Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › Help me pick the right tank setup newbie
- This topic has 3 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 2 months ago by Whiskey2771.
March 28, 2013 at 9:12 pm #1994Whiskey2771Member
I want to start off by saying WOW I am so happy I finally found a site like this and with a forum 🙂 I have admired seahorses since being a toddler … I am finally at the stage in life where I would like too have two aquariums the first a 10 -12 galon for the dwarf ( I’ve done my research and have a separate tank already making the brine shrimp) 2nd aquarium I would like to purchase between a30-55 galon I am unsure what seahorses for that aquarium would be best… And my main question is what would be the best complete setups for either ? I have 1500 as a budget but preferable stay under 1000 for both setups ? Ty for any feedback [color=#0000FF][/color]March 29, 2013 at 10:43 am #5523Whiskey2771Guest
ANYONE ?March 30, 2013 at 4:40 am #5524Pete GiwojnaGuest
Okay, there are a great many ways you can successfully keep dwarf seahorses, but if I have to pick one technique that is the most trouble free and easiest to maintain over the long term, I would say it is to use a shallow layer of live sand together with a generous amount of live rock as the substrate for the seahorse tank, include lush colonies of macroalgae as hitching posts for the Pixies, and to maintain a very low dose of fenbendazole (brand name Panacur) in the tank in order to eliminate pests such as Aiptasia rock anemones, bristleworms or fireworms, and the dreaded hydroids, Whiskey.
For a tank of 10-12 gallons, I would include up to 10 or 12 pounds of well cured live rock (or a like amount of pest-free man-made live rock), which is sufficient to provide the aquarium with adequate nitrification and denitrification ability, as discussed below in more detail.
In a nutshell, many hobbyists nowadays are finding that the best system for keeping dwarf seahorses (Hippocampus zosterae) is to set up a small tank with live rock and live sand, and then pretreat the tank with fenbendazole (brand name Panacur). The regimen of fenbendazole will destroy any hydroids, Aiptasia rock anemones, or bristleworms that may be present in the live rock or live sand, and residual amounts of the medication will gradually leaked out of the porous live rock for months afterward, providing long-term protection from these pests. Repeating a dose of fenbendazole two or three times a year — say every 3-6 months — as a precaution thereafter will maintain the protective affects indefinitely…
If used at the recommended dosages, the fenbendazole is not harmful to dwarf seahorses or their babies, and it does not normally have any effect on copepods or amphipods, so you would still be able to maintain a thriving pod population in such a tank.
Regarding the dwarf seahorses (H. zosterae), Whiskey, there have been some very helpful developments with regard to controlling hydroids, which are of course the great scourge of dwarf seahorse keepers. The latest trend nowadays is to keep live rock and live sand that have been treated with fenbendazole (brand name Panacur) in the dwarf setups to eradicate hydroids and other unwanted pests. That allows the dwarf seahorses to benefit from the biological filtration and stability provided by the LR and LS, while at the same time safely providing long-term control for hydroids, Aiptasia rock anemones, and bristleworms.
As you know, Whiskey, in the past dwarf seahorse keepers would normally avoid live rock and live sand like the plague in order to reduce the risk of hydroids getting started in their aquarium, but there are ways around that have actually turned the live rock into an advantage for preventing hydroids, as we’ll discuss in more detail below.
Live rock and live sand are excellent for supplemental filtration and adding stability to a dwarf seahorse tank, but it also means that hobbyists are going to have chronic problems with hydroids and Aiptasia rock anemones unless they take special precautions to control them, which is surprisingly easy to accomplish.
