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Eurypegasus draconis, KBR

Seamoth (Eurypegasus draconia)  11/19/11
I hope you are all having a fantastic day.
<A very good day! Representing TropicalFishFinder.co.uk at a new UK aquarium show called "Aquatics Live".>
I am hoping that my question gets directed to Neale Monks (if he still answers questions for you) as from memory he's a bit of an 'oddball' specialist.
<Indeed.><<Heeeee! But not an oddball himself!>>
Today I was visiting my LFS and saw what is the most fascinating fish I think I have ever seen in my life (I have a bit of a soft spot for oddball fish). They got it in as part of a shipment. Their supplier often just throws in 'extras' and this was one. One of the employees, who also happens to be an oddball enthusiast, saw it and called me immediately. We set about to looking through the books to figure out what it was, since no one, supplier included could tell us. We came up with Eurypegasus draconis.
<See here:
One of the Sea Moths.>
LFS owner said I could have it if I was interested. DEFINITELY INTERESTED. Now I just need to figure out what it needs. It is obviously slow moving, so I am thinking a tank of it's own.
My husband and I have been brainstorming new tank designs which would cater for it's needs and that can be plumbed into my 5ft tank. Only problem is, we don't really know what it's needs are. I have tried Googling it, and have come up with it being kept with sea horses and pipe fish and eating copepods, and amphipods some mention of it needing a mostly sandy substrate....and...well... that's about it. It has an elongated proboscis, but it's mouth is under slung, so I would assume it's a bottom feeder. It also doesn't appear to be the best swimmer in the sea, so I am also thinking slower flow.
<Correct. Sea Moths are rather like open sand Mandarinfish. So just as Mandarinfish are a total pain to feed without adequate live rock, so too are Sea Moths difficult to feed without lots of live sand. Ideally, you'd have a refugium or something that allowed you to continually top up the copepod population in the area where the Sea Moth lived. While they might well adapt to alternative foods, there would be no guarantees. FishBase suggests they're fairly omnivorous insofar as they eat worms and shrimps as well as isopods and copepods. So fortified brine shrimp and even frozen bloodworms might be accepted. But you'd be taking a gamble, and you'd need to wean it off live foods and onto frozen alternatives. I haven't kept this species, but I have kept a coldwater fish with similar habits, Agonus cataphractus, and it was a total pain to feed and only lasted a few months even in a chilled aquarium. Admittedly, that was 20 years ago and I'm a much better aquarist. But I'd still approach any of these micro-predators with extreme caution.>
Really I just want to be able to make sure I can design a tank which meets it's needs...whatever those are.
<Open sand, a decent refugium with lots of copepods, no competing fish.
Probably a do-able fish in a single-species set-up if you're willing to put the effort into fattening it up on live food upon arrival, and then taking the time to find wet-frozen foods it'll accept once it's feeding. But definitely not a community / reef tank denizen.>
Do you know anything about this fish? Do you know anyone that knows anything about this fish, or any books I can read with anything about them?
<Don't know anything written about them. But what's said about Mandarinfish will be broadly applicable, except of course that Sea Moths are sand-dwellers rather than reef-dwellers.>
Thanks in advance,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Seamoth (Eurypegasus draconia) Neale    11/21/11
Hi Neale,
<Hello again!>
Thank you so much for such a fast response. Sounds like you had quite an exciting weekend.
<Yes indeed.>
After receiving your reply, and thinking long and hard, I decided that I am going to try the E. draconia. Party because it is such a fascinating little fish, but also partly because I just couldn't bare thinking of it slowly starving in the LFS or being taken home by someone who didn't know anything about it and just threw it in a random tank to slowly starve....I know...I'm a sucker.
<Or ambitious, at any rate.>
It is tiny at the moment, the whole thing (wings, rostrum, tail) would fit on a 20c piece. I currently have it in a quarantine tank. That having been said it is an extremely modified quarantine tank...okay, probably doesn't even remotely resemble a quarantine tank anymore. I transferred some live sand out of my other tanks, a piece of base rock and some Chaetomorpha from one of my refugia.
