Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Hello – Looking seriously into Seahorses!

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii Forums Seahorse Life and Care Hello – Looking seriously into Seahorses!

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    Specifically, starting with a mated pair of Sunburst seahorses from Ocean Rider! (though I\’m curious as to why the Sunburst and the Mustangs have the same scientific name…).

    Anyways – tank set-up:

    20 gallon high – I believe the dimensions will give me at least 20\" in height with this set-up.

    Filter – thinking a biowheel? The biowheel will disperse the water more than a canister type filter, thus making less water movement. I think the biowheel will give a slower movement that the seahorses will like better.

    Refugium with protein skimmer hang-on style. Any thoughts on the sizes of this? The only one I found online was $199 but only came in \"large\" with a built-in skimmer. Not quite sure this one will fit the 20 high…but it\’s 19 1/2\" long.

    Substrate – sand, I wish I could find darker colored sand but I doubt that, and it will probably and up being the normal off-white stuff.

    Live rock – .5 lbs per gallon?

    I have a UV sterilizer and heater already, as well as a compact fluorescent light with two power cords (one for the blue, the other for the daylight) that will be set on timers.

    I\’ll let this cycle in for a good month, as well as put a couple of damsels in to make sure the tank can take added nitrates.

    Sexy shrimp!! These guys are awesome – I think these little shrimp will be alright with the seahorses right?

    Cleaner crew – snails, hermit crabs, maybe a brittle sea star…

    That\’s about it, it\’s pretty much just going to be a seahorses and sexy shrimp tank.

    Why are sunburst and mustangs the \’same\’ species?
    How often do seahorses reproduce under optimal conditions?
    Are mated pairs guaranteed to reproduce?
    Where are the good in-depth information articles on these?

    Thanks! =)


    Hm – alright, via posts by Pete, I see the smallest recommended size is 40G high. I do realize and understand that water parameters are easier to control with a larger aquarium, however, I’m pretty leery about setting up another ‘large’ tank. I have a 75G and a 20G in my office as it is (and actually, a 5G for feeders as well). The new seahorse tank would be set up in my home, and I’m only a renter. No doubt we will be moving, and the smaller the tank, the easier to move.

    According to another page on this website, you can easily keep 6 horses in a 30G, which I’m more than willing to go up to. SO…do you (Pete, or someone with a ton of seahorse experience), think that a 30G is going to be just fine with live sand, live rock, a refugium, filter, and protein skimmer? The 30G x-high is 24 3/4 inches tall – this means I might actually have to go out and buy a new one versus getting a cheap used aquarium off craigslist, but so be it.


    Oh, is it possible to breed the red shrimp yourself in separate tank?

    And I decided against the 20G and am going with a 45G (24" tall)

    Post edited by: rjarnold, at: 2007/05/20 02:20

    Pete Giwojna

    Dear RJ:

    Mustangs and Sunbursts are different color morphs of the same species (Hippocampus erectus). As such, they have identical aquarium requirements, interbreed freely, and are equally hardy. Sunbursts are a bit smaller than Mustangs on average, topping out at around 5-6 inches, whereas the ‘stangs can reach well in excess of 6 inches in length.

    But they differ primarily in their coloration: Mustangs tend to be darker colored, displaying the dominant dark brown to black coloration that is so typical of wild erectus, whereas the Sunbursts tend to be more brightly colored, and typically display the much less common yellow to orange color pattern.

    But it’s important to note that the Sunbursts are not genetic mutations that are locked into specific colors. Colorful Ocean Riders are not homozygous recessives nor or they mutations that are unable to manufacture certain pigments altogether. In other words, they are not like albinos that are always white because they lack the ability to produce melanin (black pigment), nor are they like lutino mutations that are always yellow because they lack the ability to manufacture any pigments other than yellow. But they do exhibit differential proliferation of chromatophores and this gives each type a predisposition to display certain colors.

    Mustangs, for example, have a preponderance of melanophores (black pigment cells) and tend to be dark (earth tones) or cryptically colored most of the time. But ‘stangs also have bright pigment cells and they can brighten up when the occasion calls for it, such as during courtship or when competing for mates.

