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FAQs about Seahorse & Pipefish  Systems 1

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

Related FAQs: Seahorse Systems 2, Seahorse Systems Seahorses & their Relatives 1, Seahorses & their Relatives 2, Seahorse Identification, Seahorse Behavior, Seahorse Compatibility, Seahorse Selection, Seahorse Feeding, Seahorse DiseaseSeahorse Reproduction,

Please, no powerheads in seahorse systems...

Seahorse; sel., sys.       1/6/18
Hello, this is Jinoo Kim. I have always wanted to keep a seahorse However, I do travel a lot, so I can't keep one without being able to feed it. But I still want to keep one. I have a 29 gallon macroalgae tank full of copepods
and amphipods.
I dose phytoplankton to keep the population high. Are there any seahorses beside the dwarf that can feed off the microfauna?
<For how long? I'd add a live sump... refugium of good size here; w/ a DSB, LR, macro-algal culture... >
I will feed them when I can, but again I do travel a lot, so when I'm not there, I wouldn't have to worry about the starving. Thank you.
Jinoo Kim
<If you can't be about to check the system, feed the horses every week (several days), I would look for other livestock... that will accept dried prepared foods that can be administered via an automatic feeder. Our olde
service company used to maintain some accounts that insisted on large seahorses, mixed with other fish livestock... that made counting on the horses to compete for food impractical. We switched out the pairs of horses every week for another set kept at the shop. Bob Fenner>
Re: Seahorse      1/6/18

In this tank, I have a pair of red mandarins.
<Ahh; these have very similar food et al. requirements to seahorses>
This whole tank is basically a refugium. Tons of macroalgae, more than enough microfauna, and a dsb.
All I am interested is a seahorse, I don't want any other fish. There might be times where I might be gone for almost a month, I use a automatic doser for phytoplankton to feed the microfauna and automatic feeders for my other tanks. All of my fish do well during the times I am gone, even my dwarf seahorses do well as they just pick off the microfauna. However, I was wondering if there are any other seahorses that could just pick off the microfauna.
<... the word microfauna encompasses a very wide mix of organisms; the majority of which are of no use to fishes nutritionally as adults>
I know you said to look into other livestock as my situation is not practical for keeping one, but I just want to clarify my system in case there is any other species than the dwarf that live off of copepods and amphipods. Thank you.
<Which dwarf Hippocampus/ine are you referring to? You might well be able to add/keep a smaller specimen of a large Indo-Pacific or trop. W. Atlantic horse here, considering that you are able to maintain Mandarins. BobF>
Re: Seahorse      1/6/18

I currently have some Hippocampus zosterae in a refugium. They just pick off the copepods while I am gone. I am looking at Barbour Seahorse, however are there any small species you would suggest?
<... PLEASE read on WWM re seahorse selection. B>

Seahorse compatibility      3/6/14
I've got a question on the seahorse compatibility I have a 70 gal with 20 gal refugium I currently have 30 lbs of rock with 20 lbs of sand. The fish I have are 2 clowns
<Which species? No anemone present I take it>

and a gold headed goby and soon will get 2 hippocampus erectus. My question is will a flame fin tang be compatible since they are the smallest tang and every where I've read they seam to be the most well behaved in their tanks?
<May be hard to feed the horses in this size system; with these other fishes present; otherwise should be behaviorally compatible. Bob Fenner>

Wood in Seahorse Tank?   7/2/09
I am considering wood pillars in a seahorse tank to give the look of an under the dock hangout.
<Have done similar with brackish water systems, and is often done like this in public aquaria, especially where coldwater fish are being kept.>
Would this be advised and if not what if I used a saltwater safe two part epoxy to completely coat the logs?
<Do see here:
Thanks for any advice you can give.
<Wood isn't toxic as such, in a variety of ways is exploited by marine organisms as food or as shelter. The prime issues are two-fold: Firstly, fresh wood (as opposed to fully-aged driftwood) contains a certain amount of organic matter that is still decaying. Secondly, acidic compounds leach out of wood and this can affect the pH level. So while the odd small piece of wood is unlikely to cause major problems in marine tanks, large amounts quite probably will. Depending on the size of your tank, artificial wood may well be easier to use, if more expensive.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

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>

Caulerpa and Seahorses Hello again! We are very impressed with your knowledge about marine plants. If is isn't too troublesome, we would like to ask for your advice on an issue or two. <I will try> We are writing to you from the Ft. Worth Zoo in Texas. Our exhibit deals with native marine life in the Gulf coast of Texas. The specific exhibit we are referring too concerns Hippocampus zosterae, dwarf seahorses. We are trying to find a marine plant that is compatible with the seahorses, relatively low maintenance, hardy, and a native resident to the Gulf. We have looked at many species of Caulerpa, but is not our only option. If you could give us any suggestions or comments or point us in the right direction it would be much appreciated. S.L. Stokes, Blanca Zarate, Fort Worth Zoo <Is the system large enough to support a Thalassia bed? This is the predominant plant that I have seen H. zosterae associated with... next perhaps Penicillus, Halimeda spp.... Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm Bob Fenner>

5g for Seahorses, Shrimp and Hermit Crabs   7/18/06 Hi! <Hi there!> I'm a newcomer to all of this aquarium stuff, but I'm doing all my research before I start buying things. <Very admirable> I like cleaner shrimp, seahorses and hermit crabs. <Me too!> Is there anyway I can get a 5 gallon tank to house them all?? <On my, I'm so sorry, absolutely not!> If so, how many of each and what kinds do you think would be the best? <You could perhaps keep a cleaner shrimp and a couple of hermit crabs but no fish. The only possibility for seahorses in a 5g would be Dwarf Seahorses and they require daily hatching of baby brine shrimp, which in my opinion is quite time consuming. Dwarf seahorses could not be kept with cleaner shrimp and only a few species of the smaller herbivorous hermit crabs would be appropriate. If you want to keep any of the larger species of seahorses you need minimum of 30 to 40 gallons depending on the species. Have a look at www.syngnathid.org and www.oceanrider.com for more information on seahorses and their appropriate care.> Also, could I get other fish in there? <Nope, unfortunately not a 5g> What type? I basically like all kinds, so whatever works! What would work would be a bigger tank. You will need at least a minimum of 20g to keep a couple to a few of the smallest marine fish. The bigger the better basically.> Thanks!!! <Your welcome, Leslie>

Serious Seahorse Problem... sys.   - 03/26/2006 Hello everyone. I am going to get straight to the point with this. I got a Black Seahorse a few months ago from my local pet store; he is a male. He is only about 4-5" long and I fear he may have a serious problem. I went to feed him his usual frozen mysis shrimp like I always do, and I found that he was stuck in-between my powerhead and the base it sits on. (I have my powerhead on a low and "seahorse friendly" setting.) <Needs to be screened...> I am not sure how he got himself wedged in there, but it apparently happened over night. When I first found him I thought he was dead, but it turned out that he was alright, for the most part. It seems that his left eye is white and very swollen, along with the left side of the top of his head. His actual eye itself is dull and has a greyish tint to it, so I fear that he may be permanently blind in that eye. I am very concerned because he can't seem to swim that well, and I'm not sure if he will be able to eat. I don't know if he will be able to adjust to partially losing his sight or not, though I highly doubt it. To give you some details about his tank situation I will give you some information.   I am 15 years old and I have had my 75 gallon tank for a while now. There are only two fish in my tank (including my seahorse), the one may surprise you. I have a damsel in along with my seahorse. I know you are going to tell me that is a bad idea, and I would agree with you, but I have had very good luck with this. I had my seahorse in a separate part of the tank just for him using a tank divider. He was in that area for about a month before I decided to move him into the big tank. I watched him and my damsel very closely everyday to make sure that they were both alright. It turned out that my damsel could care less that my seahorse is in with him. My damsel doesn't care for the mysis shrimp that much, so competition for food isn't a problem. They both get along just fine.   I check my water every two days for nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, salt levels, chlorine.. Everything that I can to make sure my tank is running well. I have a number of plants and small portions of live rock so that my seahorse has plenty of things to hold on to and places to hide. He always eats well and swims around a lot, and quite often lets me handle him without fuss. I am deeply attached to my two fish and they are both quite used to seeing my (clean) hand in the tank. Many times he will even swim over to my hand and latch on to it with his tail. Sorry, I am getting side-tracked. <Yes>   I just want to make sure you know that I take very good care of my fish and the tank that is their home. I just hope you can tell me what I can do for him, if anything.   (I have a picture of his eye, but I'm not sure it will help as it is a very blurry and hard to distinguish photo..)      Thank you very much for your time,   Krista <Only time will tell if this fish recovers... can likely feed, live with just the one eye. Do fashion or buy a screen for the powerhead intake. Bob Fenner>

