Monday, 31 December 2012

The end of a great year!

2012 has been a great year for me both personally and as a seahorse keeper.  My seahorses have gone from strength to strength and they continue to provide me with some beautiful and healthy babies.  

In the last year, I have contributed to some online magazines and joined FusedJaw as a moderator following the relaunch of the FusedJaw forum.  I have been grateful to have met some wonderful new people within the seahorse and marine world and like to think that I now have some new friends as a result.

I am finishing 2013 on a high as I have had my first article published in UltraMarine magazine, and even had some babies born on Christmas day!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone who reads my blog a very very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Boring Fish!

Yesterday, I was browsing through some forums and came across a relatively common theme; "seahorses don't do much", "seahorses are sedentary", "seahorses are boring". Au contraire! Another vast misconception.  In my experience, if seahorses are acting in this manner than they are trying to tell you that something is amiss.  That's not to say that they should be dashing around the tank constantly like Dory on speed, but to describe them in this manner is a little inaccurate.  Seahorses are a naturally inquisitive, active, playful creature and can often be found circulating the tank looking for prey (or flirting with each other, of course!).

Any seahorses that pretty much sit in one spot all the time most likely have an issue with the environment they are in; flow to high, tank mates causing stress, water conditions off kilter or in the worse case, illness.

If a seahorse is not truly captive bred they may not be used to life behind glass, so this can also be a cause of stress.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Gosh, it has been a while since I last posted and for that I do apologize!  Things have been busy with baby seahorses, juvi's and dwarfs and other exciting things which I will tell you about at a later date.

The baby seahorses are now approaching two months old and its funny because I really didn't think they were quite that old yet!  It just goes to show how important diaries/blogs are! We went through quite a lengthily phase of losing babies and I addressed all of the normal things; food, maintenance, water quality.  I was stumped.  Then my husband suggested that the water could be getting too cold for them of a night.  I never normally have a heater in the tank as the higher temps encourage bacteria growth.  However, anything was worth a try.  Since adding the heater, we haven't lost a single baby! So, it just goes to show that at times you really do have to review everything that you do and just because something has always worked before, doesn't mean its going to work again!

Thankfully, they are eating frozen now so hopefully they will start to fill out and grow quite rapidly.  I've been trying to take some decent pictures but the little darlings won't stay still long enough!  I have set myself a task today to try and take some decent pics and if I manage to, I will post some.

I'm currently looking into getting another species; I think I've made up my mind which one.  Its a species that I have had before and the fry are much harder to raise.  So, my first task is to source a suitable pair and then the second is to condition them for breeding.  Wish me luck in my task :)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Exciting News!

Some of you may well be aware that I have been an avid reader of a fantastic site dedicated to syngnathidae, called FusedJaw.  FusedJaw brings together many hugely knowledgeable people from the field for articles, photography and information.  

The great news is that FusedJaw now has a forum and I'm really excited and incredibly flattered to have been asked to join the moderating team.

So, if you want to find out more about seahorses, and discuss everything seahorsey, you can join up here:  The forum part is still in its infancy at the moment but there are exciting times ahead :)

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

And Yet More Babies!

It seems that my seahorses are determined to thrust me back into the throws of dealing with newborns and so now my babies are having babies!  

I wasn't 100% certain but thought that a couple of my January babies had very impressive looking pouches.  Well, now I know why!  Only 6 babies from them so far but I'm almost certain there are more to follow!

These pictures are from those that were born at the weekend...I hope you like them.

Ooops, sorry about the dirty glass!

Sunday, 16 September 2012


My male H. erectus has decided to make me work again and this morning has given birth to his first brood in 5 months!

Monday, 10 September 2012


Well, my little girl didn't hold her popcorn colour.  She's slowly turning a more vibrant colour like the rest of "the yellows".  As the smaller April babies are starting to catch up with the bigger ones, I've added some from the other fry tank to "the yellows" tank so I'm thinking that could be why she is adopting a darker yellow.  In fact, I'm almost struggling to pick her out from the rest!

Its been a few months, but my adult male is pregnant again.  I have to admit, its been lovely having such a long break from newborns but I'm quite looking forward to trying my hand at them again.  If my male is true to form, then he will deliver a week on Saturday.  I will of course keep you posted.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Another Expensive Hobby!

Well, my penchant for taking photo's is just getting a bit silly now.  I'm finding that I'm taking photo's almost everyday with varying degree's of success.  If I'm honest, I kind of get it and I kind of don't.  I'm thinking about taking a photography class as I would love to have much better pictures of the seahorses than I have previously done.  At the same time, I don't want to bore you all with pictures!

