Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

Seahorse Club
Aquarium & Livestock

Feed Ezy Frozen Mysis

New to Seahorses…..need help with fact V’s Ficti

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii Forums Seahorse Life and Care New to Seahorses…..need help with fact V’s Ficti

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  • #1775

    Hi There,

    I would first like to say I love your site, I am busily reading through the forum. I am in Australia and have always wanted to keep seahorses, well my wife, god bless her, decided to give me a birthday present, she went and bought me 4 "seahorses" in a all in one aqua one aquarium.

    Long story short, I had no idea what special reqirements seahorses needed so I went to the shop she had bought them from and talked to the guy. I asked him what sort of seahorses they were, he said seahorses. I asked him what temp to keep them at, he said anywhere between 18 and 28 degrees Celcius. I asked what sort of water and tank setup they liked, he sold me a Sea Fan and told me to fill the tank from my existing Reef setup. I should say that I shop at this LFS all the time and they are pretty good, just they know nothing about seahorses.

    Well more through good luck than good management, the 4 little fellers were thriving. the Aquarium they are in is 75 Litres but is now plumbed into my reef system through an overflow box ( I don’t like the built in filters), so its all part of a 600Ltr system.
    I plumbed them in cause my reef runs on a chiller and it was easier and cheaper than buying another chiller.

    Now as I said they are thriving, but then more I read, the more Parinoid I am getting about sickness, I have really gotten to love these little guys and any changes in behaviour I am sort of panicking. What I wanted to do was run my setup by you and see if in your opinion it is ok for them and if I should change anything.

    Tank is fed by 1000LPH powerhead from Main sump, through a canister filter packed with Phoszorb (phosphates in my tap water are a constant problem here) and Carbon into Seahorse tank. In the sump I have Large Skimmer, Ozone reactor, Matrix and the normal Flter wool etc.

    In the seahorse tank itself it runs the normal reef tank paramteres, Ammonia 0, Nitrite and Nitrate 0, Ph 8.3, Calcium 480ppm, Kh 240, I use iodine, Strontium, Magnesium and all the regular stuff in the tank water which is cycled through. Temp is 25 Degrees Celcius.

    The Seahorse tank has about 1cm of Crushed Coral sand on the bottm, with a couple of bits of live rock, a cut up sea fan, 2 clumps of Calupera weed. Tank mates are 2 snails, 2 Baby Black Occelarium Clowns (2cm long) and 2 baby golden headed sleeper gobies (less than 2 inches)

    They eat well and the big male is constantly holding tails with the 2 girls, the other male is usualy left out of it 🙁 He also has a thing for holding the girls heads in his tail. It is pretty funny as the often end up all four tangled in a mass of wiggling bodies trying to hold each others heads.

    Just latley though I have noticed that they are getting really active, more than ever before. The Larger male especially. He swims to the top of the tank, sort of lies on his side for a couple of seconds then swims back down, actually he swimms pretty much all day, up down round and round. I am worried if he is stressed? The other 3 sort of just hang around, swimming every so often.
    All eat great and if I walk past the tank they all dive up. If i hold a frozen block of Mysid Shrimp in the tank they all wrap round my fingers and eat and eat and eat. I feed almost exclusivley Frozen Mysid Shrimp. But every now and then they get a feed of live Brine.

    The other worry i have is that again only latley they seam to be hanging on to their little holdfasts and letting their heads fall towars the bottom. So they often hang upside down at a 45 degree angle. Never at night, They sleep normally, but during the day they often hang upside down. Is this Normal?

    Maybe I have just read to many bad stories on the net, I am an experienced Reef Keeper and I remember the grief I went through learning to keep a good reef, Now it seams the learning is beginning all over again.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Best regards

    Jamie Illistom
    Sydney Australia

    Pete Giwojna

    Dear Jamie:

    No worries, mate! We can get you up to speed on the aquarium care and requirements of seahorses with no problem (although it would be easier if you could tell us what species your pet shop ponies are) and right now all of your aquarium parameters look rock solid, right on the button, although you are obviously measuring the KH on a different scale than I use. Carbonate hardness or KH is usually expressed in the German unit dKH (degrees of carbonate hardness) and is often considered to be the total alkalinity. (Natural seawater as a dKH of 7.) If you are adding supplemental iodine, strontium, and magnesium regularly, Jamie, then you should have test kits to monitor the levels of those trace elements as well to make sure they stay in the proper range, as indicated below:

    <Open quote>
    Strontium (Sr):
    Natural Seawater Value = 8.1 mg/L
    Acceptable Range = 5.0 to 12.0 mg/L
    Optimum Level = ~8 mg/L

    Strontium is important for coral and coralline algae growth, especially among the short polyp stony (SPS) corals. However, too much strontium can interfere with coral calcification processes to their detriment, and may even cause coral mortality. If your strontium level is too high, suspend the use of all chemical additives containing strontium. It may also be necessary to perform a partial water change to reduce excessively high levels of strontium.

