Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › toad stools or leathers? First post and first seah
- This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 12 years, 5 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
December 19, 2010 at 1:34 am #1856pollyannaMember
Hi, I have my first 2 seahorses and I think I was told they were of the kellogia family. I believe I have heard on this forum its ok to place food on a toadstool or leather coral. Is this so? I am using Vita Chem on my frozen and thawed mysis and brine. One seahorse seems only interested and mindly at that…picky…on the brine. I was assured they were tank raised and had been eating mysis for 2 and half weeks from my store owner. Any suggestions. I am turning my pumps down and feeding by baster on top of both a toad stool and a leather. I have even attempted to place mysis in front of the picky eater…but no go. He seems to like to wait till the pumps come back on and then goes down under his perch to the toadstool. The other good eater seahorse likes the food out front on a leather. Am I doing okay? I cant tell if I have all males or females? How can I really tell?
Thankyou…this is my first post and hello to everyone.
PollyannaDecember 19, 2010 at 8:35 am #5232Pete GiwojnaGuest
Yes, that’s right — a toadstool leather coral can indeed make a fine natural feeding station for seahorses. It sounds like you’re on the right track with your new ponies and most likely they just need a little more time to get adjusted to their strange new surroundings before they resume their normal feeding habits.
As I’m sure you’re already aware, enriched frozen Mysis is a far more nutritious diet for your seahorses then fortified frozen brine shrimp, so do your best to get your new acquisitions back on a steady diet of the frozen Mysis as soon as possible.
You mentioned that the store owner assure you that the seahorses had been eating Mysis for 2-1/2 weeks before you made your purchase, Pollyanna, and I would try to find out which particular brand of frozen Mysis they had been eating at the fish store so that you can offer them the same exact type of Mysis they are accustomed to feeding on.
Frozen Mysis is available in several different brands from a number of different sources, and not all frozen Mysis is created equal. Gamma brand frozen Mysis is good, Hikari frozen Mysis is quite acceptable (although often fragmentary) as is San Francisco Bay brand frozen Mysis and the Omega One Mysis, whereas the Mini Mysis by H2O Life is great for small seahorses, and Piscine Energetics frozen Mysis is no doubt the best in terms of nutritional content and quality control. Your local fish stores should carry one or more of these brands.
I have noticed that seahorses can sometimes be very selective when it comes to the size of the prey they prefer. For instance, the jumbo PE Mysis relicta are of course quite large, and it’s certainly possible that young seahorses may balk at the jumbos simply because of their size. Some seahorses are very particular in that regard, and tend to reject food items that are significantly larger or smaller than their preferred range of prey. For example, I’ve seen some seahorses that rejected the smaller Hikari Mysis with great disdain, yet which greedily gulped down the jumbo Piscine Energetics Mysis relicta. On the other hand, I’ve had small seahorses turn up their snouts at the jumbo PE frozen Mysis because it’s too large for their liking, and attack the small Hikari frozen Mysis with great gusto.
You mentioned that your new seahorses are Hippocampus kelloggi, Pollyanna, and one problem with the H. kelloggi ponies that are being imported to the United States is that they are often shipped here when they are too young and too small to thrive. Many times newly arrived H. kelloggi are only a couple of inches in length. If that’s the case with your new seahorses, then I would suggest trying the smallest brand of frozen Mysis you can obtain. If it’s available in your area, the Mini Mysis offered by H2O Life is just the right size for juvenile and undersized seahorses to eat readily.
I should also warn you that your H. kelloggi seahorses are very vulnerable at this time, Pollyanna. They are being pen-raised in Southeast Asia under generally unfavorable conditions, and they therefore often arrive in this country very weak, medicated, and fragile following their long-distance journey. You’re going to need to provide your new H. kelloggi with plenty of TLC in order to nurse them back to health from their delicate condition.
I would continue to be patient with the new pony that is the picky eater, Pollyanna. I would continue to target feed him using the frozen brine shrimp he seems to prefer at this point, and releasing it from your baster or feeding wand a safe distance away from him so that he doesn’t get spooked, but close enough so that the brine shrimp drifts down right in front of his snout, within easy striking distance.
If the finicky individual does not begin eating the frozen foods readily soon, then you will need to obtain some choice live foods to tempt him to eat. Remember, he is very delicate and fragile in his weakened condition, and you will need to fatten him up and provide him with some good nutrition one way or another to restore his strength before you worry too much about weaning them onto a staple diet of frozen foods.
Hawaiian red feeder shrimp or volcano shrimp (Halocaridina rubra) are ideal for this — seahorses find them utterly irresistible! But anything that’s readily available — enriched adult brine shrimp, live ghost shrimp that are small enough to be swallowed, newborn guppies or mollies, Gammarus amphipods, copepods, Tigger pods, you name it — is worth a try. Just get some good meals into your H. kelloggi ASAP to build up their strength and help them regain their conditioning.
