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FAQs about Seahorse & Pipefish Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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

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

Check out www.syngnathid.org  and www.oceanrider.com  for additional info on seahorses. Leslie

Dragon face pipefish; fdg.      1/10/15
Hello crew! We bought 2 of these fish just this past Saturday. Fish store guy told us they were already eating brine...I don't think so cause they won't eat here. So we ordered some copepods. Had them shipped...seems to be the only way to get them here.
<Can be cultured; likely much less money, easier in the long/er haul>
Put them an and viola they started to eat. We are trying, we hope successfully to breed the remainder of the copepods so we have them on hand. they don't last long enough in our tank to keep these guys eating daily.
<Ah yes; see the in-print works of Frank Hoff re... or other on-line sources>
I read your site about sea horses and am wondering if I can try the mashed mysis and garlic with these guys too?
<Worth trying, yes>
We have a small tank. 32 gallon Red Sea max. We have a good amount of coral a couple clowns a few cardinals some type of fish that plays in he sand and a clown goby
I don't want to kill these fish...do you think they should go back to the fish store?
<Up to you>
The guy is awesome and would definitely do that. Thanks! Your site is awesome!
<Thank you for being part of it. Bob Fenner>

seahorse feeding -- 06/25/11
Hi, We are having trouble feeding the seahorses. The food is melting and floating away after we put it in the receptacle.
We tried having it go down a tube but it floats away so quickly, they miss it.
Jill
<Mmm, what/which species of Hippocampus? What food/s? I'd try Mysids if your animals are large enough... frozen, defrosted... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/seahorsfdgfaqs.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i5/seahorse_feeders/seahorse_feeders.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: seahorse feeding... -- 06/26/11
Thanks for getting back so soon.
One is black and the other black with tiger stripes.
<?>
We are using frozen brine shrimp.
<... read where you were referred to. BobF>
Did what I read to do... Seahorse fdg.  7/3/2011

HI Bob,
We installed a suction cupped clear acrylic soap dish to the back wall of the tank. We gave them thawed mysis and the first day we saw one of them eat, (a puff of "smoke" came from the top of his head)
<What?>
but after that, they just look at the food and swim away.
<?>
We did get them to come to the feeding dish after tapping on it a few times, and they perch themselves there which is good but we thought maybe the mysis was too big.
<Maybe; or perhaps they're just unfamiliar...>
We also tried putting smaller food in a turkey baster and slowly release it so it literally floats past their face.
Unless they ARE sucking it in and we don't actually see it, (is this possible?) we aren't seeing a lot of eating activity.
<There may be other issues at play here. Were these animals wild-collected, vs. tank bred/reared? Many, if not most collected specimens die early on from stress, lack of nutrition, damage and parasitic disease. Do read over the archived materials stored on WWM re the Syngnathids called Seahorses... linked above where you were originally referred. BobF>

Feeding Tool   3/12/10
Hi:
<Hello Mitch>
Thanks for all your great articles!!
<Welcome>
I've recently begun keeping seahorses. I read your article about feeding stations and thought you might find my feeding tool interesting, so take a look.
<Very nice!>
During construction, the holes in tip of the tube get filled w/epoxy, making a mechanical and as well as chemical bond.
Thanks again.
Mitch Rosefelt
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Seahorse feeding -- 11/02/09
Good day Crew!<Good day, Ivan.>
I have a little concern about my two little Ingens seahorses<Oooh, an interesting species>. Let me explain. I received them a little more than a week ago (Saturday, Oct. 24th) from
British Colombia. I live in Quebec, which means they had a long ride on the plane = stress = long acclimation.<Yes.> They're no longer than 2'' and for now, they are in a 24G nano cube with more or less 20 lbs live rock, Xenias, a Leather stool and some star polyps and a basic cleanup crew including snails, 2 hermits and a peppermint shrimp (had some Aiptasia).<Hmmm...Probably fine, but I personally would avoid keeping horses with corals. Numersou reasons: preferred circulation differences, stinging dangers... And the temperature difference with H. Ingens.>
Water temp is 70-72F,<Good.> and chemically speaking, everything is in check.<Meaning?>
Water change: every week, +/- 10%<Keep an eye on nitrates>. The tank has been set up for almost 3 months now and a lot of live copepods and amphipods are swimming around.<Also good.> Now, the seahorses are supposed to be CB, at least, that's what
the seller told me,<Most likely are, as it's cheaper for the retailer to buy CB. Most places don't sell WC, either> but they don't want to feed on frozen mysis shrimp.<They may still be too small themselves..>
I tried to feed them the day after I received them, and the bigger one ate a single piece of mysis. The other one kept swimming away from the food. For the last few days, I tried to give them mysis again and again (yes, that means I had to clean often from the leftovers...) with no success. The bigger one ate another piece of mysis a few days after integration in the tank, probably because he was trying to get rid of my presence. And since then, (almost) nothing. Now, I read all the section about feeding stations (thus the leather stool coral) and nothing worked.<Hmm...> I tried to hatch brine shrimp eggs and give them the little live creatures, and they seemed to eat a little bit of this.
<Not a staple unless fortified>
 But then again, only the larger seahorse seemed to eat, the smaller one was just... swimming around, staring at the goods. Then, I tried zooplankton (Kent Marine bottled zooplankton...). It worked fine! <!>The larger one loves it, and I saw the smaller one picking on it too... but this is not a living for a seahorse.<True.> I can't keep feeding them with zooplankton all the time.
When I try to give them mysis, they just stare at the food for a while, even put their little snouts in it, but don't want to even take a lick... Any suggestion?<I'd try mashing up the mysis a bit and soaking the mixture in garlic. Check here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seahorsecare.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i5/seahorse_feeders/seahorse_feed
ers.htm <I like the abalone shell idea> and here
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seahorsfdgfaqs.htm>
Also, how long before I'll have to transfer them in a larger tank?
(planning to put them in my 65G and get a 75G+ for the current occupants of the 65G)
<As soon as possible. As I'm sure you are aware, these guys get quite large...>
Thank you very much for your help!<You're very welcome.>
Best regards,
Ivan Videnov
<Will N.>
Re: Seahorse feeding -- 11/02/09

