and pick out the healthiest peppermint shrimp from your LFS or any convenient source. Just make sure you get nice big ones.
When setting up a new aquarium, it’s best to avoid running your protein skimmer or making water changes until after the tank has finished cycling and the biofiltration is fully established. Once the aquarium has cycled completely, you can fire up your protein skimmer and begin making regular water changes.
When it’s time to perform water changes, smaller, more frequent water changes are always preferable to large water changes that are done less frequently. So I like your schedule of making small three-gallon water changes twice a week very much and I think that’s a great way to go about it, Tammy.
You can order some "Nemo" clownfish (Amphiprion occelaris) from Ocean Rider anytime after your tank has cycled and the biological filtration is fully established.
Best of luck with your new seahorse tank, Tammy!
Pete GiwojnaJune 5, 2007 at 8:07 am #3664tammypGuest
Thank you for answering my questions. I feel better about the peppermint shrimp, I just want my seahorses to have a very healthy tank when they arrive. My tank has been cycling for about 6 weeks, I started the water changes last week. I will first get the peppermint shrimp tomorrow. I will probably go ahead and order the Nemo’s this week. I’m going to let the protein skimmer run about 2 to 3 more weeks and check water. Hopefully maybe I will feel comfortable enough to bring my ponies home from OR.
Also I have one more question, I have a 10 gallon hospital tank up and running, for future use. I wanted to know is there a list medication that I need to have handy at all times. I remember reading about a medicine you can only get from VET. I want to make sure my vet knows in case of need.
Tammy PJune 5, 2007 at 11:46 pm #3665Pete GiwojnaGuest
That’s the right attitude — it’s always better to be safe than sorry and to err on the side of caution. Preventing diseases from entering the aquarium in the first place is always the best cure!
As we’ve been discussing, it isn’t normally necessary to quarantine decorative shrimp and other invertebrates such as your cleanup crew or sanitation engineers. But you will most definitely need to rigorously quarantined any seahorse-safe fish you bring home from your LFS or other sources as companions for your seahorses. It’s very prudent of you to have set up a 10-gallon quarantine tank for that purpose, Tammy:
In its simplest form, quarantining new arrivals from the LFS simply involves introducing them to a quarantine tank (with the same aquarium parameters as the tank they will be eventually going in) all by themselves for a period of several weeks to assure that they aren’t carrying any diseases. The idea is that any health problems the wild fish have will manifest themselves in isolation during this quarantine tank, where they can be treated with the appropriate medications without affecting the health of the rest of the fishes in your display tank. While they are in quarantine, some hobbyists will also treat wild fish prophylactically for internal parasites using praziquantel or metronidazole, and for any external parasites they may be carrying using formalin bath(s) and/or freshwater dips.
A bare-bottomed, 10-gallon aquarium such as yours with plenty of hitching posts will do nicely as a Quarantine Tank (QT). Ideally, the hospital tank should have one or more foam filters for biofiltration along with a small external filter, which can easily be removed from the tank during treatment but which can hold activated carbon or polyfilter pads when it’s time to pull the meds out. It’s important for the hospital ward to include enough hitching posts so that the seahorse wont feel vulnerable or exposed during treatment. Aquarium safe, inert plastic plants or homemade hitching posts fashioned from polypropylene rope or twine that has been unraveled and anchored at one end are excellent for a hospital tank. No aquarium reflector is necessary. Ambient room light will suffice. (Bright lights can breakdown and inactivate certain medications and seahorses are more comfortable and feel more secure under relatively dim lighting.)
So just a bare 10-gallon tank with hitching posts is all you need for your quarantine tank, Tammy. No heater. No reflector. No lights. No substrate. You can even do without in external filter if you wish, just adding a couple of airstones to provide surface agitation and oxygenation. That’s it. So you should be all set in that regard.
It is indeed a good idea to line up some basic medications that are commonly used to treat seahorses so that you have them readily available if they are ever needed.
Of course, when it comes to health problems, prevention is our first goal but that is not always possible to achieve, and when disease problems do crop up, early detection of the problem and prompt treatment are the keys to restoring health. Some diseases are remarkably fast acting, such as pathogens and parasites that multiply by binary fission and can quickly explode to plague proportions when conditions favor them. By the time a health problem becomes apparent, there is often no time to make the rounds of your local fish stores searching for the right medications, much less time to order the meds you need through the mail.
