Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › Seahorse Training Program — get certified now!
- This topic has 261 replies, 42 voices, and was last updated 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Pete Giwojna.
January 15, 2010 at 6:36 am #1780Pete GiwojnaModerator
I am pleased to announce that a comprehensive training program for new seahorse keepers is now available to all interested parties from Ocean Rider!
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Pete Giwojna and I provide tech support for Ocean Rider (seahorse.com). One of my duties in that regard now includes 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. All newbies are required to complete the training program to my satisfaction before they can be certified and authorized to purchase seahorses, but the training lessons are available to anyone who cares to participate.
The purpose of this training is twofold: (1) to assure that the home hobbyist has a suitable aquarium, completely cycled and with the biofiltration fully established, ready and waiting when his seahorses arrive, and (2) to assure that the hobbyist has a good understanding of the aquarium care and requirements of Ocean Rider seahorses by the time he or she has completed the training and been certified. All of which will help to ensure that things go smoothly and that the home aquarist’s first experience with Ocean Rider seahorses is rewarding and enjoyable.
This basic training is very informal and completely free of charge. 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;
titanium grounding probe
Test kits for monitoring water quality;
Aquascaping the seahorse tank;
artificial hitching posts
Basic aquarium setups for seahorses;
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;
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);
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
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
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;
fish to avoid
Feeding seahorses in a community tank;
Seahorse-proofing a reef tank
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
Male brooding — a true pregnancy
Giving birth — dawn deliveries
Lesson 8: Raising the Young.
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
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
Weaning — making the transition to frozen foods
Lesson 9: Disease Prevention and Control.
Captive bred vs. wild-caught seahorses
Importance of High-Health seahorses
Seahorse anatomy illustrations
Screening seahorses from your LFS
Quarantine protocol for pet-shop ponies and wild seahorses
Beta glucan boosts immunity to disease
Early detection of health problems
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
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
Hippocampus erectus species summary
scientific name and common names
meristic counts and morphometric measurements (illustrated)
climate and distribution
color and pattern
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
wide ranging species with different races
Acclimating new arrivals (step-by-step instructions)
Keeping and culturing red feeder shrimp (Halocaridina rubra)
I will be providing detailed information on these subjects to anyone who is interested in participating in the training course, and then answering any questions you may have about the material I present. I will also be recommending seahorse-related articles for you to read and absorb online.
In short, the training course will teach you everything you need to know to keep your seahorses happy and healthy, and it will arm you with the information you need in order to tackle your first ponies with confidence. It will explain how to set up a new aquarium and optimize it to create ideal conditions for your seahorses.
How long this training will take to complete depends on your experience level as an aquarist to a large extent. For example, if you have never kept seahorses before and you do not already have a suitable saltwater aquarium up and running, it will take at least eight weeks for your training and preparations to be completed before you can be certified. It will take that long to learn the basics of seahorse keeping, set up a suitable aquarium, cycle the tank from scratch to establish the biological filtration, and optimize the tank to create an ideal environment for seahorses. Only then can you be certified ready to receive your first seahorses.
On the other hand, experienced marine aquarists and hobbyists that have had seahorses before and already have a suitable saltwater aquarium up and running can be certified much more quickly. I will run through the same basic information with them, but most of the information I provide will be familiar material for such hobbyists and they should be able to review it and get up to speed quickly, plus they should have well-established aquariums ready, fully matured that they can fairly quickly adapt in order to make them more ideal for seahorses. In a case like that, certification can be completed as soon as they have absorbed the material I provide and are confident they have a good grasp of the specialized requirements and aquarium care of the seahorses.
In order to provide you with the best possible assistance during the training, I will need to know a little more about your background as an aquarist and the type of aquarium you have available to serve as your seahorse tank, So in order to get started, it will be helpful if you could tell me how experienced you are with saltwater aquariums. Have you ever kept a marine aquarium before? If so, how long have you been involved with the saltwater aquarium hobby? Do you have one or more marine aquariums up and running at this time? If so, how long have the tanks been in operation?
Do you have an aquarium up and running at this time that you intend to use as a seahorse tank? If so, can you please describe the aquarium system you will be using for your seahorse tank? How large is the aquarium (length, width, and height)? What kind of filtration equipment is installed and running on the aquarium? What type of lighting system does the tank you? How long has the proposed seahorse tank been up and running? Please list all of the current inhabitants of the aquarium you will be using as your seahorse tank, if any.