Hello Will, <Ivan>
Sorry for the lack of precision concerning my water's chemistry.<No worries> Here it is:
Nitrites: 0
Ammonia: 0
Nitrates: +/- 10ppm
pH: 8.2
SG: 1.022-23 (cooling the water with a fan = lots of evaporation... but I manage to keep the SG between .022 and .023)
<Sounds good>
As for the corals, the Xenias seem to be thriving, even with colder water. About the stinging problem, I thought that these corals (xenias, star polyps and leathers) were 99% safe?<Well, generally. It's mostly Euphyllia that stings, although certain branching SPS can be incompatible as well. Just keep the guidelines in mind.>
Anyway, my girlfriend suggested that we isolate the smaller Ingens in a breeding compartment to try to feed him in a smaller environment, and this time with mashed mysis soaked in garlic. How good and/or bad that idea would be? <If you have a tank divider, use that. Otherwise, the lack of perch in a breeding compartment would just be stressful>
I know it's only been a week now, but I'm starting to lose all hope...<Do try the garlic, and possibly a supplement such as Selcon. >
Thanks again! Your help is really appreciated!<Good luck, my friend. These truly are fascinating animals, and the care you've given yours thus far is encouraging.>
Ivan Videnov
<Will N.>

One little seahorse... fdg.   6/11/09
I am beside myself. I ordered a yellow Reidi seahorse about 3 weeks ago.
<Is this a wild-caught animal? Far less hardy than captive-produced>
He is currently contained in a 10 gal. tank and initially I had him with 2 very small green/blue Chromis (too small for the 55 gal.) and another small fish.
<Mmmm, too much...>
When he first arrived he was yellow and actually ate some frozen mysis shrimp and ate some the next day. However, since then I have tried everything and have been referred to your website. He is now alone in the
tank, no other fish except him and one snail.
<Good>
I printed out the section on the feeding area on your website and different types of feeding tools. This is my first seahorse so obviously, I am totally lost. I have tried holding the shrimp in tongs and waving them around, letting them loose hoping he would be really hungry and go for it, tried them in a syringe to entice and finally tried the sea shells (had them on hand), placing the shrimp in the shells and that isn't working
either.
<Mmm... if a wild-caught specimen it may well only accept live/moving foods for now>
The only thing I can get him to eat are baby guppies, but I am not happy about feeding one live critter for the sake of another
<... Systema naturae>
and was told he was tank-raised, eating mysis shrimp on his own.
<Oh! This should be the case if so>
I live in a very small town with one pet store and they get live food once per week. This little guy has turned solid black
<This tank may be over-lit. I'd leave the lights off for now>
and refuses to touch the mysis shrimp, only the baby guppies. I don't know what to do for him and fearful he will die. He just barely moves and hangs his head.
<Is about all Hippocampus do...>
I even added copepods,
<Live? Some are palatable, many not>
but don't know if he has eaten them or not and not sure how to clean his tank for fear I will make him weaker and will remove the copepods, but know I need to do so because his water is probably getting contaminated by now.
<Oh! If non-live than definitely so>
I want to get him a tank mate of other seahorses, in hopes that would entice him to eat the frozen food, but can't do so until another few weeks.
What should or can I do for this little guy so he won't starve? Anything?
I don't know how he is hanging on at this point????
Thanks so much...Toni in Oklahoma
<Mmm, I'd keep the temperature on the lower side of the fish's range (low 70's F.) to slow metabolism... and count on the weekly live food shipments for now... doling out some that is otherwise kept in the refrigerator... and look into having live mysids flown in... Do take a wider read re the care of captive Syngnathids... Here: http://www.oceanrider.com/
Bob Fenner>
Re: One little seahorse, fdg.   6/11/09