I know its wrong to have favourites, but this little guy/gal is really standing out against the others for me at the moment.  I know its wrong to like seahorses for their colour, but this one is a super pretty popcorn colour.  Its quite shy so taking pictures is opportunistic rather than anything else.

Urgh! The glass looks doesn't matter how much I clean it, the camera will always show up the bits I missed....sorry!
Prior to this little girl (I'll call her that for now as no signs of a pouch), I did have another favourite.  She was a beautiful brick red colour but sadly I lost her after she became caught up in one of the hitches.  I'm usually very careful about picking hitches to go in the fry tanks as heads become trapped quite easily.  So, if you are looking for hitches for small seahorses, make sure that they are flexible or don't have any areas that form a Y shape.

If you haven't joined our Facebook group yet, please do.  Its a great bunch of people on there and I'm also very flattered to have some very knowledgeable people on there. -

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Power to the People!

Following my last post, I thought I should update with recent developments.  After being contacted by a number of people about their recommendations, the company in question have decided to work with a seahorse expert in order to provide better information and make improvements.  

Well done, to you both for working together to make a difference!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Commercial Sellers Ripping People Off

I have recently been alerted to a new commercial seller of seahorse systems.  These people are selling seahorses and aquariums as one package.  They deliver the tank, and send the seahorses a few weeks later once the tank has cycled.  Sounds great, right?  Wrong!  The tanks that they are supplying are either 8 gallons or 16 gallons depending on whether you want 2 seahorses or 8.  It might be one thing if they were selling H.zosterae, but this place is supplying H.erectus; a seahorse that can very easily grow to 8 inches.

To anyone reading my blog; if you come across such a company that says that this kind of environment is OK for any of the larger species of seahorse, please keep your money and find somewhere else.  

I am absolutely shocked by this and consider it nothing short of animal cruelty.

I normally recommend that a pair of H.erectus should be kept in nothing short of a 30 gallon tank, or 25 gallons at a push.  Recommending a tank half this size for 4 is outrageous!

Edit:  It seems that I am not the only person concerned with this.  FusedJaw have also written a very detailed article.  You can read it here

Friday, 27 July 2012

More Photographs...

As part of my continued quest to take better photographs, I have been playing around some more with the DSLR today.  These are some of my favourites.  What do you think?  I would love to know!

I Have Famous Seahorses!

It looks like the Daily Mail decided to use one of my video's in one of their online articles.  The article is about the H.erectus babies that have recently been born at the aquarium in Bournemouth.

The article can be seen here.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

New Pictures

I have been asked to take some pictures for a magazine, so I'm desperately trying to get to grips with using the DSLR.  This means that you are likely to be bombarded with pictures now :)

These are my first attempts.  The clarity is rubbish, but the colours have come out nicely and the cirri is easily visible.

I have been reading some articles on photographing through glass so we'll see if I can do any better later today.

Hope you like them :)

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Seahorses and Colour

During my routine tank maintenance today I noticed that I have, what looks like, my first proper pinto* seahorse and an “oddball” seahorse.  These seahorses aren’t actually as uncommon as you would think.  Although you don’t often see them available for sale in your local shop, this is most likely because they either never made it is as far as the shop or more likely, they changed colour to a more normal patterning before getting that far.

Its not a great picture, but this little guy has black and yellow splodges rather than even patterning

The unusual patterning is caused by a genetic abnormality preventing even pigmentation.  Some breeders will actually cull any fry that start to display this irregular colouring whilst others will actually charge more for these unusual seahorses.  Whilst I personally wouldn’t cull, I certainly wouldn’t charge more for these seahorses either.

The pictures below demonstrate how dramatically pinto seahorses can change.  This is a girl that I bought several years ago.  She was mainly white but had brown/green splodges as a juvenile.  Within a few months, her colouring changed and she now holds a solid colour (albeit different colours as her mood takes her).

At the same time that you see unusual colour patterning in seahorses, it's perhaps also wise to understand that seahorses use cell-signalling chromatophore cells to change their colour.   Much like chameleons or octopus, the seahorse can change colour depending on mood and environment.  Nobody holds the exact knowledge as to what influences colour changes (this is perhaps one of the seahorses best kept secrets that it is holding very close to its chest!), although bright backgrounds, and hitches can help.  Different species do appear to have a different range of colour chromatophores which is why you may see a different range of colour patterns in Hippocampus reidi compared to H. erectus.  However, often most seahorses that are stressed will adopt a black or very dark colouring.