Live adult brine shrimp (Artemia spp.) can certainly be used as occasional treats or dietary supplements, or to help break a hunger strike, providing you enrich it to fortify its nutritional content. That might be a good choice in your case, Pollyanna, since you’re picky eater seems to favor the frozen brine shrimp.
When it comes to good sources for live foods, you can get Gammarus amphipods (green iron horse feed) and Hawaiian volcano shrimp (red iron horse feed) from Ocean Rider and live Mysis from Sachs Systems Aquaculture. All of these live shrimp are what I’d like to call "feed-and-forget" foods. They are tough, rugged little shrimp that you can toss in your tank with no acclimation whatsoever. They are agile and elusive enough that your filters won’t eat them and the seahorses won’t be able to capture them all right away. Some will hide and evade well enough that your seahorses will still be hunting down the stragglers for the next day or two. Best of all, you can toss a nice batch of them in your aquarium, secure in the knowledge that they won’t perish and pollute it, but thrive and survive as real, live, "catch-me-if-you-can" prey items that seahorses cannot resist. Nothing stimulates a seahorse’s feeding instinct like the frantic movements and evasive maneuvers of natural, living prey.
The Ocean Rider Aquaculture Facility in Hawaii (http://seahorse.com/) is a good source for the following live foods:
Green Iron Horse Feed (Gammarus amphipods)
Red Iron Horse Feed or Volcano Shrimp (Halocaridina rubra)
Or the live Mysis from Sachs Systems Aquaculture would also be a good choice for live Mysis shrimp. They provide live Mysis in lots ranging anywhere from 100 to 5000 for very reasonable prices which include the cost of priority shipping. For example, you can obtain 200 live Mysidopsis bahia for $35 (priority shipping included) from Sachs and your seahorses will love them. Or the or the very smallest (1/4") of the common shore shrimp (Palaemonetes vulgaris) from Sachs would also be a good choice:
All of the sources listed above are high-health aquaculture facilities that provide disease free live foods. You can buy be feeder shrimp or live foods in quantity and set up a small holding tank for them so that you can dole them out as live treats for your seahorses whenever it’s convenient.
Another good possibility you can consider are the Tigger Pods, which are now carried by some pet stores. Seahorses eat them very readily and if you can find a local fish store that carries them, that could be a very convenient option for you while you are dealing with this hunger strike, Mike. Here is some more information about the Tigger Pods:
Tigger Pods by Reed Mariculture
Receiving your Tigger Pods™
Receiving your Tigger Pods™
Tigger Pods™ are wonderful little creatures, full of energy, fun to watch, and great food for your reef tank.
When you receive your shipment, here are some steps that will help ensure their health and survival.
Upon arrival you may notice the Tigger-Pods™ aren’t very active. This is normal when cold shipped or cold stored. As the bottles warm up, the Tigger Pods™ will become more active. It is not uncommon to have a few of the oldest copepods to die from old age. We pack the bottle with all stages of life, but only count the adults. On average, we pack at least 10% more in every bottle to account for any DOA.
Upon arrival, open bottle cap and remove the inside liner. Let stand at room temp for 2 hours to allow temperature to rise. The Tigger Pods™ can be poured directly into your refugium and/or main tank. They can live several weeks in the bottle, as long as they are fed and the bottle is open to the air.
Tigger Pods™ feed on microalgae and we recommend feeding them with Phyto-Feast™. Phyto-Feast™ can be dosed directly into both your refugium and main tank. The recommended feeding rate is 1 to 5 drops per gallon each day, depending on the bio-density of your reef tank.
Store Use and Display
Open the bottle cap and remove the inside liner.
Leave the cap open for 1 hour or more to re-oxygenate the water.
Replace the cap on the bottle and close the flip-spout.
During the day put the bottles in a high traffic area to attract the customer’s attention, but keep out of direct sunlight. Light is ok, and needed.
At night put the bottles under gentle light so the accompanying Macro-Feast™ will produce oxygen. The flip-caps can also be left open to increase oxygen.
Every 2-3 days add 1 drop of Phyto-Feast to each bottle.
Longer Term Storage
Tigger Pods™ can be stored in a "warm" (40 F +) refrigerator to slow down their metabolic processes, which will increase store shelf life.
For more information about Tigger Pods™ please visit our website at http://www.Tigger-Pods.com.
Sexing adult seahorses is normally straightforward and easy, Pollyanna. Males have a brood pouch or marsupium and females do not. The brood pouch is situated on the underside of the abdomen at the base of the tail, but I suspect that your new H. kelloggi seahorses are juveniles that are still a long ways from sexual maturity. Sexing juvenile seahorses is very difficult but the gender of your ponies should become obvious as they grow.
Best of luck with your fragile H. kelloggi ponies.
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