Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › frozen mysis
- This topic has 4 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 16 years, 9 months ago by lloveless.
September 6, 2006 at 4:46 am #922llovelessMember
I\’ve been lurking for about 9 months. I\’ve tried to get on before, but fate didn\’t have it.
My question is : Where can you buy PE frozen mysids without having to buy 10 -12 lbs?
My wife and I bought at the lfs cost a seahorse (H. reidi) that appears to have been wild caught. ie won\’t even look at chopped shrimp or flakes. I have been able to entice her to eat 1-2 day dead volcano shrimp but that is all. Live brine shrimp are safe from her/him? Sooo I\’d really like to try some frozen mysids, you know like 8 oz worth first. It comes to the net when I bring volcanoes or mysids that we raise(too few), but won\’t eat anything else I put in it like a feeding station.
Thanks in advance,
LawrenceSeptember 6, 2006 at 8:49 pm #2836Pete GiwojnaGuest
Wild-caught Brazilians seahorses (Hippocampus reidi) can be notoriously finicky eaters. They are perhaps the most difficult seahorses to wean away from their dependence on live foods. With patience and persistence, most specimens will eventually learn to take high-quality frozen Mysis, but some of the wild reidi can just never make the transition to frozen foods.
Piscine Energetics frozen Mysis relicta may indeed be your best bet for this because individual Mysis thaw out whole and lifelike, with all of their appendages intact, and have natural odor attractants that act as appetite stimulants. The superior PE Mysis relicta is available in smaller quantities online from Premium Aquatics (see link below). The Piscine Energetics frozen Mysis relicta is now available graded for size. You can get the usual jumbo Mysis relicta or smaller Mysis depending on the size of your seahorses.
Click here: Frozen Foods: Premium Aquatics
You can also contact Piscine Energetics and obtain a list of the retail outlets that carry their Mysis relicta. Depending on where you live, you may be able to obtain the PE Mysis relicta from a local fish store in your area:
Click here: Mysis Relicta — Natural fish food,for finicky saltwater and freshwater fish, by Piscine Energetics
Yes, sir, as long as you enrich the adult brine shrimp, disinfect it in freshwater before you offer it to your ponies, and your H. reidi will eat it, it’s all right to supplement your seahorse’s diet liberally with the Artemia, as discussed below:
BRINE SHRIMP (Artemia spp.)
Pros (Giwojna, Oct. 1996):
· Adult Artemia are readily available from your fish store or through the mail.
· Easily raised from cysts to provide nauplii of all sizes and stages of development.
· Excellent tolerance for saltwater: feed and forget–survives until eaten.
· Easy to gut-load and enrich.
· Accepted greedily by most seahorses (except Hippocampus reidi and H. ingens).
Cons (Giwojna, Oct. 1996):
· Poor food value–good source of protein, but lacking in other essential nutrients.
· Must be fortified or enriched to increase nutritional content.
· Cannot be used as staple diet.
Specific gravity: 1.020-1.026; pH: 8.0-9.0;
Temperature: 77 degrees F (25 degrees C)
An easy way to raise small quantities of brine shrimp is to set up a 10-20 gallon tank in a location where it receives natural sunlight to promote the growth of green algae, and provide gentle aeration using a length of airline tubing as a bubbler (avoid fine bubbles and the use of airstones; Giwojna, Oct. 1996). Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of eggs on the surface of the water.
The nauplii will hatch 24-36 hour later, and the day after they emerge, they can be fed sparingly with various additives and enrichment products (Giwojna, Oct. 1996). Adjust the amount so a slight haze barely clouds the water for a few hours each day. Do not feed again until the water is crystal clear, and avoid overfeeding at all costs. Maintain constant aeration to keep the food in suspension, and feed very small amounts fairly often — never a large quantity at any given time (Giwojna, Oct. 1996). The first generation of brine shrimp will reach maturity after 2-3 weeks, and the culture will then be self-sustaining (Daleco Aquarists Supply Manual, 1995). Add more eggs as needed to supplement natural reproduction and bolster the population of brine shrimp. Top off the tank with freshwater regularly to make up for evaporation, and replace about 25% of the culture water on a monthly basis (Giwojna, Oct. 1996).