Sooner or later hydroids will appear in any marine aquarium that is receiving regular feedings of rotifers, copepods, or baby brine shrimp. It’s inevitable because they can gain entry into the aquarium in many ways. For example, they are notorious hitchhikers. Both the colonial polyp stage and the free-swimming micro-jellies can thumb a ride on live rock, macroalgae, hitching posts, sand or gravel, specimens of all kinds, or within so much as a single drop of natural seawater (Abbott, 2003). Beware of fuzzy looking seashells! Very often hydrozoans come in on the shells of the hermit crabs or snails we purchase as aquarium janitors (Abbott, 2003). Or they may be introduced with live foods, or even among Artemia cysts, in some cases it seems. They can even be transferred from tank to tank in the aerosol mist arising from an airstone or the bubble stream of a protein skimmer.
So with the live rock and live sand, aquarists are going to have an ongoing problem with hydroids and likely also Aiptasia rock anemones in their dwarf setups, and that’s ordinarily a cause for great concern. Because of their diminutive dimensions, dwarf seahorses are susceptible to the stings from hydroids and Aiptasia rock anemones. Hydroids in particular are especially problematic for dwarves because once they find their way into a dwarf seahorse setup or nursery tank, the dreaded droids can explode to plague proportions very quickly because conditions are ideal for their growth: perfect temperatures, an abundance of planktonic prey that is renewed every few hours, and a complete absence of predators. As they proliferate and spread, they will soon begin to take a toll on the seahorse fry and even adult dwarfs can succumb to multiple stings or secondary infections that can set in at the site of a sting (Abbott, 2003).
But there is a way you can turn this situation to your advantage and eliminate the risk of hydroids, Aiptasia rock anemones, and bristleworms from a dwarf seahorse tank, Whiskey. Treating a dwarf tank with a regimen of fenbendazole will eradicate these pests and provide long-lasting protection from hydroids and Aiptasia for your dwarf seahorses. Allow me to explain.
Hydroids can be controlled in the aquarium by using a medication known as fenbendazole to treat the tank over a period of days. Fenbendazole (brand name Panacur) is an inexpensive anthelmintic agent (dewormer) used for large animals such as horses, and the de-worming granules can be obtained without a prescription from stores that carry agricultural products (e.g., farm and ranch equipment, farming supplies and products, veterinary supplies, livestock and horse supplies, livestock and horse feed). If you live in a rural area, those would be good places to obtain it as well.
However, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind when treating an aquarium with fenbendazole. Administering a regimen of fenbendazole (FBZ) or Panacur will eradicate any hydroids, Aiptasia rock anemones, or bristleworms from live rock or live sand, thereby rendering them completely seahorse safe. The recommended dose is 1/8 teaspoon of the horse dewormer granules (22.2% fenbendazole) per 10 gallons of water. Dose aquarium with 1/8 teaspoon/10 gallons every other day until you have administered a total of 3 such treatments (Liisa Coit, pers. com.). Even one dose will do a fine job of eradicating bristeworms, but Aiptasia rock anemones and hydroids are a bit tougher and may require 2-3 doses to eliminate entirely.
Because fenbendazole is essentially a de-worming agent, it will destroy any bristleworms, flat worms, spaghetti worms or the like. Fenbendazole does not have any adverse effects on biological filtration, but be aware that it is death to many Cnidarians besides hydroids. Mushrooms and related corals are generally not affected, but expect it to have dire effects on other corals (e.g., sinularias), polyps, gorgonians, and anemones. In general, any Cnidarians with polyps that resemble the stalked family of Hydrozoans are likely to be hit hard by fenbendazole, so don’t use this treatment in a reef tank! Dwarf seahorse keepers, of course, don’t keep alive corals so this is not a disadvantage for a dwarf seahorse tank at all.
Also be aware that fenbendazole seems to soak into the porous live rock and be absorbed indefinitely. I know one hobbyist who transferred a small piece of live rock that had been treated with fenbendazole (Panacur) months earlier into a reef tank, where it killed the resident starfish and Astrea snails. So enough of the medication may be retained within treated live rock to impact sensitive animals months after the fenbendazole was administered. Don’t treat live rock intended for reef systems with fenbendazole (Panacur)! On the other hand, however, this makes live rock that’s been pretreated with fenbendazole very useful for providing long-term hydroid protection for dwarf seahorse keepers.