Hi Bob:
So you think he might not be a tank-raised after all?
<Can't tell from here, nor from a pic... You might ask the dealer to show you the invoice... Did you buy this fish from a LFS or distally?>
He did eat some frozen, like I said, the first day and a half, then stopped.
Also, I will turn the light off for now, but it is for some mushrooms I have in his tank,
<Mmm, these could be contributing to the poor behavior of the Seahorse... chemically>
which I can move to the larger one except there is much more water currents in the 55 gal. What do you think about having other seahorses with him from another place that I find much more helpful and reputable than where I got this little guy? Do you think it might help him eat frozen?
<Might>
Glad you mentioned about them hanging their heads, I had no idea and they are so neat to watch. I did get him about 5-6 babies today so he will be okay for a few days, I guess. I also cleaned his floor and clean sw last night. Probably should wash the filters too?
<Mmm... not if they're not "too" dirty, no>
Always afraid I will over-do in the cleaning, which I have done before with my sw fish.
<Can be too much>
I have asked a few questions to your comments below. Can I continue to try enticing him by placing the frozen mysis in the shell daily for a couple hours?
<Worth trying... along with summat like soaking in Zeovit or similar>
Won't help today since he just ate, but maybe tomorrow?
<Maybe>
Thank you so very much for helping. Can you recommend another online place that you feel is reputable?
<The best... Ocean Rider>
I got this little guy from saltwaterfish.com
and my #1 preference is liveaquaria.com.
<Both fine companies in my estimation, though not the source of captive produced animals per se... FWIW I would buy direct from Ocean Rider IF you wanted to be assured of such. > The only thing I can get him to eat are baby guppies, but I am not happy > about feeding one live critter for the sake of another
> <... Systema naturae> WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
<Is nature's way... Mysids are animals too, were live...>
> <Mmm, I'd keep the temperature on the lower side of the fish's range (low 70's F.) to slow metabolism... and count on the weekly live food shipments for now... doling out some that is otherwise kept in the refrigerator...
> DOLING OUT WHAT?
<What live foods you can find/buy... the once a week source you mention above>>
Bob Fenner>
Re: One little seahorse  6/12/09

> So you think he might not be a tank-raised after all?
> <Can't tell from here, nor from a pic... You might ask the dealer to show you the invoice... Did you buy this fish from a LFS or distally?> WHAT IS AN LFS OR DISTALLY?
<... From a Local Fish Store... or sight-unseen... e.g. an online etailer of livestock>
> He did eat some
> frozen, like I said, the first day and a half, then stopped.
> Also, I will turn the light off for now, but it is for some mushrooms I have in his tank,
> <Mmm, these could be contributing to the poor behavior of the Seahorse...
> chemically> OH, FROM WHAT I HAD READ I THOUGHT THEY WERE OKAY, BUT I WILL MOVE THEM RIGHT AWAY!>
<Good>
> enticing him by placing the frozen mysis in the shell daily for a couple hours?
> <Worth trying... along with summat like soaking in Zeovit or similar>IS THAT LIKE GARLICXTREME?
<... no... please search/read re>
> Thank you so very much for helping. Can you recommend another online place that you feel is reputable?
> <The best... Ocean Rider>OKAY, JUST WATCHED THEIR VIDEO, WHICH WAS REALLY
> NEAT, BUT THEY ARE EXPENSIVE.
<Yes...>
> I got this little guy from saltwaterfish.com
> and my #1 preference is liveaquaria.com.
> <Both fine companies in my estimation, though not the source of captive produced animals per se... FWIW I would buy direct from Ocean Rider IF you wanted to be assured of such. > GLAD TO KNOW YOU'VE HEARD AND/OR USED BOTH COMPANIES AND YOU DON'T THINK THEY WOULD HAVE ANYTHING BUT TANK-RAISED?
<There is tremendous pressure to offer wild-caught, otherwise "imported" Horses of much poorer quality from the Far East... IF yours cost substantially less than OR's... likely they are/were inferior>
THANKS BOB, THAT WAS MY DAD'S NAME TOO..ARE YOU IN THE STATES?
<... Yes... in San Diego, CA. RMF>