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid pigment which is believed to encourage vibrant colours and is often used as with an enrichment to live food.

*The term pinto that we use with seahorses originates from the same term used to describe horses (of the four legged variety) that have a coat which is mainly white but with blotches of one other solid colour.

Don't forget to join Seahorse Adventures on Facebook, You can meet other seahorse keepers, share experiences and, of course, photo's. Click on the link at the top-right of my blog.

Friday, 22 June 2012


I've recently set up a Seahorse Adventures Facebook page - you can find it here.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Reaching out...

Its been quite a long and exhausting weekend at the Felis Britannica cat show in Lutterworth this weekend.  I had a great time, but am glad that I can return to normal seahorse duties.

The point of my post right now isn't to talk about seahorses or to post any pictures but to reach out to those who read and follow my thread about something that I feel strongly about.  As many of you may know, as well as the seahorses, I also keep dogs and cats.  My animals are like an extension of my family and so I can't imagine how horrible it would be to have one of my much loved dogs taken away from me without reason and for a destruction order to be placed on his head because of the way he looks.  Sadly, Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is something that allows this to happen because of the way a dog looks.  Certain breeds are banned in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act, including Pit Bull type breeds.

Over the last couple of years, I have been following the plight of one dog in particular. In May 2010 a 5 year old dog living in Northern Ireland was seized under the DDA after officials visited his house.  His name is Lennox - you may already have heard of him.  Lennox is an American Bull Dog cross.  Lennox is not a banned breed but because a tape measure determined otherwise, he has now been condemned to die.  It isn't difficult to see that a huge mistake has been made.  There are so many bad and sad things that have happened over the last 2 years with Lennox's case.  There are so many lies and misjudgments that have been made.  Many people, including the likes of Victoria Stillwell, Cesar Millan and the first minister for Northern Ireland are backing the campaign to have Lennox released.

I am not the sort to wave propaganda in people's faces or fight ferociously for a cause but Lennox's case has struck a cord with me and the fact that I keep a big dog (more breeds are likely to be added to the BSL list) makes me feel strongly for his family. There isn't much I can do as an individual, but I can try and encourage people to read about Lennox, sign a petition to release him and perhaps contact authorities to voice your feelings about the situation.  Perhaps if you have your own blog, you could do the same and spread the word.

Lennox's family have a webpage where you can read all about his story and follow the campaign to release him so far.  You can read about him here -

You can sign his petition here -

If you have any pet dogs, please read Lennox's story and think about his family.

Thank you for listening :)

Monday, 11 June 2012

Hectic Weekend

I've been trying to catch up on posts and photo's this weekend but just keep taking really rubbish pictures!  

The babies that were born in April are all starting to colour up nicely and get their typical H.erectus markings.  They are an active bunch which makes them quite mesmerizing to watch.  Unfortunately, these were the best photo's I could get.

The babies that were born in January are also doing really well but I couldn't get any decent pictures of them, so I took a quick video of them waiting to be fed.  They always make me laugh when its feeding time because when you walk towards the tank they all huddle together in a corner waiting for their food.  Its not a very long video, but you'll see what I mean :)

I've also been busy preparing our two kittens (who are getting big now) for a show this weekend so I'll try and get some better pictures/video's of the seahorses when I have more time next week.

A quick update on my large tank as you may remember that I posted about a crypto outbreak.  Thankfully, all of the seahorses are doing fine and still are showing no signs of parasites.  They will remain in HT for at least another couple of months; although I may extend this even more to ensure my tank is in tip top condition for them.  The clownfish made a full recovery and is still undergoing treatment.  Initially the cardinals didn't show any signs, but then did go on to develop an infestation.  Sadly, we lost one of them but the others appear to be doing OK.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Just a word of warning to folk to keep a vigilant eye on temperatures at this time of year.

Now that the summer days are finally upon us (hope I've not just jinxed it!), we need to keep an eye on our tank temps to avoid any problems for our seahorses.

Increased temperatures in tanks cause problems for a number of reasons:

  • Higher temperatures provide a better breeding ground for bacteria in the tank. For example, the Vibrio sp. increases at just 74* and starts to become more infectious at this temperature.
  • The dissolved oxygen within tanks lowers as temps get higher
  • Evaporation

So, what can we do about it?

Well, to try and keep the temperature down, if you can't afford a chiller;

  • Remove the lid from the tank if possible
  • Use a desktop fan aimed at the top of the water (obviously make sure the fan is in a safe position where it can't fall in the water)
  • Reduce your photo period

Some people do freeze bottles of RO water and place these in the tank. I personally don't like this method as its hard to control the rate of defrosting and thus constant temperature.

