Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Serious Drug Problem....

In the UK we have a huge lack of access to drugs that can potentially save the life of a seahorse.

By the time most keepers realize that there is a serious problem with their seahorse, the seahorse often requires immediate treatment with antibiotics to give it a good chance of recovery.  Whereas in other countries effective drugs are readily available at most fish stores, over here most are not even available through vets, let alone over the counter at a fish store.  

With this in mind, the best thing we can do for our seahorses is to take preventative measures to try and avoid issues from arising.  Always make sure that your seahorses are in optimum condition at all times.  Here are some things that you can do to help prevent illness.

  1. Make sure that you purchase your seahorses from a reputable source.  Do not purchase wild caught, tank raised, or captive bred seahorses that have been kept in a system that has their tanks on a combined system mixing water from tanks that contain either of the aforementioned types of seahorses.
  2. Do not overcrowd your tank. Remember, seahorses are messy eaters and require more volume per inch than most other fish.  Check the size of the tank that you keep the seahorses in.  If you are just about meeting the bear minimum requirements you may quickly find that your tank becomes unmanageable.
  3. Keep up with Tank Maintenance.  Make sure that you stick to your tank maintenance routine, including regular water changes and checking that there are no dead spots* within the tank.  Check that all tank mates (including corals) are suitable to keep with seahorses (Seahorse.org has a great guide).  Use a probiotic, such as Sanolife to help with the control of pathogenic bacteria.  
  4. Keep an Eye on the Temperature.  High temperatures in a seahorse tank can be a real problem and whilst a seahorse might live in a location where the temps reach the high 70's in the wild, in captivity this can be a killer.  Growth rates of bacteria increase greatly in higher temperatures and so its always best to keep temperatures in the low 70's for tropical species.
  5. Feed a Varied Diet.  As well as offering different types of shrimps, I always find it a good thing to have a variety of brands too as this seems to help prevent seahorses becoming fussy eaters.  Also, if you are lucky enough to be able find a live food source, this can also be introduced to the seahorses diet and is a great way of introducing vitamins and supplements.
  6. Do not mix species.  For the same reason as indicated in point 1, seahorses of different species should not be mixed to avoid introduction of pathogens from one species to another.  This includes any fish from the same family as seahorses, i.e. pipefish.
  7. Do not delay treatment.  If you suspect that your seahorse may be ill, or you notice something different about your seahorse, either in appearance or character, seek immediate advice.  Joining a forum like seahorse.org or fusedjaw can be a life saver.  Refrain from getting advice from a single person in private as this can be detrimental to the seahorses welfare if they aren't as experienced as you think they are.  Even if they are extremely knowledgeable, its easy to get distracted, confused or miss a vital piece of information and inadvertently give bad advice.  This can quickly and easily be corrected if the advice has been given in public.

*Areas where detritus is allowed to accumulate.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Questions that I get asked

Through this blog, Facebook and various other forums that I belong to, here are some common questions that arise:

Q: What is a feeding station

A:  A feeding station is a device that is placed inside the tank where the seahorses eat their food from.  A feeding station can be anything from an upturned shell, to a specifically designed seahorse feeding station which attached to the glass of the tank.  Seahorses can be easily trained to eat from a specific location.  The benefits of using a feeding station is that you can check that all seahorses are eating well; if you have other fish in the tank, they will feed separately so you know they aren't being out-competed for food.  Another benefit is that it adds less waste to the tank as you are able to remove any uneaten food from the station.

Q: How can I remove algae from seahorses

A: Its quite normal for seahorses to grow algae on them in tanks that have problem or nuisance algae (this is quite common in new tanks).  Although the algae won't actually harm the seahorse, if you would prefer to remove it, you can do this using a soft baby toothbrush.

Q: How many times a day should I feed my seahorses

A:  Seahorses have a rudimentary digestive system which lacks a true stomach.  This means that there body does not hold onto reserves in the same way that other animals do.  You should ideally feed your seahorses 3 times a day and certainly no less than twice a day.  Each feeding should be placed equally apart so that you are not feeding too close together or too far apart.