    Although yellow and orange pigments tend to predominate in Sunbursts, they are equipped with a full range of chromatophores and can display a wide range of colors. This means they are predisposed towards the sunset colors (yellow, gold, peach and orange) when conditions are to their liking. However, they have a complement of melanophores in addition to their bright pigment cells and are able to change their coloration to reflect changing circumstances and conditions. So yellow and orange are the most commonly seen colors in Sunbursts, but you also find them in white, pearly, tan or even brown color phases from time to time.

    In short, Mustangs exhibit the normal coloration for wild H. erectus and tend to be darker colored as a rule, but will show brighter color phases from time to time. Likewise, Sunbursts tend to exhibit the sunset colors when conditions are favorable, but they also display darker color phases on occasion.

    You can expect both Mustangs and Sunbursts to go through quite a range of color phases from month to month. For example, I have watched my pair of Mustangs go through a number of color changes over the years. One has settled on a dark grayish -green as its base coloration for the moment, and the other ranges between rust, chocolate brown and russet-brown, but always with contrasting beige bands. Last season, the male adopted a deep burnt umber as his everyday attire (still with the same beige saddles, though), while the female displayed a dark purplish ensemble with definite greenish highlights. When courting, they consistently brighten to a pearly white and a creamy yellow respectively. They make a handsome couple, and I find my Mustangs to be very attractive specimens in all their guises.

    Sunbursts exhibit equally variable coloration from month to month and are just as hardy as the Mustangs. Of course, the two types make great tankmates for one another. Go down paragraph

    For a complete discussion of how and why seahorses change color, please check out the a two-part article on coloration in seahorses that I recently wrote for Conscientious Aquarist online magazine. You can read the articles at the following URL’s and enjoy Leslie Leddo’s magnificent photographs:

    part one:

    part two:


    Once pair bonded seahorses begin reproducing in the aquarium, they will generally produce a new brood of young roughly every month as long as conditions remain favorable (good water quality, good nutrition, sufficient height to mate comfortably, and a stress-free environment.) Many species will breed year-round in the aquarium.

    When you order a mated pair of seahorses, you are guaranteed to receive a compatible male and female that have shown indications of courtship and pair bonding. They will have typically been together for one or more breeding cycles. However, this does not necessarily assure reproductive success and mated pairs are not guaranteed to breed in any given setup. Too many other factors can have an adverse affect on courtship and mating in the aquarium, including diet, water quality, the height of the aquarium, compatible/incompatible tankmates, competition for mates, photoperiod, environmental cues, various aquarium stressors, and so on. Since most of these factors are totally beyond the control of Ocean Rider once their livestock leaves the aquaculture facility, they cannot guarantee that their seahorses will reproduce successfully in the hobbyist’s aquarium upon arrival.

    If you want to jumpstart your breeding program, RJ, you can always pay a little extra to obtain a pregnant male when you order your seahorses. That way, you will receive a gravid male and you can be confident that he will deliver a brood of healthy young within weeks of his arrival.

    There are a number of excellent online articles on this site and others with in-depth information on the care and keeping of seahorses. For example, I wrote an article in Conscientious Aquarist called "Feeding Stations : A Better Way to Feed Seahorses" that you may find useful for feeding your seahorses more efficiently. It discusses all the different kinds of feeding stations, including natural feeding stations. It’s available online at the following URL:

    Click here: Seahorse Feeders


    You might also find my series of articles on seahorse nutrition to be helpful in that regard, RJ. Part IV of that series is devoted to feeding and rearing seahorse fry and should be especially useful when you are ready to try your hand at raising the babies. All five articles in series are available online at at the following URL:

    Click here: – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Nutrition <;

    As a new seahorse keeper, you should also find the Horse Forum columns in Freshwater and Marine Aquarium (FAMA) to be very interesting and helpful, Lenny. I co-authored many of those columns about seahorses and they are all available online at the following web site. Just go to the particular year you are interested in and you’ll find links or you can read each of the Horse Forum columns from that year:


    Also, you will find loads of useful information in the FAQs on the site, RJ.

