- This topic has 8 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 13 years, 11 months ago by SEAGAZER.
- August 5, 2006 at 5:19 am #882SEAGAZERMember
Good day all,
I\’ve set up a new 30 gallon cube tank, and have set up with 20lbs live sand, some (aprox 15lbs) live rock, and alot of artificial color this time. I\’m going to be moving my babies into it when they reach a couple of months old. I\’m starting to get worried about all the babies. (too many) My new nursery tank has really proven to be more succesful than I\’d ever imagined. I\’m very pleased with my success so farr, but I\’m having a problem with my starter fish in the pony tank I\’m setting up. I purchased 4 damsels to get my bio system going. I\’ve only had them in for two days now, and all four of them have ich. I\’m not sure how to handle it. Should I just let the disease run it\’s course? If the fish die should I replace them, or should I treat the ones I have. I don\’t want to polute my tank with copper treatments, but I don\’t want to take a chance of any cysts being left behind when I introduce my ponies either. This tank will be relying mostly on a Fluval canister filter system. The rock/sand will compliment the canister. I want to try and bring out the color in my ponies this time instead of just having browns, tans, and greys.
I have 4 babies left from my first brood. All female I beleive. I was really surprised when two of them started growing longer cirri than they\’re parents. Two are normal, but the other two are really beautiful. They look like they are wearing little crowns on they\’re coronets, and they look like they have long eye lashes for eye spines. Is this unusual for erectus? They sure are aggresive little eaters. I\’ve grown to love them like my poodle. Somtimes I just want to take them out of the tank and give them a great big hug/kiss. I\’m attached to my adults, but the babies I\’ve raised just steel a little bit more of my heart every time I look at them. I can\’t seem to follow a movie anymore because I can\’t keep my eyes on the TV. I would recomend new hobbiest not to put they\’re tank in the living room if your a movie buff. 🙂 Even PoodleBob sits on the bed where the nursery tank is and just watches the babies sometimes. No one warned me how addictive this hobby is. Can\’t really call it a hobby anymore. It\’s more like a lifestyle. Wish I had the money to build on a new room! I\’m kind of worried about space right now. I have aprox 20 more fry coming up, and they are all doing great. I\’m going to have to take my breeding male out of the reef I think, and put him in the 30 gallon once I get it cycling. I\’m hoping he\’s not pregnant again. I keep telling myself that I\’m not going to take on anymore new babies, but he insists of having them right in front of me, and I can\’t just let the reef inhabitants have them. That would be like feeding puppies to a snake.
Anyway, didn\’t mean to be so long winded. Just love my new lifestyle. Keeps me busy, but brings alot of happiness.
Post edited by: seagazer, at: 2006/08/05 01:21August 5, 2006 at 11:45 pm #2719Pete GiwojnaGuest
Wow, that’s a nice problem to have — needing more space because you’re getting overrun with homegrown seahorses, I mean! Congratulations on your outstanding rearing success, sir!
Regarding the problem with the damselfish that you are using to cycle your new 30-gallon tank and which have developed saltwater ich (Cryptocaryon irritans), I would not just let the disease run its course. The problem with that approach is that the life cycle of this protozoan parasite includes a very tough encysted stage (i.e., the tomonts) that can persist for several weeks on the bottom of the tank before they rupture and release the infectious stage of the parasites (tomites) which then seek out new fish to reinfest. So if you simply allow this outbreak of Cryptocaryon to run its course, there’s a very great risk that your juvenile seahorses will become infested when you subsequently introduce them to the aquarium. Allow me to explain a little more about Cryptocaryonosis so you can understand why it’s important to treat the tank and eradicate these parasites.
Cryptocaryon is commonly known as saltwater ich or white spot disease. It is caused by a protozoan parasite that burrows into the skin and gills of its host and is one of the most common diseases of marine fishes. Most hobbyists who keep saltwater fish are all too familiar with Cryptocaryon. In the confines of the aquarium, massive reinfestation with these parasites occurs, making Cryptocaryon deadly if left untreated.
In seahorses, it often occurs as a masked infection. The bony exoskeleton and protective slime coat of Hippocampus gives the seahorse limited immunity from the burrowing trophonts, so the telltale white spots may never show up (or may be visible only on the unarmored fins). But the parasites can still freely invade the seahorse’s gills, with deadly results.