    Magnesium (Mg):
    Natural Seawater Value = 1280 mg/L
    Acceptable Range = 1100 to 1400 mg/L
    Optimum Level = ~1280 mg/L

    Magnesium is a key component of the water buffering system, and is incorporated into coral skeletons as the corals grow. It also plays a vital role in all photosynthetic processes. Low levels of magnesium indicate the need for more frequent partial water changes and/or buffering of the aquarium.

    Iodine (I):
    Natural Seawater Value = 0.060 mg/L
    Acceptable Range = 0.030 to 0.090 mg/L
    Optimum Level = ~0.06 mg/L

    Iodine is required by soft corals and macroalgae, and it is important for proper pigment development in SPS corals. Iodine is removed from the water by protein skimming, the use of activated carbon, and certain biological processes. If the iodine level in your reef tank is too low, consider using an iodine-specific additive to raise the level of the proper amount.
    <Close quote>

    Maintaining the water temperature of 25°C (77°F) is fine for most tropical seahorses as long as that temperature holds steady, which should be the case with the aquarium chiller on your reef system. Depending on the species, tropical and subtropical may begin to experience heat stress when the water temperature approaches 80°F (27°C) or above for extended periods. Providing the water temperature in the combined system holds at a steady 25°C (77°F), Jamie, then I think that plumbing your seahorse tank into your reef system was a fine idea and should provide the ponies in the smaller tank with optimum water quality at all times.

    It sounds like the water circulation in your seahorse tank is also fine, Jamie, since the seahorses are active and swimming normally, without difficulty.

    Frozen Mysis should serve as the staple, everyday diet for your seahorses and I also prefer to hand feed my ponies, so you are doing great in that regard.

    The small black Amphiprion occelaris clownfish and gobies should make compatible Tankmates for your seahorses, and snails are always a good addition to the cleanup crew in a seahorse tank.

    I don’t think the behaviors you described are symptomatic of any health problems with your seahorses, Jamie. Seahorses will often hang upside down from a convenient hitching post when they are scanning the bottom of the aquarium for tasty morsels such as copepods and amphipods, so I suspect that may be what your ponies have been doing lately. I’m thinking that copepods and amphipods from the reef tank may have found their way into the seahorse tank and become established there, and that the seahorses have been hanging off their perches at a 45° angle in order to search the crushed coral sand for any tasty pods or leftover frozen Mysis that may have found its way to the bottom of the tank.

    The other possibility is that the seahorses may be having a problem with negative buoyancy or an underinflated gas bladder, but that’s very unlikely if they are able to perch in their normal upright position at night.

    Likewise, the big male that has become such an active swimmer lately is probably not stressed out or ailing as long as he is able to swim down to the bottom of the aquarium as usual when he wants to, Jamie. But you could be having a problem with positive buoyancy (i.e., the tendency to float) if he is floating sideways or upside down at the top of the aquarium and is unable to descend and swim normally. However, it sounds like your big stallion has no trouble swimming downwards when he wants to and can join the other seahorses hanging upside down at a 45° angle hunting for stray amphipods are copepods. If that’s the case, then you need not be concerned that your male may be developing a problem with pouch gas or an overinflated swim bladder.

    This is what I normally advise hobbyists regarding positive buoyancy, Jamie:

    <Open quote>
    As in many other bony fishes, the seahorse’s gas bladder functions as a swim bladder, providing the lift needed to give them neutral buoyancy. In essence, the swim bladder is a gas-filled bag used to regulate buoyancy. Because the seahorse’s armor-plated body is quite heavy, this organ is large in Hippocampus and extends well down into the body cavity along the dorsal boundary.

    When the swimbladder is inflated with just the right amount of gas, the buoyancy provided by this gasbag exactly cancels out the pull of gravity, and the seahorse will neither tend to float nor tend to sink. This condition is known as neutral buoyancy, and it makes it very easy for the seahorse to swim and maneuver almost effortlessly. But when the swimbladder is over inflated with gas, the seahorse will have positive buoyancy and must exert a lot of energy when swimming in order to counteract the tendency to float. And if the swimbladder is underinflated, the seahorse has negative buoyancy and must swim hard in order to avoid sinking.