    In addition, don’t forget the following excellent new book about the diseases of seahorses. It will prove to be be very helpful for new seahorse keepers. Dr. Martin Belli, Marc Lamont, Keith Gentry, and Clare Driscoll have done a terrific job putting together "Working Notes: A Guide to the Diseases of Seahorses." Hobbyists will find the detailed information it contains on seahorse anatomy, the latest disease diagnosis and treatment protocols, and quarantine procedures to be extremely useful and helpful. It has some excellent dissection and necropsy photos as well as a number of photos of seahorses with various health problems. This is one book every seahorse keeper should have in his or her fish-room medicine cabinet, and I highly recommend it! In time of need, it can be a real life saver for your seahorses. It’s available online at the following web site:

    Click here: Working notes: a guide to seahorse diseases > books > The Shoppe at | CafePress

    All of the above would be good sources of information for someone who’s new to seahorses, RJ. If you contact me off list ([email protected]), it can provide you with detailed information on breeding and raising Hippocampus erectus (Mustangs and Sunbursts).

    Best of luck setting up a seahorse tank that is perfect for your needs and interests!

    Happy Trails!
    Pete Giwojna

    Pete Giwojna

    Dear RJ:

    The red feeder shrimp are easy to keep in a small separate tank indefinitely and they will breed under the right conditions, but they reproduce so slowly it is extremely difficult to culture them in any quantity. It can be done, but the larval shrimp undergo many different stages of development and raising them is very, very challenging. It isn’t really practical for the home hobbyist.

    I have no idea how to sex them, but that shouldn’t really be necessary — they are colonial shrimp that live together in large groups, so if you’re going to be keeping a few dozen of them as seahorse food, you can rest assured that both males and females will be present and that natural reproduction will occur. Getting them to breed isn’t the problem; rather, it’s their low fecundity — the fact that they spawn only a handful of times each year and reduce such low numbers of young each time they spawn — that makes it difficult to raise them in any numbers at all.

    Here is some additional information about these fascinating little shrimp that will explain the conditions they prefer for keeping them as potential seahorse food:

    You will find the red feeder shrimp (Halocaridina rubra) to be easy to keep and relatively undemanding to culture, although their numbers build up very gradually due to their naturally slow rate of reproduction.

    Red feeder shrimp or volcano shrimp, as they are sometimes known, prefer brackish conditions and breed best at reduced salinity (1.0145-1.0168) but they adapt well to full strength saltwater and will survive indefinitely is a marine aquarium. They are a perfect "feed-and-forget" treat for large seahorses! As a rule they don’t need a great deal of room. The size of the tank you’ll need depends on the number of shrimp your dealing with and whether you want to maintain and ongoing culture or simple keep them alive until needed. A 5-10 gallon tank will generally suffice for 500-600 of these shrimp and biological filtration of some sort is desirable for keeping them long term. A simple sponge filter will do.

    RED FEEDER SHRIMP from Hawaii (Halocaridina rubra)


    * Excellent nutritional value

    * Irresistible to all the greater seahorses.

    * Feed-and-Forget — lasts forever in saltwater!

    * Easy to enrich.

    * Simple to gut-load.

    * Can be cultured using simple techniques and the most basic setups.


    * Reproduces slowly; difficult to build up a large population.

    Collecting Tips:


    Culture Instructions:

    Specific gravity: 1.0145-1.0168; pH: 8.0-8.3

    Temperature: 68 degrees F – 73 degrees F (20 degrees C – 23 degrees C)

    These fabulous little feeder shrimp can be kept indefinitely in a spare 2-10 gallon tank, or even a clean, plastic bucket, that has been filled with clean saltwater and equipped with an airstone for aeration. Neither a heater nor a fancy filtration system is required. They thrive at room temp and reduced salinity (1.015-1.016), and all they require is an airstone (or a simple air-operated foam filter at most) to keep the water oxygenated, with perhaps a little coral rubble as substrate and a clump or two of macroalgae (sea lettuce, Ogo, Gracilaria) to shelter in. They’re easy to feed — they feed primarily on algal mats and bacteria — but they will accept vegetable-based flake foods and pellets such as various Spirulina products. They are filter feeders and can also be fed with yeast or commercially prepared foods for filter-feeding invertebrates. Many people find an easy way to feed them is to place a small piece of algae-encrusted live rock in their holding tank; once they clean it off, simply replace it with a new piece of algae rock. But if you want to culture them, I’d recommend ordering the special shrimp food formulated just for them when you order your feeder shrimp from Hawaii. It’s designed to meet all their needs and requirements.


