- This topic has 5 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 16 years, 9 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
May 18, 2007 at 8:52 am #1202jarabasMember
Thanks for the great info Pete.
I mistyped–the ammonia in my tank is at zero. As a nervous new mom I would be freakin if it was at 2! Since I don\’t have experience I want everything to be perfect for my seahorses.
The explanation about the pH is very helpful.
BTW, what test kits are considered most reliable? I am using Aquarium pharmaseuticals (SP?) liquid tests. Is there a better kit? My LFS is willing to test my water samples for free, so I could ask them to tell me about O2.
I will try to train my seahorses to eat from a nice natural bowl in one of the rocks in my tank. I have a turkey baster that reaches it. Should be fun. so far I seem to have the greedy eater sort.:laugh:
JanMay 18, 2007 at 9:32 pm #3586Pete GiwojnaGuest
You’re very welcome!
Okay, that’s good to know that the ammonia reading was just a typo — zero ammonia is more like it!
The Aquarium Pharmaceuticals liquid reagent test kits are adequate, particularly if your LFS can double-check your water chemistry readings for you occasionally, but if you want to upgrade, the Salifert test kits are very well regarded and not too terribly expensive (still reasonably priced).
Your LFS can check the levels of dissolved oxygen for you, but there are easy-to-use test kits for O2 available that you may want to keep on hand, Jan. Methods for measuring dissolved oxygen in the aquarium can be as simple or as sophisticated as you desire, ranging from basic test kits under $10 to electronic probes costing hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, the humble seahorse keeper doesn’t require anything too fancy along those lines, and the basic O2 test kits will do nicely for our purposes.
For instance, the Tetra Oxygen Test Kit (TetraTest 02) is a good liquid reagent test kit for fresh or saltwater with simple color scales for comparing readings that tests for 02 in the range of 2-14 PPM. It will cost you between $8.50 to $14 depending on where you shop and should be available at any well-stocked LFS. Salifert also makes a nice 02 Test Kit (their 02 Profi-Test) that will run you about $20.
Yes, target feeding your seahorses and training them to use a feeding station can be a lot of fun and the interaction this requires often forges a close bond between the seahorse keeper and his charges. A natural depression in the live rock should make it convenient feeding trough for your seahorses, Jan, and once they learn to associate the Turkey baster with their gourmet goodies (which normally happens very fast), you can lead them right to the feeding station, and they will be queuing up there for their meals before you know it.
Best of luck with your new seahorses, Jan! Here’s hoping you have them eating right out of your hand in no time!
Pete GiwojnaMay 19, 2007 at 1:01 am #3587jarabasGuest
Now I have another question. So far, the hitch of choice seems to be the heater. I am trying to get a heater guard for it, but the only one I have been able to find is online and out of stock. I have a back order in. I don’t want my ponies to burn their tails in the meantime.
I have the heater set at 70. The water temp has been pretty steady at 72-73 so the heater does not seem to come on much–but I am still a little concerned. I don’t want to just shut it off because the house cools down to 65 at night lately. If the heater does come on, will my seahorses let go before they get burned? Is it OK for the water temp to go below 70?
JanMay 19, 2007 at 10:56 pm #3589Pete GiwojnaGuest
Ugh — I know just what you mean when you say that your seahorse’s preferred hitch unfortunately seems to be the heater. I don’t know how many times over the years I’ve had seahorses ignore all my artfully arranged aquascaping and handpicked, thoughtfully placed finger sponges, colorful branching corals, lush beds of macroalgaes, and gorgeous gorgonia, only to adopt an unsightly siphon tube or the dang heater cord as their favorite hitching posts instead!
As you know, our amazing aquatic equines — especially the stallions — will often choose one particular hitching post as their home base and spend much of there time perched right there (think of your Dad hunkered down in his favorite easy chair in the den). Once they adopt a favorite base of operations like this, they will often proceed to change coloration to match their preferred resting spot. So I always take great pains to encourage my ponies to adopt one of the more vivid pieces as a favorite holdfast. Needless to say, it’s tremendously frustrating and annoying when they eschew all the primo hitching posts I’ve so carefully selected and arranged for them in favor of some piece of mechanical apparatus haphazardly dangling inside their tank!
You’ll want to break them of the habit of perching on your heater, of course, Jan. Not only to avoid the slight risk of a heater burn, but more importantly, to encourage them to perch near the bottom of the aquarium where the extra hydrostatic pressure will help protect them from depth-related problems such as certain forms of gas bubble disease. Perhaps you can shield the heater from the seahorses by placing it in the corner of your tank and screening it off behind a tank divider or a piece of window glass cut to size that you have placed diagonally across that corner of the aquarium.
Seahorses can be susceptible to heater burns under certain circumstances. Such accidents are most likely to happen during the winter when the heater is running more or less continuously. I should think that the risk from a heater burn this time of year would be pretty low. A heater guard is a wise precaution nonetheless, and if you want to play it safe and leave your heater turned off until you can obtain a heater guard, that should not be a problem, Jan.
Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus) can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, and handle cooler temperatures better than high temperatures. They would not have any problem at all if the water temperature in their aquarium gradually dropped to below 70°F. In fact, this species is often kept in temperate aquariums at temperatures in the low to mid 60s.
Of course, it’s always best to maintain stable temperatures and if your aquarium typically holds at 72°F -73°F, that is ideal for Mustangs and Sunbursts. Once you get your heater guard, your seahorses should thrive at that temperature. In the meantime, don’t worry if the temperature of the aquarium dips below 70°F at night.
Best of luck with your new seahorses, Jan! Here’s hoping they will soon adopt new favorite hitching posts at the bottom of the aquarium.
Pete GiwojnaMay 20, 2007 at 7:11 am #3595jarabasGuest
One of the guys at my lfs had an interesting idea. He wants me to buy a piece of pvc pipe at the local hardware store. If I bring this to him, he will cut it to size and drill it full of wholes. Then I can attach the heater to the inside of the pipe and attach the pipe to the inside of the tank. It won’t look prety but it would do until I can get the heater guards. Sound good?
JanMay 20, 2007 at 10:01 am #3601Pete GiwojnaGuest
Yes, that sounds like a fine idea! Sheathing the heater in a well-perforated section of PVC pipe would be very effective in eliminating any possibility of the heater burn for your seahorses. And if the guys at your LFS use PVC pipe with a large enough diameter so that the seahorses’ tails cannot easily wrap around it or get a good grasp on it, that would also discourage the seahorses from using it as a hitching post in the future and encourage them to perch near the bottom of the aquarium instead where they will be better protected from gas bubble disease.
That sounds like a good plan that you should follow up on, Jan. Good luck!
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