Saturday, 11 December 2010

Erectus Fry at 3 Weeks Old

The erectus babies are now 3 weeks old.  We have 9 of them left which isn't great but most of the losses, if not all of them, are down to mistakes that we have made.  This week we lost 2 in an accident with a new filter that we were using temporarily whilst we cleaned the main one.  We didn't realise that it had a pull off part near the top of the tank which created suction and three of the fry got trapped overnight.  We released them as soon as we saw them but sadly one was already dead and another died shortly after.

Yesterday we lost another baby after doing a 100% water change and not acclimating them to the new water.  Lessons learned!

Anyway, the ones that we have now all appear to be healthy and strong.

We have started to introduce frozen Cyclopeeze now.  There isn't much interest at the moment but I've definitely seen a couple of them eat some so I'm hoping that by the end of the week all of them will be eating the frozen food.

Our dwarf babies are also doing fantastic.  In fact, it really is quite incredible how quickly they have grown!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Quick Update

I haven't updated this blog for quite a while, but this is mainly because we have been nursing a few sick animals lately,  Things just seem to have hit us all at once.  Our little cat, Tamla was diagnosed with a malignant form of cancer a few weeks ago (this is just a couple of months after getting the all clear with one of our other cats who suffered with Pyothorax).  She's doing great at the moment, but we obviously have to keep a close eye on her.  Just as we got the news about her, our Old English Sheepdog started getting ill with Dermodectic Mange again.  This is something he has suffered with since he was a small pup and the vets have been struggling to determine what the underlying cause is.  It looks like he's going to be referred to a specialist now which is great as we might finally be able to get to the bottom of it all and put an end to his bouts of suffering.

Anyway, in spite of all this, we have had some good news.  Our male erectus delivered a brood of fry last Saturday so they are now just over a week old and doing great!  We have 15 or 16 in total - its crazy, you would think that many wouldn't be too hard to count but they move around and hide so easily its impossible to say!  I had hoped to try them on frozen food in their first week but after adding some frozen Cyclopeeze, I can see that its quite a bit too big for them at the moment so I'll probably attempt again towards the end of next week.

If you have followed this thread you will probably know that we had a fry tank especially built, but unfortunately its still cycling at the moment so we haven't been able to use it yet.  Therefore, the fry are in a 10 gallon plastic tank with a filter, heater, oxydator and a couple of hitches. The filter has a spray bar attached to it which keeps a steady flow going.

The first two pictures were taken yesterday on their 1 week Birthday and the last one was taken at 5 days old :)

We also had one of our dwarf males give birth to 3 babies this morning which is super exciting as this is the first time I have ever seen dwarf fry, and they really are quite tiny but perfectly formed!  One of them camouflages itself in perfectly with an orange plant that we have in the tank, so you can barely see it!  I've been told by a friend that its quite possible the three are warning babies and there are more to come.  Funnily enough, whilst typing this I looked over into the dwarf tank, which is right next to me and he's sitting there twitching so I guess it is possible that there are more to come!

Monday, 25 October 2010

RIP Stevie

Last Monday we lost our male barb, Stevie.  He had battled with pouch problems for as long as we had him, and finally he developed pouch emphysema around 6 weeks ago and we were no longer able to alleviate his buoyancy issues with pouch evacuations.  He started a course of antibiotics which were injected into him every other day and he actually started doing well for a while. His buoyancy issues went away and he did actually start to eat for himself.  Sadly though, he remained very weak and caught a secondary infection which which finally got the better of him.

We miss you Stevie!

Quick Update

Well, our herd of 3 dwarfs is now a herd of 5.  Sadly we did lose one of our new little girls without clear indication as to why.  I personally think that it was due to bacteria in the tank and have changed my maintenance  routine because of this.

We have added some zip ties to the tank for more hitches, and to add a little more colour to the tank.

The three new additions have now been added to the display tank following their QT.  The QT period was shorter than we would have liked but we had a problem with the QT and so had to move them into the new tank quicker than expected.

These first two pictures are of one of the new boys, he is a reddish brown colour - very pretty and likes to have his picture taken!

Here is the red boy and Coral (our adopted girl).  They made friends rather quickly!

This is the new girl.  She's very very tiny and I would suspect is probably only a month or two old.  Her size makes me nervous and so I can't wait until she is bigger.  In spite of her petiteness she is doing well.
I haven't been able  to get a good picture of the new pink boy yet, but as soon as I do, I will post a picture of him too.

Its quite funny now that there are two more males in the tank as they all seem to be fighting for Coral's affection.  Both the new pink male, and the original male have started puffing up their pouches to try and win her affection!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

New Charges!

A few months ago, we were lucky enough to be asked to help out a fellow "seahorser" who was no longer able to care for his remaining seahorse.

I had been toying with the idea of getting more of this particular species, but due to a disastrous attempt at keeping them several years back, I had been struggling to take the plunge.  Thanks to Mark, my decision was made for me, and along came Coral...