    These tiny red feeder shrimp (Halocaridina rubra) are native to Hawaii where they inhabit underground lava tubes. Brackish pools collect in the cracks, crevices and depressions in the lava below the water table, thus forming the habitat for the shrimp. The brackish water that fills these pools consists of intrusive seawater diluted by freshwater that percolates downward. Because of their lava-tube habit, they are sometimes called Hawaiian Volcano Shrimp.

    Native Hawaiians call them Opa’e-ula, and they are unique among the several different species anchialine pond shrimp in being small, social, herbivorous shrimp that feed mainly on algae and bacteria. They are known to feed on insects that drown in the lava tubes. When conditions are favorable, they may feed en masse at the surface in swarms of countless individuals that turn the water red.

    Halocaridina rubra look like miniature, bite-size Peppermint Shrimp, and all seahorses save the miniature species go absolutely nuts for them! They are very nutritious and eat a varied, omnivorous diet. They are perfect for seahorses in every way.

    Unfortunately, it is very difficult to culture these shrimp in any quantity, since they reproduce slowly and the females only carry 12 to 14 eggs. They spawn but 4 or 5 times and produce an average of only 5-10 larvae per spawn. The larvae hatch as free-swimming, yolked zoeae after a brooding period of 38 days. Larval development is abbreviated with four zoeal stages and one megalopial stage occurring before they reach the first juvenile stage. Duration of the larval stages in the aquarium is 24 to 27 days at 22 to 23 degrees C.

    Like other shrimp, it is the complicated larval developmental period they undergo, with multiple zoea and megalops stages, that makes the larvae difficult to raise, RJ. However, it can be accomplished the same way other decorative shrimp such as peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) are raised. There is a very interesting and informative book that explains exactly how to go about raising such shrimp that I recommend you read. It’s called "How To Raise & Train Your Peppermint Shrimp" by April Kirkendoll and they can be obtained at the following URL:

    You’ll find lots of excellent information on raising peppermint shrimp in April’s book that will apply equally well to your volcano shrimp if you really want to give it a try, RJ.

    Best wishes with all of your fishes!

    Happy Trails!
    Pete Giwojna

    Pete Giwojna

    Dear RJ:

    Sexy shrimp (Thor amboinensis) are colorful and their dancing is entertaining to watch. They are peaceful and get along together in groups or colonies. They are seahorse safe but I would fear for their safety in an aquarium with large seahorses. They are pretty small for shrimp — most specimens I have seen range from about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length — and that makes them fair game for hungry seahorses.

    Remember, live shrimp are the favorite food of all seahorses and, up to a certain point, they will not hesitate to attack shrimp that are too large to be eaten in one bite.

    This often happens when feeding seahorses live ghost shrimp or grass shrimp, many of which are too big to be eaten intact. Seahorses are so fond of these shrimp that they often attack specimens that are far too big to swallow. In that case, they will attempt to break the back of the shrimp by snapping repeatedly at the carapace. If they are successful in severing the abdomen from the cephalothorax, the seahorses will then slurp up the tail section and head half of the shrimp separately. Or should their victim be so large it cannot even be swallowed in sections, they will snick out mouthfuls of the soft tissue exposed inside the abdomen or thorax.

    At times, several seahorses will gang up on one big shrimp this way, like a pack of lions teaming up to bring down a water buffalo that’s too big for any one of them to tackle alone. Under the right circumstances, a sort of slow-motion feeding frenzy may then ensue, with the seahorses playing tug-of-war over the pieces of their prize.

    Grass shrimp that are too large to be overcome by such tactics may survive to become long-term residents of the seahorse tank, coexisting with their reluctant tankmates in a sort of uneasy truce. Such die-hard shrimp provide a useful service as scavengers from then on.

