Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › Newbie…struggling…please help
- This topic has 4 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 16 years, 7 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
October 28, 2006 at 3:36 am #965DebMember
Please forgive me if this post is redundant…i am sure that these questions have been asked many times….I beg your indulgence!
I set up my salt water tank on 8/9/06. I used \"live sand\" substrate. LFS said to wait 6 – 8 weeks for tank to cycle…it never did. ( They think it cycled early and that is why I never saw a huge \"cycle\") So after 9 weeks of waiting for my tank to do NOTHING but be absolutly dead on for all level\’s….I decided to bite the bullet and put a couple of seahorses in the tank as well as a few other NON-aggressive fish, shrimp, starfish etc…
After the horses did not eat for 6 days I started target feeds with frozen mysis. I can get each horse to eat 1 – 2 bites…then that\’s it. I try to get the rest of the mysis out of the tank. But I guess I am not doing a good enough job because my ammonia level is creeping up. So tonight I did a 25% water change out. I set water aside for 3 days doing everything that I was told to do by LFS to get levels right….and my ammonia is still at .5. I have struggled with my Ph as well…it is hovering around 8.3- 8.4 now.
I dont know WHAT I am doing. I am completely devoted to the care and upkeep of my little horses…but I am really at a loss as to how to get the buggers to eat without screwing up the tank levels.
The water change out was a complete mess…I had salt water EVERYWHERE and I probably did more damage than good.
Any wisdom you can impart will be appreciated…
deb:SOctober 28, 2006 at 5:14 pm #2962mortyGuest
Did you ever use damsels to cycle the tank?
It sounds like you just let the tank run to get started. The live sand that comes in a bag is dried and sterilized with UV. Does it really contain live microbes?
Seachem Prime can help you lower your levels, but also use their Stability which is bacteria to help you cycle. It is safe for both fish and corals.October 28, 2006 at 11:38 pm #2965trulyshyGuest
Hi, I agree with Morty.
When I cycled our tank, I put in live rock first, than later added a damsel (which we still have…).
I was told that live rock is a great way to get the tank cycled and vital for the future of the tank.
We were also told to slowly add stock. It was our first salt water tank and of course we could not wait to add stock. But, we listened to our LFS and added on fish at a time, or a coral at a time so that the tank can get used to the newbies. They told us if you add too much stock at once it is not good for the tank. Even now they suggest not to add too much at once.
ChristineOctober 29, 2006 at 3:36 pm #2971LeslieGuest
Sorry you are having troubles.
You need a source of ammonia to cycle a tank. Some folks use fish. I prefer and recommend fishless methods as it is kinder than subjecting the fish to ammonia toxicity. Ususally if these fish survive the cycling process they are returned to the LFS only to be again purchased for cycling….. on and on until they finally most likely die in someones tank. A piece od shrimp or actually bottled ammonia can be used to cycle a tank.
It sounds like your tank did not cycle, unless you had some fully cured live rock in there. I have set up tanks in the past with live sand and fully cured live rock that never went through any sort of cycle.
If this were my tank I would stop feeding dead food. It is only adding to your problem. Feeding live red feeder shrimp from OR would help. They can live in the tank until eaten thus not contributing to the ammonia problem like dead food would by decaying in the tank if you can not remve it.
I am not a fan of adding chemicals to decrese ammonia. All these products do is bind the ammonia and I find cause other problems later. The only way to remove the amonia is to do water changes or add additional biofilter that will actually convert it to nitrites and then nitrates …….
IMO your best bet would be to add some FULLY cured live rock, if you can get your hands on some as well as good sized daily water changes.
Your pH is fine at 8.3 or 8.4. What pH are you trying to acheive?
The ammonia level you are getting is only part of the picture. Ammonia is dependent on pH and temperature. Most test kits on the market test for total ammonia, which is the combination of highly toxic ammonia molecules and relatively harmless ammonium molecules. Toxic ammonia is a percentage of the total ammonia That percentage is based on the pH and the temperature of the water. So your toxic ammonia is most likely not .5 it is probably lower. Toxic ammonia will be higher in tanks where the temp and pH are higher. If your kit tests for total ammonia, then take the measured amount and multiply that by a value found in a special table. That value is based on your tank temp and pH. The result is the amount of toxic ammonia in the water. The tables with instructions can be found by doing an online search if you want to calculate yout TOXIC ammonia.
To determine if your test kit tests for toxic or total ammonia check the instructions carefully.
So you could lower you tank temp a bit and that will help to lower the toxic ammonia. If you are adding anything to keep your pH at 8.3 to 8.4 I would stop and let your pH be a little lower while you are having this ammonia problem. A pH of 8.0 to 8.2 would be fine for now. I would however not use any additives to lower the ph.
LeslieOctober 29, 2006 at 9:30 pm #2977Pete GiwojnaGuest
I’m sorry to hear about the problems you’ve been having with your seahorse setup.
I agree with Leslie — it sounds like your aquarium may never have cycled initially while you were so patiently waiting because there was no bioload in the tank and therefore no source of ammonia to feed the beneficial nitrifying bacteria. Leslie gave you an excellent advice and that regard, and I would follow her suggestions explicitly.
Let us know when your ammonia and nitrite readings are finally back down to zero again, and we can work on adjusting your pH in stabilizing it in the proper range at that time. But for now, the low pH is actually helping to protect your seahorses from the ammonia that’s present.
In the meantime, there have been a few other threads on the Ocean Rider Club discussion board at seahorse.com from hobbyists who were just starting out with seahorses that you should also find to be of interest, Deb. They discuss setting up an ideal system for seahorses, filtration, feeding, lighting, circulation and so on. I’ve provided links to those discussions for you below, so please check them out. I think they will answer many of your questions about keeping seahorses:
Click here: Seahorse.com – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re:ok stocking density…
Re:Hello, newbie here! – O http://www.seahorse.com/option,com_simpleboard/Itemid,144/func,view/id,1004/catid,2/
Click here: Seahorse.com – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re:Setting up a 100gal for
Re: Guidance on Keeping Seahorses:
Re: New to seahorses and I have lots of questions!
Re: Tank set-up advice
Re:New-comer in need of help
Re:New with lots of questions 🙂
In particular, Deb, be sure to copy and paste the following URL for a good discussion on cycling a new aquarium, suggested maintenance for a seahorse setup, and performing water changes. It should help you understand the cycling process a little better:
Click here: Seahorse.com – Seahorse, Sea Life, Marine Life, Aquafarm Sales, Feeds and Accessories – Re:need info on protien skimmer among other things
Best of luck with your new seahorse setup, Deb!
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