Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › Hungry picky sunburst?!
- This topic has 3 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 11 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
May 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm #1966pugfishluv3Member
So I have had my pair of mustangs and a pair of sunburst for about 2 months now my mustangs eat like pigs and so does my female sunburst but my male sunburst has a sunken belly while the others are overly fat really. He does eat and water conditions sould be to his liking my mustangs have tried to mate twice now (missed both times). He is very picky about the exact pieces he wants so by the time he goes to eat it the other three have snicked it up. My LFS are terrible and the only mysis I can get is san fracisco brand I thought about trying a different brand but I would have to order it online which means $20 shipping. Is there something I could do or would it be worth buying a different kind? I have been target feeding them I generally try feeding the three seperate from him but he is just to slow and picky! 🙁May 31, 2012 at 7:00 am #5463Pete GiwojnaGuest
Dear Pug Fish:
I would not be overly concerned about the behavior of your male Sunburst at this point. As you have probably observed by now, seahorses definitely do have distinct personalities. Females generally tend to be more active and outgoing than the males. They will often swim around more and explore the aquarium to a greater extent than the males, which tend to pick out a favorite perch or home base and hang around in the same general area most of the time. Just like people, some seahorses are shy and retiring (introverted, I guess you could say) while others are real busybodies, that insist on being right in the thick of things and helping you out whenever you are working in the tank or performing aquarium maintenance. These extroverts will often perch on your hand or whatever aquarium utensil you may be using and watch intently as you finish your chores, apparently enjoying the ride and the company. Others will gladly interact with you at feeding time, but prefer to keep their distance otherwise.
The individual personalities of seahorses naturally extend to their feeding habits, Pug Fish. Some are aggressive feeders that will boldly snatch food from your fingers, while some are shy and secretive, feeding only when they think they’re not being observed. Some like to slurp up Mysis while it’s swirling through the water column, and some will only take Mysis off the bottom of the tank. Some are voracious pigs that greedily scarf up everything in sight, and some are slow, deliberate feeders that painstakingly examine every morsel of Mysis and stare it down forever before they accept or reject it. Some eat like horses and some eat like birds.
It sounds like your male Sunburst is fairly shy and reserved, as well as a deliberate feeder who likes to take his time and carefully scrutinize everything he slurps up. That’s okay – that’s normal behavior for some seahorses who are more introverted – and it doesn’t mean that he’s going to starve himself or that he’s not happy in your surroundings. It just indicates that his personality is somewhat different than the rest of your ponies, which seem to be little more active, aggressive, and outgoing.
You mentioned that your male Sunburst has a sunken abdomen compared to the other fat-and-happy ponies, Pug Fish, but that could be primarily due to his pouch. When stallions are not actively breeding, their flaccid brood pouch may look pinched in, giving them the appearance of being emaciated or underfed. That could be natural in this case, since your male Sunburst has not yet been in the mood for romance whereas the Mustangs have been actively breeding, although their inexperience has thus far prevented a successful egg transfer in pregnancy. In other words, your male Sunburst may look as though his abdomen is sunken compared to the Mustang male who has been busily trying to get pregnant, but that could be largely because of the Sunburst’s flaccid brood pouch.
Target feeding usually works well with finicky eaters, Pug Fish, but if it’s been unsuccessful for you thus far, then you might want to consider setting up a feeding station for your seahorses. That way, you can deposit all of the frozen Mysis in the feeding station, and your male Sunburst can take all the time he wants to slurp it up from the feeding dish after the others have had their fill and moved on. That is a strategy that sometimes works well with picky eaters, and some hobbyists will even set up two separate feeding stations at opposite ends of the aquarium. That way, if the aggressive seahorses are dominating one of the feeders, the finicky eater can have the other feeding dish all to himself and take all the time he wants to examine and slurp up the choices pieces of frozen Mysis. Let me know if you would like to try setting up a feeding station, Pug Fish, and I can provide you with lots of suggestions and information you may find helpful in that regard.
The other thing that could improve your results with the finicky eater is to obtain the same sort of frozen Mysis that the Mustangs and Sunbursts are accustomed to eating at the Ocean Rider aquaculture facility. All Ocean Riders are trained to eat frozen Mysis relicta from glacial lakes in Canada at an early age, and there are two good brands of frozen Mysis that include nothing but Mysis relicta – Piscine Energetics and Ocean Nutrition. I would call around to all of the pet shops and local fish stores in your area and ask if any of them carry either Ocean Nutrition frozen Mysis or Piscine Energetics frozen Mysis relicta, Pug Fish.