Seahorses and Mandarins 3/20/06 I've been researching and planning a rather elaborate (if you ask my wife, she'd say "insane") system to sustain two show tanks (although the more I get into it the more interesting all the refugia I have in mind seem to be). <<Lets leave your wife out of it and stick with elaborate, eh?  HA!>> I currently have a 110 G reef with moderate flow from a refugium and moderate light sustaining a fairly diverse population of corals and a few fish including most notably a pair of mandarin dragonets whose continued sustenance is both one of the primary long-term goals and short-term worries in my mind.  They are not emaciated (the male was when I got him, and the female, whom I obtained much more recently, was also a little thin; it's hard to judge, but the male is clearly in much better shape 9 months after I got him than he was when I bought the tank from his previous owner) but I feel a need to constantly be monitoring the situation to ensure they never get that way. <<Your tank, especially with a refugium should be large enough to sustain these fish, but tankmates are a major concern, especially other 'pod specialists like small wrasses and some gobies and blennies.>> I have a 20-30 gallon refugium and a sump under that tank right now, but this is a temporary half-measure.  I have a 150 G tank that I've drilled in preparation for its going into service as the show tank for the mandarins and seahorses (I plan to have a nice stand of seagrass in there).  I plan to have the 110 Reef at the top of the system, overflowing into one or two refugia of 50-55 gallons each, and from there into the 150 G tank, to maximize the flow of food items into that area for the mandarins and seahorses that have such specialized diets (I will probably be buying captive bred seahorses-unless someone is getting rid of wild-caught just at the time I'm looking for my population-, so I know I can feed them mostly on prepared foods if need be, but I would prefer to give them an environment that feeds them naturally if I can). I think I will be able to supply them a good flow of amphipods and mysis and copepods that grow naturally in my refugium now (and I only hope to multiply the benefits by stuffing the larger volume of refugia full of rubble and sand), but I wonder if I can add diversity and benefits for the seahorses by also having a sustaining population of grass shrimp (Palaemonetes vulgaris) in the 150 G tank.  I know they will tend to prey on the amphipods and copepods, but would you anticipate they would outcompete the mandarins (or seahorses for that matter)?  My research suggests the fully-grown grass shrimp will be too large for the seahorses to eat, but will breed and thereby provide the seahorses with a ready diet of juvenile grass shrimp to augment the supply of amphipods and mysis.  Or will the amphipods and mysis be enough by themselves to sustain the seahorses comfortably and I'm just making things too complicated (perhaps I do like the idea of a diverse population in a sustainable relationship to other populations)? <<I would consider methods that will provide more habitat for 'pods in the mandarin/seahorse display.  While refugia are great supplements, I would still suggest a fair amount of live rock in the display to provide foraging area for the mandarins.  I like the idea of the shrimp to provide supplemental food for the seahorses in the form of fry, however unless you maintain cultures of the fry using phytoplankton, they will only serve as an occasional treat.  Also, I do believe that the shrimp may do more harm than good as a result of their own predatory behavior.  If you want to pursue this avenue, I would consider dedicating the most upstream refugium to this purpose.>> Will the mandarins also eat the shrimp fry or do they prey exclusively on copepods (some sources I've consulted seem to think they'll eat anything in the size range of a copepod, as I imagine a newly-hatched grass shrimp might be, or even somewhat larger prey such as flatworms-but I'm not sure I believe that, so perhaps you can fill me in on the real truth!)? <<Mandarins will eat prey other than copepods, including flat worms in some cases.  They may eat the fry, but again this would only be an occasional treat.>> Do you envision that I will be able to keep a large enough supply of copepods coming in that the shrimp population (which I imagine the seahorses will keep under control, but will hopefully not entirely exterminate) will not sweep them up before the mandarins can have their fill?  I'm tempted to believe that with 100 gallons of rock-stocked DSB refugia free of any predation other than amphipods I'll be able to generate a healthy enough supply of copepods to feed an army of mandarins (I'm exaggerating, but you take my meaning!) and the grass shrimp will not make much of a dent, since there'll be plenty of other things for them to eat as well.  But I'd hate to assume that would be the case and turn out to be wrong (probably it would be hard to get rid of the grass shrimp once they were established!). <<Again, I would not rely on input from the refugium and I would be concerned that the shrimp would be excessive competition for the mandarins. I would restrict the shrimp to the most upstream refugia.  I am also not aware of what kind of marine shrimp will reproduce as prolifically as you are describing.>> I couldn't find any discussions along these lines in the FAQ's.  I wonder if that means this is a great idea that's too elaborate for most, or a nutty idea that needs to be killed right away! Thank you.  Brad <<I think it is somewhere in between!!  I think you are on the right track to want to use large refugia to supplement the 'pod population for the mandarins.  On the other hand, it is very unlikely that even an optimally functioning system with some kind of prolific shrimp will be enough to sustain the seahorses.  In the long run, you (and your wife!) may be happier to try and keep the whole thing simple.  You are going to have to feed the seahorses anyway, so you may as well remove the troublesome task of monitoring and maintaining a feeder population.  With plenty of live rock and a refugium, the mandarins will take care of themselves.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>> Thinking seahorses, sys.  3/20/06 Howdy again ladies and gentlemen,    <Morning!>         I am eagerly awaiting my new main tank but will not have it until June so in the mean time to help me with the craving I am setting up a 24 gallon Aquapod. I like to have different so I was thinking seahorses are different and would like to give them a shot. I have gone to Ocean Rider, <Am out in HI, visiting periodically with Carol, Brian, their twin boys (now three years of age!) Cooper and Dylan...> seahorse.org and of course this site as well to research these fascinating creatures. I know what I can keep with them and what I can't for the most part. I would like to keep a few of the corals that are listed as "okay" on the seahorse.org site and maybe a watchman goby for sand sifting. It's my setup that I am wondering about. I have read sooooo many different setups it sounds like mine would work but I want to be sure so as not to sentence my new guys to death. As I stated my tank is a -   24 gallon Aquapod   almost 50 pounds of live rock - <I'd use about half this amount... leave room for all else> slabs, Fiji and Tonga branches for variety and shelves for coral placement and horse hitching.   10 pounds of live sand   The return pump has a rotating nozzle on it in the top left rear corner for water movement.   I currently have 1 mini dolphin pump moving water across the back of the tank since the rock is stacked up against the back but was thinking of adding another (not for flow because I know the seahorses don't need this) and putting some tubing with holes in it to create spray bars to put in behind the rock to keep dead spots from happening. <Sounds good>   Lighting is 1 70w 14000k metal halide light housed in a fan cooled canopy that is above the tank by about 3 inches. It also had blue and white led lunar lights.   I also have removed the sponge filter and bio balls that came with the tank and added Fission Nano skimmer instead. My concern with this is that the skimmer is creating a lot of micro bubbles (according to the instructions this is normal for a new tank and will stop after the surface tension changes?) <I hope...> I have read that the micro bubbles can be bad for the horses. <Yes, for all fishes> Ammonia - 0; Nitrites - 0; Nitrates - less than 20. I have just added the first of the clean up crew. 2 Astrea snails and 3 small turbo snails. 1 scarlet hermit, 3 red hermits and 7 blue legged hermits. Please give me your opinions on my setup/ideas and what kind of home this sounds like it will make for the horses. I am considering purchasing the 2 mustang and 2 sunburst special from ocean rider. I look forward to your thoughts.              Thanx for your time, experience and knowledge.                                                          Love the site! Butch <Sounds like a very nice set-up. It is obvious you have kept marines before and have been preparing. Bob Fenner>

Big problem for a little seahorse   2/23/06 Hey Bob, First of all I love what you guys do and it has been a tremendous help over the last year that I've been keeping marine species.   <Ah, good> My problem is that I have two yellow seahorses in a 26 gallon tank.  they are relatively small. about four-five inches. <... would be better in larger quarters. And I do wish some of the folks who know much more than I re tube-mouthed fishes husbandry would have picked up your note here... You are aware of the specialty bulletin boards re syngnathids? These are linked on WWM> I have low water circulation coming from a very low-power power-head. (the smallest 'Big Al's' sells) Now this morning one seahorse was stuck in it. <Bad...> I know now I should have had a grill on it, but it's one with the intake tube that zigs and zags and to not grind any fish etc.   <If this can't be masked better, remove it> This obviously wasn't the case as the little seahorse zig then zagged into it.  Upon spotting her, I immediately turned it off and carefully got her out. The side of her head is scrapped quite a bit and is a white colour.  She is breathing very heavy and is having problems swimming as she isn't using the fin on the side that is scratched.  the fin itself isn't ripped but looks scraped pretty bad.  Her colour is still a very bright yellow which is a good sign and she is still actively swimming around the tank.  My question is what do you recommend i do next, besides remove the power-head?  My main concern is infection. The water quality is good (zero ammonia, nitrite. nitrate is around 10 ppm).   Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Luke. <Please read through the Seahorse materials posted on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tube-mfi.htm and the linked files above And write the BB's listed re this situation. Bob Fenner>

High pH in seahorse tanks?!   2/9/06 Hello WWM crew:)  I have a concern that I would like to run by you.  Though I have never really had a problem of this nature in the past, it seems as though my luck has run out.  I recently tested the pH of my three dwarf seahorse tanks, and the results were completely different for each of the three tanks- 8.2, 8.4 and 8.7.  I know the first two values are acceptable, but the 8.7 is concerning me, especially since it is a juvenile tank.  I have not seen any ill effects as of yet, but I know that value is well beyond the normal range these animals are accustomed to.  Any ideas as to what I can look into? <... what is different about this last system? Substrate, use of ozone, UV?... water treatments?> I tested the KH for all three, and all of the tanks tested between 9-10 dKH, so I know this is not being caused by excessive alkalinity.  I have not added any calcium or other mineral supplements at all as well...so I am a bit baffled.  I would not say there is an excess of photosynthetic activity either, and I am not overly aerating the tanks.  Any ideas? Thanks again,   D Conners <Mmm, I would not be overly concerned here... there is a good deal of physiological adaptation (esp. over time) re pH and most marine fish groups... Bob Fenner>

Seahorse Tank/Live Rock Critters - 01/03/06 Hi, <<Hello>> This is probably a silly question. <<Only if you don't ask it.>> I have a 55 gallon tank that is freshly cycled with only about 8lbs of LR, 4 Blue Legged Hermits and a Camel Shrimp.  I'm setting it up to house seahorses, pipefish and other peaceful fish. <<I hope you have other supplemental filtration aside from the small amount of live rock.  And do have a read here, and among the indices in blue at the top of the page.  The more research you do the better your chances for success with these delicate creatures: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tube-mfi.htm >> My question is, lately I've noticed all sorts of living "stuff" from the LR, small reddish worms in the sand, feather dusters, etc. <<Yes>> Are any of these things likely to harm the horses? <<Probably not...though problem hitchhikers are always a possibility.  I think those Camel Shrimp may pose a hazard though...depending on the size of the shrimp/seahorses.>> Thanks <<Regards, EricR>>
Re: Seahorse Tank/Live Rock Critters 01/03/06
Thanks for the info.  I have the tank set-up with a slightly over sized wet/dry, a ETSS Reef Devil skimmer and a 15w UV. <<Very good>> The live rock was added just to make the tank a bit more interesting. <<Understood...do also look in to some type of "anchor point" for the seahorses/pipefish.  Perhaps some artificial sea fans or gorgonians.>> I certainly agree with gaining more knowledge.  Too much is never enough. <<Comforting to hear, good luck with your research.>> Thanks, Scott <<You're welcome Scott.  Regards, EricR>>

Sea Horse Stocking, Beginner Tank Size, on resolving conflicting advice  9/9/05 Hello, Thanks in advance for your time and advice, and the library of info on your website. <Welcome> I'm a beginner (not counting the freshwater tanks I had as a kid).  I've always wanted a marine tank but was afraid of the amount of time and care, in particular having to break the tank down and cleaning it every 6-12 months, as I was told back then.  Recently, I've discovered the advancement in technology has addressed such concerns drastically in the last decade or so, and now I think the amount of work is within my ability (knock on wood). So I've been reading up on SeaHorse care, and about beginner's tank setup guides.  I've read up all over WWM, seahorse.org, OceanRider, and others. <Good> My problem now is the resulting confusion from what seems to me to be conflicting advice...  Any help is much appreciated. <Okay> I was thinking about a Nano (24G) Cube, initially, but saw that you think they aren't so good for the beginner.  Unfortunate, because I like the look, but I was wondering about the flexibility in design, so I'm getting ready to shelve that idea. <Can be made to work...> Books and websites (including WWM) recommend 40+ (55-75) for beginner's tanks for easier maintenance and control.  That's cool.  But reading up on SH care guides, it seems a 55g tank would require stocking of 6 or 7 pairs (!?). <Mmm, not "require"... but "allow" perhaps>   I don't know if I can shell out that much all at once, financially, but more importantly, it seems to compound the risk of failure to have so many to take care of, when just getting used to caring for them.  And I kind of dread ordering 12 horses in one go from Oceanrider... seems like there's no way all of them would arrive at once alive... <Mmm, actually...>   maybe I'm wrong.  Is doing all at once easier?  If I do it in stages, won't it be too empty/sparsely populated for the first-comers? <I would start with just a pair or two... no problem> On the other hand, I read your advice on people who have 20-30g sizes with a more manageable number or Seahorses. <Yes> So, here come the questions.  Which rule comes first?  Bigger Tank? Smaller and manageable stock-size? <Bigger tanks are better for maintenance, any "practical" number of seahorses (mainly dependent on size/species) per tank size (allowance) is fine... You could keep "a pair" in a forty or larger...> If I got a 65g going, and stocked 2 pair (4 horses) and other compatible fish would that be ok? <Sure> I don't think that would address the feeding concerns that the SH may not be able to find the food easily enough, but stocking other fish does lower the number of horses to be housed in the tank (the \"maximum\" or \"recommended\" numbers per gallon), right? <Yes... for clean-up and interest...> And another question that has been concerning me.  As a responsible owner, how do most owners deal with the mating/fry issue, realistically?  I don't mean the technicality of rearing the fry, but rather the practical implications.  You can't expect them NOT to mate, right? <OR's seahorses usually don't...> And when they hatch you have to try to take care of them.  Sure.  It's difficult, and you may not succeed, even if you were trying hard.  Ok.  But if you DO succeed, and you have more horses than you can handle, what do you do?  I don't want to (at least right now, I don\'t intend to) become a breeder. So, if a few grow up, that's cool.  I might even succumb to getting bigger tanks and more tanks, as space permit.  But there are limits, right?  You can't give them away to people who can't take care of them, so what do most people do?!  Is this a realistic concern? <Mmm, no... not really> or do so few survive, that I shouldn't worry about it? <One view, possibility... most likely yours won't reproduce. If you should get/acquire some wild stock, avoid "pregnant males"... Should you end up with these, the young will likely perish for wont of food...> Thanks so much, Looking forward to hearing from you. Hiro in NYC <A pleasure to share. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sea Horse Stocking, Beginner Tank Size, on resolving conflicting advice  9/10/05
Wow! Thanks so much for your quick response.  I can't tell you how encouraging it is to get feedback about questions like that! <Good> I just had two points I'd like to clarify about your response, if I can trouble you just a bit more. <Sure, no trouble> So as I understand your response, the concern I have read in some places, that seahorses being slow are less able to swim too long looking for food if stocked too few per gallon, isn't too much of a concern for 55-75 sizes. <Correct> When you say the nanocube can be made to work, do you mean swap filtration equipment built in to the cube with some thing better? Or simply add to it to complement its existing equipment? <Either one... just needs "more" filtration, circulation... a skimmer you can turn off temporarily during feeding...> Thank you again so much. Hiro in NYC <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Beginner Seahorse Tank, on resolving conflicting advice on Canisters  10/5/05 Bob, Leslie, thank you both for your time and advice on my previous   email.  I've taken your advice, did more research, and have taken the plunge! <Welcome> I set up a 37G, foregoing the Nanocube.  I have about 1/3 volume in   Live Rock, Remora Pro skimmer with Mag3 pump.  I got the live rock   from the LFS, "mostly cured" in their words.  I have a small   AquaClear 20 powerhead to supplement flow, at about half capacity. According to my research and belief, the Remora should be returning   about 100 gph to the tank, and my powerhead approx 60-70 gph, I   think.  Was aiming for about 170-180. (37x5=185).  For the seahorses to come.... I hope you can help me with the following. (1)  My guy at the LFS has been pushing me to get a Canister.  I want   some mechanical filter to hold carbon, and to filter particles.  But   it seems some people on WWM say LR and skimmer is enough and   canisters are more negative (nitrate?) than positive.  I'm worried   about inconvenience of cleaning.  On the other hand, the added water   volume and carbon would be desirable, I think.  Which way should I   go?  Canister? Powerfilter? <I would use the latter myself... easier, cheaper to run, acquire... and does all the two can/will do> Is Eheim 2215 too much flow for the   seahorses?  I have read bigger is better, here on WWM on canisters.    <Could, would work... has a discharge spray bar....> But I'm worried about too much flow.  The LFS guy says point the   water return down and I can limit influence on the flow.  Or should I   just ditch the entire idea and leave it with LR and skimmer? <Up to you. Can be added later if you want> (2)  It's been about a week since I set it up, and the water is doing   great (ph.8.1, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 10mg/l, spg 1.024, Ca   430).  but today, I noticed a lot of the LR is starting to turn/grown   rusty/orange/brown on the edges.  It does not look like the pictures   of BGalgae or Cyano I see on the FAQ here.  No wispy hairs, just   looks like... rusty fuzz.  Is this natural? <Yes> or should I be concerned? <Re? Read on WWM re... cycling, LR curing... Cyano... this latter is what this mainly is>   Even the rock that has great purple coralline when I got   it, is starting to turn "rusty" on the edges.  On the other hand, I   think there is at least a little pimple of orange sponge growing on   another piece of rock that wasn't there a few days ago. (3)  My Remora Pro is foaming, but not enough to reach the container.    Do you think this is because I have nothing in the tank and there is   genuinely little to skim, or because I have to tweak and skim more?   <Maybe a bit of both> The skimmer has been running for 3 days now.  I have the prefilter   foam on the Mag.  Should I not have this attached? <Time for the requisite "stop obsessing" stmt. here> (4)  So far all I have in my tank is the LR, live sand, and water.  I   thought cycling would take longer, but last three days, I have not   had any ammonia or nitrite.  Am I missing something?  Did I miss the   cycling somehow?  I can't decide what to add first - snails, etc., or   some macro algae for seahorses to hitch onto (looking ahead).    Caulerpa seems to be the most available around here, and looks like   something seahorses would enjoy hitching onto.  But the advice on   them also seem to be both extremes - easy, not easy.  risk or crash.    not in the main tank (I don't have a refugium).  Should I get   something else?  or is it ok to get Caulerpa?  Should I stick with   fake plants and synthetic corals for hitching posts? <I would for now> I am getting a bit nervous and excited to have it all set up.  Thanks   for your help in advance! Hiro <Bob Fenner>