Here’s an excerpt on Cryptocaryon from my new book (Complete Guide to the Greater Seahorses in the Aquarium, TFH Publications, unpublished) that discusses various treatment options:
Cryptocaryon irritans (Saltwater Ich, a.k.a. White Spot Disease)
Cryptocaryon is another protozoal parasite that invades the gills and burrows into the skin of marine fishes, including seahorses. The life cycle and modus operandi of Cryptocaryon are very similar to that of Amyloodinium ocellatum, so it should not be surprising that it also produces strikingly similar symptoms. Infected fish show labored breathing, excess mucus, and scratch themselves against objects. Along with the characteristic pinhead-sized white spots and excess mucus production, affected fish sometimes show cloudy eyes and secondary infections (Basleer, 2000). The latter can result in skin rot and fin rot accompanied by red or pale patches on the body of the fish (Basleer, 2000).
The white spots seen on infected fish are the adult stage of the parasite, known as trophonts (Basleer, 2000). When they mature, they fall off the fish and encyst themselves. The encapsulated parasites are known as tomonts (Basleer, 2000). Well protected within these cysts, the tomont stage cannot be killed by any medications. The encapsulated tomonts divide into hundreds of daughter cells, which develop into small, ciliated, free-swimming parasites, called tomites (Basleer, 2000). When the cysts rupture, the motile tomites swarm out to seek a new host. In the aquarium, they reinfect the same fishes, and bore into the mucosa of the skin, gills, and fins of their hapless hosts. Once embedded in the tissue, they mature into typical trophonts, appearing as pinhead-sized white spots on most fish, and start the cycle of infection all over again (Basleer, 2000). It is these heavy infestations that can overwhelm even healthy fish.
The free-swimming stage of their life cycle is Cryptocaryon’s one great weakness. The motile tomites are vulnerable and exposed. Ozone or UV can destroy them, they can be killed by all the usual chemotherapeutic agents, and they explode (lyse) when exposed to freshwater and low salinity. It is therefore the tomites that the aquarist must target when treating Cryptocaryon.
At 100x magnification, Cryptocaryon parasites can easily be identified in skin and fin smears. They appear as large, dark, bell-shaped or conical organisms measuring about 350-400 micrometers in diameter (Basleer, 2000).
Outbreaks usually coincide with the introduction of new specimens or environmental insults such as rapid temperature fluctuations (heat stress or chilling), ammonia or nitrite spikes, or a sharp drop in pH (Basleer, 2000). The first step toward treating Cryptocaryon is therefore to restore water quality. Check your aquarium parameters and administer water changes as needed.
The traditional treatment is similar to that for Amyloodinium. Combination drugs such as formaldehyde/copper sulfate or formaldehyde/malachite green are often more effective than copper alone (Basleer, 2000). Medication must be maintained at therapeutic levels for at least 8-10 days and the best results are obtained when daily freshwater dips are a part of the treatment regimen (Basleer, 2000). The entire tank should be treated and methylene blue can be added to the water to aid the breathing of the fish (Basleer, 2000). Be aware that these medications will impair your biofilter and kill your invertebrates!
Cryptocaryon is normally easily distinguished from Amyloodinium by the fact that the embedded parasites produce pinhead sized white spots that are much larger that the tiny dust specks that indicate Marine Velvet. However, the telltale white spots are again often entirely absent when seahorses are the hosts, leaving the seahorse keeper in a quandary when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.
In your case, Seagazer, since you do not want to treat your tank with the usual copper-based medications, there are two other options for eradicating Cryptocaryon you can consider: (1) a two-week regimen of Parinox or (2) administering hyposalinity or Osmotic Shock Therapy (OST) at a specific gravity of 1.010 for a period of six weeks.
Since the hyposalinity could prolong the cycling process on a new aquarium, treating the 30-gallon aquarium with Parinox as described below may be a better choice:
USE: For Ich, hexamita, costia, ichthyophthirius, ectoparasites, monogenia, hirudinea, parasitic copepods, argulus, lernaea, anchor worms, fish lice, leeches. Also a protozoacide. Anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, very wide spectrum.
DOSAGE: Use 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gallons. Treat once a week for 2 weeks. If water changes are done, add back the percentage of medication according to how much water was changed.