If not, if you don’t have an aquarium for your seahorses as of yet, that’s just fine. I will be providing you with lots of recommendations and options in that regard so that you can pick out a tank that is just right for your needs and interests. And I will be working with you personally every step of the way until your new aquarium is ready for seahorses and you are well prepared to give them the best of care, regardless of how long that may take.
I strongly encourage anyone and everyone who is interested in seahorses to take advantage of this outstanding free training program. Go through all the lessons with me and get your seahorse tank up and running in time for the latest crop of Mustangs and Sunbursts, which will be maturing this Spring. The latest generation of Ocean Rider Hippocampus erectus seahorses will be hardier and better adapted to aquarium life than ever before.
The free lessons are available to anyone who is interested. You do not have to have Ocean Rider seahorses to be eligible for the training — it is open to all hobbyists regardless of where they may have obtained their seahorses, or whether they have any seahorses at all. Many of our trainees are simply doing long-term research on seahorses and have no plans to keep them in the near future; they just want to learn as much as they can on the subject for that fateful day when and if they decide to take the plunge…
If you would like to give the seahorse training program a try, just send me a brief e-mail off list ([email protected]) with your full name (first and last) along with the information requested above, and I will get you started out with the first lesson right away.
Best wishes with all your fishes!
Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2010/01/23 03:52
Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2010/02/10 04:12January 17, 2010 at 4:52 am #5018yixianGuest
I’m a knew aquarist and I’ve recently taken an interest in seahorses and have decided to start a tank devoted to them. I’ve gotten a lot of information from Seahorse.com and now I’m interested in getting certified and taking the lessons 1-10.
From, Jocelyn LouieJanuary 17, 2010 at 6:37 am #5019Pete GiwojnaGuest
Excellent! I have your e-mail address from your follow-up message and I will contact you off list with the necessary information and get you started on the lessons right away. You should receive the first lesson no later than Monday, January 18.
Best wishes with all your fishes, Jocelyn! Welcome aboard!
Pete GiwojnaJanuary 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm #5020sadasalaskarGuest
Great :woohoo: I m very much interested in enrolling myself for training program for new seahorse keepers. I m having marine aquarium for last 3 years ( size :- L 5ft, H 3ft, B 1ft 6inch). Truly I have never kept Seahorse in my tank as I didnt had any knowledge on Seahorse keeping. And was never confident that i could give proper care to them. But always dream of keeping a tank fully devoted for such gentle pets.
Please enroll me in your training program which is via email. So that i can educate myself in careing and keeping of seahorse.
My Full Name : Sadanand Salaskar
With warm regards
Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2010/01/20 06:13January 19, 2010 at 2:59 am #5021yixianGuest
It’s me Jocelyn I was looking at the website again and I just found out that Ocean RIder doesn’t ship within the state of Hawaii. I can understand why and I was just wondering if you could maybe recommend some seahorses that I can find on the island of Oahu. This would be much appreciated. Thanks so much.
-JocelynJanuary 19, 2010 at 4:52 am #5022Pete GiwojnaGuest
Yes, you’re quite correct — Ocean Rider (seahorse.com) does have a strict policy against selling any of their livestock within the State of Hawaii. This limitation is necessary to prevent the accidental or intentional release of seahorses that are not native to the islands into Hawaiian waters where they may have a negative impact on endemic seahorses and ecosystems.
The release of captive specimens is widely acknowledged to have the potential to do considerable harm under certain circumstances. The primary concerns are that such releases could introduce diseases into seahorse populations, could pose genetic threats to wild populations, and could disrupt the structure and normal function of seahorse communities, and may therefore actually result in extirpations (localized extinctions) of native seahorses.
The fact that Ocean Rider cannot provide livestock for you will have no effect whatsoever on the training lessons since you do not have to have Ocean Rider seahorses, or seahorses of any kind, in order to participate in the training course.
However, seahorses are still being imported into Hawaiian from sources other than Ocean Rider. Under the circumstances, your best option for locating seahorses will be to contact the local fish stores in your area and ask them to notify you the next time they receive a shipment of seahorses. (I am not in a position to recommend any particular pet shop or fish stores.) As always, Jocelyn, captive-bred-and-raised seahorses are much preferable to wild-caught seahorses or pen-raised ponies, when you have a choice. Lesson 9 (disease prevention and control) discusses how to screen seahorses from the pet store to make sure they are healthy before you make a purchase, so be sure to keep those guidelines in mind when you are selecting a seahorse from your local pet store.
Best of luck finding the perfect ponies for your new seahorse setup when the time comes, Jocelyn!