Seahorse stupidity follow up/High Nitrates (8/3/05) Dear Bob/Leslie, <Leslie here with you this morning.> Just thought I would run this by you. <Sure, no problem!> In my now infamous public seahorse tank I have noticed, over the last few days, a worrying increase in Nitrate, up to 100 today.  However, this hasn't followed any increases in Ammonia or Nitrite which have been completely normal since the beginning.  I have been doing small water changes every day after advice from another aquarium. <Good advice. Frequent partial water changes of 10 to 20% of the total volume should dilute the nitrates.> The only other increase has been 1.026 to 1.028 over three weeks. <Evaporation will cause the specific gravity to creep up and can easily be remedied by the addition of some pH adjusted, de-chlorinated freshwater. > I've been doing a hoovering type siphon of the substrate but to be honest there isn't much debris to hoover up so I am lost as to what to do. <If you are vacuuming the sand during the small frequent water changes, this is not necessary and you may actually be adding to your problem. Excessive vacuuming of the substrate can cause the loss of some of the beneficial bacteria living in the substrate, which are responsible for nitrification and denitrification. The four H. reidi show no ill effects at all, any thoughts? <Please forgive me I cannot remember the details of your tank set up.  The addition of a protein skimmer and macro algae will help with nutrient export and the addition of live rock will augment the process of denitrification.  So if you have not incorporated these into your tank set up this would be a good place to start. These articles should help. Start with this one on Nitrates in Marine Aquarium Systems http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and follow with these on Frequent Partial Water Changes http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water.htm and Nutrient Control and Export http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm You also may want to consider the addition of some seahorse safe marine scavengers to help with the clean up of carrion and uneaten food. These links should help: Clean up crew http://www.syngnathid.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=Plunge&Number=820&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1 and Scavengers for Marine Systems http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marscavart.htm Many thanks, Alex <You're most welcome! Hope this helps, Leslie>

Seahorse Expecting ... Tank Set Up 7/4/05 Hello, <Hi there!> My Brazilian seahorse is pregnant can you please advise me what kind of hospital tank to set up or can I leave the horse in my regular tank? I'm not sure if they will eat baby seahorses? <Congratulations!!! You will need to move the horse into what I call a paternity ward or delivery tank, unless you can somehow separate him from the tangs, they do pose a threat to the fry. BTW, for the record tangs are not a typically recommended seahorse tankmate. They may be fine now because they are small. These are active fish, which get to be a good size. You may want to consider permanently relocating the seahorses to their own tank. I would move him along with his mate.  Use live rock from your main tank. You will need to protect the fry from any intakes. This can be done by either using a tank divider and placing the pump or filter on one side of the divider and the seahorses on the other or by covering all intakes with a sponge.> If I have to set up a separate tank besides saltwater do I add vitamins or any thing? <I am not really sure what you mean by this. You will not need a tank other than saltwater. You do not need to add any vitamins or supplements to the delivery tank or the nursery tank. You will however need to enrich the baby brine shrimp you will be hatching to feed the fry. You will need a nursery tank as well as a brine shrimp hatchery set up. I don't mean to put a damper on your excitement over the prospect of baby seahorses but you need to know that raising seahorse fry is very difficult at best. It is a huge time investment,  a lot of work and most folks have little to no success raising the fry. You are working with a species that is particularly challenging to raise, because the fry are very small and pelagic. This presents 2 problems, feeding and losses due to intake of air at the surface. These fry do not hitch at birth. They float near the surface for weeks, where they take in air, which leads to their eventual demise. They must be kept off the surface with the creative use of current. Most folks do this with Kriesel or modified Kriesel nursery set ups AKA fish bowl nurseries. I would recommend you go and have a look at the Paternity Ward Forum on  www.syngnathid.org. In particular have a look at these 2 threads  "Easiest Nursery Ever" here… http://www.syngnathid.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=Paternity&Number=13213&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1 and  "Easiest Nursery Photos" here… http://www.syngnathid.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=Paternity&Number=13217&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1 Since this species has such small fry you will need to get hold of the small variety of baby brine shrimp called…. San Francisco Bay Brand. You can find information on decapsulation, hatching and enriching brine shrimp here….. http://www.saseahorse.com/seahorse.htm Click on the brine shrimp link on the left. Best of luck with your pregnant papa seahorse. I hope this helps Leslie>

SW circulation, seahorses... Hello, I have a 2 month old 65 gallon tank with skimmer, wet/dry, chiller, Coralife  lighting  HQI  metal halide lighting,  a lot of live rock inside my tank I use 1 Rio aqua pump/power head 2500 it does not seem to be enough movement for top layer of water and to move about corals towards the center I was thinking of adding a Seio super flow pump m620 my question is do you think this is too much current? <Not too much> I have 2 Brazilian seahorses to take in consideration? <Oh... perhaps too much for these... I would arrange all flow to course along the edges of the inside of the tank> Also my tank measures L36" H 19" 1/2 W 18" has rounded corners. thank you R.G. <Bob Fenner>

Seahorses and Eel Grass Hello, <Howdy> In a few months I will be acquiring a pair of Ocean Rider Mustang seahorses. I just got a 24 gallon nanocube for them. I have been researching about Hippocampus erectus and have discovered that eel grass can be used for them to hitch onto. Do you know any places on the internet where I can purchase eel grass, or any sea grass for that matter? <A tough one... sometimes offered by folks in the trade, but I'd be searching, buying "direct" from a collector here. Likely someone in the tropical West Atlantic. You can locate these folks through the Net, the back/classifieds in the hobby 'zines> If I cannot find any eel grass for the seahorses, I will need other hitching posts. I suspect a tree sponge will suffice will it not? <Mmm, depends on species... do read over what we have posted on Gorgonian Selection, Systems, Feeding... I would go with other non-living material> Also, can corals like Acropora sp. work? Anyway, could you recommend any other seahorse safe species of coral, not necessarily for hitching on? Thank you for your time. Joe Marano <I don't encourage the co-use of Hippocampines and live scleractinians, alcyonaceans... Not generally compatible... the last requiring living conditions that make keeping both together tenuous. Please study a bit more here. You've read over OR's site I take it. Bob Fenner>  <<Marina's note: The folks who breed seahorses at the LBAOP typically use plastic freshwater Vallisneria to substitute for the eel grass.  The animals adapt quite readily/happily to this.>><<Excellent. RMF>>

Seahorse tank. I'm very new to aquariums and marine life in general.  <Youch. You've picked a hard beginning but a very satisfying one.>  I told a friend of mine how much I admired and loved seahorses and he talked me into setting up a tank and then pretty much left me high and dry so to speak. I've learned some from reading but since I have never had a tank before much seems over my head! Your help in layman's terms would be great appreciated.  <Will do my best. Oh and MacL here with you today.> I have a 36 gallon tank with 3 female seahorses and a few snails. The bottom is sand. All the levels seems to be within acceptable levels (at least according to the chart on the testing kit).  <I'm assuming that means zero? Seahorses are very demanding for water quality.>  I've had one of the seahorses about 4 months, the other two only a couple of weeks and all seem to be doing fine. My first problem is with algae. I've read several pieces of mail on your site with people with the same problem (I thought I was the only one!).  <Not at all, algae is a big seahorse problem because they require feeding so frequently.>  I think I might be overfeeding my seahorses and what is left seems like it would be feeding the algae. I feed the 3 of them 1/2 cube of frozen Mysis twice a day ... is that too much?  <I usually feed mine three times a day and about that amount but you have to be diligent about cleaning up what they don't eat.>  Should I cut that to 1/4 a cube? I've been doing a 25% water change once a week but the algae comes back within a couple of days along the sand and grows on the rock and decorations. When I do the change I take out the decorations and clean them but does not seem to help much. Do I need a protein skimmer as some of the mail suggests?  <I don't use a protein skimmer on mine, I am too worried about bubbles bothering the seahorses but I am told it is very helpful in getting the tank cleaner. I have recently gone to adding Purigen by SeaChem in my overflow and have found it amazingly helpful in keeping my tank clean.>  I guess I'm just looking for a bit of advice to help move me in the right direction.  <I think its great that you are looking for help and wonderful that you are doing water changes so frequently. Obviously you are taking good care of your seahorse.>  Thanks for all your help.  <Leif you might also look on our forum there are good discussions of seahorses there. Good luck, MacL>