It’s a good idea to set up 2 or more culture tanks for adult Artemia at the same time so you can harvest a little from each culture and prevent the population of shrimp in any one tank from being depleted to the extent it can no longer sustain itself.
Rearing Artemia this way makes it easy to select nauplii at just the proper stage of development and size for your sea horses (Giwojna, Oct. 1996).
Brine shrimp are no doubt the most widely used live foods for sea horses. They are convenient, always available, easy to hatch and raise, and adults can be bought by the pint or quart at many fish stores (Giwojna, Oct. 1996).
However, commercially raised brine shrimp have one big drawback. By the time they are purchased and released in the aquarium, they usually have not eaten for several days, and starved brine shrimp are nutritionally barren. It is therefore imperative that brine shrimp be fortified before they are fed to your sea horses. (As discussed earlier, unfortified adult brine shrimp are useful for feeding to captive-bred seahorses on a staple diet of enriched frozen Mysis on their fasting days precisely because the brine shrimp have nonexistent nutritional value.)
Fortunately, brine shrimp are filter feeders and will take in whatever is suspended in the water with them that has a manageable particle size. This can be yeast cells; unicellular algae; rotifers; micronized rice bran, whey, wheat flour, or egg yolk; dried Spirulina algae; water-soluble vitamin and mineral formulations designed for marine fish; or whatever else the aquarist cares to add to their culture water (Daleco Aquarists Supply Manual, 1995).
I recommend using one of the concentrated food additives or enrichment products that have recently been developed specifically for mariculturists. The best additives are rich in lipids, especially highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA), and vitamins such as stabilized Vitamin C and cyanocobalmin (B-12) (Giwojna, Oct. 1996). Adding such enrichment products to a 6-ounce portion of brine shrimp, and then allowing at least 12 hours for the shrimp to ingest it can fortify store-bought adult Artemia (Giwojna, Oct. 1996)
Liquid vitamin formulations can also be added, and the ability to enrich their lipid and vitamin content this way allows us to treat brine shrimp as animated vitamin pills for seahorses (Lawrence, 1998). The savvy seahorse keeper should regard enriched Artemia as bio-encapsulated food for his charges and take full advantage of every opportunity to fortify the shrimp (Lawrence, 1998).
The survival rate of marine fish fry improves dramatically when they are fed lipid-enriched brine shrimp nauplii, and the importance of fortifying Artemia in this manner cannot be overemphasized (Forrest Young, pers. com.). In fact, the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco has successfully raised Hippocampus erectus from birth to maturity on a diet consisting solely of brine shrimp (Herald and Rakowicz, 1951). For best results, however, brine shrimp should be considered only a dietary supplement, with of the bulk of your sea horses’ diet consisting of hard-bodied crustaceans such as Mysids, feeder shrimp or Gammarids.
However, Lawrence, if you’ll be supplementing your seahorse’s diet with adult brine shrimp regularly, there are a few precautions you must be careful to observe. First and foremost, you must be careful to disinfect live food beforehand to assure you won’t be introducing any pathogens or parasites along with the prey items, as discussed below.
There is one potentially serious drawback to feeding your seahorses living prey on a regular basis. There is always the chance that you can introduce disease into your aquarium along the with the live food. Live Artemia (brine shrimp), for example, are known disease vectors for a long laundry list of fish pathogens, and should be treated with caution in that regard – especially if obtained from your local fish store (LFS). The aquarist who relies on live foods for his seahorses MUST take special precautions to eliminate this potential danger!
