Feeding with Toothbrush

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    I\’ve had a reef tank for about 6 years and decided several weeks ago to downsize to a 37 gal. tall and keep seahorses. I ordered the Ocean
    Rider special where you get two sunbursts and 2 mustangs. Ocean Rider upgraded my order to 2 Sunbursts and 2 barbs. I\’m not sure why, although I never recieved any Vibrance II and Ocean Rider didn\’t answer my e-mail asking why. Anyway, the two barbs were absolutely beautiful but refused to eat. Around day 3 one of them started eating, but the other barb refused and for the most part isolated himself in the caleurpa in the rear of the tank. I hoped he was finding pods there, but after 2 weeks was beginning to look very skinny compared to the other seahorses. This morning he was up near the top of my tank, hitched to the thermometer. This concerned me because fish who are near death often seem to hover near the top of the tank. After attempting to target feed him with a turkey baster with no success, I knew I had to take drastic measures. Not being able to locate tweezers I noticed the toothbrush that I usually use to help clean my skimmer. I placed a few mysis shrimp on top and just slightly pressed them into the bristles so the shrimp wouldn\’t float away. I then held the head of the toothbrush in front of the barb\’s snout. The current in the tank certainly did make the mysis appear to be swimming. After about 3 or 4 minutes the seahorse just could not take it any longer and ate one of the shrimp. He then ate another and another. I reloaded the tooth brush and he finished those off, as well as another serving of mysis sitting on the toothbrush bristles. He then swam off looking quiet content. Hopefully I won\’t need to feed him like this every meal. I have a feeling he will be immediately ready for the feeding station.


    Hi thesoileaus,

    So sorry you had problems getting your barb to eat. Sometimes some of these guys need a bit longer to settle in and will occasionally be slow to start eating.
    Hanging out near the top if not accompanied by rapid and heavy gilling is often something the seahorses will do if they are not yet comfortable in their new surroundings.

    WOW I love your tooth brush solution. What a great idea. Good job.



    I just recieved a pair of Barbs a few days ago and I’m glad this message came out. Dont think I’m at the stage of trying a toothbrush yet but I’ve been wondering why the female Barb isnt eating much. I’m still working out the feeding station and I think I need to move one of their favorite hitching posts and a few branched rock to the other side of the tank (where there is little to none current flowing) near the glass food tray sits. Thanks again for your story.

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