At the lower dosage recommended for nursery tanks and dwarf seahorse tanks with fry (1/16 tsp. per 10 gallons), fenbendazole normally does not harm cleaner shrimp and decorative shrimp. With the exception of Astrids (Astrea), Coit and Worden have found it does not usually affect the types of snails typically used as cleanup crews (e.g., Nassarius, Ceriths, and Nerites). It will kill starfish but copepods, hermit crabs, and shrimp are normally not affected.
Macroalgae such as the feathery or long-bladed varieties of Caulerpa or Hawaiian Ogo (Gracilaria) are not harmed by exposure to fenbendazole at even triple the normal dose. In fact, if you will be using Caulerpa in your nursery tanks to provide hitching posts for the fry and serve as a form of natural filtration, it’s a very wise precaution indeed to treat them with a regimen of fenbendazole beforehand.
So fenbendazole (FBZ) or Panacur is primarily useful for ridding bare-bottomed nursery tanks and dwarf seahorses setups of hyrdroids and Aiptasia anemones, ridding Caulerpa and other macroalge of hydroids or Aiptasia before its goes into the aquarium, and cleansing live rock of bristleworms, hydroids, and Aiptasia rock anemones before it is introduced to the aquarium.
It can also be used to eradicate bristleworms, hydroids, an Aiptasia from an established aquarium if it does not house sensitive animals such as live corals and gorgonians, starfish, Astrea snails, or tubeworms and other desirable worms that may be harmed by FBZ, providing you monitor the ammonia levels closely and are prepared to deal with the ammonia spike that may result from the sudden death of the worm population.
Live rock and live sand that has been pretreated with fenbendazole are quite safe for dwarf seahorses and their fry, and because the medication soaks into the porous interior of the live rock and then is gradually released again, it can provide a dwarf seahorse tank with long-lasting protection against stinging organisms like hydroids and Aiptasia rock anemones. The amount of the fenbendazole that gradually leaches out of the porous live rock is quite miniscule. It is effective in controlling hydroids and various marine worms even in the insignificant dosage that seeps out of the treated LR because they are sensitive to the medication and even though the dose of fenbendazole that is released is negligible, it is being released at a fairly constant rate and therefore maintaining a continuous, very low level of fenbendazole in the tank. Fenbendazole is an anthelminthic agent or dewormer, designed to kill certain invertebrates such as worms, and it is therefore deadly to bristleworms and cnidarians with nematocysts such as Aiptasia anemones and hydroids, but it is quite safe to use with vertebrates such as seahorses at the dosages we are discussing.
In short, even at relatively concentrated doses, fenbendazole does not harm seahorse fry when it is being used to eradicate hydroids from nursery tanks, so it should not be harmful to your dwarf seahorse fry in the insignificant amounts that gradually leach out of pretreated live rock. In fact, I know many dwarf seahorse keepers who use pretreated live rock in their setups, and they have reported no problems with it affecting their H. zosterae fry. As long as there are no sensitive corals or Astrea snails in your dwarf seahorse tank, I don’t believe fenbendazole-treated live rock would pose any risk for your dwarf seahorses or their offspring, and I recommend using it to prevent ongoing problems with hydroids and Aiptasia rock anemones.
In short, don’t hesitate to use live rock and live sand when you use set up your dwarf seahorse setup, Whiskey, providing you are willing to treat the aquarium with Panacur in order to eliminate stinging animals such as hydroids, Aiptasia rock anemones, and bristleworms.
However, although using the Panacur will protect your dwarf seahorses from the dreaded hydroids, it also means that you’ll need to avoid using soft corals that might likewise be of virtually affected by the fenbendazole. In other words, Whiskey, plan on using fake plastic plants or live macroalgae as the aquascaping for your dwarf seahorse setup in order to provide them with convenient perches and hitching posts.