Coral is an H.zosterae, otherwise known as a dwarf seahorse.  At around 1inch, she has now most likely reached her adult size and is one of the smallest species of seahorses that there are, however we know of at least one other species of seahorse that is smaller than dwarf seahorses.  Thankfully, these are not available for the home aquarists.

One of the difficulties with keeping dwarf seahorses is their constant requirement for live food, and for this there is no substitute.  Thankfully, as we have been used to the hatching of brineshrimp and keeping of various different zooplankton cultures, this isn't too much of a problem for us.

This week, I was surprised with 2 friends for Coral which were accompanied by a pair of sexy shrimps.

So we now have 2 girls and 1 boy.....and as dwarf seahorses are well known for reproducing in the aquarium, here's keeping my fingers crossed for many many more ;)

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Enriching with Dans Feed

This is how I enrich my brine shrimp with Dans Feed (enrichment product)

1.  Take 2 teaspoons of Dans Feed.

2. Add the mixture to a cup of fresh salt water, and using a hand blender mix the dry mixture with the water for 2 minutes.

3. Put the mixture through a sieve, capturing the liquid in a clean container

4. Pour the strained mixture into a (clean) bottle with fresh salt water to make up around 1.5 litres of solution

5.  This is then stored in the fridge for future use.

6. The solution is added to the brine shrimp every 12 hours, until they are fed out.  Enough of the (Dans Feed) solution is added to turn the water a tint of green (right in the picture below).

Sunday, 9 May 2010


The reason that I haven't posted for a while is that we haven't had a great week.  We had a nitrite spike and lost all but one of the babies which was hugely disappointing. I have been discussing this with my friends on and as a result we are making quite a few changes to our routine, etc.

So far, we have added purigen to the tank (this is supposed to help maintain water quality), and added tetraselmis phytoplankton as they produce a natural antibiotic.  We are also rinsing the bbs at each feeding time before adding it to the tank and are cleaning all of the equipment with vinegar after use (brineshrimp hatchers, containers, enrichment vessels, etc).  We will being doing the same once a week with all the equipment in the tank so that it is all completely cleaned.

I have also added an ammonia alert card and bought some strip tests so that we can do daily dip tests to make sure that water conditions are maintained.  

I am also adding nannochloropsis oculata to the enrichment vessel as well as Dan's Feed.

I will also be getting a skimmer to add to the tank, although I haven't been able to decide on which one yet.  I will probably get an in-tank skimmer, as when the new tank arrives there will be a compartment to house all equipment.

Stevie gave birth to his third brood on Friday (6th May), and so far so good.  There were only 8 but so far they are all still with us, as is the baby from brood 2.  One of the new babies does appear to be deformed so we will monitor his progress.  He appears to have a short tail, and his snout does look to be crocked (although with his size it is quite difficult to see this properly).

Note for self:  Stevie did have one baby on 5th May which was day 15 of the pregnancy.

Brood 2: 1
Brood 3: 8

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Update Photo's

All of the babies, other than possibly one, are eating frozen food now.  We have changed the feeding routine slightly so that they are getting more frozen food that brine shrimp, but they do still get enriched brine shrimp at least twice a day.

The enrichment that we are using is Dan's Feed, this has been recommended by quite a few people who have said that they see quite a big improvement in their seahorses behaviour after they start to use it.  I must say that these babies do seem to be much more energetic than Stevie's first batch of babies; they generally seem more curious and active.

This first picture gives an idea of the size of the food that they are now eating.

And this is the same horse after it has eaten a little more.  The bright red that you see in its body is the cyclopeeze in its digestive tract.


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Ups and Downs

Raising fry (or should I say attempting to raise fry), is like a big emotional rollercoaster.  We have been so elated with the new babies eating frozen food, getting bigger and healthier that it came as a huge disappointment to lose both of the bigger babies on the same day.  They would have been 2 months old on Monday.  We're still struggling to find the reasons why we have lost them all, but I do now think that the nutritional aspect played a huge part and although we have been adding enrichment to the brineshrimp I don't think that this was enough.

I guess the one thing that we can be thankful for is that we did end up putting both batches of babies in the same tank and it was that reason alone that meant there was frozen food in there for the new babies to eat.  I don't think I would have even attempted to introduce frozen for another couple of weeks if they were in a different tank.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Batch 2, Day 9 - Progress!

The 9 day old babies have started to eat frozen food!

As we have moved both broods into the 10 gallon tank together, I added some frozen Cyclopeeze to the tank to feed the older babies.  I couldn't believe it when I started to see one or two of the little ones follow the food around and then.....snick snick!!  I've since added Cyclopeeze into the tank twice more and the vast majority of them are eating it!

The big babies have yet to show much interest but perhaps the younger ones will show them how its done...

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Egg Transfer

Whilst I was at work today, my husband witnessed Willow and Stevie doing the courtship dance with a probably successful egg transfer.  This means that batch 3 will probably be with us in around 15 days!  Joy!!!

