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FAQs about Dwarf Seahorses

Related Articles: Seahorses & their Relatives, Fresh to Brackish Water PipefishesSeahorse Care Guide

Related FAQs: Seahorses & their Relatives 1, Seahorse Selection, Seahorse Systems, Seahorse Compatibility, Seahorse Feeding, Seahorse Reproduction, Seahorse Disease

Dwarf Seahorse tank   10/21/11
Good morning.
To start, thanks for your great site! It's really helped me quite a bit with my freshwater tanks.
<Ah good>
I've wanted seahorses since I was a kid but was always told it was near impossible. I think mostly because of the order-them-from-a-comic-book days.
<Oh, I do remember>
During my research into saltwater systems, I discovered dwarf seahorses (H. zosterae) and I* really *want to set up a seahorse tank. I just wanted your opinion on my ideas.
Option one is a ~7 gallon Fluval tank at the local thrift-store at an insanely low price. It's the type with a false back for filtration. My idea was to use the back area as a small refugium and breeding area for live food. The tank is in working order. (This is my hubby's favorite option.)
Option two is some suitable tall-type tank with a homemade HOB refugium.
(I'm fairly handy at DIY.)
Option three .... two tall tanks of equal or near-equal height. The larger one in the front and the smaller one behind it for a refugium/food tank.
I would paint the back of the main tank black and the front of the fuge likewise, have two separated hoods, and run the light for each on an opposing schedule. I would also have a small filter for both tanks, in theory for a sea-horse friendly low flow and circulation between the two. I'd put the heater in the fuge so that I don't have to worry about the seahorses hitching onto it. Cheap live rock for the fuge (cause it wouldn't have to be pretty) and a planted tank for the seahorses (with snails for cleaners, maybe a bivalve as well). This is my favorite option
<Mine too>
because I like DIY.... my hubby hates it because he does not like DIY, even if he's not the DIY-er, lol.
Obviously, I won't be setting up any of these tomorrow :) Plus the cycle time, I know I won't have seahorses in the immediate future.... but that's ok because I want to have a healthy tank. Do you think any of these options are viable?
<Yes; all three are>
My daughter has a small brine shrimp tank up and running, so we have plenty of live food (though I know I cannot feed seahorses BBS exclusively.) I don't want a large tank either, I want a small dwarf seahorse only tank.
I don't mind the work involved with tank maintenance nor with raising live food. On the other hand, I don't mind abandoning the idea if I'm most likely going to fail. I killed enough fish as a child. (My parents were big believers of taking everything out of a tank once a month and scrubbing
it- with bleach and soap! Needless to say, I gave up.)
<I'll say!>
<Bob Fenner>