Okay, Whiskey, that’s the secret to keeping dwarf seahorses successfully nowadays. Use live rock and live sand for the stability and additional biological filtration they can provide, which will make it easier for you to maintain good water quality in the dwarf tank. But then treat the tank with a three-day regimen of fenbendazole (brand-name Panacur) to eliminate unwanted pests that can be harmful to dwarf seahorses such as bristleworms and especially Aiptasia rock anemones and hydroids. Periodically adding small doses of the fenbendazole at regular intervals thereafter will effectively keep your dwarf seahorse tank free of hydroids and that tag and anemones at all times.
If you contact me via e-mail off list ([email protected]), I will go ahead and send you some interesting articles and additional information on dwarf seahorses in a separate e-mail (those files are much too large to be posted on a forum like this), Whiskey, so you can learn more about the aquarium care and requirements of these little jewels before you take the plunge.
Your second question regarding the best set up for keeping the larger tropical seahorses is much more difficult to summarize in a single post, Whiskey. But I can easily provide you with some general guidelines in that regard.
Unless you will be keeping one of the miniature breeds of farm-raised seahorses, such as Hippocampus zosterae, H. breviceps, or H. tuberculatus, it’s best to start with the largest aquarium you can reasonably afford and maintain (the taller, the better). In general, a tank of at least 40 gallons (150 L) is preferable if you’re an inexperienced aquarist since that’s the size when one begins to see significant benefits in terms of the greater stability a larger volume of water can provide. An aquarium of 40-gallons or more will be more resistant to overcrowding and to rapid fluctuations in temperature, pH, and salinity than smaller setups. The larger the aquarium the larger the margin for error it offers the aquarist and the greater the benefits it provides in terms of stability.
It is equally desirable to select an aquarium at least 20-inches high when keeping the greater seahorses. They need the vertical swimming space to perform their complex mating ritual and successfully complete the egg transfer, which is accomplished while the pair is rising through the water column or drifting slowly downwards from the apex of their rise. If the aquarium is too shallow, eggs will be spilled during the transfer from the female to the male’s brood pouch, and mating becomes increasingly difficult or impossible below a certain minimum depth. A tall aquarium can also help protect the seahorses from depth-related health problems such as bloated pouch and certain forms of Gas Bubble Disease.
Your aquarium budget – getting both tanks up and running including all of the equipment and accessories you will need for $1000-$1500 – is more than reasonable, Whiskey, and the best way for you find the perfect aquarium system for your needs and interests (and your budget) would be to complete the free Ocean Rider training program for new seahorse keepers before you make any decisions in that regard. You will find a number of complete aquarium packages that work well for seahorses discussed and described in the training program, as well as dozens and dozens of pictures of other home hobbyists’ seahorse setups in order to give you a better idea of the possibilities you may want to consider, as well as giving you some ideas for aquascaping your new seahorse tank.
When it comes to which seahorses would be the best choice for a novice to consider keeping in an aquarium of 30-55 gallons, Whiskey, you can’t beat the hardy, highly domesticated, captive-bred-and-raised Mustangs and Sunbursts from Ocean Rider, as discussed below in greater detail:
What seahorses are best suited for beginners?
If these will be your first seahorses, then I can heartily recommend Ocean Rider Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus), which are ideal for beginners. Commonly known as the Lined Seahorse or the Northern Giant or Florida Giant, Hippocampus erectus was the first seahorse to be commercially raised for the aquarium hobby. Mustangs and Sunbursts have been captive-bred and raised for more generations than any other seahorse, and have now achieved a level of domestication that makes them better adapted to aquarium conditions and life in captivity than other seahorses. The Ocean Rider aquaculture facility in Hawaii that raises H. erectus selects them for traits such as adaptability, vigor, disease resistance, fast growth and aggressive feeding habits — traits that increase the fitness of each line over time. After numerous generations of strengthening and improvement, the current breeds of farm-raised erectus are tough as nails. Very hardy and very impressive, Mustangs and Sunbursts are great choices for a novice seahorse keeper who is still learning the ropes. They are very adaptable and have led the on-going trend toward keeping captive-bred seahorses only. Simply put, more hobbyists keep captive bred erectus than any of the other greater seahorses, and rightly so.