To Anthony, if possible: dwarf sea-horses in the refugium? Hi Anthony, <Antoine is out> I got this idea to take advantage of the fuge to have a single pair of dwarf sea-horses (zosterae) there when the system will be mature enough. To recap a bit here, the aim of my fuge will be to produce plankton, export nutrients through macro algae (Gracilaria and Chaeto), produce fresh "green" food (Gracilaria), and NNR through the sugar-fine DSB. Top priority in my mind is clearly plankton production for the display. So I will try not to exceed 6x vol. of fuge per hour as a water flow. Display should be about 70 gal net and fuge a bit over 20 gal net. Will be a DSB in display as well and 100lbs of LR (plus 10-20lbs LR in fuge). Also worth noting is that I will want to keep a mandarin when the system is mature and thriving with critters such as mysids, amphipods, and copepods (hopefully).  Ok, under these circumstances, what do you think of the idea of having a single pair of zosterae in the fuge? <Should work out... do keep the exiting pump intake screened over carefully> -These dwarf sea-horses are really tiny. Don't know if they are voracious eaters for their size though. A refugium isn't a fuge anymore if there is a predator there... Would only two of them have a noticeable impact on the population of pods/mysids? <Not discernible> -Would I still need to target fed them with baby Artemia or they could possibly get what they need from the system? <Only time, experience can tell> -Otherwise it could at least allow me to feed them so only once a week? <Maybe> Another option yet would be to place a "Hatching Feeder" in the fuge. Would be convenient and part of the Artemia that would bypass the dwarf sea-horses would get to the display and still benefit the animals there. -If I have enough water movement in the display (from a wave2k), is it ok to have a very slow flow of about 1x volume of the tank per hour to the sump (where the skimmer, heater... are) ? <Mmm, better to increase this flow rate to five, ten times per hour. Bob Fenner> Thank you very much again! Dominique 

Filtration for a 45g Hexagon Pony Paddock 4/10/05 Thanks so much for your speedy reply. I know you get this allot, 1 more question. <Sure no problem!> I have a 45-gallon hex, which I plan on housing seahorses (only) in. I've read they prefer a taller tank and not an extremely large tank,  with low currents. <This is a common misnomer. Yes,  height is recommended but vertical space is just as important. They will use both. They use the height during courting and breeding rituals. They ascend up the water column during their mating ritual and particularly during the egg transfer.  Anyone who has kept seahorses and moved them from a tall  narrow tank to a tall long tank will tell you that they actually do utilize all the space…… vertical as well as horizontal.> With the limited cabinet space on this size tank, I'm having a problem deciding what type of filtration to use. < Yes, hex tanks do present a challenge. If you are not 100% committed to the 45g hex you might want to consider a tall rectangular tank perhaps a 50 or 60g.> Could/would you recommend a filtration set-up for this tank ? Specific brands if possible. If you go with the 45g .......I would recommend the Marineland Emperor 250 or 400, which,  ever one fits. The action of bio wheel will help to degas the water, which is helpful in the prevention of Gas Bubble Syndrome.> Thanks again>Chris You're most welcome. Best of luck with your pony paddock! Happy Trails, Leslie>

Temperate Tankmates for H. abdominalis 4/10/05 Dear Mr. Fenner <Good evening, Leslie standing, well actually sitting,  in for Mr. Fenner this evening> I am trying to find suitable tankmates for some Hippocampus abdominalis.  I would like to find a few small fish and some inverts that won't out-compete them for food, and can tolerate lower temps.  I have not been able to find much info on the web for coldwater saltwater animals.  The tank will be about 150 gal, and have excellent filtration and lighting.  Any tips on tankmates or sources for info would be greatly appreciated. < What an awesome tank you have planned there. 150 g is a great size for abdominalis. I am green with envy . The reason you can't find much info, is because there are not many temperate fish and inverts available to us here in the US.  There is one very pretty and interesting  little fish I know of that you can find now and again….. Catalina Gobies Lythrypnus dalli Have a look here for a photo….. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobies.htm . In addition www.syngnathid.org is an excellent source for information and support. There are several members keeping abdominalis and Tracy Warland who breeds these amazing creatures just happens to be  one of the moderators there.> Thanks,  Timothy Loyd <Your most welcome!! Best of luck with your new corral>

Seahorse System Cycled Hello. <Hi there, Leslie, resident seahorse lover at your service.> I have cycled my 30 gallon aquarium a few weeks ago (will be used for seahorses in a month) <Seahorses my favorite sea creatures!!! I hope you are planning on purchasing captive-bred seahorses.> I have a clean up crew of 4 scarlet hermits, 1 zebra legged hermit, 16 Nassarius snails (ob. not vibex ) and 3 Astrea snails. <I like to use 1 to 1.5 Nass snails per gallon in my seahorse corrals.> I have 40 lbs live sand (CaribSea Aragonite) and 32 lbs of live rock (a mix but most is Tonga branch). I have some exposed sandbed, but not too much, and the rock has formed some interesting caves. I am getting ready for seahorses in about a month. I have an Emperor 280 filter and a CPR BakPak protein skimmer. Lights are PCs. <Sounds like a nice set up, your horses should be very happy!> I was wondering if it is necessary to vacuum the sand? <That would depend on the depth of your sand bed. My guess is you have about a 2?#8364;? sand bed. Shallow sand beds of 1 to 2 inches need to be vacuumed.> I looked and looked on your site and others but can't find too much information. <Have a look at www.syngnathid.org. There is quite a bit of info there and many wonderful patient folks sharing experiences and knowledge with fellow seahorse keepers.> The rock is getting cleaned very well by the crew. Lots of coralline algae but otherwise cleaned to almost white on most pieces and I have some copepods in the tank. <That sounds great > Some people say they vacuum part of the sand. Do I need to do this or would I be able to remove any hair algae that would grow on the sand with a turkey baster and get by? <IME hair algae is usually more of a problem on rock. If your tank should be plagued by a Cyanobacteria outbreak which usually manifests as a thin layer over the rock and substrate and can be removed by, sort of peeling it off in sheets. It can be siphoned or turkey basted out, but the sand bed still needs to be vacuumed to remove detritus and other waste that accumulates in and on top of the substrate.> I wanted a professional opinion. I am afraid if I ask someone at a LFS they might just say yes to try to get me to buy the vacuum. So to vacuum or not to vacuum is the question? <Vacuum as long as are not using a true deep sand bed.> I have read from a few posts that some aquarists do not like to disturb the sandbed as long as they have critters that stir it. < I believe these are aquarists using deep sand beds and they utilize sand stirring critters to stir the very top layer but deeper layers need to remain undisturbed. What should I do? < Vacuum as mentioned above.> Thanks, Michelle <You're most welcome, Leslie> 
Seahorse System Cycled....continued 4/9/05
<You're most welcome!> Yes I will be purchasing cb seahorses and the sandbed is about 3 and half inches deep. LFS suggested a little too much sand as I was originally trying for 2 inches but I went with it since I had it. So since the bed is deeper I don't vacuum right? <Avoid deep vacuuming. You can lightly vacuum any debris off the surface of the substrate.> I will eventually stock more tank janitors but I am leaving on a dive trip for 7 days and getting my seahorses after. I am fearful if I stock with too much clean up crew they will die or start to kill each other. <That sounds like a very good plan. Best of luck with your seahorse paddock! Happy Trails, Leslie>

Seahorse Corral Set Up 4/9/05 Hi <Good evening, Leslie here representing the crew this tonight.> I'm in the process of setting up a tank for seahorses. <Ah, that's great. They are my all time favorite. I hope you are planning on obtaining CB seahorses. We are very fortunate there are quite a few sources these days.> I have a tall tank and I do not plan on adding any substrate so the horses can see the food easier. I have a few pounds of live rock in there but the main filtration is a nice hang on the back wet/dry and skimmer.  My question is about running a wet/dry along with live rock, does having both inhibit either one from functioning to the fullest power? <Nope. I believe they will enhance each other.> The reason I'm setting up my tank this way,  is that I had a seahorse tank in the past set up Berlin style and the horses got the disease where they fill up like balloons. <Ah yes, how unfortunate and sad. I'm so sorry. That would be a form of Gas Bubble Disease or Syndrome as it is becoming known.> I wanted to make sure I have a high oxygen level in my water at all times and thus decided on the trickle filter. <Sounds like a very good plan. www.syngnathid.org is another excellent resource if you would like to do some additional reading.> Thanks for your help! <You're most welcome. Best of luck with your new seahorse paddock! Happy Trails, Leslie>

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

Question about Sand bed in a Seahorse Aquarium 10/05/04 Hello, <Hi there, Leslie here this evening> I am getting ready to put my live rock (32 pounds) and live sand in my 29 gallon seahorse tank (OceanRider tank raised seahorses) to start the cycling process. < Ahhhhh a man after my own heart. I adore seahorses. Great choice and great horses!!!! >    My question is, how deep of a sand bed do I need?   < I have used everything from a bare bottom to a deep sand bed and everything in between in seahorse tanks and my preference is for no more than an inch or so. I find the deep sand beds just to difficult to maintain in a seahorse tank and have gone back to a minimal sand bed and use of  the good old sand vacs. Seahorses have what could be considered an abbreviated, short or rudimentary digestive system so as a result food moves through their system fairly quickly and they produce quite a bit of waste. > I want to have a full complement of sand critters and sand sifters, so I need the bed to be right. I use Nass snails and small hermit crabs and that is about it.> However, this is my first use of live sand instead of crushed coral and I do not wish to mess it up for the seahorses or "critters".  I go Thursday to get my last bag of sand, and I need to know if I should get more or stop with what I have.  I figure with a 29 gallon tank that two or three 20 pound bags of Carob-Sea Wet Packed Aragalive would do it.  I currently have two bags of Fiji Pink Aragalive. <I think that is fine> Would you suggest another bag or stop with two?   <I would see how one looks and stop at an inch or 2 at the most.> After all, the seahorses comfort and well being is my main goal. < Great main goal.....the seahorses will be comfortable with a shallow or deep sand bed. Most species have no particular needs related to the sand bed. My preference is for something soft, especially for any of the bottom dwelling species like capensis that tend to drag their tails in the substrate. > Any help or suggestions you can give me would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your help with this.  I know you are extremely busy, and I appreciate your time. Jerry Cranford   <You are most welcome and thank you :) >

Live Sand Starter Hello, I was wondering if you think it would be ok to add 1 quart of "live sand booster" to a new setup for a seahorse only fish tank?  I will get my seahorses from Oceanrider, they are all tank raised and eating fortified frozen Mysis.  This kick start quart comes from CULTUREDAQUARIA.COM.  It is supposed to be full of "critters" like copepods, small sand stars, bi-valves, and sand worms and stuff.  I was just wondering if it might help with getting my tank ready for my new seahorses.  I want to make it as perfect as possible for them.  It is a 29 gallon aquarium, and it will have 30 pounds of live rock, Carib sea Indo-Pacific black live sand, protein skimmer rated for a 75 gallon tank, with a hang on the back filter (170 gal hr) with bio wheels for good bacteria to grow on.  My clean up crew will be the first thing in after cycling though.  The sand already has lots of good bacteria, I thought this other stuff would give everything else a head start.  What do you think?  Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.  By the way, I was referred to you by Oceanrider.  The person I talked to was not familiar with the stuff in question.  Thank you.                                                                     Jerry Cranford   ***Hello Jerry, The live rock and sand make the BioWheel in your filter superfluous at best. As far as the sand booster goes, if you have the money to burn, go for it. I've never heard of this, but there are similar kits offered from other vendors. Myself, I've never bothered as I've found them over priced for what you get. WAY over priced. I just go to my LFS and grab a few handfuls of the gunk from the bottom of the live rock bin. I've found I get plenty of critters that way. It certainly will enhance the variety of life in your tank, but you have other avenues available to you, including sand from other reef keepers. Bottom line, if the $$$ aspect doesn't hurt, give it a try. Jim