Fortunately, there are a couple of simple measures that can minimize such risks. Decapsulating Artemia cysts, for instance, removes all known parasites and pathogens, effectively sterilizing brine shrimp eggs. Large public aquaria routinely go a step further, disinfecting live foods by administering a 10-minute freshwater bath and then rinsing it thoroughly through a 100-micron strainer before offering it to their seahorses (Bull and Mitchell 2002). Home hobbyists should do the same (a brine shrimp net will suffice for the strainer). Brine shrimp — the chief offender as a disease vector — tolerate this disinfection process extremely well. In addition, adult brine shrimp (Artemia sp.) are now available from High-Health facilities, which greatly minimizes the risk of disease contamination, and if possible, Sandy, you should take full advantage of these safe vendors when purchasing live foods.
Secondly, you must be aware that unfed adult brine shrimp are virtually nutritionally barren, and it is therefore vital that they be enriched improperly before you offer them to your seahorses. It is a great idea to enrich the brine shrimp with Vibrance, but make sure you use the lipid-rich Vibrance I rather than the low-fat formula (Vibrance II) for the Artemia. Adult brine shrimp are a good source of protein, but they have very little fat content. The lipid-rich formulation in Vibrance 1 (the original Vibrance) is thus ideal for enriching brine shrimp, transforming them from nutritionally barren, empty calories into a high-fat powerhouse of vitamins and nutrients that’s loaded with color-enhancing carotenoids. As an added benefit, enriching brine shrimp with Vibrance is also an excellent way to get your seahorses to ingest beta-glucan, which will boost their immune systems and help keep them healthy.
Finally, Lawrence, you need to be aware that adult brine shrimp are not suitable as the staple, everyday diet for your seahorses. In the long run, seahorses that are fed a strict diet of adult brine shrimp will eventually developed a debilitating condition known as soft plate disease:
Soft Plate Disease:
Seahorses and pipefish that receive a diet deficient in calcium are prone to "soft plate" syndrome, which is a progressive disease characterized by decalcification of the bony plates that fuse together to form the exoskeleton (Greco, 2004). In the olden days, seahorses fed a diet consisting solely of Artemia often developed this condition (Greco, 2004). We now know that brine shrimp (Artemia sp.) contains inadequate levels of calcium and an imbalanced ratio of calcium to phosphorus, making it unsuitable as a staple diet even when enriched (Greco, 2004).
Seahorses afflicted with soft plate syndrome exhibit shortened lifespans, decalcification of their exoskeleton, and poor survival rate amongst their fry (Greco, 2004). Pregnant males face the greatest risk of soft plate. Seahorse fry are known to incorporate calcium provided by their father into their skeletons during their embryonic development, so when a gravid male is deficient in calcium, his rapidly growing offspring typically suffer high mortalities due to a condition akin to rickets in human children.
Fortunately, this debilitating condition is easily prevented by providing seahorses with adequate levels of bioavailable calcium either in their diet or in the aquarium water itself (minerals can be obtained by fish directly from the water; Greco, 2004). I have never heard of a case of soft plate in a seahorse kept in a reef tank that received Kalkwasser (calcium hydroxide) via an automatic doser or regular supplementation of bioavailable calcium. Nor have I even seen this condition in seahorses that received a stable diet of enriched frozen Mysis relicta.
In short, Lawrence, don’t hesitate to supplement your seahorse’s diet freely with liberal feedings of adult brine shrimp as long as you enrich the Artemia with Vibrance I, disinfect it beforehand, and don’t rely on it for their staple diet. If you will be feeding your H. reidi primarily on enriched brine shrimp, be sure to make a concentrated effort to include some hard-bodied crustaceans (volcano shrimp, small ghost shrimp, Gammarus amphipods, etc.) in its diet as often as possible.
Best of luck teaching your stubborn H. reidi to accept frozen Mysis, Lawrence!
Pete GiwojnaSeptember 7, 2006 at 9:30 am #2838llovelessGuest
I have an order of volcanoes on the way. I’ll get some frosen mysids and see if I can’t entice him/her. It readily wolfs(snicks) live mysids. We have Grammarus living in the tank, but seem to reproduce slowly(or she is a ravenous eater). She always looks on the thin side, even after eating twenty volcanoes! Today I gave her 5 volcanos and 5 Mysids. Like a hound dog she hunted them down, even lying on her side to get at them under the live rock.
