- This topic has 4 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 16 years, 4 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
October 5, 2007 at 2:03 am #1282gilraenMember
Hello all, I have a 33\" tall 47 gal tank that just finished cycling (took 5 weeks with the raw shrimp method). I have no live rock, all hitching posts are artificial (very colorful), crush coral for substrate, filtration is an Ehiem canister filter (for aquariums up to 92 gal), and an AquaC Remora skimmer, oh and regular fluorescent lights (I could upgrade if needed).
The question is–I have a Mustang, I\’ve had her for about 2 months in a 12 gal NanoCube that\’s been running for 2 yrs. Her only companion is a clownfish. Right now she\’s really happy, eating like there\’s no tomorrow. I would like to transfer her to this new aquarium which will be for seahorses only, but I\’m scared to kill her in the process… The ammonia, nitrite & nitrate are all 0 now, salinity is 1.021 (in new tank), Temp. is 79. Would it still be safe to do a transfer from a 2 yr old aquarium to a new one? even though everything seems perfect? If yes do I acclimate like if it was a new arrival? Sorry for the long post, I\’m just really worried and don\’t want to kill my horse. If everything goes well I can add one of the special seahorse packages from this website to make her company. Ok I better stop typing. Thanks to all.October 5, 2007 at 5:07 am #3832Pete GiwojnaGuest
It sounds like you did a fine job of setting up and cycling your new 47-gallon aquarium and it has excellent height for a seahorse tank. Well done! (There’s no need to upgrade your lighting system — ordinary fluorescent tubes are more than adequate for seahorses and macroalgae.)
As long as they knew aquarium has completed the cycling process, and it certainly sounds as if it has, then I can foresee no problem whatsoever in transferring your Mustang from the nano cube to the 37 gallon aquarium. In fact, as long as the pH, water temperature, and specific gravity in your nano tank and the new 37-gallon aquarium are reasonably close, there is really no need to acclimate the seahorse at all. In that case, you could simply transfer your Mustang directly from the nano tank to the new aquarium and release its straight away.
Or if you want to be extra cautious and really play it safe, then you can go through the usual acclimation procedure when you transfer the Mustang to the new tank. There is no rush whatsoever — since the Mustang is coming from your nano tank with no ammonia or nitrites and is being transferred to your new 37-gallon aquarium with no ammonia or nitrites, you needn’t hurry the process or be concerned that the changes in the water chemistry will be stressful to the Mustang. There is no ammonia poisoning to worry about under the circumstances, so you can take all the time you need to be sure you are avoiding pH shock or thermal shock. There is no danger at all that the transfer could kill your Mustang, gilraen — if, for any reason, the Mustang isn’t doing well in your 37-gallon tank you can simply transfer her back to the nano cube immediately where she is comfortable and feel that home, none the worse for wear.
It is always a little unsettling for a seahorse to be uprooted from its home and transferred into strange, new surroundings, but in this case your Mustang is moving from somewhat cramped quarters into a much larger, deeper aquarium and I am certain that she is going to be quite happy with the change. She is not being separated from a pair bonded male, or any herdmates for that matter, so I am quite confident that she is going to make herself right at home in your new aquarium. I would leave the light off on your 37-gallon aquarium while you make the transfer and for the first day and just allow your Mustang to explore her new surroundings at her leisure. Then the next morning you can turn on the aquarium light as usual and feed your Mustang at her usual mealtime.
In the new aquarium, she won’t be able to eat her meals in the usual place she was accustomed to in your nano cube, so I would suggest target feeding your Mustang in the new aquarium until you can train her to use a new feeding station in a 37-gallon tank, as discussed below:
When keeping seahorses in an appropriately elaborate environment, it is imperative that you feed them properly! Domesticated seahorses thrive on enriched frozen Mysis as their staple, everyday diet. But the worst thing you can do when feeding the seahorses in a intricate reef or live rock environment is to scatter a handful of frozen Mysis throughout the tank to be dispersed by the currents and hope that the hungry horses can track it all down. Inevitably some of the frozen food will be swept away and lodge in isolated nooks and crannies where the seahorses cannot get it (Giwojna, 2005). There it will begin to decompose and degrade the water quality, which is why ammonia spikes are common after a heavy feeding. Or it may be wafted out into the open again later on and eaten after it has begun to spoil. Either outcome can have dire consequences (Giwojna, 2005).
The best way to avoid such problems is to target feed your seahorses or set up a feeding station for them. See my online article in Conscientious Aquarist for a detailed discussion explaining exactly how to set up a feeding station and train your seahorses to use it:
Click here: Seahorse Feeders
Personally, I prefer to target feed my seahorses instead. 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 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 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 gobbling 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 (Giwojna, unpublished)?
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 (Giwojna, unpublished).
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 (Giwojna, unpublished).
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 (Giwojna, unpublished).
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 (Giwojna, unpublished). (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.)
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 (Giwojna, unpublished).
The key to keeping active specimens like firefish and occelaris clownfish 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 (Giwojna, unpublished).
Other than that, gilraen, the only thing I would suggest is to lower the water temperature in your 37-gallon aquarium somewhat. Mustangs do best at a water temperature of around 75°F, so if your 37-gallon aquarium is currently running at around 79°F, I would suggest dropping the water temperature a few degrees before you transfer the Mustang. And it would also be a good idea to install a cleanup crew and the new aquarium as well, now that it is going to be housing one or more seahorses.
Once she has settled into our new home, I’m sure your seahorse would appreciate some new Mustang or Sunburst tankmates.
Best of luck transferring your Mustang, gilraen! I’m sure she’s going to approve of the upgrade.
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech SupportOctober 8, 2007 at 7:37 am #3833gilraenGuest
Thanks Pete, I will be doing the transfer tomorrow and watch my girl closely all day. I had to work 12 hr shifts this weekend so I didn’t want to risk it. I ordered a pair of Sunbursts from here, so I’m sure she’ll love the company B)October 8, 2007 at 11:58 pm #3834gilraenGuest
Transfer’s done! –and she’s doing great :woohoo: , I did acclimated her for 30 min. just in case. At first she hitch to her coral and stayed there, totally still…only her eyes moving…after about 45 min. I dropped some shrimp in there and she started chasing them! forget about the feeding station alright:laugh: Anyways, she doing really good now, checking out all the new coral and waiting for more shrimp to dropB) Thanks Pete for all your good advice, I always read your column in FAMA and learn lots from it. 🙂October 9, 2007 at 4:21 am #3836Pete GiwojnaGuest
Thanks for the update! It sounds like you did an excellent job of transferring your Mustang and I’m sure your seahorses going to be very happy in the larger aquarium — that’s a very nice upgrade. Well done!
I’m happy to hear that you enjoy the Horse Forum columns in Freshwater and Marine Aquarium magazine. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to contribute to the monthly columns and I am very grateful to Carol for allowing me the opportunity to participate. And, of course, Leslie Leddo’s beautiful seahorse photographs add a great deal to the columns as well.
Best wishes with all your fishes, gilraen!
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support
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