*** Diatoms in a Seahorse Tank (8/17/04) Hi my name is Scott from New Zealand. <Hi Scott from New Zealand. Leslie here from sunny Southern CA in the USA standing in for Bob tonight> I have a salt water aquarium with two sea horses in it. <Ah one of my all time favorite sea creatures other than Puffers :)! The tank is 120L and I have a problem with the water getting a rusty look on all the ornaments and glass I would like to know weather its something I'm  doing or not doing? Sounds like a diatom bloom. There are several contributing factors..... Please read through the following links on Diatoms and let me know if you have further questions....these should help quite a bit.... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diatomfaqs.htm > The tank has a corner charcoal filter and another filter that moves the water around the tank. I feed the horses mainly frozen brine shrimp and a few blood worms. If you have any suggestions I would be very grateful. <I know you did not ask about filtration or nutrition but since you mentioned what you are using I do have a few suggestions related to those topics..... Protein Skimming is highly recommended for a seahorse tank and will help quite a bit with your nuisance algae problems. Brine Shrimp is acceptable for an occasional feeding, perhaps once a week but nutritionally very inadequate. Your seahorses will not do well long term on a staple diet of brine shrimp. I am assuming your seahorses are wild caught. You have conquered one of the biggest challenges wild seahorse keepers face.......getting them to accept frozen foods. Your best bet for long term health and wellbeing would be to feed frozen Mysis with varying enrichment products. Seahorses require marine protein so if you want to give them live treats, instead of blood worms I would suggest live gut loaded ghost shrimp or any other small marine shrimp you have access to in your part of the world. www.syngnathid.org is an excellent resource for information on seahorses and other tube mouthed fish. Best of luck with those amazing creatures! Leslie>

Seahorse system 8/16/04 Dear Adam, After I wrote to you I found a pet shop in Perth and they are more than happy to send me 20 kg.s of salt for the cost of $96-00 to be freighted over night which I think is a good price then this way I can make my own salt water and keep a large container on hand all the time, after reading the booklet that came with the fish tank , the tank isn't 120 it is 75 litres and I have set it all up with the living rock and coral now all I need is some anemones and a star fish.  <It is always wise to have water on hand for water changes.  Be aware that Anemones require intense lighting.> I had a pair of  the ordinary seahorse in a smaller tank and oh they were so happy then yesterday when I checked them the little girl had passed away so now I have the little boy in the new tank and he is so active that I am sure that he will survive in this new environment.<Sorry for your loss.> I will be going to town in the morning so I will buy an indoor camera then I can send you a photo to see the set up.  I don't know where you live but I can tell you that Western Australia is a wonderful state and as we are on a farm and don't have neighbors it is the perfect life.<It sounds amazing!  Being so rural, I would suggest a generator or battery back-up system to prevent loss in case of a power outage.> I have attached a photo of myself and my husband so that you will know to whom you are talking to I have also attached a photo of the smaller tank that I was using for the 2 seahorse  this tank was only 35 litres and far to small for them to have plenty of room to swim about in. Do you know a lot about raising sea horse and salt water fish if you do would you mind if I was to ask you questions from time to time as this is the way I will learn to care for these wonderful creatures . Hoping to hear from you again .  Faithfully  <A lovely tank and a lovely couple!  Please write back anytime you have questions and do also make full use of all of the information on WWM.  Also see www.seahorse.org for a lot of good seahorse info!  Best Regards.  AdamC>

Pipefish aquarium (6/8/04) Hello, < Hi, you have Leslie here this evening> I currently have a 55g, 25g, and a 50g that have been up and running for almost a year. <Very nice!! Sounds like my house :). > They house colt coral, watermelon mushrooms, some unidentified brown polyps, porcelain crabs, a feather duster, 2 perculas, 1 maroon clown, a Rabbitfish, a blue damsel, and 2 sexy shrimp.  I just set up a 15g refugium on the 55g tank and I can see pods crawling around on the rock and in the spaghetti algae.  I can't find much on pipefishes, but a lot on sea horses. < Ah seahorses  are my favorites !! I love Pipefish too!  Seahorses are pretty popular these days due to their captive bred availability. I can't wait until someone gets the ball rolling on captive bred pipefish. > I would like to set up an ideal species aquarium for pipefish. <It's a nice thought.  They are very cool fish but I would not recommend keeping Pipefish at least not now........sorry :/. Hopefully here in the near future there will be some CB pipefish species available. I have heard that The Tropical Marine Center in the UK is breeding one species,  which they have released for sale there, but they have not arrived here in the US yet.  The wild caught pipefish do not typically do well in captivity for all the same reasons that seahorses do not.  The journey from capture to your tank is a long stressful one,  particularly  for this group of fish,  due to their very simple rudimentary GI system requiring them to eat a lot and frequently and their lack of interest in anything but live foods. So, they usually arrive at your LFS malnourished and as a result their immune system is compromised. They may or may not eat for you and frequently succumb to disease.  All that said if you are still interested in keeping this challenging species read on and do visit www.syngnathid.org for more information. > What kind of lighting, substrate, marine plants, inverts, or corals would be needed or go well in a tank with pipefishes?   <Pipefish will do just fine in the same sort of environment as seahorses. As for sharing the tank ......nothing that is fast moving, that will compete for food, that will crawl on them, sting them or engulf and consume them. They have no specific lighting needs. Any of the typical marine substrates would be fine, since they do not spend time on the substrate. The marine plants will depend on your lighting. I can't think of any that would present a problem for the pipefish, so what ever you find esthetically pleasing should be fine.   The inverts and corals that would be suitable would include most of the soft corals, cleaner shrimp, small snails and small hermits. > I was looking at the banded pipefish and blue stripe.  I currently have a 75g RR that is not set up yet.  Would that be stuffiest once I set it up, add a refugium to supply pods and let it run for a year before adding the pipefish? <Sounds like a good plan!!>  I heard with sea horses that turtle grass is good, what about for pipefish?   <Well I am guessing you heard Turtle Grass for seahorses due to their prehensile tails and affinity for hitching.  The 2 species of Pipefish you are interested in do not have prehensile tails and thus do not hitch,  although there are a few species that do. Turtle grass would be fine, but is not necessary.> I read a sea grass post by Anthony that 5 watts per gallon (100w for a 20g tank) is necessary for Turtle grass, is that ok for pipefish as long as I have lots of caves and hiding places? < It should not be a problem. Pipefish have no specific lighting needs. > If you are interested in setting up a natural bio type environment www.fishbase.org has some good species specific information.>  I appreciate your help. Thanks, Daniel <Your most welcome!  Best of luck with your new tank. If you should have a change of heart I highly recommend captive bred seahorses.....Leslie>

Dwarf Seahorses, Refugiums and Macro Algae 5/2/04 Hey gang! Good morning from New Jersey! <Good afternoon from the other side of the country> First off, I'd like to thank you for the wonderful service you do for us fish geeks. It is greatly appreciated. < You're most welcome from  another fish geek!> Now, I wanted to run this past you guys before I end up bashing my head against the wall later. <Yikes......Please refrain from head bashing. Then the seahorses will really have a problem and you will have a headache.> I currently have several dwarf seahorses in a five gallon but the brine shrimp is really taking its toll on the nitrate levels. <Hmmmm I assume you are feeding live.  My first thought is perhaps you are over feeding a bit. You might want to cut back a bit and do more frequent water changes. If you are not keeping any clean up critters you might want to consider a few Nassarius snails, which will quickly consume detritus, uneaten food, decaying organics, and fish waste. In addition  a few of the Hawaiian red shrimp Halocaridina rubra would feed on excess brine shrimp> So I plan on upgrading to a 10 gallon for increased water volume. I would like to partition off half of the tank for a refugium.  The side that the seahorses are on would be bare bottom for easy cleaning and the fuge side would contain a DSB with some rock and macroalgae. The hang on filter would uptake from the seahorse side, spill out through the fuge and flow back into the display area. <It's not the typical dwarf set up but sounds very good actually. I have a friend who kept her dwarfs very successfully in the 40g refugium connected to her 125g reef.  Be sure to provide some sort of barrier to the intake to protect them from getting sucked against the intake......perhaps a sponge. I would probably be tempted to go with at least a little bit of sand and some of the macros on their on their side for a more natural environment. Unless of course you are keeping captive bred dwarfs which might be used to a more barren tank with a glass bottom. I have one concern .......live rock and the macros combined with live Artemia is the perfect breeding ground for hydroids which as you probably know can wipe out an entire tank of dwarfs. You can avoid this by treating the rock and macro algae with Panacur for 3 days There is more information on dwarf seahorses and their care on www.syngnathid.org  in the Tiny Tots forum and specifically hydroids and this treatment regimen in this thread..... http://www.syngnathid.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=Dwarfs&Number=11739&page=&view=&sb=5&o=&fpart=all&vc=1 > So my question is concerning the macro.  I have access to several types but I'm not sure which would be best for this application and I know that mixing too many species, especially in this size tank isn't good.  Keep in mind that dwarves fair best in 1.019 - 1.021 SG. <Yes I am familiar with that.> I have access to the following: feathery Caulerpa , grape Caulerpa (...would prefer however not to use these), Halimeda ,Penicillus ,Udotea ,Ulva, red Gracilaria, green Gracilaria, and Bryopsis (haha! want some?) < I think I will pass on the Bryopsis but thanks so much for the generous offer <G> anyway . You are limited here by the optimal specific gravity range of the Dwarfs, with the exception of the Penicillus which can be kept at 1.020. The rest of these species have an optimal specific gravity range of 1.023 to 1.025.> Depending on which macroalgae you think is best, do you think I could get away with a 15watt NO 9325 Kelvin bulb on a 10 gal? (I'm thinking probably not!    hehe) How about 2x13 watt PCs 50/50?..or would you suggest a different Kelvin since the only thing in the tank that would benefit from a specific spectrum would be the algae? <You can find the answers to this in this article Macro-Algae Use in Marine Aquariums http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm . > thanks, chickie moomoo <You're most welcome, Leslie>

DSB and Seahorses - 4/7/04 Dear Crew, <Good afternoon> I am in the process of setting up a 20gal hex for seahorses.  Most likely a pair of erectus, as they are supposed to be the hardiest. <Captive bred Erectus are even hardier>  I would like a DSB, but I just read someone "say" that there needs to be a minimum surface area for a DSB to be effective.<Not in my opinion. I personally employ DSBs in all tank from 10gallons on up>  My hex has a pretty small footprint. <I understand and that is by design>  So should I avoid the DSB? <Not at all. I would encourage you to employ one> Also, current should be much lower for seahorses than for other critters, <Correct.> but the secret to success with a DSB is supposed to be good current. <Sort of. Not enough current to blow around the substrate. Actually, current is a way to help with problem algae issues regardless of substrate depth> I plan to rig it so that I have water movement in all areas of the tank--no dead spots--using a powerhead with a long tube attached to it, running down the side of the tank (possibly with some holes out the side of the tube near the bottom, to make sure that water movement goes from the bottom to the top. <EXCELLENT!! I really like this idea> I know of lots of SW people with DSBs, so I'm thinking this should be enough. <Agreed. Do check out seahorse.org> Any tips or words of advice? <Feeding is critical with seahorses so be prepared. There are a great many resources for live food sources. I like www.seafarm.com  and www. http://www.aquaculturestore.com/index.html. Also we like Cyclop-eeze as a "dead" food source and they seem to take to it readily overtime. Fresh small krill is a good "dead" food as well Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul> Thanks. Stephanie

-Seahorses in a community tank- I have a 10 gallon saltwater tank with a mini penguin bio wheel running for about 8 months. It has 4 dwarf seahorses, a Firefish goby, an assortment of snails and hermits and a peppermint shrimp for about 4 months. The seahorses eat only freshly hatched brine shrimp (always less than 2 days old) as does the goby but he also eats some flake food. I added a clown goby and a rainfordi about a week ago. <Too many fish in there now, the seahorses should really be kept alone.> The clown is eating shrimp. I do not see the rainfordi eat anything. He swims around a lot but he seems to ignore any food. I have tried pellets, flakes with garlic but so far nothing. <Never expect new arrivals to take right to eating dry food, try frozen, it's what they're used to.> I have not had any hair algae for a few months, which rainfordi like, so he has to be starving.   While I have you attention, is there any way to get the goby to come out more. He stays under a large shell and sticks his nose out to catch food. If he has to come out more than half way he just lets it go by. He is twice the size of the rainfordi and looks solid so he eats enough but he rarely come out. When he does it is for about 30 second and then he dashes back to his hole. It is a very peaceful tank so I do not understand why he is so spooked. <Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about that one. I'd like to refer you to www.seahorse.org for their piles of seahorse information and excellent forums. I hope this helps, -Kevin>