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech SupportJanuary 20, 2010 at 6:15 am #5023Pete GiwojnaGuest
That’s just fine! I have received your follow-up e-mail off list and you are now officially enrolled in the Ocean Rider seahorse training program. In fact, by the time you see this message, you will probably already have received the first two lessons.
Best wishes with all your fishes, Sadanand! And good luck with the training course.
Pete GiwojnaJanuary 20, 2010 at 7:45 am #5024yixianGuest
I’ll keep looking!:)January 27, 2010 at 3:14 am #5030tjsmithGuest
I would like to take the seahorse training course. How do i go about getting the info to complete?
thanks.January 27, 2010 at 5:48 am #5031Pete GiwojnaGuest
The seahorse training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail. If you would like to participate, just send me an e-mail off list with the information regarding your background as an aquarist (if any) and basic information on any marine aquariums you are already keeping, along with your full name (first and last), which I need for my records. You can contact me at the following e-mail address at any time: [email protected]
I will then enroll you in the training course and reply to your e-mail, sending you the first of the lessons. I will be corresponding with you from then on, answering any questions or concerns you may have following each lesson. From there, we will proceed at a pace that is comparable for you until you have completed the entire training program. We just have to make contact via e-mail before the training program can begin…
So just shoot me a quick e-mail off list with the information requested above and I’ll get you started out on the training program right away, TJ.
Best wishes with all your fishes!
Pete GiwojnaJanuary 30, 2010 at 4:27 am #5035rrossGuest
Pete. I would like to take your seahorse training program. My wife and I were at the facility a week ago. It’s a fantastic place, I’d love to work there.I have had aquariums for atleast 25 yrs. Saltwater for about 15 yrs. I have a 55gal freshwater, a 40 gal. salt, a 10gal. salt. a30 gal. fresh, and a 2500 gal. pond in my backyard for koi. The horses will be going into the 40 gal. which measures(36in. long x 20in. tall x 12in. deep. Ready to get started!
RossJanuary 30, 2010 at 7:24 am #5037Pete GiwojnaGuest
Your 40 gallon aquarium can make a fine seahorse corral and I would be happy to enroll you in the training program and explain how to optimize your tank to create ideal conditions for seahorses. But I need to know your e-mail address and rather posting it on the forum here for the general public to see, I prefer that you contact me off list at the following e-mail address: [email protected]
As you know, sir, the seahorse training program is a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail. Once I receive your e-mail address, I will then enroll you in the training course and reply to your e-mail, sending you the first of the lessons. The lines of communication will then be open, and I will be corresponding with you from then on, answering any questions or concerns you may have following each lesson. From there, we will proceed at a pace that is comparable for you until you have completed the entire training program. We just have to make contact via e-mail before the training program can begin…
So just shoot me a quick e-mail off list with your full name (first and last) and I’ll get you started out on the training program right away, Ross.
Best wishes with all your fishes!
Pete GiwojnaFebruary 13, 2010 at 3:47 am #5060saburnerGuest
I would be interested in your course.
I have been keeping H kellogi for over a year and a half and have been into aquaria for 20+ years.
ScottFebruary 13, 2010 at 6:11 am #5061Pete GiwojnaGuest
Excellent, sir! If you have been able to keep your delicate Hippocampus kelloggi seahorses alive for a year and a half, you are obviously doing a lot of things right already, Scott, but I would be very happy to enroll you in the seahorse training program.
As you know, it’s a correspondence course that is conducted entirely via e-mail. In order to sign you up for the lessons, Scott, I therefore need to know your e-mail address, and rather posting it on the forum here for the general public to see, I prefer that you contact me off list at the following e-mail address: [email protected]
So please send me a brief e-mail off list including your full name (first and last), which we need for our records, and a brief description of your H. kelloggi aquarium and how it is equipped, and I will reply with the first lesson right away.
Best wishes with all your fishes, Scott! Keep up the great work!
Pete GiwojnaFebruary 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm #5069saburnerGuest
What a great course.
Not only have I learned so much about seahorse raising I now feel that I have a go-to source for information without sorting through a plethora of conflicting info and opinions.
I would recommend this course to anyone who keeps a marine system with or without horses.
My LFS currently has three ponies that where sent to her along with the two I had ordered. She hid them in her office tank away from the public as she didn’t want to let them go to anyone not prepared to house them properly. I told her about this course and she agreed to make any prospective horse keepers take your course prior to adopting.
The three ponies in the office are now safe as when she mentioned selling them her husband (whom never had shown an interest in any of her fish) has fallen for the horses. She says he spends hours watching the horses where that time before had been spent on line.
A world of thanks,
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