You can obtain Parinox online from National Fish Pharmaceuticals at the following URL:
Click here: Fish Medications
As you can see, the medication is effective against a broad range of ectoparasites and protozoan parasites, including saltwater ich (Cryptocaryon irritans). Although Parinox is safe for seahorses and damselfish, it can be hard on crustaceans and certain invertebrates. I don’t believe it will impair your biofiltration at all, so you can use it to treat the main tank and eradicate any parasites it may be harboring providing your tank does not include a lot of sensitive invertebrates, Seagazer. Ideally, it’s best to treat the main tank when there’s an outbreak of parasites to prevent reinfestation, so I would talk to fishyfarmacy over the phone and explain exactly what you have in your tank so they can determine whether or not Parinox would affect any of the other specimens. Tell them you are preparing a new aquarium and the damselfish you’re using to cycle it have developed saltwater ich and you want to use Parinox to eliminate the parasites, and then follow their recommendations. If they indicate that the Parinox would be hard on any of the sessile organisms growing on your live rock, then you could treat the tank with hyposalinity instead.
Let me know if you decide to use hyposalinity to curb this outbreak of Cryptocaryon, Seagazer, and I will provide you with complete instructions for administering osmotic shock therapy. There are number of precautions and provisos you must observe in order to use hyposalinity safely and effectively.
If you can catch the damselfish relatively easy, it would also be a good idea to administer a freshwater dip to them in order to provide them with immediate relief from any embedded trophonts they may be carrying.
Freshwater dips and baths are a form of osmotic shock therapy. The abrupt change in salinity when going from normal strength saltwater to freshwater causes water to move into the bodies of the parasites via osmosis until they rupture (lyse) or burst. Seahorses normally tolerate an 8-10 minute dip in freshwater very well, providing the dipping water has been pre-adjusted to the same temperature and pH as the aquarium, and a daily freshwater dip will provide the affected fish with immediate relief and hasten their recovery from this disease.
Freshwater Dip Instructions
A freshwater water dip is simply immersing your seahorse in pure, detoxified freshwater that’s been preadjusted to the same temp and pH as the water the seahorse is accustomed to, for a period of at least 10 minutes (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). It doesn’t harm them — seahorses typically tolerate freshwater dips exceptionally well and a 10-minute dip should be perfectly safe. Freshwater dips are effective because marine fish tolerate the immersion in freshwater far better than the external parasites they play host to; the change in osmotic pressure kills or incapacitates such microorganisms within 7-8 minutes (Giwojna, Dec. 2003). A minimum dip, if the fish seems to be doing fine, is therefore 8 minutes. Include some sort of hitching post in the dipping container and shoot for the full 10 minutes with your seahorses (Giwojna, Dec. 2003).
If you will be using tap water for the freshwater dip, be sure to dechlorinate it beforehand. This can be accomplished usually one of the commercial dechlorinators, which typically include sodium thiosulfate and perhaps a chloramine remover as well, or by aerating the tap water for at least 24 hours to dissipate the chlorine (Giwojna, Dec. 2003).
If you dechlorinate the dip water with a sodium thiosulfate product, be sure to use an airstone to aerate it for at least one hour before administering the dip. This is because the sodium thiosulfate depletes the water of oxygen and the dip water must therefore be oxygenated before its suitable for your seahorse(s).
Observe the horse closely during the dip. You may see some immediate signs of distress or shock. Sometimes the horse will immediately lie on its side on the bottom. That’s a fairly common reaction — normal and to be expected, rather than a cause for concern, so don’t be alarmed if this happens. Just nudge or tap the seahorse gently gently with your finger if it lies down on its side. Normally, the seahorse will respond to the slight nudge by righting itself again and calm down for the duration of the dip. However, if it does not respond, stop the treatment.
Most seahorses tolerate the treatment well and experienced no problems, but if you see continued signs of distress — twitching, thrashing around etc. — stop the treatment.
There is an excellent new book about diseases in seahorses that you would find very informative, Seagazer. 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 Seahorse.org | CafePress
It’s wonderful that two of your adolescent seahorses from your first brood have developed elaborate dermal cirri — those are attractive adornments that always dress up a pony!
As you know, Seagazer, dermal cirri are fleshy tabs or branching outgrowths of the skin that serve to break up the seahorse’s outline and allow it blend into its weedy habitat all the better, a sort of natural camouflage. Unlike spines, cirri are not permanent structures in most cases. Up to a certain age at least, seahorses appear to be capable of growing or shedding these fleshy filaments as the occasion demands in order to better suit their surroundings. For example, specimens that are rafting in clumps of Sargassum are apt to have well-developed cirri, giving them an appropriately shaggy appearance, while a seahorse inhabiting the mudflats of an estuary will be smooth skinned. Cirri grow most commonly on the head and neck region and are more common in juveniles than adults.