Oxygen can be increased in the tank by adding additional airlines, powerheads (make sure inlets are safely covered to avoid trapped tails) or positioning spray bars to increase surface agitation.

Evaporation needs to be very carefully monitored as you may need to top up your tank every day or more frequently. A top up unit is perfect at this time of year!

Any of the above going unchecked for a day or two can cause severe problems for seahorses and its usually at this time of year when we see more problems with bacteria related issues.

Remember, prevention is better than cure! 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Ich Outbreak!

Computer problems have prevented me updating my blog recently and updates may be fairly infrequent until I get a new computer.

What a nightmare the last couple of days have been after discovering our clownfish covered in what appears to be ich.  This is in the new seahorse tank too, so I'm feeling pretty fed-up and angry with myself about the whole thing.  Although I added some macro to the tank this week, I had FW dipped it and as the same macro is in other tanks that aren't showing signs of infestation, I can only conclude that the cause is actually pajama cardinals that were added to the tank around 2 months ago.  Everyone else in the tank has been with me for years.

At the moment, the seahorses aren't showing any signs although I believe that the first place ich attacks with seahorses is their gills, which would obviously be devastating.  So, the seahorses have been moved to a 25 gallon tank whilst treatment begins.  The clownfish has been moved to a tank of his own where we are treating him fairly aggressively.  He's handling the treatment well so far.  I'm not quite sure what I am going to do with the tank at the moment but my options are to leave it fallow for a three month period or treat the whole tank.  

I'm used to treating seahorses for common issues associated with them but not with clownfish. The most effective treatment for ich is not suitable for seahorses so that adds to the dilemma!

Here is a picture of him when he was moved to QT.  He looks pretty bad, doesn't he!

***And in Other News***
Everyone else is doing great.  We're obviously having to be extra careful not to contaminate any of the other tanks so there's additional sterilizing, etc going on right now.

It looks like my little dwarf that I was hoping was pregnant isn't as we haven't had any babies and he's still looking rather rotund!

Here are some pictures that I took this week of various broods......I hope you like them :)

We did have a huge die off of the youngest brood.  I added live macro to the fry tank and soon after this we started losing between 7 - 10 babies almost every day.  As soon as I removed the macro, the deaths stopped almost instantly.  Of course, thinking about it logically, the macro provides a host to pathogenic bacteria to live and thrive.  Fingers crossed that we have now seen an end of the deaths!

6 weeks old

6 weeks old

8 months old - my favourite.  I think I might keep her.
4 month olds

8 months old
4 month olds

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Time Flies....

Has it really been almost 3 weeks since I last posted???  Time just seems to be flying by at the moment and the seahorses are keeping me ever busy!

Since my last post, we did have another brood which were born on the 7th April.  Amazingly, some of these are eating frozen already and do seem to be quite big for their age.

Lots of yellow in this brood...

My little dwarf that I mentioned in my last post still looks like he has a pea in his pouch.  I would have expected him to have had fry by now so I'm thinking that he's probably just teasing me!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Taking Stock..

As the last of my adults have gone to their new homes, I suddenly realized how attached I had grown to them.  Its funny, that a little part of my daily routine has changed and I'm once again focusing on little babies.  The time in between each brood that I have been working with is actually just about long enough for the whole routine of newborn fry to feel a little abnormal!

Sadly, the latest brood which is only a couple of weeks old really hasn't done very well but to be honest, I wasn't really expecting them to.  These had initially been housed in a bucket and I never do well when that's how they start off.  Its not my choice but just a space issue.

So, taking stock, at the moment I have 3 broods and another due on Sunday.  These 4 should be manageable but I will have to combine the 2 week olds with the newborns when they come along.  Not something I like doing but they should be ok.

8 Months Old
2.5 Months Old
2 Weeks Old
The other thing that I'm really excited about is that I think one of my male dwarf seahorses might be pregnant.  There is a chance that he is just puffing out his pouch, but I'm cautiously optimistic that we will have H.zosterae fry soon.  
Big Pouch!
Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

For Victoriaaa

I love the fact that people enjoy reading my blog and seeing my pictures, and I love it when people comment or send me emails.  It means a lot to know that others are getting enjoyment out of my seahorses too.  So, thank you Victoria for your lovely comment, and I do feel very lucky to have such beautiful seahorses!

This video is just for you....I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

I love Saturday's!