Mustangs are impressive animals. They are large, robust, deep-chested seahorses that can reach well in excess of 7 inches in length when fully grown. They tend to be cryptically colored, and often show earth tones such as beige, russet, charcoal black, gray, brown, ochre or olive over an underlying pattern of fine parallel lines that run down their necks and across their chest (Giwojna, Jun. 2002). White blazes, blotches, saddles, triangles, and diamonds are common markings for captive-bred erectus (Giwojna, Jun. 2002).
The lighter specimens that show their stripes boldly can be very striking, and they are apt to express a wide range of color phases as time passes. Like all seahorses, the coloration expressed by Lined seahorses can vary with their mood, environment, and social activities.
Seahorses are one fish that can become a true pet, and I’m convinced this is because they are more intelligent than most fishes. The highly domesticated Mustangs and Sunbursts 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.
The first pair of captive-bred seahorses I ever owned were Mustangs, and my ‘stangs quickly learned to recognize me as their feeder, whereupon they would often interact with me at dinnertime by turning on their greeting colors. My original pair are still going strong several years later, and I have watched them go through a number of color phases from month to month. One has settled on gray-green as its base coloration for the moment, and the other ranges between rust, burnt umber, and orange, but always with contrasting beige bands (Giwojna, Jun. 2002). Last season, the male adopted a rich ochre yellow as his everyday attire (still with the same beige bands, 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 (Giwojna, Jun. 2002). They make a handsome couple, and I find my erectus to be very attractive specimens in all their guises.
I set up my pair of these spirited steeds in a brand-new 30 gallon (tall) aquarium all their own, and that tank has been my most entertaining, trouble-free exhibit ever since. With a simple setup like theirs, I prefer to target feed my seahorses. That allows me to observe them closely on a daily basis, monitor their health, keep track of exactly how much each specimen is eating, and remove any leftovers immediately.
Led by the female — by far the bolder and most outgoing of the two — the Mustangs were soon literally eating right out of my hands. (I know, I know — sensible aquarists should always strive to keep their mitts out the aquarium as much as possible, but handfeeding is a thrill I find difficult to resist, and hey — nobody ever said I was sensible!) Of course, I’m very well aware of the risks involved and extremely diligent about taking all the necessary precautions beforehand. And besides, there are major advantages to handfeeding that more than offset any minor risks.
For one thing, the seahorses seem to enjoy the experience every bit as much as I do. They 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.
Secondly, feeding your seahorses by hand permits the aquarist to conduct a close-up, daily inspection of every specimen in his tank, and I like to use the opportunity to give ’em a good once over. These detailed examinations make it difficult not to notice any subtle changes in my seahorse’s appearance or behavior that might signal impending problems with disease or the water chemistry. That’s a big advantage, since the sooner such potential problems are detected, the easier they are to cure or prevent, and I recommend other hobbyists do
Take a moment to enjoy the show when feeding your seahorses. Make sure they’re all eating well, and use this opportunity to look them over closely for wounds, injuries, or signs of disease. Seahorses are natural-born gluttons. Ordinarily, these galloping gourmets are ALWAYS hungry, so when a seahorse is off its feed, that’s often an excellent early indicator that something’s amiss in the aquarium. Early detection of a potential problem can be the key to curing it, so it’s a good idea for the alert aquarist to observe his prize ponies while they put on the ol’ feed bag. Make sure they all show up for mess call, are acting normally, and have a well-rounded abdomen when they’re done eating. Handfeeding makes it hard to miss when one these chow hounds is off its feed, tipping off the alert aquarist to a potential problem.