The presence of cirri is a highly variable trait and some species never have them. They are very rare or nonexistent in many seahorses, while in other species they are relatively common. For example, Hippocampus comes and H. reidi are smooth-bodied seahorses that never seem to develop cirri (Giwojna, Oct. 2003). Consider them cue balls — the Kojaks of seahorses. On the other hand, Hippocampus guttulatus are famous for their cirri and many Pot-Bellies (H. abdominalis/H. bleekeri) also sport fancy headdresses (Giwojna, Oct. 2003).
But even in seahorses where cirri are not uncommon, such as Hippocampus zosterae and H. erectus, the occurrence of cirri varies greatly from individual to individual (Giwojna, Oct. 2003). Most dwarf seahorses have no cirri, but some of them are regular little fuzz balls. That’s the case with Hippocampus erectus as well. Most Mustangs and Sunbursts (H. erectus) lack these appendages altogether, some have just a few, and the individuals with really extravagant cirri are relatively rare (Giwojna, Oct. 2003).
It’s a shame seahorses with well-developed cirri aren’t more commonplace because they can be quite breathtaking. A heavy growth of cirri can transform an ordinary specimen into a real show horse, making them appear as if they were adorned with a fancy mane or wearing an Indian war bonnet. A seahorse with extravagant, well-developed cirri can indeed be very exotic looking, but sometimes it has the opposite effect, lending them a comical appearance instead (Giwojna, Oct. 2003). I’ve seen shaggy specimens that looked like they were having a bad hair day, sporting a Mohawk or spike hairdo (Giwojna, Oct. 2003). Voila — a punk-rock pony, going through its rebellious teenage phase! Either way, they dress up the seahorses and give them a little extra pizzazz, and that’s what makes seahorse keeping so much fun!
I agree with you entirely, Seagazer, that this particular hobby can sometimes become addictive. I know many seahorse keepers that have developed flat-nose syndrome from keeping their faces pressed up against their seahorse tanks so they don’t miss any of the action. Hobbyists who can’t quite tear themselves away from their tanks sometimes refer to their habit of seahorse-gazing as "watching the seahorse channel" because it’s by far their favorite show.
Best wishes with your prolific ponies and all their offspring, Seagazer! Here’s hoping you have no trouble ridding your tank of Cryptocaryonosis and cycling it for your juvenile seahorses.
Pete GiwojnaAugust 6, 2006 at 3:49 am #2720SEAGAZERGuest
I have the medicine coming 2nd day, and just ordered the book. Who’s butt do I have to kick to get your book in print. Have you considered marketing yours on cd until it goes into print. I’d buy it!
I’m going to do a fresh water dip first thing in the morning since I just noticed the outbreak yesterday. My water perimeters are all in check. I think it must have been the shock of introducing them to a new tank.
Your the best!;)August 6, 2006 at 6:36 pm #2721Pete GiwojnaGuest
You’re very welcome, sir!
That sounds like a good plan — freshwater dips should provide your damsel fish with some relief until the Parinox arrives. When the medication comes and you treat your 30 gallon tank, elevate the temperature of the water to 80°F or above. That will speed up the lifecycle of the Cryptocaryon irritans parasites and assure that they all reach the vulnerable free-swimming tomite stage and are destroyed during the two-week treatment period. Be sure to follow the instructions just as fishyfarmacy spelled them out for you.
Yes, sir, new arrivals that are getting used to a new environment are prone to Cryptocaryonosis, especially when it’s a new setup and there are ammonia/nitrite spikes while the tank cycles. In fact, that such a common problem that nowadays I prefer to use the fishless cycling method what I’m establishing the biofiltration in the new aquarium, as discussed below in the following excerpt from a new book (Complete Guide to the Greater Seahorses in the Aquarium, TFH Publications, unpublished):
<Open quote> There are a number of different ways to seed the tank with bacteria and feed it with ammonia so cycling can proceed. Two popular methods are the fishless cycle, which I recommend, and the use of hardy, inexpensive (i.e., expendable) fish to produce ammonia and cycle the aquarium. Often used for this method are marine damselfish or mollies, which can easily be converted to saltwater. Both are very hardy and generally survive the cycling process, but I find this method to be needlessly hard on the fish and exposing them to the toxic ammonia and nitrite produced during cycling certainly causes them stress. Damselfish are far too aggressive and territorial to leave in the aquarium afterwards as tankmates for seahorses. Mollies are a possibility, but they really look out of place in a saltwater setup.