    In short, I would be concerned that large seahorses would regard your sexy shrimp as tasty snacks. You might be better off selecting one of the larger varieties of decorative shrimp instead. For example, large Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) and/or Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp or Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) would complement your cleanup crew and add a touch of color and activity to the tank.

    Otherwise, the proposed seahorse tank you are planning sounds just fine. A 45-gallon aquarium that is 24 inches tall will provide the height and stability you need and provide a comfortable margin of error for a first-time seahorse keeper. (You could probably get by with a 30-gallon Extra-High All-Glass Aquarium, which is also 24 inches tall, just fine providing you were diligent about maintenance and willing to limit yourself to fewer seahorses, but the 45-gallon setup is a better choice and will definitely provide you with a bigger margin for error. When the time comes and you need to move the aquarium to a new location, just let me know and I’ll provide you with some suggestions that will make the move much easier.

    A bio-wheel provides basically the same benefits as a wet/dry trickle filter and is less expensive. A combination of live rock to provide the bulk of the nitrification and denitrification for the aquarium, supplemented by a biowheel, protein skimmer, and an ultraviolet sterilizer, will provide the basis for an efficient filtration system.

    However, you won’t need anything near 5 pounds of live rock per gallon. Even in systems where the live rock is the only means of biofiltration, 1-2 pounds of live rock per gallon is all that is required. The biowheel in your tank will provide plenty of biofiltration all by itself, so you should certainly be able to get by with less than 1 pound of live rock per gallon. Look for pre-cured live rock with interesting formations that are heavily overgrown with pinkish and purplish coraline algae.

    If you would like to get a dark colored sand for your substrate, which I also prefer, rather than whites sand or gravel, there are a number of good options you can consider. I find that a fine-grained oolitic live sand, preferably black, helps control nitrates and looks great, as discussed below.

    A thin layer of live sand is the ideal substrate for a seahorse tank. It is bioactive, aesthetically pleasing, and is a fine-grained sand well suited for the various snails that form an essential part of the cleanup crew for a seahorse tank. I find the dark color of an oolitic black sand substrate shows off my seahorses and macroalgae to great effect and enhances the appearance of tank in general.

    As long as it’s fine enough I’ve never had any problems with seahorses "snicking" up sand in the aquarium. They will do so on occasion when feeding off the bottom, but never have any difficulty at all expelling it again as long as it’s fine grained. So I find that very fine "sugar" sand works for a well for seahorses, and you don’t have to worry about any pebbles or bits of rock that are too large to be accidentally ingested. What is sometimes problematic are small pebbles or bits of rock that might be accidentally slurped up a seahorse’s tube snout when they are feeding on the bottom, and which could then be difficult for the seahorse to expel again.

    The depth of a shallow sand bed like this is also an important factor. Too deep, and you risk anaerobic dead spots where deadly hydrogen sulfide gas can form. Too shallow, and there will be less surface area to support beneficial nitrifying bacteria and Nassarius snails and other beneficial burrowers may feel vulnerable and exposed. A bed of live sand between 1/2 to nomore than 1-inch deep is just right for the main tank. A properly layered Deep Live Sand Bed (DLSB) 3-6 inches deep with a full complement of sand shifters also works well with seahorses, but is best confined to a sump rather than the display tank due to the seahorse’s heavy waste production. In other words, you can minimize the buildup of detritus in the DLSB by installing it in your sump rather than the main tank.

    The types of live sand I prefer are either the Arag-Alive Indo-Pacific Black Sand by CaribSea or else the CaribSea Tropical Isle Tahitian Moon Black Sand. You can obtain them online from Premium Aquatics and a number of other sources, and either of them should work well for the substrate in a seahorse tank.

    As you know, RJ, a refugium is simply a self-contained protected area, isolated from the main tank but sharing the same water supply, which provides many of the same benefits as a sump. A refugium can help newly added fish or invertebrates easily acclimate to a new tank. It can provide a safe haven for injured fish or corals to regenerate damaged tissue without the need for a separate quarantine tank. But perhaps its main benefit for the seahorse keeper is provide a protected area where macroalgae can be grown and small live prey items (copepods, amphipods, Caprellids, etc.) that will eventually become a food source for the inhabitants of the main portion of the tank can be cultured safely, allowing their population to build up undisturbed.