I was unaware of the potential for introducing disease via Artemia. I have several hatcheries going to provide naupuli for the Mysids. Occasionally an Artemia will make it to adulthood. I’ll start rinsing the litle fellars in fresh water in the future.
It is almost as much fun catching her meal as it is feeding her.
We hadn’t planned on getting a seahorse, but this one was in a little itsy, bitsy tank. They hadn’t ordered a seahorse, but lo and behold their distributor messed up. The lfs quarantines everything for two weeks before putting it out for sale. They were afraid is they sent her back that she would die, and kept her. As I said, It was in a small tank, and being the push over that my wife and I are we took her home after a minimal amount of preparation. We got a 20 gal tall tank and started it with water/rock from the reef tank, ran the undergravel filter for a few days, put in a clean up crew and got the seahorse. Yeah yeah I know we should have prepared better, but we’ve had her about 9 months now, and so far she looks good except thin. On the other hand she is active, and personable(who would a thunk that of a seahorse?). Now you can’t pry her out of my hands.
Thanks for the info,
LawrenceSeptember 7, 2006 at 7:22 pm #2840Pete GiwojnaGuest
It sounds like you have done a wonderful job with your pet shop refugee reidi thus far, sir! She is very fortunate to have wound up in the care of such a diligent aquarist. As you know, it can be very challenging to keep up with the feeding requirements of a wild seahorse that is dependent on live foods.
But that’s not all bad because it certainly is entertaining watching them chase down live food, and like you, I find it flat out fascinating to watch my seahorses hunting live prey. Whenever I see a hungry seahorse patiently stalking its prey, I am always reminded of a Japanese sniper in a WWII John Wayne movie. With a lush growth of leaves and foliage draped over his helmet and extra shrubbery strapped to his back, the cunning jungle fighter literally melts into the shadowy undergrowth. From his strategically selected vantage point, the sharp-eyed sentry waits for his unsuspecting victims to come to him, picking off hapless GIs one by one as they pass his secret hideout.
That’s a pretty fair description of a hungry Hippocampine on the lookout for its supper. Masters of camouflage, seahorses are the snipers of the grassblade jungle into which they blend so well, and their preferred hunting technique is the ambush. Concealed absolutely motionless amidst a clump of Caulerpa or a patch of gorgonians, only a flicker of its busy, watchful eyes ever betrays its presence. Patiently lying in wait for its next meal, one of its independent eyes scans upward while the other scrolls downward so as not to miss any potential prey passing nearby.
When some unwary victim does blunder within range of one of these seagrass snipers, the seahorse tracks it intently, stalking its prey in ultra-slow motion. With its tail securely anchored in place, it stretches its body in the direction of its chosen quarry ever so s-l-o-w-l-y, making itself seem like a harmless frond of algae or a natural extension of the coral. But when this painstaking pursuit finally brings it within striking distance, it’s all over in a hurry! Drawing a bead on its ”dinner” exactly as if its snout were the barrel of a high-powered rifle, the seahorse gives a sudden jerk of its head, accompanied by a distinctly audible ”click,” and its hapless victim disappears as if by magic, sucked up faster than the eye can follow.
Anyone who has ever collected fishes with a slurp gun knows exactly how a feeding seahorse accomplishes this vanishing act. The toothless jaws at the end of its snout operate with a rapid springlike action, and the spasmodic jerk of the seahorse’s head as it snatches its prey represents the cocking and firing of this muscular "spring-loaded" mechanism. Thus, when a seahorses points the barrel of its snout at its intended victim, lining up the target in its sights, and pulls the trigger, well-developed muscles depress the hyoid bone, enlarging its mouth (buccal) cavity and expanding its gills (opercular cavities) sharply, creating a strong inrush like an expanding bellows, and the powerful suction pulls in its prey irresistibly along with a little water. The seahorse’s mousetrap jaws spring open and snap shut again, and it literally inhales its victim in the blink of the eye. One moment the prey is there, and the next it’s gone.