Savvy seahorse keepers avoid such delays by keeping a few of the most useful medications on hand at all times so they’re right there when needed. For the greater seahorses, the following weapons should be in your disease-fighting arsenal at the ready, and I strongly suggest you stock your fish-room medicine chest will the following: first aid preparations such as methylene blue, a pouch kit, and a good topical treatment for wounds such as betadine; potent antiparasitic agents such as formalin and metronidazole; a good antifungal agent; and broad-spectrum antibiotics. And don’t forget the heavy artillery for emergency situations when you’re not sure what you’re dealing with — combination drugs with ingredients that are effective against protozoan parasites, bacteria, and fungal infections alike.
In general, I would say that a basic seahorse First Aid Kit should include the following items and these are the items you should make sure you have on hand in your fish-room:
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 the items above on hand will allow you to address nearly all of the common afflictions of seahorses promptly and effectively. In short, your seahorse First Aid Kit should include all of the basics listed below:
Small Syringe with a fine needle and cannula or catheter
Together with freshwater dips, these items comprise the basic first aid measures you will need to deal with heavy breathing and many of the most common problems hobbyists encounter, such as bloated pouch and hunger strikes. They are the fish-room Band-Aids, disinfectants, and tools you’ll need for scrapes and abrasions and other minor problems.
Along with your basic First Aid Kit, the seahorse keeper’s medicine chest should also include the following categories of must-have meds so that you are prepared to deal with any major disease problems that may arise:
Antiparasitic Agents: Praziquantel or metronidazole for internal parasites (pick one and keep it on hand at all times), plus a good antiparasitics for external parasites such as formalin or Parinox.
Antifungals: Nifurpirinol (Furanase) is recommended.
Broad Spectrum Antibiotics: if you can only keep one antibiotic in your fish-room medicine cabinet, make it neomycin sulfate due to efficacy and the ability to combine with the other antibiotics mentioned above. For example, it can be used together with nifurpirinol to create a potent combination that’s effective in combating both fungal and bacterial infections. Or another good choice would be Neo3 by Aquabiotics, which is a concentrated formulation of neomycin sulfate combined with sulfa compounds to produce a potent rot-spectrum antibiotic with synergistic effects.
If you can afford to keep more than one antibiotic on hand, build on that approach and add others that can be safely combined with the neomycin to further increase their potency, such as Kanamycin and Sulfathiazole or other sulfa compounds (e.g., Triple Sulfa).
Combo Medications: When it comes to the heavy artillery, Paragon II and Furan2 are my favorite big guns (pick one and keep it at the ready in your arsenal). They can save the day when you’re not sure whether you’re dealing with a fungal problem, a parasite infestation or a bacterial infection. But remember, they are weapons of mass destruction that will nuke your biofilter, so use them with discretion and only in a hospital tank.
Diamox (Acetazolamide): in all its different forms, Gas Bubble Syndrome is one of the most common problems that plagues seahorses, and Diamox is your primary weapon for defeating this affliction. But as a prescription drug, it can be difficult to obtain.
If you have difficulty obtaining a prescription for Diamox from your Vet or family physician, which is often the case, then there are places you can order Diamox online without a prescription, but save that for a last resort for reasons we will discuss in more detail below.
But if you ultimately need to go that route, Tammy, the following source is the one most seahorse keepers have found works best:
Click here: Inhouse Drugstore Diamox – online information
They offer 100 tablets of Diamox (250 mg) for around $20 US, but they ship from Canada by mail, which usually takes a little under two weeks for delivery.
In practical terms, there’s nothing wrong with obtaining the Diamox online, and that is perhaps how most seahorse keepers obtain it. It does complicate matters somewhat, however, in certain regards. The first of these complications is that the medications will take a week or two to arrive when you order them online, which is very troublesome when your seahorse is ailing and needs help ASAP. Secondly, there’s the fact that the US government frowns on the practice of ordering prescription medications from outside the US without a prescription. Customs officials can intercept and confiscate such shipments, in which case you forfeit the money you paid for the drugs. Finally, you can’t always be certain of the quality of the medications you receive without a prescription from such online sources outside this country; in some cases, you even need to be concerned about counterfeit drugs, although Diamox certainly shouldn’t fall into that category. (That is the primary reason the US government is concerned about this practice.) Canadian sources are generally more trustworthy in that regard than sources from some other parts of the world.
