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Old 03-06-2007, 09:35 PM   #1
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Seahorses- finally * new video *

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.
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Old 03-06-2007, 10:44 PM   #2
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What did you do with the Copper Banded Butterfly during this????
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Old 03-06-2007, 11:19 PM   #3
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All the other critters were slated for my main tank (190g) and/or the supporting refugium (120g). The copper butterfly went into the main tank.

He is doing ok. I have watched him eat prepared foods and he has picked off of the live rock. The only problem he is having right now is with my bossy yellow tang.
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Old 03-07-2007, 12:30 AM   #4
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You may have found in your preparations for seahorses that there are "wild caught", "tank raised", and "captive bred" horses. The lfs told you they were bred and raised by a breeder, but it's just a real iffy definition. "Tank raised" isn't necessarily "captive bred" - people tend to mix the phrases. People selling as "tank raised" usually mean that they are kept in a holding tank which actually sits in ocean water so they feed on live foods before accepting frozen, or are caught as juveniles and raised on frozen foods. If either is the case, you've basically got wild caught horses that eat frozen food. I'd only be concerned because of the low price. Usually due to the cost of actually raising horses with live foods for the first week or so after birth - actual captive bred horses are much more expensive. Is there any way the lfs could put you in touch with the breeder? If it is a reputable breeder, I'm sure he/she wouldn't have a problem fielding a couple questions. If they were legitimately bred and raised in a closed system, you got yourself a nice deal.

Now, if they are wild caught in any way, it's not a loss or anything. It just means that your horses may have been exposed to certain pathogens that may make it more likely to get certain diseases but MOST importantly, are very likely to have pathogens that may harm OTHER syngnathids. You just might want to keep it as a kelloggi only tank if they are wild caught in any way. Mixing WC seahorses is a bad idea.

Mixing syngnathids, whether it's horses or pipefish in general is hotly debated. It's the biggest no no in the seahorse keeping community - but, I recently spoke with a very well known breeder that told me that mixing syngnathids from the SAME captive bred breeder is not a problem, because they are ALL exposed to the same closed-system water. They are technically being mixed already. With that said, check out some posts on seahorse.org about keepers mixing syngnanthids and losing all of them due to disease. I want nothing more than to add a couple Reidi to my H. Erectus tank, but I'm scared to death. I've just read too many horror stories. It really is post after post. Some do keep them successfully, so it CAN be done. It might not hurt to swing over to seahorse.org and read some posts to see if any of them successfully mix kelloggi with other syngnathids. I admittedly have not researched that particular horse very much.

Good luck with them either way. Got pics?
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Old 03-07-2007, 01:37 AM   #5
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By the way, the Banggai cardinalfish would make good seahorse tank mates.
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Old 03-07-2007, 01:20 PM   #6
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Took pictures the first day; none were any good. Will keep trying!
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Old 03-07-2007, 05:21 PM   #7
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http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=91589

Try reading this as there are some good suggestions from several people on SH`s. I started off with two but one of them died from vibrio several weeks ago. I bought two more today. Esp read about the guard I put around my heater and PH.
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Old 03-08-2007, 01:35 PM   #8
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I have been keeping fairly current with both yours and saphires' (sp?)post.

I didn't catch the part on the PH issue.

My horses have got the exact same sort of spotting configuration that yours do; however, mine appear substantially smaller.

I really need to get a few decent shots of them.

One seems really fine - the other has been very sluggish.

Most of the time they ignore the food I put into the tank. I think this is due to my extremely heavy pod population in the macro alga.

I really, really need to get some decent pictures posted!! Maybe tonight.
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Old 03-08-2007, 02:05 PM   #9
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My two new ones I got yesterday are a whole lot smaller. Same spotted config but 1/2 the size. I tried to look at the billing statement to see what type and all it said was captive bred.
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Old 03-08-2007, 08:22 PM   #10
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Well here they are.





And here you can get a perspective on how easy it is to loose them in the sea of macro algae in this tank.



And if anyone asks, all those brown little spots are just one of the plentiful species of critters that live in the algae.
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