Q: What do seahorses eat

A: You should feed your seahorses on a variety of food including; mysis, krill, brineshrimp (brineshrimp should be fed as a treat and not a staple).  If you are lucky enough to have access to live food, you can add live mysis, or river shrimp - be sure to feed your feeder shrimp with a suitable diet.

Q: Why is my seahorse so small

A: Depending on what species of seahorse you have will very much dictate the size that your seahorse will grow, for example H.fuscus are significantly smaller than H.reidi.  However, just like humans you can get smaller seahorses in a brood.  Make sure that you are feeding your seahorse a suitably enriched diet and a suitable aquarium to live in.  As long as your seahorse is healthy, try not to worry too much.  If you have something that is worrying you its always worth asking for advice on a specialised forum such as FusedJaw.com or Seahorse.org

Q:  I have seen a tiny seahorse at my local fish shop and am very tempted.  Should I buy it?

A: Tami Weiss has recently written an article about what to look for when purchasing seahorses.  This is a must read article for all those embarking on their journey with keeping seahorses.  The size and shape of a seahorse is especially important, as Tami demonstrates in this illustration.

With kind permission of Tami Weiss, http://www.fusedjaw.com/
The full article can be read here - FusedJaw

If there are any other questions that you would like answered, or general advice on keeping seahorses, why do you join my Facebook group: Seahorse Adventures

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Brood Comparisons

So, we've had quite a few broods lately which I've already told you about.  Ed, has been a real trooper and seems to have delivered about 10 broods in the last 4 weeks - possibly a little exaggeration but it does seem like our seahorses have chosen the most inconvenient moments to deliver broods lately; usually just as we are running out the door or last thing at night when we're just off to bed!  I normally like to move the male to the nursery but every time they have caught us out.

Following the first brood being born to one of our other males, I thought it would be good to post a couple of pictures which might show the comparison between a first brood born compared to a brood born to an older, more established seahorse.

First of all, I'll tell you a little about both boys (the birth dads).

Ed is my main brood male; not because that's what I decided but because that's what the seahorses decided.  I have a few males in one tank but Ed is the only one who has chosen to give me a brood, up until now!

I got Ed in July 2009, and he was probably around 6 months old which would now make him around 4 years old.  He's now a strapping lad, measuring around 8 inches.

This is Ed the first week that I got him
And this is him delivering one of his more recent broods.  He looks skinny in this picture as its quite common for him to go off food a day or two before the birth
Midge is one of my own home grown babies.  I decided to keep him as at a year old as he hadn't grown much and so appeared to be a runt.

Midge at a year old
Midge has grown since, but I don't think he will ever grow to be quite as big as his daddy.  He is now around 4.5 inches at around 2.5 years old so there really is little chance of him getting much bigger.

These are the pictures from the two broods delivered.  The first two pictures show Ed's babies, and the third show's Midges babies.

Ed's Brood - we lost a lot of these to the tank which is why the brood seems quite small

Also Ed's brood

Midge's first brood
You should be able to see from the pictures that Ed's babies are swimming quite normally, whereas Midge's babies are mostly floating on the surface.  Unfortunately, this is quite common in first broods or broods where the male is not conditioned.  

Since they were born, Ed's babies are doing phenomenally with few losses and are dabbling with frozen food already.  Sadly, we have lost most of Midges babies but the remaining ones are doing okay now.

More to follow....

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Double trouble

We had another brood born yesterday. The day after my main male delivered. We didn't expected it as the make in question didn't look particularly pregnant. The brood is quite small and the fry don't look particularly strong so I'm not holding out an awful lot of hope for them.

Pictures of the various broods to follow.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


My new skimmer arrived today and its a beast!

I deliberately went for oversized so that it will help with the organics created by the messy seahorses!
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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Are You a Seahorse Breeder?

The Seahorse Breeders Registry has been set up to provide a singular list of seahorse breeders around the world promoting captive bred seahorses as an alternative to being removed from the wild.  The program is working to achieve this by encouraging captive breeding programs of seahorses using sustainable, responsible techniques.

If you are a breeder, you can sign up on the Seahorse Breeders Registry website.

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