Both Piscine Energetics Frozen Freshwater Mysis Relicta and Ocean Nutrition Frozen Mysis are composed of freshwater Mysis with an exceptional nutritional profile that have been harvested from pristine glacial lakes in Canada (Mysis relicta). The Ocean Nutrition Mysis relicta is well-fortified with vitamins and amino acids and needs no further enrichment; it can be thawed and used as is, right out of the package, which is very convenient and simplifies feeding your seahorses. The PE Energetics is also naturally rich in Omega-3’s and other fatty acids, and is fortified naturally with phytoplankton.
The brands that use the freshwater Mysis relicta (Piscine Energetics and Ocean Nutrition) have a couple of built-in advantages over other brands of Mysis of marine origin. Because the Mysis relicta are from glacial freshwater lakes, they cannot transfer any sort of parasites or disease organisms to seahorses or other marine fish. Secondly, because they originate in freshwater, they are sodium free, which means that saltwater fish do not need to spend as much energy on osmoregulation and eliminating excess salt after eating their fill of the freshwater Mysis.
Here is some additional information about the Ocean Nutrition and the Piscine Energetics brands of frozen Mysis relicta, Pug Fish:
Ocean Nutrition Frozen Mysis Shrimp
Freshwater Mysis relicta from Canada packed in convenient pre-measured cubes. Specially sealed for freshness, premium quality nutritionally fortified mysis shrimp that have been enriched with vitamins and amino acids. Great way to increase variety to the diet of fresh and saltwater fishes.
Ingredients: Mysis shrimp (Mysis relicta), water, vitamins (ascorbic acid, beta carotene, biotin, hydroxocobalamin (source of Vitamin B12), niacin, riboflavin, thiamine HCL), amino acids (dl-methionine, l-lysine, taurine), and trace elements (calcium chloride, potassium iodide, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, magnesium carbonate, and zinc sulfate).
Crude Protein 4.7% min
Crude Fat 0.3% min
Crude Fiber 0.8% max
Moisture 97.0% max
(Protein as a percentage of dry matter 61.5%)
Piscine Energetics Frozen Freshwater Mysis
Freshwater Mysis relicta from Canada.
Encourage exceptional appetite and growth – even in the most finicky eaters! Piscine Energetics (PE) Mysis relicta boast naturally higher fatty acid profiles and Omega-3’s than enriched brine shrimp. PE Mysis are harvested live from pristine glacial lakes in Canada, flash frozen in premium condition with no binding agents or fillers. PE Mysis induce an energetic feeding response in aquarium fish.
Ingredients: 100% Mysis relicta
Guaranteed Analysis (from dry weight)
Crude Protein 69.5% min.
Crude Fat 8.35% min.
Crude Fiber 2.75% max.
Ash 5.5% max.
If clouding is a concern, rinse PE Mysis under cold running water or thaw in water and then pour off water prior to feeding. Please remember to not to over feed. Only feed as much shrimp as your fish will eat in 2 or 3 minutes. Remove any uneaten food.
PE Mysis Are:
The Curator’s Choice: Used by over 90% of public aquariums in North America.
Freshwater Mysis (Mysis relicta): This eliminates the possibility of parasite or disease transfer to marine fish.
Sodium Free: As fish don’t need to eliminate excess salt, it’s easier on their systems. Most other brands offer a coastal or marine cousin of Mysis relicta.
Alive on harvest and immediately flash frozen in premium condition: That’s why PE MYSIS is clean and intact.
High in Fatty Acid Profiles (EPA and DHA) related to the food chain found in deep cold waters, where PE MYSIS is harvested.
High in Omega-3’s: Greater values of Omega-3 can be found in PE MYSIS than krill and enriched brine shrimp.
Free of Binding Agent: No fillers or water added to packaging.
Nutritionally Complete: PE MYSIS does not require the addition of vitamin or color enhancement products.
What is Mysis relicta?
Mysis are not a true shrimp though they do closely resemble and are, in fact a primitive relative of the shrimp found in the oceans. There are 58 genuses of mysis which make up the Mysidae family.
PE MYSIS is 100% Mysis relicta which is one of the two types of freshwater Mysidae. All other species of Mysis are either saltwater or estuarine (i.e., brackish water) species.