Dwarf seahorses and Gorgonians, sys.    8/29/08 Hello Mr. Fenner & crew at WWM! <And to you Elena> Thank you for taking my question. I've read your website (among many others) and there is so much information that is contradictory it makes me cry! <How would you help here?> Your site opened my eyes to so much & I try to learn something new every day to help keep my tanks and inhabitants be as healthy & happy as possible but my dwarf seahorse tank needs help!!! My first mistake with the dwarfs was to only read seahorse sites. I didn't get to your site until after the fact. I'm having trouble picking the correct hitching posts for my dwarfs. The gorgonians I chose, I fear, were a tremendous mistake; as was the red tree sponge that I was told was GREAT for seahorses!. In with my 7 dwarfs, in a 6.6 gallon (23.5"L x 9.25"H x 7"D) w/ 1.5 gallon refugium, I have a green lace, 1 red & 1 yellow finger, 1 rusty & 1 purple brush & deadman's fingers. <I will interject here... this very small volume is dangerously unstable inherently... Unsuitable for any "good" sized colony of sponges, cnidarians... I will skip ahead and encourage you to simply use some "dead" gorgonian skeletons (rinds) or artificial media made for aquariums for "hitching posts"> There is a Penguin 100 BioWheel & Reefsun 50/50 lighting (6500* k trich daylight phosphor plus actinic 420 phosphor 18" 15 watt bulb). The tank was set up in January & the Georgians were added in June, the dwarfs just 21 days ago. The Gorgonians were fine until the dwarfs came. I'm guessing it's because I had to modify the BioWheel with sponges to the flow & intake to protect the ponies. Now I see the yellow finger is becoming covered with brown slit(?) <Mmm, maybe a mix of algae, Protozoans, bacteria... dead metabolic products from decomposition> & the others are rarely showing their polyps. The ponies love the yellow & use it to sleep together at night & well as a local hangout for morning greetings. The polyps used to show all the time on the yellow & this past week less and less have been coming out & today 1 or 2 are showing. Do you have any suggestions? <Mmm, yes, assuredly. One, to keep a good volume of pre-mixed water on hand... for the time coming when this system will crash... to move the Seahorses to likely, or if you're fortunate to "catch" this process, to remove the non Seahorse life (and toss) and change out the water to save them> My next question is, are there Gorgonians I should remove & others I should add? <I would not try keeping them period in this setting. Too little chance of "success" (the ones you have are slowly dying... and too great a likelihood of death of all from "crashing"... i.e. a cascade of death, decomposition... resulting in poisoning...> Can you suggest anything else to be used as hitching posts? <I have, above> One last question.... I hear so many different answers to clean up crews in dwarf tanks. In your opinion what would a good clean up crew be for them? <Really? You, your gear, regular (weekly) maintenance... no "crabs, hermits, snails..."> Years ago, before dwarfs were seen on line, I acquired a small herd & kept them in a 10g tank with plastic freshwater plants and a bunch of snails. They were fed BS (not decapped BBS) & flourished for 3 years until I was hospitalized for many months. My family just couldn't keep up the many feedings & extra cleanings a tank like that requires & by the time I came home I only had 3 left & they were too far gone to help. <Ahh, well do I remember the many years of even "Comic Book" ad-sales of Floridian Seahorses, the keeping, feeding of Sea Monkeys/Artemia> When I started this tank I wanted it as natural as possible (& I hated those tacky plastic plants!) <There are some very nice decor items nowadays...> but I have to say it was much easier then! I could really use your help. There's just too much out there & contradictions fly at the speed of light. I just need a consciousness, intelligent, black and white list (is there such a thing?). I just want to do right by all the inhabitants in the tank. I know I'm in the right place, you guys just rock! Thank you for giving us a site with no hidden agendas! Elena <Welcome Elena... Again, I would remove the Sponges, Gorgonians... go with artificial media, skeletons here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dwarf seahorses and Gorgonians   8/29/08 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Ms. Leber> Please don't think I'm being facetious here when I say how Thrilled I was to receive a response from you! I took a chance and wrote thinking maybe someone might answer me in time but the very next day I have a reply from you! It's like hearing from God. <Mmm, no. He's much older. Heeeeeee!> You know he's there but wayyy to busy to answer the likes of you. Thank you so much for your reply. I'm taking all of your advice. I just hope I'm in time to save the ponies. They seem fine but if the tank crashes....... <Yes> I just wish it was easier to gather the correct info at the start. From now on I'm coming to WWM 1st. I researched for 6 months before setting up this tank and it seems that everything I have done was incorrect. <Best to keep an open mind... with a modicum/dose of suspended belief and a smidgen of cynicism> Thank you again from the bottom of my heart & the hearts of 7 tiny ponies! You should be dipped in GOLD! <Yikes! Let's wait a while please. Cheers, BobF>