Best of all, handfeeding is pure, sure-fire, 100% unadulterated fish-keeping fun! Feeding time for my seahorses is always a high point in my day. Having your pet ponies literally eating out your hand is a very rewarding experience. These daily feedings tends to forge a close, personal relationship between the aquarist and his charges, and hand-fed seahorses often become special pets.
As much as feeding time brightens up my day, I have no doubt it livens things up for my seahorses even more. They genuinely appear to enjoy interacting with me, and I believe in enriching their captive environment as much as possible. No doubt it’s the food they’re looking forward to, not the food giver, but our daily encounters are always eagerly awaited and they 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.
The only thing I don’t like about handfeeding frozen Mysis to my seahorses is the obligatory fast day. The problem with fasting is that the Mustangs don’t seem to realize it’s good for them — that it’s absolutely in their own best interests, essential for their long-term health. Whenever I make an appearance on fast day, they insist on parading back and forth in front of the glass in their greeting colors, begging for a handout. Before my butt hits the upholstery, both of them will be dancing at the feeding station, impatiently awaiting their gourmet shrimp dinner. When it doesn’t materialize, they forlornly abandon their post at the lunch counter, and come up to stare at me through the front glass. When I still don’t take the hint, the female paces back and forth at the front, looking her brightest and most conspicuous, as though trying to attract my attention, while the male reverts to his drab everyday attire and dejectedly resumes his futile vigil at the feeding station. If not for their well-rounded cross-sections, one would think they were dying of hunger, making it difficult to resist their puppy-dog antics. Just sitting there ignoring them makes me feel like a first-class heel. Sheesh — talk about your guilt trips Dang! I hate fast days.
I feel Hippocampus is intelligent enough to become bored or jaded in captivity at times, and for this reason I try to provide a little behavioral enrichment for my seahorses whenever possible. The handfeeding sessions I’ve already described are an example of this, and I also try to provide my seahorses with live foods regularly so they have an opportunity to experience the thrill of the hunt and the chase once in a while as they do in the wild.
In short, I’m sure you would enjoy a pair of Mustangs or Sunbursts as much as I enjoy mine, Diane. Sunbursts are very similar to Mustangs in most respects, including their hardiness, and will even interbreed with them freely; the main difference is that the Sunbursts tend to be even more brightly colored, as their name implies. They are predisposed to display sunset colors (shades of yellow, gold, peach and orange) when conditions are to their liking.
As their name implies, Sunbursts are pretty little ponies that are famous for their bright colors. The Sunbursts are equally hardy as the Mustangs, of course, but the Sunbursts run a little smaller on average, with the largest specimens reaching 5-6 inches in length when fully grown, whereas the Mustangs can grow to well in excess of 7-8 inches in length.
Okay, Whiskey, that’s the rundown on the Mustangs and Sunbursts. As I mentioned earlier, completing the Ocean Rider training program for new seahorse keepers will explain how to optimize your aquarium to create ideal conditions for the Sunbursts or Mustangs and how to provide them with the best possible care.
I would be happy to enroll you in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program, Whiskey, but before I do so, I need to know your full name (first and last) for my records.
Please allow me to formally introduce myself, Whiskey. My name is Pete Giwojna and I provide tech-support for Ocean Rider (seahorse.com). Part of my duties in that regard include providing a quick training course for new Ocean Rider customers and first-time buyers to get them up to speed on the aquarium care and requirements of seahorses.
The purpose of this training is twofold: (1) to assure that the hobbyist has a suitable aquarium, completely cycled and with the biofiltration fully established, ready and waiting when his seahorses arrive, and (2) to assure that the hobbyist has a good understanding of the aquarium care and requirements of Ocean Rider seahorses by the time he or she has completed the training and been certified. All of which will help to ensure that things go smoothly and that the home aquarist’s first experience with Ocean Rider seahorses is rewarding and enjoyable.