Brazilian Seahorses - 2/23/04   Hello, <Hi> After being told that seahorses should be put into species tanks I decided to do that. <A good idea> What I would be wanting to get is some Brazilian colored seahorses. <Coloured or cultured?> What kind of tank set up should I have. <I would start with this site as the wild Brazilian population is severely threatened. Read about them here: http://www.oceanrider.com/seahorsesdetail.asp?Variety_ID=4 I would set up a tank that is taller rather than long and wide maybe 20 to 30 gallons. Use fake seagrasses (Thalassia type) or you could use macroalgae if you have proper lighting. Be aware of their need for proper foods. I feel that you should really research your animals before purchase (as you are doing but need to do more) and be sure to discuss the different seahorse setups on some of the Seahorse message boards. www.seahorse.org These are not animals to be taken lightly. They are prone to various viruses and diseases and our not for the new aquarist. Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul>Thanks Scott

The Ultimate Seahorse Tank <Hi! Ananda here today....> Please describe in your opinion what would be the ultimate seahorse tank setup. <Hmmmm... To steal an idea from a guy on the boards: 20'x40', large bedroom, professional kitchen, satellite hookup...built underwater. My husband, cat, and I live in the tank. Okay, more seriously: It completely depends on what kinds of seahorses you want to keep. But there are a few things that I would want for any system. If I were to keep multiple types of seahorses, I would have several tanks all plumbed into a large sump and a couple of refugia (one dedicated to denitrification, with plenty of live sand, and at least one dedicated to pod production, maybe with crushed coral and Chaetomorpha), with plentiful live rock and live sand in the system, and a pair of skimmers running on the setup (probably Euro-reef skimmers). The display tanks would be sized appropriately for the horses and have numerous hitching posts. The whole thing would be wired independently from the rest of the house, with its own generator for backup power. Every outlet would have ground fault protection, and there would be an automatic sprinkler system throughout the house. I would also have a system for automatically topping off the water levels. There would also be multiple tanks available for quarantine, hospital, and fry-raising. For raising the fry, a system to make raising rotifers and brine shrimp easier would also be included. I'm not including many details here, because what's an "ultimate" setup for me may not be the "ultimate" setup for you. In fact, that's likely. And I don't know how much space you have to work with, what your system budget is, or any of the other constraints you're working with.> Thank you in advance for your input.  JM <I would suggest you figure out what your system constraints are, especially in terms of space and budget, and which types of seahorses you really want to keep. Then head over to the discussion forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk for feedback on hardware and setup choices... http://seahorse.org and http://sygnathid.org both have forums devoted to keeping seahorses; those people are your best bet for getting firsthand information about what's involved in keeping, breeding, and raising seahorses. --Ananda>

Ultimate Seahorse Tank? >Thanks for the input, but lets go a little further - >>Unfortunately, seahorses are one of the few species specific systems that few of us here on the crew have direct, pertinent (current) experience with.  But we'll try our best.  I feel your best bet is really to go to http://www.seahorse.org >not sure as to total quantity and types of species, but looking for, if not the ultimate, at least a really really cool combination.  assuming only one display tank, (could be divided if necessary?) large enough for room in the cabinet for the refugium(s), what would each refugia consist of  (detail list, brands, layout, contents, plumbing, etc) >>Ah, my friend, this is where you're going to have to use the world wide web and book sources to help yourself, as the answers to these questions are SO extensive that no one can hope to adequately answer them in this format.  We do have extensive FAQs and articles on such on our site, however. >What is used inside the display tank - overall best for health, happiness of occupants while making an awesome display? >>That would depend on the species you intend to keep.  Honestly, you really must research each in order to make your decision, and I couldn't begin to offer you the best available advice (in comparison to what's available online) in this regard. >temporarily, plan stage for the above only, unless you have the time, I don't wish to overburden you for the details for fry/rotifer's/nauplii just yet, although it will come up. >>Again, this is best asked of folks who specialize. >Size and budget may not have any limitation, but for these purposes, consider it will be in your home with my money. >>I truly wish we could help you more, but your questions are beyond my own scope, and the scope of the woman who initially answered your query.  Go to this site, these folks truly KNOW seahorses, in and out.  They could even prove to be a good source of livestock and feed, as well.  My great apologies, Marina >Thank you so much for input! - JM >>Much to my chagrin, what you ask requires books and knowledge I/we simply don't have.  Do let the folks at seahorse.org know that we have sent you there, I know from much communication that they're a great group.

Small Seahorse Tank 7/13/03 Hello there.   <cheers, my friend> I am new to this and have a couple of questions for you... first off when my granddaughter passed away a couple of months ago, <good Heaven's, I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine> I 'inherited" her 10 gallon dwarf seahorse tank.  It had 3 seahorses in it and just in the past 48 hours, 2 of those have died.   <wow... 10 gallons is indeed difficult/challenging for any marine species... not the least of which for sensitive seahorses> I noticed that the saturation level is too low and I am not quite sure how to raise it to an appropriate level..?   < a protein skimmer is one way to greatly improve both water quality and O2 levels.> Also, there is a biofilter pump that she had going and also an air stone.  I had read up on some site that not to use an air stone due to the small bubbles and the hazards associated with the horses accidentally eating them... <it is a slight concern> I do not want to lose the last of these precious seahorses due to the fact that they were my granddaughter's prized possession!   <understood, my friend... be assured that they are naturally not very long-lived (2-3 years for most at best)> I do not have the money to buy the very expensive equipment that I see being sold places.  I am on a very limited income i.e.; social security.   <no worries... frequent water changes (say 20% weekly) are the very best and least expensive way to achieve success here> I am very worried about losing this last seahorse-something I do not want to happen under any circumstance!  Can someone please give me some advice to help save this last one?   <do also read/consult the ocean rider website (many good articles): http://www.oceanrider.com > And lastly, if I do save it, how would I go about getting some more?  I would like to purchase a few others to keep this one company and also just to enjoy them like Jennie did. <I strongly recommend that you save your money and invest in a larger and more stable aquarium for future seahorses before adding any more to this tank. Its simply too precarious for its volume/size> Thank you! Sad Grandma in Ohio <to better days, my friend... and with sympathy. Anthony>

Seahorse help (06/19/03) <Hi! Ananda here today...> I have read your advice to other fish keepers and everything sounds great so hopefully you can help me as well.   <We try...I don't have seahorses yet, but I am researching them, and will give this a shot.> I am trying to keep seahorses and have lost a yellow kuda and have tried a cowfish but he died.   <Cowfish are best kept in species tanks...> I still have a small black horse and he is eating, but doesn't seem as active as he should. My tank is 3 months old, 29gal Eclipse started with bio active aragonite, Cycle, snails and hermits and later some live rock. I used a yellow tang and a Firefish to start out the tank and then removed them a week before I added the horses and cowfish.  My water all tests great and my anemone and feather duster are great.   <Keeping an anemone in with a seahorse is a recipe for disaster. The seahorse may hitch onto one of the anemone's tentacles and get invited to dinner...with the seahorse as the main course. Also, with an Eclipse hood, you don't have anything near sufficient lighting for an anemone. Do please read over the articles and FAQs on anemones on the WetWebMedia site!> I know these selections are picky eaters so they get live brine and frozen Mysis and  I add vitamins to the food. <Do you see him eat the frozen Mysis? If not, he isn't eating them, and something else in your tank is. And brine shrimp alone are insufficient to feed your horse.> Is there something else I can do to be successful?  Your advise will be much appreciated. Thanks from Sherry. <I highly suggest you head over to www.seahorse.org and get on their forums. They have some very, very knowledgeable people. --Ananda>

Lo Webcrew ? on seahorses Is it ill advised to put Seahorses into a full blown reef tank and if so why? I really can not see any problems with it as long as there are no anemones that could eat them...Thanks for you time.   <Most concerns are re compatibility, feeding... Seahorses just aren't aggressive, competitive feeders... Bob Fenner>                                                                                                            Thank You,                                                                          James W

Re: Flow question in a seahorse tank (03/11/03) Thanks for the info Ananda; <No problem> I like your idea about the Fluval.  I checked some of them out.  If I got rid of the power filter and went with the Fluval would my tank get enough oxygen.   <Sure. It's just a matter of directing the water flow.> The do have a spray bar that you can get to attach to the Fluval <You could also make one of tubing (bring the powerhead part of the filter to the Home Depot/Lowe's/etc and pick the tubing that fits), with suction cups to hold the tubing where you want it....> and I could run it along the back of the tank, maybe like, across the top quarter of the back wall.  I know as long as you get a good ripple across the surface of the water, you will be getting enough oxygen in the tank. Does that sound right to you???? <Yup.> Thanks again; Kevin <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Flow question: seahorse tank (03/10/03) Hello; How are you?   <Ananda here tonight, having fun answering WWM emails...> I wanted to know your advice on a change I want to make to my tank. <Okay.> First of all...It is a 29 gallon Seahorse tank.  It has been set up for 8 months.  I have 29 pounds of live rock...a deep sand bed (3 inches), a CPR Bak pak skimmer and a Liberty 200 Power filter.  My water parameters are Ammonia and Nitrite zero.  Nitrates are also zero, due to the Caulerpa I have in the tank.   <Makes nice hitches for the horses, too.> Phosphates are zero, Calcium is stable at 400 and ph stays around 8.3, except for the diurnal fluctuation. I am thinking about getting rid of the power filter, cause it seems to put some micro bubbles into the tank, which is not good for seahorses, cause this is thought to contribute to External Gas Bubble Disease and Pouch Emphysema.   <I've heard/read that, too.> I did have to treat a seahorse for external gas bubble disease a few months ago, and she is doing fine now.   <Glad to hear it.> Anyways,  If I get rid on the power filter, my tank will no longer have the flow that it did, with it in there.  I am worried that this will cause nuisance algae and red slime (Cyano bacteria) to form then, due to the dead spots that will be there when I take the power filter out. <Me, too... I would add a powerhead or two to add circulation. This is also one of the few cases where I'd suggest an internal filter like a Fluval 2 or 3, or the larger Duetto model. Both of these have a compartment, albeit a small one, for carbon or whatever, should you need to use it. Since they operate completely submerged, you shouldn't see any bubbles.> I was wondering if I could rig up a spray bar using a piece of PVC pipe with holes drilled in it, across the back of the tank, with a water pump to circulate the water?  Do you think this would be a good solution? <That's another way of doing it, yes. You will want to make sure you hit all the areas of the tank, including that back wall, to keep Cyano from getting a toehold there. Perhaps a couple of small powerheads and a couple of spray bars....> Any Suggestions?  For seahorses it is recommended to have a flow rate of 3 to 5 times the vol of the tank, so I would need a flow rate of 85 to 150 gallons per hour.  Can you lead me in the right direction? <I can point to some alternatives... the Minijet powerheads are adjustable to different values in that range. There are doubtless other powerheads that would work -- check the FAQs here and the WetWebMedia chat forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk for the Equipment & Dry Goods forum and more opinions about various powerheads. (There's a Seahorse forum, too.)> Thanks; Kevin <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Seahorse Care hi,<Hey there!> My name is sal. i have a 38 gallon tank with 35 lbs of live rock, 50 lbs of live sand, a CPR BakPak and a whisper 1 filter. seahorses are as follows: 1 ocean rider Brazilero 1 OR fire red 1 OR sunfire 1 OR pinto 45 Nassarius snails<WOW!  That's a lot of snails in a 38g tank!> 10 turbo snails I feed once a day. yesterday my fire red ate about 15 pieces of Mysis relicata! is this overfeeding?<Ya, Ocean Rider says to feed 3-5 pieces a day to each seahorse.> i think he would have eaten another 15 if i would have let him. i change 5 gallons of water a week. i am worried about deteriorating water quality because they eat so much. do you think I'm worrying to much. should i add another CPR BakPak?<The skimmer should be fine, just cut back on feedings.>  i would really like to add another 2 horses but i want to be sure the tanks biological filter can handle it. would you recommend any other clean up crew?( brittle stars) i have kept reef tanks for a few years so i feel like i can keep these animals in a good environment, but i am looking for some advice on keeping a solid seahorse ranch. thanks for any of your help. <This tank sounds nice, colors must be great!  You might be able to add 2 more seahorses.  What type do you have in mind?  Hope this helps!  Phil>