    For instance, Charles Delbeek likes to use glass shrimp and cleaner shrimp that are too large to be eaten in the refugium for his seahorse tank, where the regular reproduction of these hermaphroditic crustaceans will provide a continuous supply of nutritious nauplii for his ponies: "There is a method that can be used to offer an occasional supply of live food for your sea horses. By setting up a separate system housing several species of shrimp such as the common cleaner shrimp, Lysmata amboinensis, or Rhynchocinetes uritai or R. durbanensis, you can get a fairly regular supply of live shrimp larvae. These species are best to use since they can live in large groups and spawn on a regular basis. Such a system is commonly called a refugium. A refugium is a small (10-20 gallon) aquarium that contains live sand, live rock and/or macroalgae such as Caulerpa. It is plumbed such that water from your main system is pumped to the refugium and then returns via an overflow to the main tank. For this type of arrangement to work, the refugium must be slightly higher than the main tank. Shrimp are added to the refugium and within a few months they should start spawning and hatching eggs every few weeks. The larvae are then carried back to the main tank by the overflow, where they become a food source for your sea horses. Of course other life will also thrive in the refugium and it is not unusual for copepods, mysis and crab larvae to also be produced on a regular basis. The key to the refugium is to keep predators out of the system so that the smaller micro-crustacean population can thrive. You would need a fairly large and productive refugium to produce enough food to maintain even a pair of sea horses, so at best, a typical refugium can provide a nice source of supplemental live food; the basic daily diet still needs to be provided by you in the form of the frozen foods mentioned above." (Delbeek, November 2001, "Horse Forum," FAMA magazine)

    Aside from the one Delbeek favors, refugia are available in a number of different designs and all different sizes. For example, there are easy-to-install external hang-on refugia and in-tank refugia as well as sump-style refugia that are mounted beneath the main. In the case of the latter, the refugium is installed exactly like any other sump. Here are a couple of online sites where you can look up more information on refugia, including articles explaining how to set up and install a refugium of your own:

    Click here: Refugium Setups Information – From About Saltwater Aquariums

    Click here: Refugiums

    best of luck finding just the right refugee him for your new seahorse tank, RJ!

    Pete Giwojna


    Thanks Pete – the information you have provided is invaluable (and definitely saves me money since I would have bought a good group of sexy shrimp only to come back and find them torn to bits 😛 ).

    Currently I’m cycling in my live rock – the package I ordered came with ‘live sand’ as well but it’s not the fine grade I imagined by any means. After reading what you wrote about the fine grade sand I think I might be moving this sand out and putting it into the sump (I do have the 45G tall tank now and am still working on a sump – the first one I got was too large so it’s going on my 75G). I also have a mantis shrimp that I’m trying to trap… 😛

    I did go with some uncured live rock and since I am moving out at the end of August, I’m probably going to be waiting until then to order the seahorses to avoid moving stress. This will also allow me to be fully certain that I’ve removed all the unwanted hitchhikers from the rock and that it’s fully cycled. My only concern then is if Ocean Riders will have seahorses in stock at that time – I know they’ve run out at certain periods so I don’t know if it’d be good to get on a hold list or something similar?

    Thanks again for all your help,

    Pete Giwojna

    Dear Rachel:

    You’re very welcome!

    It sounds like you’re making good progress and cycling the tank with live rock is a good technique. Okay, that sounds like a sensible plan to relocate the coarser live sand to your sump where it cannot cause any problems and then sticking with a thin layer (1/2 to 1 inch deep) of very fine-grained or "sugar" size oolitic live sand in your main tank.

    It’s a good thing you spotted the mantis — Stomotopods, or "thumb splitters" as they are sometimes known, can present a real danger to seahorses as they grow.