Feeding seahorses are entertaining to watch, and the attentive aquarist can learn a lot about his pets from watching them eat. For instance, if they’re really hungry, seahorses will take off in hot pursuit when some mouth-watering morsel wanders by just beyond reach. No longer content to wait for their supper to come to them, they’ll launch themselves on a ”high-speed” chase at a blistering pace that’s just about capable of overtaking a lumbering brine shrimp or weary water flea. Once they’ve closed to within about one-quarter inch of their target — often prodded along by their tails to gain a final burst of added propulsion — that distinctive ”snick!” will announce the sudden demise of their quarry.
And when no prey is evident, seahorses will sometimes set off on hunting expeditions in a effort to scare up a meal on their own. A seahorse on safari will patrol the perimeter of its aquarium, carefully searching every nook and cranny as it skims along just above the bottom. (This behavior is often displayed when seahorses are hunting Gammarus, since the side-swimmers hug the bottom and seek shelter under every scrap of cover they can find. These amphipods are a favorite food of seahorses, which will often resort to amazing acrobatics in an attempt to winnow them out of their hiding places.) Suffice it to say, when you see your seahorses conducting these search-and-destroy missions, it’s time to feed them!
Yes, sir, one thing I’ve found very true of my seahorses over the years is that they all have their own distinct personalities. And that’s part of their irresistible charm, one of the many reasons why they are so popular among aquarists. A lot of seahorse lovers find it especially satisfying to keep a fish that can become a true pet. Seahorses are real personality fish and many of them actually enjoy being handled. Unlike most other fish that back off when you approach the aquarium and flee in terror if you place your hand in the tank, seahorses soon learn to recognize their keeper and will come out to meet you. They quickly learn to take food from your fingers, and as you will discover, having your pet ponies literally eating out your hand is a very rewarding experience. When one of these shy, enchanting creatures — whose very survival in the wild depends on concealing itself from predators at all times — comes trustingly up to the surface to eat right out of your palm, it’s a thrill you won’t soon forget. The training sessions and daily feedings required for this tend to forge a close, personal relationship between the aquarist and his charges, and hand-fed seahorses often become special pets. Many times they will even include you in their daily greeting, flashing their recognition colors and parading back and forth and at the front of the tank, performing their dancelike displays for your benefit.
My mated pair of erectus head for the feeding station as soon as I approach the tank, a series of color changes betraying their excitement, and queue up at the dinner table looking their best and brightest. Of course, they both try to snap up the first morsel — even pair-bonded ponies are not big on sharing or waiting turns — so I no longer offer them one mysid at a time. I offer them a handful of individually thawed Mysis in my upturned palm instead. They know the drill and happily perch on my fingers while snicking up the shrimp as fast as they can. They genuinely appear to enjoy interacting with me and like to linger on my hand long after all the food is gone. They would allow me to lift them out of the water when I withdraw my hand if I didn’t gently shoo them away first. There’s a lot of puppy dog in your average seahorse and no doubt that’s a big part of their appeal, too. One almost expects to see them wagging their tails as they beg for handouts.
Best of luck converting your finicky reidi to frozen foods, Ruben! In the meantime, if you contact me off list, I would be happy to send you a lot of additional information regarding culturing and collecting a variety of live foods, which could help you fatten her up a bit. You can reach me at the following e-mail address: [email protected]
Pete GiwojnaSeptember 8, 2006 at 7:12 pm #2841llovelessGuest
Thanks for all the info you give us. When I first received our seahorse, it turned pale. Then it dawned on me that she had been lying on the sand looking under the rock for prey and had changed color to camoflage. Once out and about again she turned her "normal" color. I’ll give you an off forum e-mail and try and send you a picture. Is she /he . You know the drill, we newbies can’t tell what we have. lol
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