Lighting and seahorses 01/13/2008 Hi <<Hello, Andrew here>> I was wondering I'm starting up a new saltwater tank in my room and its a 28 gallon euro bow front. I want to do corals and I was confused on how much lighting would be needed to do a wide verity of corals. I know the rule is the more the better but how much more is best for the money? I was looking at two different options, a 130 watt PC lighting set up or a 1x250W HQI, 2x65W CF light. Witch do you think would be better considering I want some mushrooms brains and open brains, and plate corals, things like that. Is the 130 watt good enough or should I go for the 380 watt light? <<Simple answer is go the Metal Halide route. This will give you more options on what corals you want to keep and MH is far superior to PC lighting>> I also wanted to know with the 28 bow front tank could I do dwarf seahorses? I'm going to be running a Magnum H.O.T.. and some kind of skimmer (don't know what kind just yet, more reading to do any recommendations?). at least 30 lbs. of live rock maybe 40. and some corals. I think they will be fine but it doesn't hurt to hear from someone with more experience! <<Dwarf seahorses are fine in that size tank. What you will be up against is flow. Some of the coral suggested above require good flow, where as dwarf seahorses require flow as these are very lethargic and slow eating. Your best bet would be to keep the seahorses in a species tank>> Thanks for your time! <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Weekend feeding (and keeping) of dwarf seahorses    4/14/06 Hi!  I've been searching online for an answer to this question, but the one response that I found doesn't seem right to me.  I want to set up a dwarf seahorse tank at work (I spend more time there than at home, so I'd be able to enjoy the ponies more at my desk.  Sad, huh?). <Mmm, no... not necessarily. I may be a simpleton (if volunteering, building this/these sites for the last decade for free isn't proof enough), but have always enjoyed my work, workplaces...> But I refuse to do it until I can figure out a way to feed them on the weekend (Fri PM - Mon AM)   The one site I found that addressed weekend feeding of dwarves just said to dump in some de-encapsulated brine shrimp cysts to hatch over the weekend.   <Mmm, I would not do this... Too likely a chance of pollution, choking...> I just see this as adding possible residual bleach and/or capsule bits to the tank and endangering the dwarves.  It's also been my experience with fishkeeping that the easy answer is never the right one and usually leads to disaster. <Too often, yes> I plan to set up a 2 gallon tank with a sponge filter and probably 4-6 seahorses.   <Mmm... a bigger tank is likely to have "more chance" of success> I plan on feeding newly hatched brine shrimp 2-3 times per day.   So my quandary is how to get brine shrimp from a hatching vessel into the tank over the weekend without me being there?   <Mmm... other choices... in foodstuffs, feeding> Or is a better solution a floating hatchery of some sort that would be placed in the tank only over the weekend (I don't care about the aesthetics over the weekend)?  Or am I barking up the wrong tree entirely? Thanks much! Milly <Do consider a larger tank with an ancillary "refugium" to grow/supply live food organisms continuously. Hippocampines need more/different foods than just Artemia... the refugium will go a long way in improving, stabilizing the environment. Bob Fenner> Seahorse questions 1/25/05 Hi!  I have had seahorses in the past and always kept them in a 10-gallon tank, however I am now interested in keeping dwarf seahorses and have done various research and found differing opinions. Some sites say that a 10-gallon aquarium should be the minimum and yet others such as seahorse.org says that 2-5 gallon aquariums are more suitable. I would ideally like to have 4 dwarfs in all. <As you probably already know, seahorses feeding behaviour forces the aquarist to compromise between a large tank with lots of space and keeping food density high enough to ensure that the horses get enough and as little as possible escapes.> Also, I have found sites saying that frozen brine is ok for seahorse that have not been caught from the wild while other say that frozen food is not acceptable (and particularly brine shrimp).  What do you suggest?  I would appreciate any expert help!  Thanks so much! <Brine shrimp is generally considered to be a poor food choice, however HUFA enriched frozen brine is available from some sources.  Mysis is a suitable choice (particularly Piscine Energetics brand).  For dwarves, you may not have a choice but newly hatched brine shrimp nauplii (which are very nutritious for about 12 hours after hatching, but have to be enriched after that time.  I would strongly suggest researching these topics at seahorse.org, since that is where the hard-core jockeys hang out <g>.  Best Regards.  AdamC> Amanda

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