So all things considered, I suggest you try cycling your tank without fish. It’s really very easy. To use the fishless cycle, you need to add something else that will increase the ammonia level so the nitrifying bacteria can build up. For instance, you can use a piece of cocktail shrimp (regular uncooked eating shrimp from the grocery store) and leave this in the tank to decay during the whole cycle. The decaying shrimp produces plenty of ammonia to kick-start the cycling process. Or you can feed the bacteria directly with ammonia that you add to the tank drop by drop yourself.
I prefer the latter method because it has a couple of worthwhile advantages. First of all, the amount of ammonia you add daily is far greater than that the amount of ammonia hardy damsels or mollies can produce nature’s way as waste products. The excess ammonia means the bacterial colonies can grow faster and produce much larger populations of Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter bacteria by the time the cycling process is complete (Cow, Jan. 1999). The result is that your tank cycles faster, typically in 10-21 days as opposed to 4-6 weeks for more conventional cycling methods, and the tank can ordinarily be stocked at capacity once the cycle is completed (Cow, Jan. 1999).
To cycle your tank this way, simply add ammonia drop by drop, keeping track of how many drops you’ve added, until it produces a reading of ~5 ppm on your test kit (Cow, Jan. 1999). Then continue to add exactly that many drops of ammonia each day thereafter until you begin to see detectable levels of nitrite. Then once nitrite readings begin to appear on your test kits, cut back the amount of ammonia you add to 1/2 the original amount, and continue to add a half dose of ammonia each day until the cycle has finished and you stock the aquarium (Cow, Jan. 1999).
It is important to use your test kits every day or two when cycling your tank to monitor the progress of the process. One benefit of fishless cycling method is that it produces an immediate ammonia spike, which accelerates the cycling process accordingly (Cow, Jan. 1999). So at first you will see a rapid rise in ammonia levels with no detectable nitrite or nitrate. Then, as Nitrosomonas bacteria begin converting ammonia to nitrite, the ammonia levels will fall and nitrite readings will steadily rise. Nitrite levels will peak as the ammonia drops to zero. Next, Nitrobacter will begin converting the nitrite to nitrate, and your nitrite readings will fall as the level of nitrate rises. Finally, after the nitrites also read zero, you are ready to stock your tank. At this point, your ammonia and nitrite levels should both be zero, nitrates will be building up, and algae will usually begin to grow. This will tell you that your biofilter is active and functioning properly, and that you can now safely begin stocking the tank (Fenner, 2003b). It generally takes anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks to cycle a tank this way from scratch using the fishless cycling technique (Cow, 1999).
When cycling your tank with this method, it is advisable to perform large water changes (70%-100%) before adding any specimens to the tank in order to lower the elevated nitrate levels it produces and correct the pH (Cow, 1999). Otherwise, it can be difficult to bring the nitrate down to manageable levels again after the tank is stocked. Ammonia is a powerful base, so adding ammonia changes the pH of the water substantially, making it more alkaline (Warland, 2003). A large water change will reduce nitrite levels and lower the pH back to normal after the tank has cycled.
When changing the water, avoid using dechlorinators that also sequester ammonia, the so-called ammonia quellers, since we are relying on high ammonia levels to feed the bacteria colonies. When performing water changes during a fishless cycle, stick with simple chlorine neutralizers that don’t affect ammonia levels (Cow, 1999).
Not just any ammonia will do when cycling the tank this way. The ammonia used for this purpose should be free of surfactants, perfumes, and colorants (Cow, 1999). ACS grade ammonium hydroxide is best but may be hard to find. Pure or clear ammonia will do nicely and the best places to get it usually hardware stores or discount grocery stores. Many times it’s the off-brands or little-known, no-frills generic brands that work best (Cow, Jan. 1999).
When you find a likely candidate, be sure to check the ingredients on the bottle of ammonia. The good stuff will simply say Clear Ammonia (or Pure Ammonia or 100% Ammonia, or Pure Ammonium Hydroxide), and list no additives (surfactants, coloring agents, perfumes, etc.; Cow, 1999). If the bottle does not list the ingredients or lists added ingredients like those specified above, pass it by and take your search elsewhere. When in doubt, administer the shake test. Shake the bottle vigorously — ammonia that contains surfactants will foam up, but the good stuff suitable for fishless cycling will not (Cow, Jan. 1999).