This basic training is very informal and completely free of charge, yet quite comprehensive, Whiskey. Ocean Rider provides the free training as a service to their customers and any other hobbyists who are interested in learning more about the care and keeping of seahorses. It’s a crash course on seahorse keeping consisting of 10 separate lessons covering the following subjects, and is conducted entirely via e-mail. There is no homework and there are no examinations or classes to attend or anything of that nature — just a lot of good, solid information on seahorses for you to read through and absorb as best you can, at your own speed, working from your computer in the comfort of your own home. The training course consists of a total several hundred pages of text with more than 250 full color illustrations, broken down into 10 lessons covering the following subjects:
Lesson 1: Selecting a Suitable Aquarium & Optimizing It for Seahorses.
Tank dimensions and specifications (why height is important);
Tank location and aquarium stressors;
Setting up a SHOWLR tank to create ideal conditions for seahorses;
titanium grounding probe
Test kits for monitoring water quality;
Aquascaping the seahorse tank;
artificial hitching posts
Basic aquarium setups for seahorses;
Lesson 2: Cycling a New Aquarium & Installing the Cleanup Crew.
The nitrogen cycle;
nitrification and denitrification
Step-by-step instructions for cycling a new marine aquarium;
Seahorse-safe sanitation engineers and aquarium janitors;
Starter seahorses (hardy, highly domesticated, high-health ponies)
Lesson 3: Reading Assignments (books, articles, and columns devoted to seahorses).
Lesson 4: Water Chemistry, Aquarium Maintenance, & Maintaining Optimum Water Quality.
Basic water quality parameters (acceptable range and optimum levels);
Advanced water chemistry for reef keepers;
Performing partial water changes to maintain good water quality;
Aquarium maintenance schedule;
Lesson 5: Feeding Seahorses.
Frozen Mysis serves as their staple, everyday diet;
brands of frozen Mysis
thawing and preparing frozen Mysis
enriching with Vibrance
Recommended feeding regimen;
how to tell if your seahorse is getting enough to eat
Feeding tips for seahorses;
preparing and serving the frozen Mysis
feeding new arrivals
setting up a feeding station
training the seahorses to use a feeding tray
artificial feeding stations
natural feeding stations
purchasing a ready-made feeding station
elevating the feeding station
Mysis relicta from Piscine Energetics
Broadcast feeding or scatter feeding — just say no!
Lesson 6: Compatible Tankmates for Seahorses.
Safe and unsafe companions — no guarantees;
fish to avoid
Feeding seahorses in a community tank;
Seahorse-proofing a reef tank
lighting the seahorse reef
managing water circulation for a seahorse reef
Lesson 7: Courtship & Breeding.
Courtship displays in Hippocampus (fully illustrated)
tilting and reciprocal quivering
pouch displays (pumping and ballooning)
copulatory rise and the egg transfer
Male brooding — a true pregnancy
Giving birth — dawn deliveries
Lesson 8: Raising the Young.
Determining ease of rearing
Setting up a basic nursery for benthic babies
Advanced nursery tank options for pelagic fry
the shaded nursery
kriesel and pseudokreisel nurseries
the divided nursery
in-tank nurseries (illustrated)
the greenwater "starter" nursery
hyposalinity for pelagic fry
Culling the fry (if necessary)
Feeding the fry
hatching and enriching brine shrimp (Artemia)
decapsulated brine shrimp eggs
culturing rotifers and copepods
Fry feeding schedule
Lesson 9: Disease Prevention and Control.
Captive bred vs. wild-caught seahorses
Importance of High-Health seahorses
Seahorse anatomy illustrations
Screening seahorses from your LFS
Quarantine protocol for pet-shop ponies and wild seahorses
Beta glucan boosts immunity to disease
Early detection of health problems
disease symptoms in seahorses
What to do at the first sign of a health problem
The seahorse-keepers medicine chest
first aid kit for seahorses
must-have medications to keep on hand
properties of the main medications
Hepatic lipidosis (prevalence of fatty liver disease)
Seahorse disease book
Lesson 10: Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus) & Acclimating New Arrivals.