I love spending the morning cleaning out all of the tanks and just getting everything ship shape for the week ahead.  Although I spend a lot of time working on my tanks during the week, the weekend is when I really have time to kick back, take my time and enjoy the wonders of nature.

The baby erectus have been doing brilliantly and seem to just be pretty much looking after themselves.  I'm not sure if its just that I'm so much more in a routine than I ever have been before, that I've organised myself to make things so much easier or these guys are just getting stronger with each new brood but I think this brood has pretty much been as easy as it gets (*touch wood*).


showing colours and patterning already

I've almost stopped feeding them brineshrimp altogether now, although there are a couple of small ones still so I'm giving them heavily enriched  food.


I am just so in love with the oldest babies - they are just so beautiful and entertaining. I made the decision, and I'm not sure that it was a wise one, to put both males and females back into one tank together.   Unsurprisingly, activity has increased dramatically!  Every morning I am greeted with much dancing and then they all just entwine and dance.  The dancing never seems to stop during lights on!  The funniest thing is that the girls seem to flirt with the girls, and the boys with the boys!

I have taken some video's of them that I promise to get uploaded onto'll love them!


Saturday, 3 March 2012

Working together

One of the things that I've learnt over the years is that the marine hobby is a peculiar thing.  Sometimes it seems as if everyone is trying to out do each other and wants to be better than the next person.  I have to say that I have been greatly disappointed by something that I have read recently by someone who is supposed to be respected within this hobby.  We should all be trying to help one another rather than stab each other in the back.

Thankfully, there are also wonderful people who are willing to assist others and try and genuinely help them succeed with captive breeding projects and build on the existing knowledge that is out there.  These people are doing everything within their power to further the existing knowledge and availability of marine fish; making them more accessible and within reach of newcomers and those who have been in the hobby for years.  The future of marine keeping is exciting.  Lets work together to make it possible.

One build a more sustainable hobby with more and more captive bred species readily available.  To stand hand in hand with the next breeder, same species or different.  

Sunday, 26 February 2012

All grown up

Well, the oldest babies are now grown up!  Some of them are already starting to have babies of their own - they are obviously very happy in their new home!  Congratulations Lizz!

Those that are still with me at the moment are just getting more beautiful every day.  I can spend hours just watching them.  The boys are the funniest, flirting and dancing with each other all the time!

We had another brood born this morning.  Its so weird comparing them to the 6 week olds, who in turn seem incredibly small compared to the 6 month olds.  I always forget how small and vulnerable newborns are, and  it also always surprised me how quickly the males are eager to get pregnant again.  Within minutes of being reunited with his mate, my male was flirting again and this was perhaps not even an hour after delivering the last of the babies.  

I'm in the process of moving the 6 week olds over to frozen at the moment.  This is perhaps the most frustrating phase with fry as sometimes it just seems like they are never going to make the transition.  I'm quite lucky with this brood though and I would say that perhaps 50 % of them are now starting to eat adult brine shrimp.  Strangely enough, it seems to be the smaller ones that are most enthusiastic.

Monday, 13 February 2012


Last night, after finishing all of the water changes, feeding, brineshrimp preparation, etc I decided to remove some of the water from the adults tank as I wasn't happy with the surface agitation.

I looked down into the bucket and what did I find?  A baby seahorse! Aaaaaagh!  And I thought my boys were taking a pregnancy break too!  I honestly have no idea where, or should I say who, this little fella came from.  None of my boys looked particularly pregnant yesterday and still don't today so its a little bit of a mystery.

I've added the new little one in with the last brood and am hoping that he will be the only one that I find as I don't really like to mix broods.  I love seahorse babies but I am running out of room and so the idea of the boys having a bit of a break is very welcome!

I will let you know if I find more this evening.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

No news is good news!

Just a quick update today as I really don't have much to report on and I want to work on a couple of articles.  Everyone's doing rather well at the moment and I even saw some of the three week olds eat a little frozen yesterday so that's a really great sign.  The first two pictures here show the nice red digestive tract of the fry, which shows that they are eating lots.

Over the last couple of days we've had a fairly significant die off from the 1 week olds and this is most likely to be nutritional.  I would expect that most of them weren't eating in the first few days and this has had a detrimental effect on their development.  That said, we still have a bucket load (excuse the pun) that seem to be doing OK.  The only thing I'm a little worried about is that because they are in the bucket, I can't really monitor their food intake so much.  I'll see how these guys pan out, but my priority is the 3 week olds right now.  However, I am really interested to see how they do in the bucket as I do hope to move over to a circular system in the near(ish) future.

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