- This topic has 14 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 17 years, 7 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
April 16, 2006 at 11:53 pm #794nigelseahorseMember
my zulus came. they are beautiful. these guys must have been happy in their new home because they were courting mere hours after being relesed into the aquarium! i had been away for 3 days, i came back and the male zulu was pale and wouldn\’t eat, is this what they mean, when they say the males become unsocial? I am preparing for a birth. tomorrow I am going to buy a small nersery tank and sponge filter, I am wondering what water I should usefor the nursery tank:
water in seahorse tank(it still has copper in it), fresh salt water(Iam afraid about ammonia in the uncycled water), or water from my reef tank(I doubt this would be a good choice because my 1 of my 2 damselfish is currrently battling ich) (i hate this ich it has killed 4 fish and is killing another:angry: )i can\’t wait until these fry are born, his pouch is slowly growing! Does copper kill fry?
please answer quickly!
Post edited by: nigelseahorse, at: 2006/04/17 13:13
Post edited by: nigelseahorse, at: 2006/04/17 13:15April 17, 2006 at 5:49 pm #2421Pete GiwojnaGuest
It’s good to hear that your Zulus arrived in good shape and are making themselves right at home in your seahorse tank.
Gravid males do behave somewhat differently; as their pregnancy progresses, they are less mobile and often become real home bodies, since they cannot expose their developing brood to any unnecessary risks. They tend to hole up and may even go into hiding; they may go off to feed and miss a meal or two or fail to show up at the feeding station now and then. So pregnant males do sometimes become shy and reclusive, but I wouldn’t exactly say they become antisocial. They may seclude themselves somewhat, but they still remain very much interested in the fillies and will often continue to flirt and conduct daily greetings in the morning throughout their pregnancies. And he shouldn’t refuse to eat altogether.
I wouldn’t use the copper water from your seahorse tank or water from the reef tank that’s having the problem with it right now for your nursery tank. I would just fill the nursery tank with freshly mixed saltwater that you’ve matched to the same temperature, pH and specific gravity as your seahorse tank. You’ll be performing small water changes very regularly in your nursery tank, so you’ll need to keep freshly mixed saltwater on hand at all times once the fry arrive, and you might as well mix up a big batch of fresh saltwater right now.
I assume that you’re running copper in your seahorse tank due to the problems you’ve been having with ich in your reef system, Nigel. You might consider reducing the specific gravity of your seahorse tank to around 1.010-1.012, if there are no delicate invertebrates in the tank, since reduced salinity at that level is very effective in controlling Cryptocaryon irritans or saltwater ich. That’s a treatment that’s commonly known as Osmotic Shock Therapy (OST), and it’s easier to maintain the hyposalinity than it is to regulate a therapeutic dose of copper sulfate, and the OST will be safer for your seahorses since there’s no risk of overdosing them on copper.
In addition, many reef keepers use a modified version of OST or hyposalinity when they have a parasite problem in their reef systems, Nigel. They will reduce the salinity to around 1.016, which most corals seem to tolerate well, but which helps to greatly reduce problems with ich and other ectoparasites. Let me know if you think you might want to try hyposalinity or OST on your seahorse tank and/or your reef system, and I will be happy to send you detailed instructions on how to proceed.
Best of luck with your Zulus and rearing their fry, Nigel!
Pete GiwojnaApril 17, 2006 at 11:07 pm #2423nigelseahorseGuest
no no no the seahorse tank isn’t affected it’s just the reef( i put copper in before any seahorses. how long until i can put in the seahorse after adding fresh salt water?April 18, 2006 at 2:09 pm #2427Pete GiwojnaGuest
Okay, that’s good to know. Since you are not having a problem with ich in your seahorse tank, and you merely treated it with copper before the seahorses arrived as a precaution to make sure it was ich free, then I would definitely leave your pregnant male and his mate in your main tank and allow him to give birth there. That’s a much better idea for all the reasons we have been discussing in your other thread. It will be much less stressful on your pregnant male to remain amidst the familiar surroundings in your main tank with good filtration, lots of hitching posts and shelter, the company of his tankmates, and most importantly of all — a fully functional biofilter — than it would be to transfer him into a bare nursery tank that’s only 2-5 gallons with just a sponge filter that has not cycled yet.