When cycling the tank this way, it’s important to remember that the high levels of ammonia involved are toxic to all fish and invertebrates, so you cannot use ammonia to establish the biofilter if there are any inhabitants present in the aquarium (Warland, 2003). This includes live rock. The ammonia will kill off bristleworms, crabs and other crustaceans, tubeworms, snails and mollusks, and much of the desirable life on the rocks will be lost during the cycling process. If you want use ammonia to cycle an aquarium that will have live rock, finish cycling the tank first and only then add the live rock. <End quote>
Anyway, that’s just something to keep in mind the next time your cycling a new aquarium, Seagazer. Best of luck with your new 30-gallon setup!
Keep up the great work rearing your juveniles and fry!
Pete GiwojnaAugust 17, 2006 at 8:45 pm #2766SEAGAZERGuest
I wanted to ask: I’ve taken the damsels out of my future juvenile tank. They are in a hospital tank for now until I take them back to lfs. My juvenile tank has been treated now for 1 week, and 2 days. I was wondering if I get into a bad spot with the small 9 gallon nursery it would hurt to move a few of the larger ones to the juvenile tank. The juvenile tank was just retreated with Parinox two days ago. (in the 2nd week now) My last water test was nitrites 10, nitrates 0, and amonia 25. I’ve just upgraded the canister filter with "Aqua Chargers, Phosphate pads, and Poly filter." It already had Phosban in it for the last month. I also add Garlic guard to proportion of tank.
I’ll also only be feeding live brine gutt loaded with Selcon, and vibrance II.
Also, how long should I gutt load, and should I aereat the water or not?
I haven’t been.
Thanks again/Best RgdsAugust 18, 2006 at 3:35 pm #2770Pete GiwojnaGuest
Seahorses tolerate garlic and garlic-based medications very well, so the Garlic Guard in the juvenile tank should be no problem. Those were excellent upgrades to your canister filter and they should certainly help as well.
However, I wouldn’t transfer any of your youngsters from the nursery tank into the new 30-gallon nano cube until it has finished cycling, even with the benefit of those upgrades. The ammonia and nitrite levels you reported would be stressful to the fry and juveniles, and the additional wastes from the seahorses and their food would only exacerbate the problem and increase the ammonia and/or nitrite spikes. Performing water changes to reduce the ammonia and nitrate levels for the benefit of the seahorses you add would only prolong the cycling process.
In addition, I would wait until the full two-week treatment period with Parinox had been completed to minimize the risk that any of the seahorses you transferred to the tank could contract Cryptocaryon irritans. The encysted parasites are very tough to eradicate and you should allow at least two weeks for the medication to eliminate them all before you consider adding fish to the tank regardless of the ammonia or nitrate levels.
On a positive note, those ammonia and nitrite readings indicate that the new aquarium is cycling nicely now, so it shouldn’t be too much longer before the process is complete and the ammonia and nitrite readings drop to zero. Once that happens, of course, you can safely stock the new tank with some of your surplus youngsters.
Yes, sir, I think it’s a very good idea to aerate the 30-gallon nano cube that will be serving as the new home for your juveniles. Cute tanks in general tend to be under circulated, so adding an airstone to provide better surface agitation, improve aeration, oxygenation and offgassing, and promote efficient gas exchange at the air/water interface would be very sensible. For the same reason, it’s advisable to position the spray bar from your canister filter above the surface of the water so that it produces better surface agitation and aeration is well.
As an added benefit, increasing the aeration and the temperature in the aquarium while it is cycling will further accelerate the cycling process. The beneficial nitrifying bacteria (Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter sp.) that convert ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate are all aerobic or oxygen-loving microbes, so their population will increase faster if there is a high level of dissolved oxygen in the aquarium. .
In addition to providing extra aeration, I would raise the temperature in your juvenile tank to around 80°F while it cycles. Bacteria multiply faster at warmer temperatures, so raising the water temperature should help stimulate faster growth of the beneficial nitrifying bacteria as well. (Just don’t forget to reduce the aquarium temperature back to normal once it’s finished cycling so that it’s optimal for your seahorses.)
I would gut-load the brine shrimp until your youngsters are accepting frozen foods, which can then be enriched with the Vibrance to provide them with a daily dose of carotenoids, vitamins, and beta-glucan instead of gutloading.
Best of luck getting the new 30-gallon nano cube fully cycled and up and running, Seagazer! Congratulations again on your juveniles and the outstanding success of your nursery set up!