    Mantis shrimp can certainly be trapped but you have to be patient and persistent to succeed. They are cautious animals and often need time to become accustomed to the presence of the trap, so you might have to be your trap for several days in succession before you bag the little bugger. A number of commercially made mantis traps are available, but you can easily fabricate your own from items around our house. For example, the following link shows how to construct a simple trap for stomotopods:

    There are quite a number of other methods that often work well for killing or capturing a mantis shrimp if you happen to know where it holes up. See the following website for a good discussion of various other techniques for removing mantis shrimp from your aquarium:

    Click here: OZ REEF – Mantis Shrimp

    One of the methods described in the article above should work well for you, Rachel. Best of luck bagging the little beasty!

    Yes, if you’re going to be moving out in late August, it’s probably a good idea to delay ordering your seahorses until after you have completed the move. However, you needn’t be worried that Ocean Rider will run out of seahorses in the meantime, Rachel. You can order your seahorses anytime and then specify the date that you would like them to be delivered. For example, it would be perfectly acceptable for you to place your order today and then specify that you would like the seahorses to be delivered in the first week of September at a particular date. That would lock in your order and assure that suitable seahorses are set aside to fill that order. And you can always contact Ocean Rider and changed or requested delivery date if anything comes up in the interim.

    But that probably isn’t necessary either. I should think that Ocean Rider would have plenty of Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus) at least available at the end of August and into September, since that is when they typically begin building up their inventory in anticipation of the increasing demand in the Fall and winter.

    Best of luck with your new seahorse setup, Rachel, and the upcoming move. Let me know when you’re getting ready to relocate and I will provide you with some tips for moving an aquarium that should help assure that all goes smoothly.

    Happy Trails!
    Pete Giwojna



    I *finally* caught the mantis! He’s going to live with someone obsessed with mantis shrimps, so the world is good again.

    Got my books ‘How to Raise and Train Peppermint Shrimp" and the working notes on seahorse diseases.

    Tank is still cycling…the 2nd batch of rock doesn’t come until the beginning of July. We are having a custom built stand made so that the 25G sump can fit beneath the 45G tank…currently the stand made for the tank is too slender for the sump. We also ordered a Tek T-5 fixture with 4 geisemann bulbs (our LFS was having an amazing sale). I am working out the details on getting the 45G drilled – it will have a long, horizontal cut-out near the top for an overflow (it will be covered by mesh to prevent free-riders), overflow will plunge into an overflow box mounted on the backside. Box will have dual bulkhead drains to the sump. Water will be sent back by an eheim 1260…still pondering if I should get the return drilled or go over the top…but i’m thinking drilled. The black sand you (Peter) recommended has been ordered…there seems to be problems getting it but hopefully that won’t last much longer.

    In my 75G reef tank I’ve put 3 peppermint and 2 cleaner shrimp in. 2 peppermints came with visible eggs attached. Will try the spawning process in this set-up first.

    Pete Giwojna

    Dear Rachel:

    Thanks for the update — it sounds like you’re making excellent progress with your new seahorse setup!

    Great work trapping the mantis shrimp — you have to be really patient and persistent to nab a Stomatopod that has hitchhiked into your aquarium amidst the live rock. They are very alert and wary, with exceptional eyesight so it’s very difficult to catch them unawares and they really have to get accustomed to the presence of a trap before they’ll take the bait. Well done!

    It’s great that you were able to capture your mantis and find a good home for him. They are really fascinating critters in their own right and I have kept a couple of specimens in small specialty tanks of their own as pets to study — extremely interesting little beasties, but they have no business in a seahorse tank or around any small fish or crustaceans.

    I think you’ll find that the addition of a sump is very beneficial for your aquarium in a number of different ways, Rachel. It sounds like it was a good idea to get a stand custom-made so it can accommodate a larger sump — that should pay nice dividends for you down the road. Here’s hoping that all of the drilling and plumbing go smoothly and without any complications!

    If your peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) are already carrying eggs, you’ll have your first larval shrimp in no time, and you can be certain that they will reproduce for you regularly thereafter. They’re hermaphrodites so anytime you have more than one in the same aquarium, breeding is virtually assured.

    Best of luck taming your peppermint shrimp and raising their young, Rachel!

    Happy Trails!
    Pete Giwojna


    Hi Rachel,

    I have kept seahorses and I have a few pieces of advice for you too….