<Sounds good.>
I am thinking that if I top up with a new piece of live rock (with lots of little microorganisms) and Chaetomorpha every 5 days or so that, given it's size, it should hopefully be well fed until I have it in it's tank.
<Assuming the copepods leave the live rock and go into the sand.>
I'm hoping my reasoning is fairly sound here?
The 5ft that I am going to be plumbing the new tank into has been set up for close on 3 years, but has only had fish in it (the fish being a Dendrochirus biocellatus, Calloplesiops altivelis,
<These two won't be eating micro-invertebrates much.>
Macropharyngodon meleagris and Siganus doliatus.
<But the wrasse will, and the Rabbitfish, maybe, alongside algae.>
It did have a Pterois volitans but he recently got moved into his new improved and bigger digs) for the past 18 months or so. I know the wrasse does eat some of the microfauna, that having been said she's been greedily eating frozen since about a week after I brought her home.
<I see. Well, maybe the live rock has recovered somewhat then. I do assume that the Sea Moth won't be living alongside these bigger fish?>
The tank. I have attached a copy of the design we are thinking about. I hope that it's not too confusing. The large tank on the base, will be what the Seamoth will live in. The tank on top to the left I am thinking live rock, and the tank to the right I am thinking lots and lots of microalgae.
We can have it fully constructed ready for use by the end of the week. Then it's just a matter of finishing the quarantine on the Seamoth. The 5ft tank refugium should be able to keep it fed until the live rock and microalgae for the top of the tank finish their quarantine?
<I agree.>
What do you think? Do-able, not do-able?
<Ambitious, but certainly do-able. My guess -- and that's all it is -- is that Sea Moths need the same sort of care as Mandarinfish, only biased towards live sand rather than live rock.>
I know I can make it (and more importantly I know my husband will let me add yet another tank to my collection...he got really excited about designing our new tank) but do-able as in able to keep the fish alive do-able.
Thank you!
<Good luck with this project, and please do let me know how things turn out. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Seamoth (Eurypegasus draconia) Neale    11/22/11
Hi Neale,
<Hello Amanda,>
The Sea Moth will definitely not be living along side the fish I mentioned.
It will be in it's very own tank all by its lonesome. The only reason I mentioned the other fish is that they'll all be sharing the same system (in that the new tank will be plumbed into the sump of their tank so as to
provide more volume and access to its existing mircrofauna. I know there are tons in the tank because I often can't sleep at night and sit in the dark in front of the tank watching all the critters scoot around.
<Sounds nice.>
I will definitely let you know how the new fish goes. I am thinking now that it is probably a nocturnal hunter (or at least preferentially so) as I sat up last night watching it, and it swam around quite a bit after all the lights went out. I am pretty sure I saw it feed, and I think it may have taken one blood worm, but I'm not too positive about that. I do know it was inspecting it, and it did disappear, but it could have easily got caught under the fish or on one of its wings.
Thank you for your input!
<And best of luck to you. Sounds like you're approaching this challenge with forethought and good ideas. Cheers, Neale.>

- Sea Moth in Aquariums? - Hi, I have recently discovered the sea moth on your Internet site. Have they ever been in aquaria? <Not as far as I am aware.> I have read that they are related to seahorses. Do you know anything about their feeding habits, what they eat? <Not really, but they live on the bottom so an assumption would be that they eat benthic organisms.> How many total inches long to they get? <Between five and seven inches - varies by species.> Are their any Internet sites that I could buy one from? <I doubt it - don't think this fish has been imported for public use.> I have never seen them for sale. <Neither have I.> Thanks, Adam <Cheers, J -- >

- Sea Moth in Aquariums? Follow-up - Hi, I just located the marine center, and they have one in stock now! I think they said it's scientific name was: Eurypegasus draconis <Well, I suppose I could have guessed of all places, Marine Center would have one of these. Do try to gather as much information from them about what these eat so that you can provide it the best of care. Cheers, J -- >

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