    The first indication of a problem with positive buoyancy is a loss of equilibrium. The seahorse’s center of gravity shifts as excess gas accumulates in brood pouch or its swim bladder, and it will have increasing difficulty swimming and maintaining its normal posture, especially if it encounters any current. It will become apparent that the seahorse has to work hard to stay submerged, as it is forced to abandon its usual upright swimming posture and swim with its body tilted forward or even horizontally in order to use its dorsal fin to counteract the tendency to rise.
    <Close quote>

    You need not be too alarmed if the big male wraps his tail around the neck or head of the females at times. He can’t do them any real harm — there is no danger that the females could be strangled or asphyxiated because of the protection their bony exoskeletons provide and the fact that they breathe through their gills, which won’t be obstructed by a tail grasping the neck or snout of the seahorse. Most likely the stallion is trying to interest the females in mating and he is just a little unrefined in his courtship attempts. The activity level of the seahorses naturally increases when they are courting or conducting their daily greetings.

    Perhaps the best way for you to get up to speed on the specialized behaviors and aquarium care of seahorses quickly would be to participate in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program, Jamie. Please allow me to introduce myself in a little more detail. My name is Pete Giwojna and I provide tech-support for Ocean Rider ( Part of my duties in that regard include providing a quick training course for new Ocean Rider customers and first-time buyers to get them up to speed on the aquarium care and requirements of seahorses. .

    This basic training is very informal and completely free of charge, Jamie. Ocean Rider provides the free training as a service to their customers and any other hobbyists who are interested in learning more about the care and keeping of seahorses. It’s a crash course on seahorse keeping consisting of 10 separate lessons covering the following subjects, and is conducted entirely via e-mail. There is no homework or examinations or anything of that nature — just a lot of good, solid information on seahorses for you to read through and absorb as best you can, at your own speed. The training course consists of a total of over 180 pages of text with more than 100 full life and color illustrations, broken down into 10 lessons covering the following subjects:

    Lesson 1: Selecting a Suitable Aquarium & Optimizing It for Seahorses.
    Tank dimensions and specifications (why height is important);
    Tank location and aquarium stressors;
    Setting up a SHOWLR tank to create ideal conditions for seahorses;
    filtration options
    protein skimmers
    UV sterilizers
    titanium grounding probe
    water circulation
    Test kits for monitoring water quality;
    Aquascaping the seahorse tank;
    artificial hitching posts
    Basic aquarium setups for seahorses;
    undergravel filters
    sponge filters

    Lesson 2: Cycling a New Aquarium & Installing the Cleanup Crew.
    The nitrogen cycle;
    nitrification and denitrification
    Step-by-step instructions for cycling a new marine aquarium;
    Seahorse-safe sanitation engineers and aquarium janitors;
    microhermit crabs
    cleaner shrimp
    Starter seahorses (hardy, highly domesticated, high-health ponies)

    Lesson 3: Reading Assignments (books, articles, and columns devoted to seahorses).

    Lesson 4: Water Chemistry, Aquarium Maintenance, & Maintaining Optimum Water Quality.
    Basic water quality parameters (acceptable range and optimum levels);
    specific gravity
    dissolved oxygen
    Advanced water chemistry for reef keepers;
    Performing partial water changes to maintain good water quality;
    Aquarium maintenance schedule;

    Lesson 5: Feeding Seahorses.
    Frozen Mysis serves as their staple, everyday diet;
    brands of frozen Mysis
    thawing and preparing frozen Mysis
    enriching with Vibrance
    Recommended feeding regimen;
    how to tell if your seahorse is getting enough to eat
    Feeding tips for seahorses;
    preparing and serving the frozen Mysis
    feeding new arrivals
    secretive feeders
    morning feedings
    setting up a feeding station
    training the seahorses to use a feeding tray
    artificial feeding stations
    natural feeding stations
    purchasing a ready-made feeding station
    elevating the feeding station
    fasting seahorses
    target feeding
    Mysis relicta from Piscine Energetics
    Broadcast feeding or scatter feeding — just say no!