Seahorses tolerate copper sulfate in therapeutic doses very well, so the copper in the main tank is not a problem. Even delicate seahorse fry can tolerate exposure to copper at the usual treatment levels, but you won’t want to fill the nursery tank with the copper water from your seahorse tank since there’s no sense subjecting the newborns to harsh chemicals unnecessarily. So fill your nursery tank with freshly mixed saltwater and adjust it to the same temperature, pH, and specific gravity as your seahorse tank while you are waiting for your male to give birth in the main tank. The newborns can then be transferred directly from the main tank they were born in to the nursery tank with no acclimation whatsoever.
Just be very careful when transferring the babies into your nursery tank and they will be fine. NEVER lift the newborns out the water when transferring them. They will swallow air and develop fatal buoyancy problems that leave them bobbing helplessly at the surface, unable to submerge or eat (Giwojna, Jan. 1997). Netting them out or otherwise exposing the newborns to the air is one of the most common mistakes inexperienced breeders make, and it often results in the loss of the entire brood (Giwojna, Jan. 1997). The proper way to move the babies is to carefully scoop them up in a small cup or bowl, and gently immerse the cup in the nursery tank to release the fry (Giwojna, Jan. 1997). Or a common turkey baster works well for gently sucking up one or two of the fry at a time along with a little water, and then releasing them into their nursery (Giwojna, Jan. 1997).
Best of luck with your pregnant Zulu and the upcoming fry you are expecting, Nigel!
Pete GiwojnaApril 18, 2006 at 5:14 pm #2430nigelseahorseGuest
but i am afraid the fry will get stuck in the filter. the zulu pair arnt as active and aren’t eating as well. They also hide a lot, but sometimes in the morning when they get close together they court.So they will eat more I will buy some live brine today, mabe live food will interest them more than frozen food.April 18, 2006 at 7:55 pm #2432Pete GiwojnaGuest
I didn’t realize you were concerned about how well your Zulus were doing in your seahorse tank. If their activity level is down, and they’re not eating as well, or you are simply worried that they’re not thriving in your current seahorse setup, I can understand why you might want to transfer them to clean, freshly mixed seawater in your nursery tank instead. Small as it is, they would have the whole 5 gallon tank to themselves, so I can see what you might think they would do better on their own in freshly mixed saltwater.
That is certainly your prerogative, Nigel, and if you want to try it, that’s fine. Be advised, however, but you’ll have to monitor the water quality — especially the ammonia and nitrite levels — very closely in your nursery tank all the while they are there, and that daily water changes will be required in order to maintain decent water quality. You’ll also have to provide the five-gallon nursery tank with plenty of plants and enough holdfasts to offer the seahorses suitable hitching posts and a sense of security. And it’s vital that you maintain the temperature in the nursery tank below 75°F at all times for your Zulu’s. If you want to try that for 1-3 weeks until your male gives birth, proceed with caution and be very diligent about maintaining the water quality.
While you are waiting for your pregnant male to give birth in the nursery tank, which will be doing double duty as a paternity tank in your case, you can fix up your main seahorse tank so that it’s ready for the return of the Zulus afterwards. In most cases, the surest way to improve your water quality and correct the water chemistry is to combine a 25%-50% water change with a thorough aquarium clean up. Siphon around the base of your rockwork and decorations, vacuum the top 1/2 inch of the sand or gravel, rinse or replace your prefilter, and administer a general system cleaning. The idea is to remove any accumulated excess organic material in the sand/gravel bed, top of the filter, or tank that could degrade your water quality, serve as a breeding ground for bacteria or a reservoir for disease, or otherwise be stressing your seahorses. [Note: when cleaning the filter, your goal is to remove excess organic wastes WITHOUT disturbing the balance of the nitrifying bacteria. Do not dismantle the entire filter, overhaul your entire filter system in one fell swoop, or clean your primary filtration system too zealously or you may impair your biological filtration.]