PE MYSIS are part of the zooplankton, the small invertebrate animals found in lakes that feed on microscopic algae (phytoplankton) as well as other zooplankton. In turn these organisms form the basis of the food supply for many fish.
There are two differences between PE MYSIS and the other zooplankton typically found in lakes.
1.) PE MYSIS have a longer lifespan and usually live upwards of two years. The typical zooplankton, composed of animals known as copepods, cladocerans, and rotifers, live anywhere from only several days to several months. PE MYSIS is a nutritionally complete food. PE MYSIS is a natural product enriched by the food chain of the lakes from which it is harvested. This is because of Mysis relicta’s highly diversified eating habits. The extremely high levels of EPA and DHA (fatty acids) is related to the food chain found in deep cold waters, such as those where Mysis is harvested. These fatty acids not only provide your fish with essential nutrition, but also stimulate an energetic feeding response.
2.) PE MYSIS range in size from newly released young of about one-eight inch to adults of up to 3/4 inch. The other zooplankton are normally much smaller ranging from one one-hundredth to one tenth of an inch in total length. It is the size of the Mysis that makes them of interest as a fish food. Fish that consistently feed on Mysis grow much faster than those feeding strictly on the other smaller zooplankton. Mysis are extremely high in nutritional value and are salt free.
Okay, that’s the rundown on Ocean Nutrition and Piscine Energetics frozen Mysis relicta, Pug Fish. If you can call around and obtain either of those brands of frozen Mysis, even your finicky male Sunburst may be inclined to eat it more aggressively.
Please keep me informed on your Sunburst stallion’s progress. If he is losing weight and having trouble competing with the more aggressive eaters, there are a few other things we can do to help fatten him up a bit and resolve this problem.
Best wishes with all your fishes!
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Training Program AdvisorJuly 4, 2012 at 3:34 am #5474pugfishluv3Guest
Just a update I bought ocean nutrition and pe mysis he was gaining weight but I live in virginia and with the heat and power outage he died after 3 days along with my female mustang that was producing eggs :S I tried my best with ice to cool them a generator running all there filtration, pumps, and light. More storms are coming in hope my power stays on.July 5, 2012 at 4:20 am #5477Pete GiwojnaGuest
Dear Pug Fish:
What a terrible shame! All my condolences on the loss of your ponies. Summertime heat waves and power outages happen all too often and when they happen to coincide it’s always bad news for seahorses. The loss of power shuts off your filters and airstones and protein skimmers no longer generate a bubble stream, and the resulting lack of circulation and surface agitation rapidly causes a drop in dissolved oxygen levels and a rise in carbon dioxide levels due to the respiration of the seahorses and their tankmates. It sounds like you were as well prepared as possible to deal with such a crisis, but there is only so much you can do when circumstances beyond your control conspire against you.
At the same time, the loss of air conditioning and elevated water temperatures that result increase the metabolism of your seahorses, and therefore their consumption of oxygen, at the very time that the rise in temperature is further reducing the amount of dissolved oxygen the water can hold. This creates a doubly dangerous situation for seahorses and results in rapid, labored breathing, hypoxia, and eventually death by asphyxia or suffocation.
Like other seahorses, Mustangs and Sunbursts will begin to experience heat stress and associated health problems whenever the water temperature rises to 80°F or above for any length of time, and that’s almost impossible to avoid when a prolonged power outage takes place during a heat wave with temperatures reaching 100°F or more for days on end. It sounds like you made a valiant effort to cool the tank using the available ice, Pug Fish, but I know that the supply of ice runs out very quickly during summertime power failures as well, so unfortunately there was not much more that you can do under the circumstances.
But the primary problem for the aquarist when there is a power failure is a massive die off or tank crash due to a drop in the dissolved oxygen levels and a corresponding rise in carbon dioxide. How quickly this becomes problematic depends on the size of the aquarium and the number of fish and invertebrates it houses. The smaller the tank and the greater the number of specimens it contains, the quicker they will deplete the available oxygen and begin to die off, so with small heavily stocked tanks it’s very important to restore power as soon as possible. A larger tank with just a few specimens will have a larger margin of error before the dissolved oxygen is exhausted. But whenever there is a power outage, you should strive to provide the tank with oxygen one way or another as quickly as possible to save your biofilter and prevent losses due to asphyxiation.