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow! Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!>     My name is Sal. I'm having a  problem with hair algae. This is a seahorse only tank. I have 6 Ocean Rider Ponies. Since I must maintain low water flow rates I am looking for some critters to help me out. <well, I'd look into some of the small, herbivorous hermit crabs that you can get from various etailers, such as Inland Aquatics and Indo-Pacific Sea Farms.> 38 gallon....35 lbs live rock....CPR Bak pak 2.....110 watt 10000k pc lighting....ammonia 0.....nitrite 0 ......ph 8.3......calcium 450....alk 11dkh... <Water parameters look okay- curious as to the nitrate and phosphate levels, though> I use 25 Nassarius snails as a clean up crew. these guys are great at taking care of detritus, but I don't feel like they are going on the live rock and eating hair algae. I don't want to use hermit or Mithrax crabs because they will compete with the seahorses. <Well, again- I'd recommend the truly herbivorous varieties, as they are small, and will not compete with the seahorses, in my experience> I was hoping you could recommend a snail or any other seahorse friendly critter that will eat hair algae off of live rock. Thank you so much for your help. I greatly appreciate it! Sal <Well, Sal- I understand the concern to avoid animals which compete with the seahorses. I think the best thing to do is to try to eliminate the things which enable the algae to thrive. I recommend really kicking the skimmer into high gear, so to speak, and make sure that it's producing at least a couple of cups per week of dark, yucky skimmate. Also, consider using RO/DI water for your source water, if you are not already. Perform small (like 5%) water changes twice a week. Utilize chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon or PolyFilter, and change them out regularly. Hope that these tips help make the hair algae go away! Take care, and good luck! Regards, Scott F>  

Hair algae hi I have a 38 gallon seahorse only tank with 25 Nassarius snails. I have a hair algae problem. I was wondering if a Rainford goby would be a good addition to this tank. <To help with hair algae? It won't help. I suggest that you read our facts on hair algae. Check out our home page under articles> I want to eliminate this algae or at least keep it under control. <Don't we all! David Dowless> thanks Sal                

A Horse Of A Different Color? Hello! <Hi there! Scott F. here> I've heard about positive reaction on seahorses' coloration to 50/50 pink white bulbs. Do You know something about it. <Not specifically regarding the light bulbs- but these are nice bulbs> In my country - Poland only available seahorses are  H. kuda and I'd really love to have red ones. What can I do? Do red environment (red algae), red background? <Yes, sort of! They will often take on the color of their environment- I'd try to use some red colored artificial corals, plants, etc. to "assist" them> Or add some red light (Fluora by Osram) to 10000K and tl03? to make algae grow ad seahorses turn red? Maybe 20000K light? <I'd stick to the 50/50s or 20000ks. The red light will not look too nice, IMO!> Best regards. Darek <Thanks for stopping by, Darek! Good luck!>

Re: seahorses Hello! I gave up anemones to keep seahorses and I want to do a tank only for them. <Excellent!> Which should I choose, the above tank refugium (with Miracle Mud) or in sump refugium (with Miracle Mud), both for plankton and denitrification. <The best would be both. I would use the Miracle Mud in the sump with Caulerpa and 24/7 lighting if you don't intend to keep any corals. If you want corals too, use Chaetomorpha instead of the Caulerpa with reverse daylight timing. I would use a different type of refugium above the tank for diversity. Perhaps a Seagrass bed (or better yet grow the Seagrass in tank for a natural setting) or a liverock rubble area.> Which light should I choose for seahorses and macroalgae, 10000K HQI + tl03 or just 20000K without or with tl03? <I am partial to the 10,000K lamps.> What is the different in growth of macroalgae and how my tank will look under 20000K? <I would think macroalgae and/or seagrasses would grow better under 10,000K lamps.> Can I use 20000K without any daylight? <A little too blue for my tastes.> Best regards, Darek <Have a nice weekend! -Steven Pro>

Wise with Seahorses, invertebrates, tridacnids Hey, <whassuuuup?> Thank you for the quick response on my questions about my proposed mini-reef setup.  <quite welcome> I have decided against getting sea horses after being advised that it would be best for a seahorse to be kept in a tank which is at least 20 inches tall.  <I am honestly delighted to hear that more seahorses will live longer <smile>> So I guess I will now be going with a fish or two, some corals and possibly a clam. Could you name some corals which would do well in my 110 watts of PC light (over a 20 gallon) and that could be kept by a beginner to keeping corals? Also, will any of the species of clams be ok or do you have a species that you would recommend? <with that much good light over a twenty gallon, you can keep more species seen in the trade than not. Stick with mostly soft corals (finger and crown/mushroom leathers) and Zooantharians (button polyps and mushroom anemones)... they're are hardy and colorful. Avoid stony corals as a beginner (LPS and SPS). The hardiest clams are Hippopus species, T. derasa and T. squamosa. Other blue clams will need bright light in shallow water> Thank You, Jonathan Pac <very welcome>

Seahorses and Refugiums Hello! Thank you for your previous answers. Lately, I've found some very interesting articles from FAMA about seahorses and I wonder if I could put new born seahorses of H. kuda in a Miracle Mud refugium above the tank to feed them. <You should never put any fish in a refugium. It negates the purpose of the refugium to place a predator of pods in it. A good refugium would be beneficial for seahorses, although they would not be compatible with your previously discussed anemones in the same tank.> Best regards, Darek <Have a nice weekend! -Steven Pro>

Bacterial Bloom Hi About 3 months ago, my rather tall tank had a bacterial bloom (2.5' deep) total volume is 50G.  I had 2 powerheads for circulation and a skimmer.  Because it's a seahorse tank flow had to be kept to a minimum...  So a few people put it down to a bacterial bloom due to lack of oxygen (low flow).   <it just happens sometimes too> It also has a DSB and 15 pounds of LR. <very good... although a little more rock would be nice and a fishless refugium for the seahorses is critical for plankton> I added a canister filter a couple of months ago with a prefilter that reaches the bottom so there's some flow down there.  Also, an air driven uplift, which is basically a piece of PVC pipe with a wooden airstone.  The skimmer will be hooked back up today.  I'm also wanting to remove the DSB, bring it back down to 5cm or so..  which I will do gradually over a month or so. <leave the DSB in for the natural plankton and nitrate reduction for the seahorses. Deeper the better as you may have noticed at successful public aquaria breeding seahorses> Please let me know how my new setup sounds. Thanks, Simone <all fine except leave the DSB in... best regards, Anthony>

Seahorses in Refugium? Guys, my 90 gallon refugium, feeding into my 450 gallon reef tank, is coming along nicely, loads of worms and bugs on the rock. The information I've found on some seahorses is that are prolific breeders, producing loads of larvae and babies and seem as if they might a good candidate for the refugium if they produce more than they consume. What your thoughts on this idea? <There is no possible way they can produce more than they consume. This is a fundamental question of matter and energy. Have you ever heard of the saying, "There is no such thing as a free lunch." It applies here. Whatever the Seahorses consume will go to growth, energy expended swimming around and such, and also much of what they eat will not be totally consumed/digested and will become fecal matter. If they eat enough to attain full adult size and have their daily energy needs met, they might spawn, but it is a wasteful transfer of energy. You would be better served by keeping the refugium free of predators (Seahorses) and allowing the plankton to thrive.> Thank you, Paul <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Seahorses Hello and good day! I was always dreaming about keeping seahorses even when heard about their food demands. The only thing that was sad it was short life expectancy of this beautiful creatures. But what about bigger seahorses like Hippocampus abdominalis. How long does it live in captivity and would my 90 gallon cube be big enough to keep this seahorses and if so how many of them should I keep in my tank, which fishes can I add and what is the best environment for them? <Didn't you want to put an anemone, a carpet I believe, in this tank? If so, sadly I cannot recommend any Seahorses. They are known to get eaten by large anemones.> I have an efficient skimmer, some bioballs, planning to add 50kg of liverock and refugium (about 10g) + 150W HQI 10000K and 40W of TL03. What do you think? <See above> Best regards, Darek <Have a nice weekend! -Steven Pro>

Seahorses & Invertebrates Hi, I've been keeping a reef aquarium for a year. Now to extend the scope of my hobby I'd like to get a couple of seahorses, but I don't have much information on these species. Are they easy to keep, what do they eat, are they compatible with other invertebrates? Thank you. << Thank you for writing. Seahorses and their tube-mouth relatives (Family Syngnathidae), are decidedly not easy to keep. As a group they have one of the most dismal survival records as captive marines. However, some folks who are up to the challenge, do have success. Most Seahorse species require a "species set-up", with only themselves and possibly very tame tankmates (no stinging celled animals like anemones to drift into). They require large, almost continuous supplies of live food, which is easier ultimately to culture yourself (caprellids and Mysid shrimps are what many people use for the larger species). For more of a complete picture of what these fishes are and references to bound and periodical works on them please use the search engine at wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>>

Seahorse tank Just wondering if you had any suggestions on keeping seahorses. I have a  tank all ready to go for them and just wanted to know if you had any helpful  thoughts on overall keeping of them. Thank you, Corey Hamilton << Sure do... and most all of them are posted in an archived article on their group of fishes (the Tube-mouths, Syngnathidae) on the site www.wetwebmedia.com  Not easy to pick up or keep healthy specimens... these are best kept in "specialty, species" tank set-ups where the Seahorses don't have to compete for food with faster, more aggressive tankmates... And a serious effort has to be made in the way of culturing their foodstuffs... variable by species... Take a look at Amanda Vincent's articles... hmm, stored on the Breeder's Registry site: http://www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us/index.htm Bob Fenner>>

Win, Place, or Show? (in search of a simple/st seahorse set-up) Good morning Mr. Fenner, I'm a daily visitor and always find something new on your site.  <There is something new most everyday... thank goodness you're finding it!> Now that's pretty damned impressive! Thank you for spreading wisdom around. <Mainly helping folks avoid all my mistakes... that'll take me a lifetime to relate!> Now to my question(s). I'm a reefer and have a great system going. My mother came out to visit me recently. She loved my tank so I took her to the LFS. She instantly fell in love with seahorses and "had to have them." <They are "much improved" nowadays with captive stock... oh I see you know from below> I've done a bunch of research at seahorse.org and OceanRider (thank you for your link page) and realize that tank raised is the way to go. Now, I want to setup the "easiest" seahorse only system for my mom. <Great!> I was thinking of getting a 25g with an eclipse hood, 25# live rock, sand base, and planting some racemosa for the horses to hang on to. However, in researching your sight you mentioned the eclipse in the following passage: "This is a "passingly good" product series... not stellar." Not a ringing endorsement. <No... a few changes, more flexibility would improve this product line. Principally, their hoods need to be more easily adapted to hang-on skimmers, the possibility of remoted sumps et al...> So... should I go with just a Bak pak with bio bale, live rock, and sand? Or.... since it will be a small system *under 35* a power filter with a prism? Or... a Duetto with skimmer? Or... check myself into a mental institution? <Not the latter!> I want her to be as successful as I have been. <I understand> Thanks for letting me ramble. Thanks for your site. Keep the faith my friend! :-) Ted <Will endeavor to do so... I would likely go with the Eclipse and a simple hang on skimmer... the newer Prizm, even a SeaClone on such a size, type system for my mom or anyone who didn't either have the expertise or desire/time to tinker with adjustment etc. Bob Fenner>