At first glance your aquarium parameters in your seahorse tank may look great, but there are some water quality issues that are difficult to detect with standard tests, such as a decrease in dissolved 02, transitory ammonia/nitrite spikes following a heavy feeding, pH drift, or the gradual accumulation of detritus. A water change and cleanup is a simple preventative measure that can help defuse those kinds of hidden factors before they become a problem and stress out your seahorses. These simple measures may restore your water quality and correct the source of the stress before your seahorse becomes seriously ill and requires treatment.
Add a good grade of activated carbon that’s low in ash and free of phosphates to your filter, and replace the used carbon with fresh, clean activated carbon on a regular basis. (If you don’t replace the activated carbon regularly, it can leach back any undesirable substances it has removed into the aquarium after it has reached its capacity.) Carbon is activated two ways, either with steam or with phosphoric acid. The type of carbon that is activated with phosphoric acid contains phosphates, which can be leached back into the aquarium water and promote the growth of nuisance algae. So you will want to avoid that type of of activated carbon. The carton or box that the activated carbon comes in should be clearly labeled and state specifically that it is "steam activated" or "phosphate free" or something to that effect if it’s a suitable brand for your aquarium. Adding Chemi-Pure, a Poly-Filter pad, or a good brand of activated carbon to your filter will provide your seahorse tank with chemical filtration and help to maintain the water quality while removing any residual copper sulfate.
Heat stress is the number one reason that Zulu-lulus (Hippocampus capensis) fail to thrive in any given aquarium, so make sure the temperature in your seahorse tank remain stable between 72°F-75°F at all times. And if you have any concerns about ick or parasite problems in your seahorse tank, consider reducing the salinity or specific gravity to between 1.010-1.016 rather than adding copper.
You needn’t be concerned that your filter will "eat" your seahorse fry if you take the proper precautions. Be sure to screen off the intake tube. This can easily be accomplished by adding a filter basket to the intake tube or by mating it to a sponge filter.
Best of luck with your Zulus and their progeny, Nigel!
Pete GiwojnaApril 18, 2006 at 8:24 pm #2434nigelseahorseGuest
the tank should be ok, i put in some gravel, coral(not live),and some alge. to help cycle I want to put in one of my damsel fish but I dont want ANY ich in the nersery( the damsel’s tankmate has ich) Also i think my redi seahorses are getting the food faster than the zulus. I bought a mated pair, are they going to have babies for sure? and the heat did spike to the high 70’s that’s probably not doing as well but the heat is back to normal.April 19, 2006 at 5:20 pm #2435nigelseahorseGuest
i put them in yesterday and they ate also they courted this morning but the ammonia spiked so I did a water change. they have percked up and have eaten the live brine. so far so goodApril 19, 2006 at 8:38 pm #2436Pete GiwojnaGuest
If you ordered a pregnant male, then you can rest assured that your gravid male will deliver a brood of youngsters in due course unless something untoward happens to disrupt his pregnancy. If you ordered a mated pair of Zulus, then you received a male and female that have been paired up for one or more breeding cycles.
However, there is no guarantee that a mated pair will produce offspring immediately after being introduced to the aquarium. Most often, new arrivals have to go through an adjustment period during which they become accustomed to their new surroundings and their tankmates before they set up housekeeping. As a result, it often takes newcomers several months before they settle down and get serious about breeding and mating. You may have to wait for the right time of year (i.e., breeding season) to roll around and/or for the new arrivals to become comfortable and make themselves at home before they produce any babies.
Having said that, anytime you keep a healthy pair of seahorses together under favorable conditions, breeding is pretty much a foregone conclusion at some point. If you provide your Zulus with a nutritious diet, optimal water quality, and a stress-free environment, you can be sure that sooner or later they will produce offspring for you.