    Lesson 6: Compatible Tankmates for Seahorses.
    Safe and unsafe companions — no guarantees;
    Tropical tankmates;
    fish to avoid
    seahorse-safe fish
    seahorse-safe invertebrates
    Feeding seahorses in a community tank;
    Seahorse-proofing a reef tank
    safe corals
    unsafe corals
    lighting the seahorse reef
    managing water circulation for a seahorse reef

    Lesson 7: Courtship & Breeding.
    Courtship displays in Hippocampus (fully illustrated)
    tilting and reciprocal quivering
    pouch displays (pumping and ballooning)
    copulatory rise and the egg transfer
    Pair formation
    Morning greetings
    Male brooding — a true pregnancy
    Giving birth — dawn deliveries

    Lesson 8: Raising the Young.
    Seahorse fry
    Determining ease of rearing
    Setting up a basic nursery for benthic babies
    Advanced nursery tank options for pelagic fry
    the shaded nursery
    kriesel and pseudokreisel nurseries
    the divided nursery
    in-tank nurseries (illustrated)
    the greenwater "starter" nursery
    hyposalinity for pelagic fry
    Delivery day
    Culling the fry (if necessary)
    Feeding the fry
    hatching and enriching brine shrimp (Artemia)
    decapsulated brine shrimp eggs
    culturing rotifers and copepods
    Fry feeding schedule

    Lesson 9: Disease Prevention and Control.
    Captive bred vs. wild-caught seahorses
    Importance of High-Health seahorses
    Seahorse anatomy illustrations
    external anatomy
    internal anatomy
    Screening seahorses from your LFS
    Quarantine tank
    Quarantine protocol for pet-shop ponies and wild seahorses
    Beta glucan boosts immunity to disease
    Early detection of health problems
    aquarium stressors
    disease symptoms in seahorses
    What to do at the first sign of a health problem
    The seahorse-keepers medicine chest
    first aid kit for seahorses
    must-have medications to keep on hand
    properties of the main medications
    Life expectancy
    Hepatic lipidosis (prevalence of fatty liver disease)
    Seahorse disease book

    Lesson 10: Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus) & Acclimating New Arrivals.
    Nature of Mustangs and Sunbursts
    multi-generational approach to rearing
    hybrid vigor
    genetic diversity
    selective breeding
    Hippocampus erectus species summary
    scientific name and common names
    meristic counts and morphometric measurements (illustrated)
    climate and distribution
    color and pattern
    breeding habits
    breeding season
    gestation period
    brood size
    pelagic/benthic fry
    onset of sexual maturity
    ease of rearing
    natural habitats and natural history
    preferred parameters and aquarium requirements
    suggested stocking density
    successful rearing protocols
    feeding the fry
    nursery tank designs
    rearing and grow out tanks
    diet and nutrition
    color variations
    temperature requirements
    wide ranging species with different races
    recommended reading
    Acclimating new arrivals (step-by-step instructions)
    Keeping and culturing red feeder shrimp (Halocaridina rubra)

    if you are interested, Jamie, I will be providing you with detailed information on these subjects and answering any questions you may have about the material I present. With your background as an experienced reefkeeper, no doubt you would breeze right through all of the lessons, but it would be a good way for you to brush up on me care and keeping of seahorses so that you can create ideal conditions for the particular ponies.

    If you would like to check out the lessons, just send me a brief note off list ([email protected]) saying so and I will get you started on the training program immediately.

    Best wishes with all your fishes (and invertebrates), Jamie! It sounds like you have been doing quite well with your seahorses thus far despite a lack of sound advice and good guidance, and we can rectify the latter…

    Pete Giwojna


    Pete that is unreal,

    It probably sound quite silly, but I have done nothing really special and they are going great so it was good to hear I was on the right track. I would love to do the training program. I will send that e-mail now.

    As for the type, looking at the video on your homepage, they are the same as the ones shown, or at least they look like them. I know they are CB and the guys said they were very very hardy. Maybe they even came from you guys 🙂

    I would also like to publically say that people like yourself who provide this sort of place to find information are simply amazing. The service you provide free of charge has without doubt saved millions of Marine animals and probably the sanity of the same ammount of people.

    Thanks again,

    I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

    P.S. If it is easier, i can take a few photos of my guys, just let me know where to send them.



    Pete Giwojna

    Dear Jamie:

    You’re very welcome!

    It’s very unlikely that the seahorses you obtained from your local fish store in Australia were Ocean Riders, since they only ship their livestock within the Continental USA, but I can certainly understand why you might think so. Most seahorses are very similar in overall appearance and it is subtle differences in the size and shape of their coronet, fin ray counts, spinal development, and number of trunk rings and tail rings that distinguish the different species. So it takes a very trained eye and lots of experience to be able to determine which species any given seahorse is at a quick glance or even from a picture. But I will keep an eye out for the photographs and do my best to identify your new ponies.

    Okay, I have received your e-mail and you are now enrolled in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program. You should have received the first lesson earlier today.

    Best wishes with all your fishes and thank you for the kind words, Jamie!

    Happy Trails & Happy New Year!
    Pete Giwojna

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