Day 43, and Day 5

Batch one = 3 babies
Batch two = 36 babies

We have now started to add phytoplankton to the tank as I have noticed that there are quite a few uneaten brine shrimp in the big babies tank.  This is a means of getting some nutrition in the brineshrimp without polluting the tank water.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

More losses :(

We have lost another 2 of the 6 week old babies today.  We now just have 3 left.

Who needs a hitch when daddy's around!

This made me laugh.  The little fella would not leave daddy's side!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

37 New Babies

Well, I've moved all of the babies out of the nursery tank and into a bucket where they will stay until we sort out another tank for them.  I counted 37 in total.  Still a small brood for H.barbouri which average around 100.  I'm not sure why his broods are so small but they all seem to be healthy.

I did find two premie babies which were not big enough to be viable.  Apparently this is also quite normal.

The 40 day old babies are doing well.  The 5 that we have left now are doing good.  They are all eating well (although still not on frozen foods yet)  and look very strong.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Batch 2 - Day 1 We have babies!!!

Stevie has had about 50 babies this morning.  Its so funny seeing them now and how much smaller they are than the 5 week olds :)

We have put some newly hatched brine shrimp in but they aren't too interested in the food at the moment.  I think they are still coming to terms with being part of the World!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Day 38

Well, no new babies yet, but I think he is definitely getting close now.  I have thoroughly cleaned the nursery tank in preparation for the new arrivals.

Over the last couple of days, I have noticed some eggs in the tank which Stevie has obviously released from his pouch.  After talking to some other seahorse breeders, this is actually quite normal, so that is a relief!

Anyway, I took some more pictures of the babies today and a little video:

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Day 37

Sadly, we have lost another one of the babies and it looks like we may lose another before long.  This leaves us with 5.

Daddy, Stevie, has been showing some signs of having small contractions so its possible that we may have a new batch of babies before long.

Monday, 12 April 2010

New purchases for the fry tank

At the weekend we went to the local aquatic supplier and purchased a blue background (this is meant to encourage bright colour in seahorse) and a bubble ring.  I am hoping that the air stone will help keep the babies off of the bottom of the tank.

I also have just taken delivery of a new sponge filter to help with the additional waste in the tank.

I will post new pictures as soon as I have made the changes to the tank.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Week 5 More Losses

The babies are approaching 5 weeks (tomorrow) and sadly we have lost another two in the last week.  The losses were about 4 days apart, and both were the smallest out of the batch that we had.  The struggles that we are now facing are mainly to do with nutrition and bacteria.  It is imperative that the babies move onto a more staple/nutritious diet as soon as possible.  There are two reasons behind this; the first is that brine shrimp does not provide enough nutrition for a juvenile or adult seahorse and the second is that the transition from live food to frozen gets more difficult as seahorses get older.

As we will need to find new homes for any babies that we raise to adulthood, they will need to be eating frozen food.

So, since mid week 3 we have been introducing two feeding's of shaved mysis and CylopEeze soaked in Garlic Elixir.  The problem with this is that whilst the seahorses have not yet fully transitioned to the frozen food most of it sits uneaten on the bottom of the tank.  The longer it sits in the bottom the more likely it is to be consumed by bad bacteria in the tank.  For this reason we try and remove as much of the uneaten food as we can several times a day.  In the 10 gallon tank it was becoming quite hard to clean.  As the tank is quite tall it is difficult to reach down to the bottom of the tank.  Therefore, I took the decision to move the babies out of the filtered 10 gallon tank and move them to a smaller 4 gallon tank whilst we introduce them to frozen food.  The tank that we now have them in is shorter than the last tank which makes it much easier to clean.  We now need to do regular large water changes to ensure that we don't get ammonia in the tank caused by the uneaten food.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Welcome to my blog

4 weeks ago, my male H.barbouri seahorse gave birth to 16 babies. It has been a lot of hard work but we now have 8 strong babies. This is the first time that I have managed (with the enormous help and support of my wonderful husband) to get the babies to this stage. I had previously attempted to raise H.reidi but without much success.

So, join me on my new seahorse adventure.

As is only polite, let me introduce you to my friends. This is Stevie, the babies daddy and the one who gave birth to them. Seahorses are the only species in the world where it is the male that has the babies.

and this is his mate, Willow.

Willow and Stevie share their home, with 2 other seahorses (Mouse the beautiful H.comes and Ed a magnificent H.erectus).

The Babies

4 weeks ago, I looked in the main tank and saw a tiny little baby seahorse just swimming around without a care in the world.  As it is extremely unusual for seahorses to only give birth to one baby, we presumed that Stevie was still pregnant and moved him to a nursery tank that we had already prepared.  We were fortunate enough to witness the birth.

The babies were initially fed on newly hatched brine shrimp.  After a few days, because they were so big we started to feed with enriched brineshrimp that was 2 - 3 days old.  We initially used Vitality and dried egg yolk to enrich the brineshrimp.

Pictures from Day 2

Pictures from Week 2

The orange that you see in the belly of the seahorse above is the brine shrimp that it has eaten.  Big orange bellies are a good sign that the babies are feeding well.

Pictures from Week 4

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