Heat stress is one of the factors that can prevent Zulu-lulus (Hippocampus capensis) from breeding in the aquarium, so make sure you keep your water temperature between 72°F- 75°F at all times.
Best of luck with your seahorses, Nigel!
Pete GiwojnaApril 20, 2006 at 4:55 pm #2440nigelseahorseGuest
i was afrid of the ammonia so i moved them back. his pouch just keeps growing!April 21, 2006 at 3:07 am #2442Pete GiwojnaGuest
Okay, that’s probably a smart move. Ammonia and/or nitrite spikes are going to be a chronic concern in your nursery tank until the sponge filter builds up a considerable population of beneficial nitrifying bacteria and the tank finishes cycling.
Now that your Zulus are back in the main tank, be sure to clean it up and perform a water change as we have discussed previously. Consider adding activated carbon, Chemi pure, a Poly-Filter pad, or some other form of chemical filtration to your filter and reduce the specific gravity to between 1.010-1.016 if you still have any concerns about ich (Cryptocaryon irritans) in the aquarium. If your seahorse tank is not heavily planted, consider adding a lush bed of macroalgae to the tank. Zulu-lulus (Hippocampus capensis) inhabit beds of seagrass in the wild, and a good bed of macroalgae will simulate their natural habitat and help them feel right at home in their new surroundings. Be sure to keep the water temperature between 72°F-75°F at all times.
If you feel your residents H. reidi are all competing for smaller Zulus for food in your seahorse tank, consider target feeding the Zulus as described below:
(6) Target feed your seahorses and remove uneaten leftovers promptly.
The individual personalities of seahorses naturally extend to their feeding habits. Some are aggressive feeders that will boldly snatch food from your fingers, while some and 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 before they accept or reject it. Some eat like horses and some eat like birds. So how does the seahorse keeper make sure all his charges are getting enough to eat at mealtime? How does the hobbyist keep the aggressive eaters from scarfing up all the mouth-watering Mysis before the slower feeders get their fair share? And how can you keep active fishes and inverts with seahorses without the faster fishes gobbling up all the goodies before the slowpoke seahorses can grab a mouthful?
Target feeding is the answer. Target feeding just means offering a single piece of Mysis to one particular seahorse, and then watching to see whether or not the ‘horse you targeted actually eats the shrimp. Feeding each of your seahorses in turn that way makes it easy to keep track of exactly how much each of your specimens is eating.
There are many different ways to target feed seahorses. Most methods involve using a long utensil of some sort to wave the Mysis temptingly in front of the chosen seahorse; once you’re sure this has attracted his interest, the Mysis is released so it drifts down enticingly right before the seahorse’s snout. Most of the time, the seahorse will snatch it up as it drifts by or snap it up as soon as it hits the bottom.
A great number of utensils work well for target feeding. I’ve seen hobbyists use everything from chopsticks to extra long tweezers and hemostats or forceps to homemade pipettes fashioned from a length of rigid plastic tubing. As for myself, I prefer handfeeding when I target feed a particular seahorse.
But no doubt the all-time favorite implement for target feeding seahorses is the old-fashioned turkey baster. The old-fashioned ones with the glass barrels work best because the seahorses can see the Mysis inside the baster all the way as it moves down the barrel and out the tip. By exerting just the right amount of pressure on the bulb, great precision is possible when target feeding with a turkey baster. By squeezing and releasing the bulb ever so slightly, a skillful target feeder can keep a piece of Mysis dancing at the very tip of the baster indefinitely, and hold the tempting morsel right in front of the seahorse’s mouth as long as necessary. Or if the seahorse rejects the Mysis the first time it drifts by, a baster makes it easy to deftly suck up the shrimp from the bottom so it can be offered to the target again. In the same way, the baster makes it a simple matter to clean any remaining leftovers after a feeding session. (You’ll quickly discover the feeding tube is also indispensable for tapping away pesky fish and invertebrates that threaten to steal the tempting tidbit before an indecisive seahorse can snatch it up. And it’s great for tapping on the cover to ringing the dinner bell and summon the diners for their gourmet feast!)