Nitrofurazone and many of the other meds listed above are available from National Fish Pharmaceuticals at the following URL:
Click here: Fish Medications
Neo-3 is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that consists of neomycin combined with various sulfa compounds. It is sometimes available from the following vendor, which is also a good source for the fine flexible catheters or cannulas and small syringes you are looking for:
If the Neo-3 is no longer available, you can create your own version of the medication that should be just as effective by using neomycin together with triple sulfa compound or tri-sulfa antibiotic powder.
Kanacyn is a brand name for kanamycin sulfate, which is also available from the National Fish Pharmaceuticals and is the active ingredient in several medications you can obtain from your LFS.
The only other items I would suggest adding to your list are a Pouch Kit for treating pouch gas and performing pouch flushes, and Vibrance (a great way to provide your seahorses with a daily dose of beta-glucan, a powerful immunostimulant for fighting disease), both of which are available from Ocean Rider.
If you do a quick search of this forum using the keywords "medicine chest" or "must-have meds," you’ll find more detailed discussions of the different medications that are useful for seahorses.
Best of luck assembling the rest of your first-aid kit, Tammy!
Yes, if you’re new aquarium has been cycling for about six weeks, the biological filtration and nitrogen cycle should be well established, Tammy. It’s perfectly appropriate to be running your protein skimmer at this point and to be performing smaller water changes. I think your maintenance schedule of three-gallon water changes done twice a week is exemplary and I would stay on that schedule. Go ahead and order your "Nemos "anytime. The clownfish (Amphiprion occelaris) and seahorses you will be ordering from Ocean Rider will be coming to you directly from a High-Health aquaculture facility and are guaranteed to be free of pathogens and parasites, so there’s no need to quarantine them before introducing them to your main tank.
Best of luck with your peppermint shrimp and clown fish, Tammy!
Pete GiwojnaJune 6, 2007 at 11:32 am #3666tammypGuest
Thank you so much for your answers. I will keep everyone updated, as I get closer to bringing my ponies home. I feel really good knowing we have you to support us.
Tammy PJune 19, 2007 at 10:07 am #3697tammypGuest
Hell Pete & everyone else,
I purchase 8 peppermint shrimp and they wiped out the aiptasia, I now have my nitrates down to 1. My schedule of water change has worked great and very simple then big water changes. I’ve also encountered alot of stringy white things on the glass which in doing research found it to be snails eggs. I guess my snails are very happy. Peppermint shrimp have now been around for two weeks so they survived the acclimation which was drip over one and hour seem to work very well. I also purchase a feather duster, also seems to be responding great. My next step will be purchasing the nemo fish from ocean rider, So I’m just about there. Also double checking my aquascaping to make sure it is properly built for seahorses. Medicine cabinet is in place. Hoping in 3-weeks my ponies can come home to the underwater ranch.
I have alot of red and green macro, should I put more orange and yellow colors for the sunbursts, if so I might have to go with somehting artificial, hard to find anything orange or yellow that is easy to take care of. Any suggestions?
Tammy PJune 19, 2007 at 10:16 pm #3698Pete GiwojnaGuest
Good work eradicating those pesky Aiptasia rock anemones! It sounds like you’ve assembled a very nice colony of peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) — with eight of them, you’re going to have a lot of natural reproduction going on in the aquarium and your clownfish and seahorses will love to snack on the larval shrimp. It sounds like all your invertebrates are thriving and that you’re making excellent progress.
The red and green macros are great, but if you want to add more orange and yellow colors you might consider mushroom corals. Nowadays they are available in a wide range of colors, and I have seen some very nice bright orange and yellow ‘shrooms. The mushroom corals don’t require bright light or strong currents and are considered easy to care for. They might be a good choice for adding a little more color, especially if you can find a mushroom rock that is studded with several colorful colonies of the mushroom coral.
Otherwise, you might have to look into some synthetic corals for nice oranges and yellows. Artificial staghorn coral, octopus coral and pillar coral all make excellent holdfasts for seahorses (SigNature Coral Corporation). They look entirely natural and lifelike, with lots of branching projections that make great hitching posts for seahorses. Also, synthetic tube sponges and finger sponges are often available in orange or yellow colors and are much favored by seahorses.
I would say that you are ready for your "Nemo" clownfish (Amphiprion occelaris) anytime now, and I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t add seahorses to your tank in the next few weeks, Tammy.
Best of luck aquascaping your new seahorse setup to create the ideal environment for your ponies, Tammy!
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