After much fear and intrepidation, I too have embarked on the aquatic challenge of caring for seahorses.
I have been in the market for a while and I have been prepping my 90g corner (30" vertical height) for them by slowly removing the livestock currently in it and adding pod covered macro algae to the 29g refugium underneath.
Unfortunately, when serendipity strikes, you are not always prepared for it. While at the lfs
looking for emerald crabs and a bullet goby per a previous post (no way was I going to pay shipping rates equivalent to or more than the fish), I came across several incredible finds:
1. Copper banded butterfly (really need him for aiptasia control) = $29
2. Cleaner shrimp = $13
3. Emerald crabs = 3 for $20
4. Two Keloggi seahorses = $19 each
Okay, I am a skeptic by nature and I asked to see the copper banded butterfly and the seahorses eat - frozen food. Lo and behold, they readily started chowing down.
Several questions followed about whether the horses were tank raised (supposedly a local breeds and raises them) and the quality of the stock. Everything seemed to check out, and with the cheapest going price in my neck of the woods being anywhere from 2 to 5 times, I decided to take the plunge.
After getting them home, I wrangled the last couple of Bangai out of the 90g, rearranged the liverock, and added more pod covered macro algae to the main tank in preparation for the new additions. Prior to the acclimation, I did one last check - water quality. Guess what, the absolute worst water quality I have seen in a long time. Everything was great except for the Nitrates. They must have been around 200!! OK so I check with a different test kit - same result.
Time to enact Plan B - I have been running a 24g nano since Christmas with just a cleanup crew in it and a black suncoral that I have been trying to save (again previous post). So the seahorses check in for an overnight stay until I can get something else set up.
Next day I am running 12gauge wire and installing a 20 amp circuit by my existing big fish tank (almost always blowing the circuit when I plug anything else in), because today I am setting up another tank just for the horses next to it.
I set up a 55g Oceanic (been in the garage) with water and live rock from the big tank. Then I practically filled it with macro algae. Water quality is great and I moved the seahorses into their new temporary home.
Eventually I will get them to the 90g corner, but after about 50% water change, the Nitrates are still high at about 80.
The seahorses are going all over the algae like little hunters stalking their prey. Most of the time that I feed them, they ignore the food as they seem to be hunting most of the time I peek in. (Don't worry - they have eaten some of the food that I have put in)
Anyway, my plan is to obtain about 6 - 10 seahorses. Maybe mixing varieties. My small herd and I will just have to see where serendipity takes us.