Pete GiwojnaAugust 19, 2006 at 6:33 pm #2778SEAGAZERGuest
A little clarification though. When you refer to gutloading. Are we talking about general feeding of the brine, or are we talking about soaking the live brine in a selcon/vibrance soup, and for how long if so? I’ve been feeding the Brine with Brine food from "Foster & Smith"
Still trying to tweek my terms.
Best RegardsAugust 20, 2006 at 7:19 pm #2781Pete GiwojnaGuest
Oh, I see — it seems I misinterpreted your previous question about how long the gut-load the brine shrimp. My bad!
Here’s how I enriched/gut-load both newly-hatched brine shrimp and adult brine shrimp. (Maintaining gentle aeration when gutloading or enriching the brine shrimp is a good idea in order to keep the particles in suspension where they can be ingested by the shrimp):
It’s best to either feed bbs (Artemia nauplii) to your seahorse fry immediately after hatching, when their yolk supply is virtually intact and they have their maximum nutritional value, or feed bbs that are 2-days old or older (2nd instar Artemia) that have been enriched prior to feeding.
Enriching Brine Shrimp at Advanced Instars
Feeding baby brine shrimp his the key to raising nutritious nauplii for your juvenile seahorses. Newly hatched brine shrimp deplete their yolk supply within 6-8 hours and must be fed regularly thereafter to maintain their food value.
Fortunately, brine shrimp are filter feeders and will take in whatever is suspended in water with them. This makes it easy for the aquarist to load the shrimp he is raising with nutritional value by giving them a healthy diet supplemented with special food additives. Commonly used foods for culturing Artemia include unicellular algae; rotifers; yeast-based emulsions; micronized egg yolk, rice bran, wheat flour or whey; and dried Spirulina algae.
Research has proven that brine shrimp can be further enriched by adding supplements such as cuttlefish liver oil, cod liver oil, corn oil, fat-soluble vitamins, amino acids, and mineral formulations to their culture water. Analysis of the nutritional content of culture animals after they had been exposed to such supplemental additives showed a dramatic increase in long-chain fatty acids and many vitamins.
Rather than experimenting with your own concoctions, I recommend using one or more of the lipid-rich food concentrates which have recently been developed specifically for use in aquaculture. Products commonly used by professional breeders for fortifying brine shrimp nauplii include Beta Meal, amino acid and essential vitamins (liquid multi-vitamins), commercial products of (W3) highly unsaturated fatty acids such as Vibrance 1, Selcon Concentrate, Selco, Culture HUFA, Roti-Rich, Astaxanthene biological pigment Natu-Rose, AlgaMac 2000, MicroMac 70, and unicellular microalgae cultures (e.g., T-iso, T-weiss, and Nannochloropsis, Chlorella and Isochrysis sp.). Such products are typically rich in amino acids, highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) and vitamins, which makes them ideal supplements for culturing Artemia. Very often, using a combination of these enrichment products provides better nutrition and produces better results that relying on any one product alone.
For best results, 24 hours after the culture tanks are seeded with newly hatched brine shrimp, begin feeding the nauplii sparingly by adding a concentrated food supplement or enrichment formula according to the instructions. Adjust the amount so that a slight haze barely clouds the water for a few hours every day. Do not feed again until the water is crystal clear and do not overfeed. As the brine shrimp grow, you may need to adjust the dosage of your enrichment formula.
Fortifying 1st-instar Artemia Nauplii (newly hatched baby brine shrimp)
Artemia nauplii (baby brine shrimp) are filter feeders that will ingest whatever is suspended in the water with them. This makes it easy to enrich the nauplii with everything from yeast cells to microalgae to fatty acids and vitamins and minerals as discussed above, greatly enhancing their nutritional profile in the process.
The problem with such traditional enrichment methods is that only older nauplii at advanced stages of development can be fortified this way. Newly hatched brine shrimp nauplii (1st instar) lack mouthparts and derive their nourishment from a yolk sac. They are incapable of ingesting particles in the water. Consequently, only bigger nauplii that have molted once or twice (2nd instar and beyond) are suitable for this type of enrichment. This is a serious drawback since these older, larger Artemia nauplii have already grown beyond the size that most newborn seahorse fry are capable of swallowing.
Hobbyists with seahorse fry that are unable to take 2nd-instar Artemia nauplii as their first food usually get around this problem by offering newly hatched brine shrimp nauplii obtained from decapsulated cysts. These 1st-instar Artemia nauplii are fed to the fry as soon as possible after hatching while the baby brine shrimp still retain as much of their yolk sac as possible.