Seahorses are more vulnerable to low O2/high CO2 levels than most fishes because of their primitive gills. Unlike most teleost (bony) fishes, which have their gills arranged in sheaves like the pages of a book, seahorses have rudimentary gill arches with small powder-puff type gill filaments. Seahorses are said to have "tufted" gills because they appear to be hemispherical clumps of tissue on stems. Their unique, lobed gill filaments (lophobranchs) are arranged in grape-like clusters and have fewer lamellae than other teleost fishes. Because of the difference in the structure and efficiency of their gills, seahorses are thus especially vulnerable to low oxygen levels and asphyxia.
In a pinch, you can make an effort to manually aerate and oxygenate the tank by scooping pitchers of water and pouring them back into the aquarium from a height of 6 inches or more, but you are really fighting a losing battle that way and it will positively wear you out if the power is out for any length of time.
Aside from such stopgap measures, better solutions are available if, like Pug Fish, you prepare in advance for the next brownout or prolonged power outage, as discussed below.
To begin with the obvious, if you live in an area that’s prone to power outages, investing in a backup generator is something you may want to consider. But there are also a number of other less costly measures that can help the aquarist and his fishes make it through a power outage without suffering devastating losses. For example, here are some excellent tips from Dan at the org regarding how hobbyists can cope with power outages:
"Some possible options besides a generator are:
Battery operated pumps. Some of the bait pumps that use 2 D cells can
run for up to 4 to 5 days and can drive 2 to 3 airstones. Besides
aerating the tank, it also helps to aerate the biological filter if
Computer Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). They can be real handy. If placed inline with your equipment it can seemlessly keep stuff running for short durations or
drive air pumps for quite a while.
Deep cycle marine batteries with an inverter. During the hurricanes,
we pulled the batteries and the inverter off the boat and ran quite a
bit of equipment off these for 24 hours.
For short term unexpected outages, battery operated pumps and/or
computer UPS are probably the most economical answer. For long term
outages, such as a hurricane, a generator will pay for itself the first
time it is used.
Another consideration for long term outages, is to have plenty of water
available. Often long term outages lead to water availability issues."
The decrease in dissolved oxygen levels is not the only threat to your aquarium when there is a power failure. You must also be aware of filters and equipment that doesn’t automatically restart once the power comes back on, and if you have a sump or refugium connected to the main tank, water siphoning our the main tank can also be a huge headache, as Al explained in this previous post:
I have so many power outtages here and often of such long duration that I
feel like I`m living in a third world country so I`m way too familiar with the quandary, "WHERE
DID ALL THIS WATER C0ME FR0M?" in the aftermath of a power failure.
If you use a tank/refugium combination that are on different levels, water
siphoning down out of your main tank through air hoses or the water pump return
hose will be a problem. They do sell air check valves that prevent this from
happening with air hoses, or you can make a loop in the air line that remains
positioned AB0VE the main tank`s water line which will prevent a gravity fed
back-flow through the airline.
Water siphoning back into the refugium from the main tank through the water
pump or other inlet/outlets can be avoided by:
a) placing the return hose outlet to the main tank AB0VE the water line.
This will cause a break in the water column should the pump fail and it also
creates greater surface turbulence during normal operation
b) place the pump return hose near the surface of your main tank and make
sure your refugium/wet-dry filter can contain the excess water that could siphon
off the main tank before the level drops sufficiently to break the water
c) if your tank is bored out and fitted with bulkheads anywhere lower than
the top few inches of the tank, get some extension hose or PVC piping to make a
loop for the inlet that is above the water line in the main tank and a loop
that is just below the water line for the overflow/outlet. These loops will
limit the water lost out of the main tank in the event of a power failure.
Another annoying problem is caused by hang on filters and other magnetic
impeller driven devices that won`t restart on their own <as well as many canopy
lights> after a power failure. Some brands of hang ons need to be *primed*
before they will start moving water again, others need their impellers coaxed a
little. Turn your tank power off for about 20 minutes and test where you`re
likely to have problems.
In short, folks, if you have a power failure and you’re lucky enough to have a generator, get it fired up as soon as possible to be on the safe side, and then doublecheck all your aquarium equipment to make sure that everything has started up again and is operational.
If you’re not so fortunate as to have a backup generator, head out to your local fish stores or sporting goods stores and get some battery operated air pumps and load up on plenty of Duracells ASAP. Have someone manually aerate your tank(s) in the meantime to maintain the dissolved oxygen levels until you can get back and get the battery-powered air pumps operating.
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support
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