    Get the DEEPEST tank you can afford. 30 to 36 inches is best if you can. The deeper the better. This is because in shallower tanks seahorses are more at risk of developing Gas Bubble Syndrome (GBS). My seahorses died from GBS many years ago and my next tank will be a deep one!!

    In your first message, you mentioned putting damsels in your tank. Be careful of this choice as damsels may be too aggressive for your horses. I have never kept them but I suspect that they may nip at your horses.

    I have seen horses make a very tasty snack of sexy shrimp. They would have loved them! I have also kept cleaner shrimp with horses. They were fine until the shrimp became too big and harassed the hell out of my horses. My horses were about 8 or 9 inches but the adult cleaner shrimp were too big and aggressive once they reached adulthood at about 4 inches body length. The shrimp species I am talking about were the ones with the double red stripe down the middle of their back known as "cleaner shrimp." So pick shrimp which are not too small that they could be eaten but not too big either!! Mine would have cleaned my horses until there were no horses left if allowed!!!

    Also, if there was a mantis in your live rock then please read the previous posting I listed titled "live rock." Hitch hiking crabs became a problem in my tank and many beasties that could be a problem may not be noticed until months or even years down the track! It is better to be safe than sorry. Pete listed some great ways to clean out your live rock.

    As for reproduction, at first, I wanted to raise the young as well. However, my horses bred a LOT. They were constantly at it and produced what seemed to be an endless stream of babies. Raising the young tends to be a bit of a challenge and be aware that they may breed babies in numbers that you are unable to keep up with!

    It seems that you are doing really well. Have fun with it.

    All the best,


    I already have the tank – it’s 24" deep, which as Peter said, has proven significantly to reduce of the gas bubble disease. When I actually get around to buying a house, I’ll probably upgrade to something deeper.

    The damsels are only going in as ‘canary’ fish – they will be removed before the seahorses are put in. I’ve also put in a little trigger fish and will possibly move my copperband butterfly there for awhile as well, because both in their own rights remove crabs, bristleworms, and other little nasties (esp. the copperband…he likes killing things just for the fun of it). I’m only really concerned by stone crabs and gorilla crabs – most any other crab will only eat fish after they’ve died (hence, they’re the ‘clean-up’ crew). I’ve seen way too many crabs take the blame for killing something that was most likely already dead. After all traces of nasties have been removed, I’ll remove the fish and let the tank sit for a bit to make sure none of the critters that were removed ‘rebound’. I have uncured live rock so I have to be exceptionally careful and wait much longer than ‘cured’ live rock – which doesn’t hamper me at all since I’m moving at the end of August and don’t want to put SH through the stress of the move, so will buy them after the tank’s been moved and set-up for a couple of weeks to maintain levels.

    Thanks for the info on the cleaner shrimp – I will probably get a small pair, besides peppermints, and watch them carefully as they grow. If they show any signs of aggression or annoyance to the seahorses they can always be removed to the refugium or my coral reef tank.


    Aigh, well it’s almost moving time. The tank will be re-setup on the 1st of September. From there I’ll make sure all parameters are maintained and all equipment is working properly…and then, finally, seahorses!

    Pete Giwojna

    Dear RJ:

    Woohoo! You are really getting close now!

    Okay, so the big move is almost upon you. When it comes to moving the aquarium, Rachel, I have to warn you that moving a fish tank from one location to another is a major undertaking that requires careful planning and a great deal of time and effort. Even relocating a small aquarium from one room to another is a painstaking task that can take all day to accomplish, let alone transporting a larger aquarium across town or across the country. Aquariums are fragile objects that were never meant to be portable.

    But I know you’re up to the task and there are some suggestions I would like to share with you that can make the job a lot easier and safer. A good place to start is by reviewing the article in Conscientious Aquarist by Amy Janacek titled "Moving and Transporting Your Livestock and Tanks," which is available online at the following URL:

    At the end of the article, you will find links for further discussions on the subject of moving and relocating an aquarium that should also be helpful. After checking out Amy’s article and the relevant discussions, you should be able to tackle the job of moving your aquariums confidently!

    Best of luck getting relocated, Rachel! Here’s hoping everything goes smoothly and that your new location works out perfectly for you!

    Happy Trails!
    Pete Giwojna

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