- This topic has 5 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 16 years, 8 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
January 25, 2007 at 5:19 am #1098carrieincoloradoMember
I woke to find 4 pixie fry in the tank, one was hitched and the other three were on the substrate squirming and looking rather ill. I had to get to work, so I put their morning brine and and left. We got home a little while ago and two of them were dead. They are VERY tiny, totaling less than 1/4 inch from head to the tip of the tail. The one that was hitched this morning I cannot find, and the other one is still squirming at the bottom. They still have yolk sacs that are visable but I am wondering if perhaps they are preemy? They have teeny faces and it doesn\’t seem as though their snouts are even developed. Of course, this is my first brood of Pixie\’s, so I\’m not sure what to expect. I don\’t even know which male had them, the biggest male (Mr. Stubbs, because the tip of his tail is gone since I\’ve had him) was the one who was courting the other day and showing his empty pouch. No one else looked pregnant.
Any ideas as to what might be wrong? I did a recent water change and the tank looks good, so I don\’t think it\’s water quality.January 25, 2007 at 7:56 am #3340carrieincoloradoGuest
Ok, tank looks good except….. I think I have some hydroids. This may be why my pixie fry died. I have some critters on the glass and on the caulerpa that look like fuzzy starfish, very small and they are pinkish red… probably from eating brine. If they are hydroid, can you tell me how to get rid of them?January 25, 2007 at 10:10 pm #3343KrisGuest
If they are hydroid, can you tell me how to get rid of them?
Panacur.January 25, 2007 at 10:22 pm #3344carrieincoloradoGuest
Yes…. I guess I’d rather try something else before the Panacur and just use it as a last ditch measure. (considering I would have to move all my snails and caulerpa and would not be able to reintroduce them probably ever.. or at least for about a year.) I have a plan to do a deep cleaning on the tank today, hopefully without screwing with my biological filter too badly. I did a major water change last night and sucked up 80% of the nasty critters. I love saltwater creatures and bugs, but these are really ticking me off!January 25, 2007 at 10:27 pm #3346Pete GiwojnaGuest
Yes, it certainly does sound like some of the newborns were born prematurely. Such preemies are typically undersized, very noticeably pug-nosed, and still attached to yolk sacs. That’s not an unusual occurrence with seahorses. For example, when culling a large brood of seahorses, its customary to cull out the runts, pug-nosed preemies, and stillborn young immediately. There can sometimes be large numbers of these and it’s important to weed them out to strengthen and improve the strain (for instance, in the Encyclopedia of Seahorses, Mildred Bellamy reports that up to one third of an entire brood in H. erectus may sometimes be stillborn).
Like all other animals, a certain small percentage of the seahorse fry may be born with various birth defects. As long as your aquarium parameters are where they should be, the water chemistry looks good, your brood stock is healthy and well fed, and your tank is free of hydroids, this unusual occurrence may simply be a one-time aberration. Very likely, the next brood your Pixie produces will be carried to full term and delivered fully formed and healthy.
Best of luck with your Pixies and their future progeny, Carrie!
Pete GiwojnaJanuary 25, 2007 at 10:52 pm #3348Pete GiwojnaGuest
It sounds to me like some of the dwarf seahorse fry were definitely premature and that you’re having a problem with hydroids — a double whammy for the poor little guys!!! If that’s the case, they never really had much of a chance…
If you want to avoid treatment with fenbendazole (Panacur), hydroids of most kinds can be eradicated from the aquarium by raising the water temperature to 92°F or above for period of 3-5 days. Keep all of the filters and equipment operating so that the hot water circulates throughout them and destroys any hydroids or hydromedusae that may be present in the filtration system. (Seahorses and their tankmates, including snails and the cleanup crew, must be removed to a temporary holding tank while the heat treatment is carried out.) Maintaining the water temperature at 92° for this period does not harm the beneficial nitrifying bacteria in your biofilter, injure marine plants or macroalgae, or kill off copepods and other beneficial microfauna.
After the treatment period, perform a large water change to assure that the die off of hydroids does not degrade your water quality, and adjust the water temperature back to normal, and all the animals can be returned to the aquarium. The tank will not undergo a "mini cycle" and there will be no ammonia or nitrite spikes.
However, not all types of hydroids respond to the heat treatment method of eradication. The snowflake type of hydroids that are all too common seem to have no difficulty surviving the heat treatment. So generally speaking, then Panacur is a more reliable way to eliminate them. Some folks might describe the snowflake type of hydroids as "fuzzy starfish," in which case the heat treatment may not be effective.
Likewise, a good way to prevent hydroids from becoming a problem with dwarf seahorses is to set up and establish two dwarf seahorse tanks simultaneously, one of which will house the dwarf seahorses and one of which will serve as a backup tank for the inevitable day when an outbreak of hydroids occurs. That way when hydroids appear on the seahorse tank, the ponies can simply be transferred to the backup tank without missing a beat, and the tank with the hydroids can be cleansed of them using the heat treatment and become the new backup tank. It can then be held in reserve, fully cycled and ready to go, the next time hydroids appear in the dwarf tank. There is an excellent discussion of this method of hydroid control in Alisa Abbott’s guidebook (Complete Guide to Dwarf Seahorses in the Aquarium).
Best of luck eradicating the dreaded ‘droids, Carrie!
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