In short, target feeding allows the hobbyist to assure that each of his seahorses gets enough to eat without overfeeding or underfeeding the tank. And it makes it possible to keep seahorses in a community tank with more active fishes that would ordinarily out-compete them for food, since the aquarist can personally deliver each mouthful to the seahorses while keeping more aggressive specimens at bay.
The key to keeping active specimens like firefish or cleaner shrimp successfully with seahorses is to feed the other fish and inverts with standard, off-the-shelf aquarium foods first, and once they’ve had their fill, then target feed the seahorses.
Best of luck with your seahorses, Nigel!
Pete GiwojnaApril 23, 2006 at 12:18 am #2447nigelseahorseGuest
hi, I was gone for only one day at a show for real horses. and I was suprized how much bigger my pregnant male’s pouch has gotten.
After I moved him back into my seahorse tank( he was in a nursery tank)I was worried about him , he wouldn’t eat, lost color, and hid . but now his appetite is back up he is still interested in his girl but his color isn’t its normal black color.It is greyish.also his pouch is sort of a pinkish color, is this normal?
Post edited by: nigelseahorse, at: 2006/04/23 15:05April 24, 2006 at 12:51 am #2451Pete GiwojnaGuest
It sounds like your male Zulu (Hippocampus capensis) is doing a little better now that he’s had a chance to get used to the move back into your main tank. As long as he’s eating well and displaying a healthy interest in his mate, you’re on the right track.
Is his pouch continuing to grow? If your male is pregnant and nearing the end of the gestation period, it’s not unusual for him to change coloration. And if your Zulus are courting or conducting daily greetings, they brighten in coloration during those displays as well. So I wouldn’t be too concerned if your male’s coloration has changed from black to gray recently. Seahorses normally darken in response to stress, rather than lightening in coloration.
Maintain optimum water quality, keep your water temperature below 75°F at all times (72°F would be ideal), make sure he’s getting plenty to eat, and you can’t go far wrong, Nigel!
Best of luck with your seahorses, sir!
Pete GiwojnaApril 24, 2006 at 1:22 am #2452nigelseahorseGuest
yes his pouch is steadily growing. he is staying near the bottom ,I think his pouch is weighing him down!
I have a question about my redi male, he is usualy brown in color, but now his pouch has turned white. Is this normal?Could he possibly be pregnent?
Post edited by: nigelseahorse, at: 2006/04/23 21:26April 25, 2006 at 2:14 am #2456Pete GiwojnaGuest
The pouch of the seahorse consists of four thin layers of epithelial and connective tissue, and the pouch or marsupium will often change color as a male’s pregnancy progresses. Initially, the gravid male’s pouch will change from a light opaque color to a dark brown due to the elaboration of the internal structures and thickening of the walls of the pouch that occur as the lining of the pouch undergoes placenta-like changes. The pouch will enlarge steadily over the next few weeks as the young grow and develop, and the aperture will change from fully dilated to a tightly closed vertical slit. As the delivery date approaches and the pouch expands to its fullest, stretching the thin membrane of the marsupium accordingly, other color changes may occur to the brood chamber.
Zulu-lulus (Hippocampus capensis) are real bottom huggers by nature, and normally do not spend much time in the water column, so if your mail Zulu is pregnant, it’s not surprising that he’s orienting to the substrate. As long as he is eating well and able to swim normally when he wants to move from one hitching post to the next, you needn’t be concerned.
As for your male reidi, it is normal for a seahorse’s pouch to change color when the males are courting, brightening or lightening in coloration during their courtship displays, and the marsupium may also change color during pregnancy as discussed above. Ordinarily, I don’t worry as long as the whole pouch exhibits uniform color changes. It is small, localized areas of depigmentation or white patches that are troublesome. So my best guess is that your reidi stallion is fine. Keep a close eye on him for the next few days and see if he is actively courting one of the females at this time. That could explain the change in the color of his pouch.
Best of luck with your seahorses, Nigel!
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