How many seahorses in one tank? Hi, Mr. Fenner, I'm in the process of setting up a 45G corner tank, formerly a standard reef tank but now destined to be a seahorse tank. I'm going to mature it with live rock and damsels and establish some Caulerpa for about six months before trying the seahorses (I'm planning on getting some tank-raised). The damsels will be removed prior to adding the seahorses, of course. My question has to do with stocking levels. What's a reasonable number of seahorses to keep in a 45G tank?  <Mainly depends on species... some dwarfs... a good half dozen... some of the more "giant species" just a couple... and the really big ones like the Sea Dragons... your tank is too small for> Filtration is good; never had any trouble with various hard and soft corals in its life as a reef tank. I haven't picked out specific seahorses yet but some of the more colorful ones will likely be desired (need to please my son and my wife with this tank ;-) <Look at Ocean Rider's site... link on ours: www.WetWebMedia.com... seems odd, because I am visiting in Kona, the Big Island of Hawai'i where Carol and co. are located...> The tank is 5 sided, (I.e. a corner tank) so it is relatively compact for the size. I intended to develop a dense algae growth, assuming the algae cooperates. Thanks for any help, Marc <Keep planning, dreaming. Bob Fenner>

Sub-tropical marine species Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead, my friend> Hope all is well with you. <and the same to you in kind> Do you know of any commercially available sub tropical species that would do well in a 44g seahorse coral kept at 71.6 degrees? <if seeking species of fishes: my advice would be to avoid most or all. Seahorses are so patently gentle and require so much food that most other fishes will be a significant burden and direct competition for food. They really fare best in species tanks only> Are there any soft corals that will do well at this temperature? <there certainly are a both soft and hard coral species that live very fine in this range, however all such invertebrates are protected in US waters and none others are imported that I know of. I recently tried to secure temperate invertebrates from CANADA and discovered that the process was somewhat complicated and the sources were too distant for safe transit> The Baensch Marine Atlas has 21 degrees celcus(71.6 F) listed as the low end of the temp range for quite a few species. I was wondering how these fish and corals would do at the low end of their recommended range,  <not recommended because aquarists don't have otherwise ideal parameters like the ocean to support such animals living "on the edge". It really is asking a bit too much IMO> as I usually keep my fish in the mid range of their temp requirements? <agreed...very wise> Thanks as always, Leslie <with kind regards, Anthony>
Re: Sub tropical marine species
Hi Anthony, <salute> Thank you for the prompt response and info :). I am a bit bummed that my temperate tank won't be as pretty as my tropical tanks, but then again the magnificent abdominalis should make up for that what my tank will lack in the way of temperate inverts. <ahhh.. the temperates have their own unique beauty> I understand your concern about keeping seahorses. It certainly is valid and apropos in light of what keeping seahorses meant in the not so distant past. However, I feel compelled to share with you that with the recent advent of commercially available aquacultured seahorses this has dramatically altered what keeping these truly incredible creatures means for all of us who have fallen so deeply in love with them. No disrespect intended here.  <understood and agreed> Your willingness to share your knowledge, expertise and experience is always greatly appreciated. I always look so forward to the warm, patient, gentle, caring, and humor laced way with which you and Bob respond to so many inquiries. I would like to return the gesture and share with you some of my experience keeping these incredible creatures if that would be acceptable.  <very welcome with thanks!> Just a friendly exchange of information. If you have heard this before I apologize and hope you do not misunderstand and take offense as none is intended.  <none will be taken... a re-enforcement of knowledge at least> If you have not had an opportunity to keep any of these, ever so amazing captive bred creatures, you would be very pleasantly surprised :)!! We have been blessed and are very fortunate to be able to keep these magical creatures thanks to Ocean Rider, South Australian Seahorse Marine Service and Ocean Oddities. <fine organizations... unfortunately, most queries from aquarists are from individuals that are considering already imported to already purchased wild harvested specimens. Very few people do their homework first and ask us "where to buy" seahorses. In such cases we have been eager to recommend Ocean Rider and Seahorse.org> I have been keeping captive bred seahorses for almost 4 years now. They do not present the typical problems of their WC cousins. They do very well when kept with appropriately chosen gentle tankmates and can actually be quite aggressive eaters. They are healthy, hearty and willingly accept and thrive on frozen foods. <and properly handled wild caught ones will do the same.. unfortunately, most are mishandled or starved on import. A few years or even decades has not changes the inherent physiology of the animal. We are simply blessed with properly handled and well conditioned tank-raised specimens> They are quite amazing. Believe it or not most are more aggressive eaters than you would ever expect. Mine race from all areas of the tank when those first few shrimp start to scatter about in the gentle current. They eat frozen foods one to 2 times a day depending on their size and age. The diet recommended by the breeders......Ocean Rider, South Australian Seahorse Marine Services and Ocean Oddities ....consists mainly of frozen Mysis as well as enriched frozen bs, with occasional live treats. The availability of commercially CB seahorses has made keeping these magical creatures in our homes a reality for so many more than the previously recommended advanced marine aquarists only. In fact my very first marine aquarium was set up for CB Ocean Rider seahorses. I did very well, as did the ponies. I found they were not much more difficult that many of the freshwater fish I had previously kept. I just recently lost my first pair of Ocean Riders to a tank crash. I had them 4 years or so. They were in excellent health prior to the crash. <this is very fine for aquarists with species tanks for seahorses, but I may never recommend even CB specimens for the mixed community fish tanks that most aquarists would like to put them in> Have you had the opportunity to visit www.seahorse.org.  <yes... a very fine site to be recommended> I am proud and honored to be one of 13 directors. We have over 800 members and a very active board. Jan 1, 2003 will be our 2 year anniversary. Our members are keeping seahorses very successfully in modified species tanks with the appropriate carefully chosen tankmates. They are thriving.....growing, colorful, active, courting, breeding and reproducing viable fry. We usually recommend allowing the horses to settle into the tank, get comfortable and establish an eating routine prior to adding any tankmates. Although they usually eat within hours of being acclimated if food is offered. <excellent> The tankmates we suggest are gentle fish of course, including species from the following groups.....gobies, Jawfish, dragonets, non-algae eating blennies, Firefish, assessors, cardinalfish, and the lined, fairy or flasher wrasses.  <agreed... and not recommended with aggressive common community fishes like damsels, clowns, tangs and angels> I have found my captive bred seahorses seem to show interest in and enjoy the tankmates. In addition to the tankmates listed above, Ocean Rider actually recommends and has clients keeping them successfully with Percula Clowns, some Butterflies, Tangs and Wrasses, recommending avoidance of Damsels, Triggers, Tomato Clowns, Anemones, and any aggressive fish. <without limitations I would disagree with some of the above> Some of our members have kept the horses successfully with Fridmani Pseudochromis and I have kept them with a pair of Black Cap Basslets without any problems.  <they are actually peaceful fishes... no surprise, and what beauties they are!> As with any tankmate I always recommend adding all tankmates with caution keeping a very watchful eye, with the understanding that the fish will be removed at the first sign of any misbehavior.  <very wise> As I have found even the most peaceful fish occasionally seem to have a "roguish" bad apple requiring strict disciplinary action.......removal and relocation. <agreed> For the occasional slow eaters we get around the food competition issue by feeding the tank first and/or target feeding the slow pokes with a turkey baster. I have found this works very well. I hope what I shared was helpful and not in anyway repetitious for you or offensive <very helpful... thanks again for sharing> Thanks for listening I know how incredibly busy you must be. <a labor of love :) > With Kind Regards, Leslie <best regards, Anthony>

Hey - Setting Up Mini Reef, Seahorses and Cnidarians... Ughh Hey Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I am looking into setting up another Marine set up in a 20 gallon tank I had used for sea horses. (I was looking to get back into freshwater but after 3 years in the marine world the fish just don't appeal to me like they used to) So far I plan to have a normal 20 gallon glass tank, a Prizm protein skimmer,  <do consider upgrading the skimmer... Euro-reefs are quite effective, and lest anyone think I am a strong proponent of this specific brand that I recommend so often...my first choice is a Tunze> 40 lbs of livesand, and live rock. For lighting I am going to use 110 watts of PCs.  <hopefully you'll be growing seagrass for the seahorses under this nice light, otherwise too bright long term for them without diffusing it> I plan to keep a pair of seahorses from Ocean Rider, and possibly one of the following: a mandarin, a 6 line wrasse, or a pair percula clowns. <the latter two species just would not be responsible... their activity will out-compete the seahorses for food even without aggression (which you may very well expect from the feisty six0line)... the mandarinfish...I just don't even want to go down that road <G>> The only way I would buy a mandarin is if I could fine one at the LFS that was already eating frozen Mysis shrimp to the sea horses. I know that it is hard to find one that accepts food but hopefully I will have some luck.  <no comment on another mandarinfish likely to die within months (I guess that was a comment...hehe)> I have also read that the 6 line wrasse will eat frozen Mysis and I have seen a 20 gallon tank with sea horses and the wrasse in it.  <even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes> The clowns would be the third option if the other two did not work out.  <how about some more appropriately slow and passive fish like firefish?> I also want to try my hand at some easy corals and possibly a clam.  <unnatural for seahorses and mandarins from their seagrass habitat. They are stung and killed by anemones and coral more often than any other fishes in captivity because of this unfamiliar exposure to stinging cnidarians. The clams are OK, however> Could you suggest some corals that would live on my 110 watts of light and would want a low to medium current?  <plenty, but none with seahorses> This time around I am going to use patience to my advantage and hopefully this system will not end up how the last system housed in this tank did. Thank You, Jonathan Pac <kind regards, Jonathan... Anthony Calfo>

Seahorse set up Hello, <cheers> I know you are busy, so I will get to the point. lol. I am starting a salt tank. I have much experience with the freshwater and I am going for the gold now. My plan is to have only about 30 lbs of live rock, crushed coral gravel, protein skimmer AquaC Remora Pro with the Rio 1400 pump.  <all sounds fine to start with> I know that I will need an additional filter. My tank is a 60 gallon hex. I wanted a hex because my goal is to have seahorses, one tang, one star fish, and sea grass.  <some problems here. Kudos to you for learning/knowing the need and benefits of seagrasses with seahorses. However... the tank is too deep for both and the tang will be way too active and competitive. Furthermore.... a new marine aquarist with seahorses is an absolute recipe for disaster. Their feeding habits are very demanding and unlike anything you have ever seen in freshwater. They also really need aged and mature tanks with refugia that are strong producers of zooplankton. My advice is to set a 30 L refugium up for 6 months to a year without any fish before adding just a couple small seahorse species to it> I have been reading a lot. I don't mind going with a canister filter in addition to my skimmer, but if I can get away with using a powerfilter instead I think I would like to do that.  <not adequate for established biological filtration. More live rock would be best and will work fine with the light fish load is you stay as above> I would probably use the TetraTec powerfilter with the external heater you can purchase with it. I have heard that seahorses can get caught behind the heaters and die of submersible heaters.  <easily... hence the refugium without hardware> My question to you is this. Can I get away with using 2 tetra tec 150 (150 gph, and the heater is only 100 watts), or should I use the tetra tec 300 or 500. Is this setup okay, or, do you suggest something all together different. Any help would be appreciated. I have been using the chat forum. I think your site is wonderful. It really helps to clear things up fast. My hubby is an active duty United State Marine, and after being away for 3 years, he is finally home and this is what he wants to be his hobby. We appreciate your time in advance. <our pleasure... please do take our advice... every beginner wants seahorses and most every one watches their seahorses die within 6 months if not mere days/weeks. This is truly and advanced species. Try a nice community saltwater tank instead with peaceful fishes and research about fishless refugiums in the meantime. Best regards, Anthony>

Puffers and/or Sea Horses in a Reef Tank <<JasonC here, standing in for Bob while he's away diving.>> Will either puffer fishes or sea horses work in reef aquariums? What species will work? <<Puffers and reefs don't mix. Sea horses "could" be put in a reef tank, but typically a thriving reef tank requires more flow than a sea horse can deal with. So... I wouldn't really recommend a sea horse for a reef tank either.>> Thanks, Lisa H. <<Do read up on both - Puffers: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffers.htm  Sea Horses: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tube-mfi.htm 

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