Nature of Mustangs and Sunbursts
multi-generational approach to rearing
Hippocampus erectus species summary
scientific name and common names
meristic counts and morphometric measurements (illustrated)
climate and distribution
color and pattern
onset of sexual maturity
ease of rearing
natural habitats and natural history
preferred parameters and aquarium requirements
suggested stocking density
successful rearing protocols
feeding the fry
nursery tank designs
rearing and grow out tanks
diet and nutrition
wide ranging species with different races
Acclimating new arrivals (step-by-step instructions)
Keeping and culturing red feeder shrimp (Halocaridina rubra)
The seahorse training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail, Whiskey, and once we begin the lessons, I will be providing you with detailed information on all of the subjects above and answering any questions you may have about the material I present so that everything is perfectly clear to you. I will also be recommending seahorse-related articles for you to read and absorb online.
In short, Whiskey, the training course will teach you everything you need to know to keep your seahorses happy and healthy, and it will arm you with the information you need in order to tackle your first ponies with confidence. It will explain how to set up a new aquarium and optimize it to create ideal conditions for your seahorses.
How long this training will take to complete depends on your experience level as an aquarist to a large extent. For example, if you have never kept seahorses before and you do not already have a suitable saltwater aquarium up and running, it will take at least eight weeks for your training and preparations to be completed before you can be certified. It will take that long to learn the basics of seahorse keeping, set up a suitable aquarium, cycle the tank from scratch to establish the biological filtration, and optimize the tank to create an ideal environment for seahorses. Only then can you be certified ready to receive your first seahorses.
On the other hand, experienced marine aquarists and hobbyists that have had seahorses before and already have a suitable saltwater aquarium up and running can be certified much more quickly. I will run through the same basic information with them, but most of the information I provide will be familiar material for such hobbyists and they should be able to review it and get up to speed quickly, plus they should have well-established aquariums ready, fully matured that they can fairly quickly adapt in order to make them more ideal for seahorses. In a case like that, certification can be completed as soon as they have absorbed the material I provide and are confident they have a good grasp of the specialized requirements and aquarium care of the seahorses.
So in order to get started, Whiskey, the first thing I need to know is how experienced you are with saltwater aquariums. Have you ever kept a marine aquarium before? If so, how long have you been involved with the saltwater aquarium hobby? Do you have one or more marine aquariums up and running at this time? If so, how long have the tanks been in operation?
Do you have an aquarium up and running at this time that you intend to use as a seahorse tank? If so, can you please describe the aquarium system you will be using for your seahorse tank? How large is the aquarium (length, width, and height)? What kind of filtration equipment is installed and running on the aquarium? What type of lighting system does the tank you? How long has the proposed seahorse tank been up and running? Please list all of the current inhabitants of the aquarium you will be using as your seahorse tank, if any.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a suitable aquarium for your seahorses up and running at this time, Whiskey. I will be providing you with lots of recommendations and options in that regard so that you can pick out a tank that is just right for your needs and interests. And, of course, once we begin, I will be working with you personally every step of the way through our ongoing correspondence until your new aquarium is ready for seahorses and you are well prepared to give them the best of care, regardless of how long that may take.
All we ask in return is that you stick with the highly domesticated Ocean Rider Mustangs or Sunbursts when you are finally ready to stock your tank, Whiskey. As you know, Mustangs and Sunbursts are the perfect ponies for beginners. They are hardy, highly adaptable, easy to feed, and perfectly adapted for aquarium life — the world’s only High-Health seahorses, guaranteed to be free of specific pathogens and parasites.
If you would like to participate in the training program, Whiskey, just send me an e-mail off list that includes your full name (first and last) along with the additional information requested above, and I will send you all of the material for the complete training course as soon as I receive your reply. You can reach me at the following e-mail address at any time:
Best wishes with all your fishes, Whiskey!
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Training Program AdvisorMarch 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm #5525Whiskey2771Guest
TY i emailed you 🙂
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