However, there is a better alternative that combines the best of both techniques, making it possible to provide seahorse fry with bite-sized, enriched Artemia nauplii that contain most of their yolk supply. This is accomplished by decapsulating Artemia cysts and refrigerating the newly hatched brine shrimp at a temperature of 41-45 F (5-7 C) for 24-36 hours when the nauplii are still between 12-16 hours old (Mai 2004b). Cooling down the nauplii to such temperatures slows down their growth and metabolism to a virtually standstill, and they can then be enriched continually for the next 2 or 3 days while they remain in a state of arrested development (Mai 2004b). They will not grow or molt during this period, keeping the Artemia bite-sized and allowing the inactive nauplii to retain the bulk of their yolk as they undergo enrichment (Mai 2004b). Supplements rich in high unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) and vitamins and minerals are typically used to fortify the refrigerated nauplii (Mai 2004b).
Although the Artemia nauplii do not eat and cannot actively feed while in this state of suspended animation, the prolonged period of immersion in this nutrient soup allows them to gradually absorb the enrichment nonetheless (Mai 2004b). Whether the concentrated nutrients slowly infuse their bodies or merely coat the nauplii or both is uncertain, but there is no doubt about the superior results this method of enrichment can produce (Mai 2004b).
Rolf Hebbinghaus was one of the first to develop the refrigeration method of fortifying Artemia nauplii at the Lubbecke-Aquazoo in Dusselfdorf, Germany (Mai 2004b). Wolfgang Mai has since conducted a series of tests on H. fuscus fry, which demonstrated that the young receiving the enriched Artemia enjoyed significant advantages in length, girth and vigor compared to the control group of fry which received newly hatched brine shrimp nauplii that had not been enriched (Mai 2004b).
And here are the specific instructions for feeding the baby brine shrimp you hatch out with ArtemiaGro and for enriching the adult brine shrimp with Vibrance I:
Ocean Rider Artemiagro
This dry product is also a trade secret and has been specifically formulated for growing and/or maintaining healthy populations of artemia (brine shrimp) and/or rotifers. It is very high in vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and digestible proteins that optimize growth and survivability.
Please store in a cool dark place (refrigerator or freezer is fine).
For fast and efficient feeding: Blend for 2 to 3 minutes 1 tablespoon of Ocean Rider Artemiagro into 1 cup of fresh water. Store any unused portion in the refrigerator. Add to artemia/rotifer grow out vessel until water turns slightly murky. When the water has cleared you may add more. Store any unused portion in the refrigerator in a container that does not allow light to penetrate. For slower and alternative feeding : Simply sprinkle a small amount directly into artemia vessel until water turns slightly murky. Re-apply when water has cleared. (Be careful not to stir up the bottom of vessel.)
Enriching Artemia with Vibrance I
For enriching or "gut packing" live Artemia (brine shrimp), or other live shrimp or live food of all sizes. Blend 1 teaspoon of Vibrance into 1 cup of water for 3 minutes. Add this to the live food vessel for 30 minutes, or until you see the gut of the animal turn red. Rinse the animals with clean salt water and feed immediately to your seahorses or other fish.
When I am gutloading adult brine shrimp either to bioencapsulate medications or to enrich the brine shrimp hired to feeding I soak them in freshwater for around 30 minutes as explained below.
Soak the adult brine shrimp in freshwater treated with the antibiotic or the enrichment formulation of your choice for 15-30 minutes and then feed the gut-loaded shrimp to your seahorses immediately. (Don’t let your pumps and filters "eat" all the brine shrimp!)
The brine shrimp are soaked in freshwater, not saltwater, because in theory the increased osmotic pressure of the freshwater helps the antibiotic solution or enrichment product move into their bodies via osmosis. But in fact nobody knows for sure whether the antibiotic/enrichment is diffusing into the brine shrimp or they are ingesting it in very fine particles (brine shrimp are filter feeders and will take in whatever is suspended in the water with them) or whether the brine shrimp merely become coated with the medication or enrichment formula while they are soaking in it. But that’s not important — all that really matters is that gut-loading adult brine shrimp in this manner is very effective.
Best wishes with all your fishes, Seagazer!
Pete GiwojnaAugust 21, 2006 at 3:27 pm #2784SEAGAZERGuest
That’s exactly what I was looking for.
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