- This topic has 4 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 16 years, 11 months ago by carrieincolorado.
December 30, 2006 at 11:57 pm #1055ageberMember
I woke up today to find one of my seahorses missing from my 90 gal tank. it was a juvenile sunburst. I have looked everywhere and have dismantled most of the rock and corals. Is it possible my serpent star got hold of it somehow and pulled it into a cave and consumed it? it was swimming fine last night but this morning simply gone. checked the overflow, the filter box, the refugium. no sign of it. There are only a few sand sifter starfish, 1 decent size serpent star, 6 seahorses, a pipefish, a cleaner shrimp(not very big), and assorted finger leathers, toadstool, and gargonia\’s, lots of rock,
ANY IDEASDecember 31, 2006 at 3:40 am #3209Pete GiwojnaGuest
I’m sorry to hear about your missing seahorse. That’s quite a puzzle and I’d be happy to share my thoughts on the matter with you for whatever it’s worth.
I don’t think you’re serpent starfish could have consumed the juvenile Sunburst. As you know, the starfish has no teeth and cannot chew; it must swallow its meals intact and in one piece, so that anything that is too large for it to stuff into its oral cavity is quite safe. If it had eaten anything as large as your juvenile seahorses, it would be immediately apparent. The body disc of the serpent starfish would be enormously swollen and distended and you could probably clearly make out the outline of the seahorse inside of it. I know that when I feed my serpent starfish pieces of cubed cocktail shrimp, you can clearly see a square lump in the body disc of the seahorse for each piece of the cocktail shrimp it has ingested. So check out your serpent starfish for any suspicious lumps and bulges in its central disc — if it had eaten a meal the size of your seahorse, it would be grotesquely engorged; if it is not, then you can be very certain that the serpent starfish played no role in the disappearance of the seahorse. It is a cold-blooded creature and its digestion is therefore relatively slow — if it had eaten a large meal last night, it would still be extremely evident today simply by examining its body disc.
Due to the bony plates that comprise it’s exoskeleton, a seahorse that has been killed or died doesn’t decompose and disintegrate overnight. Unless you’re serpent starfish is enormously fat and lumpy this morning or one of your sand sifting starfish has somehow managed to bury the carcass, the seahorse must still be in the aquarium somewhere in some inaccessible nook. Nor could Nassarius snails and bristleworms or other scavengers dispose of a deceased seahorse in a single night.
One possibility that occurs to me is that a mantis shrimp may have hitchhiked into your aquarium on the live rock. A large stomotopod is quite capable of killing a juvenile seahorse and dragging it into its hiding place within the rocks. (Indeed, I have lost a seahorse before in this identical fashion myself.) If that’s the case, you will need to trap the culprit and remove the mantis to prevent any further depredations.
Hopefully, your juvenile Sunburst has secluded himself out of sight and will emerge none the worse for wear at your next feeding. That’s quite possible in a 90-gallon aquarium with lots of live rock. But it’s also entirely possible that the seahorse has expired for reasons unknown and that you will never find it. That has certainly been known to happen in a large aquarium aquascaped with lots of live rock and live corals to create an intricate environment with the varied microhabitats seahorses need to thrive.
Keep an eye on your water quality for the next few days. If the seahorse is deceased and decomposing somewhere unseen in the aquarium, there may be an ammonia spike as it decays. In a large aquarium like yours, with sufficient water volume to provide a generous margin for error, and plenty of live rock for efficient biofiltration, there may be no ammonia or nitrite spikes following the undetected loss of a seahorse, but it’s always best to play it safe and monitor your water quality for the next several days.
Best wishes with all your fishes, ageber.
Pete GiwojnaDecember 31, 2006 at 10:34 am #3211ageberGuest
Thanks again for the advice. as it turns out, i literally pulled every rock out of the tank and could not find her. The serpent star definitely did not eat her. Somehow, she managed to get into the overflow compartment and attached herself to the vent. I was able to rescue her and she is swimming and eating fine.January 1, 2007 at 12:32 am #3212Pete GiwojnaGuest
Woohoo! Great job rescuing the missing seahorse! You should be commended for your persistence and diligence in painstakingly removing every piece of live rock from your 90-gallon aquarium looking for the wayward pony. I know what an arduous task that can be personal experience. It’s just a shame that you didn’t discover her in the overflow before you went to all that trouble and effort of dismantling the rockwork to look for her.
Thanks for sharing your rescue efforts with us. I’m a sucker for a happy ending and it’s great to hear that everything worked out in the end and the juvenile Sunburst is none the worse for wear following her ordeal.
Best wishes with all your fishes, ageber!
Pete GiwojnaJanuary 2, 2007 at 11:30 am #3214carrieincoloradoGuest
I’m so glad you found your seahorse! What a pain to take apart your rockwork, though!
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