Seahorse Not Eating 4/18/09
Hi,
<Hello Adam!>
I have two wild seahorses and the female eats fine but the male just won't all the conditions are right.
<Hmmm.. where to start? To began with, you should never buy wild seahorses when captive bread are so readily available. The problem with most wild caught seahorses is that they do not recognize frozen foods as a food source and must either be taught to accept it or feed live foods. You also make no mention of how long they have been under your care. If it has been a day or so It could just be an adjustment period. As far as right "conditions" be sure you are keeping them under reef quality water with temperatures depending on the types of horse. Even tropical horses do better under temps considered lower by reef standards.>
Is there a way of false feeding them I thought that there must be a way to do it. Adam
<I'm guessing by "false feeding" you mean feeding them frozen foods. It is difficult and not always successful. The horses can starve while you attempt to train them so live foods must be kept on hand just in case. Here are a few links for seahorse care, feeding etc. ...
http://www.seahorse.org/library/articles/SeahorseFactsAndInfo.shtml
http://www.seahorse.org/library/articles/SeahorseFoods.php
You should also browse our FAQs on seahorse care and feeding. If possible, I would return the wild caught and purchase some captive bred that have already been trained to take frozen foods.....Adam Jenkins>

Re: Starry Puffer needs help, now: Seahorse Feeding, 6/26/08 Chris, <Hello> Thank you for the advice. <Welcome> I generally keep seahorses (Hippocampus Kuda) so the triggers' activities are a refreshing change of pace. <I bet, just hope they all can get along, triggers tend to be very aggressive, and make sure you keep an eye on them when you have your hands in the tank, they can do serious damage as they grow.> I was wondering if feeding dried Krill to my Kudas is a bad idea nutritionally speaking. I have managed to train a pair to eat them, but presently supplement their diet with some live or recently frozen shrimp as well as amphipods that I culture. <Can't say I have too much experience with seahorses, but as long as you feed them a varied diet I don't think the occasional krill is a bad thing.> Regards, James <Chris>

Will Kuda eat Freeze Dried???  3/14/08 Hey Guys! I was wondering if you guys have had experience with feeding seahorses freeze dried mysis? <Mmm, yes> I have a pair of Kuda Seahorses, and I will be going out of town next month. I have a feeding station set up that they are accustomed to. In your experience, do you think they will accept the freeze dried mysis, or will they need to be weaned on it? Thanks for your help! Jane <Can be trained... I'd mix a growing proportion of the FD with the live/frozen-defrosted... There are other means... Read here please: http://wetwebmedia.com/seahorsfdgfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Feeding my seahorse - how much? 2/18/08 <Hi there!> I have a WC H. reidi <Hippocampus reidi, aka the "Long Snout", "Slender", or "Brazilian" seahorse - beautiful Syngnathids.> ..that will only eat live mysis. She will not eat brine shrimp or frozen food. <Yep, that's a common problem with wild caught specimens and one of the reasons why their purchase is discouraged, particularly in first time owners. However, with time, patience and a little effort, hopefully you can get yours to accept some of the more readily available foods as well. Do avoid brine shrimp/Artemia though as a staple, they're nutritionally lacking. You're better off with enriched mysids, other appropriately sized small crustaceans.> She is about 4 inches long. My question is "How much should I feed her?" Right now I am giving her 4 to 5 mysis three times a day. She also has access to copepods. <Good. Do you have an attached refugium? This would help supply the system with amphipods, copepods, etc. You're doing well feeding her three times a day. As far as how much each time, I can't give you an exact amount. Observation is going to be key. You don't want to feed seahorses too much in one session because they have a tendency to regurgitate it later on. The good news is that since you're feeding her live mysids, any uneaten shrimp will simply live on in the system until they're found/eaten. Barring competition, this will give your seahorse a chance to hunt and supplement her diet should she need more than what she's being given during feeding sessions. These are neat little additions to the right system, but can pose some challenges. Success is going to be dependant on close observation and a lot of research. Please see the following links (as well as highlighted links above) to begin: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seahorsecare.htm care sheets. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tube-mfi.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pipehorsies2.htm> Any guidance would be appreciated. <You're very welcome! I hope everything works out for you and your new Seahorse. Take care, -Lynn>

My opinion regarding a question of 10 gallon tanks and dwarf seahorses  5/15/07 Hi Crew, Someone asked about a 10 gallon with 4 dwarf seahorses and a clown goby and wanted to know about adding a chalk bass. (see below) Aside from the overcrowding there is an issue with seahorses in that they are slow eaters. They should be in their own tank. Dwarfs are fed freshly hatched brine shrimp and that goby will take care of the shrimp long before the horses get started eating. A 10 gallon for 4 dwarfs is too big. You can not get enough food concentrated around the horses to have them eat enough. As far as reducing water changes if you have more live rock etc. You also have to remember that 10 gallons is a small tank to begin with ( I have one) and rock displaces water and so does sand. So effectively you end up with a much smaller volume of water than 10 gallons. So when you try to figure what fits in a 10 gallon you have to take all this into account. Actually water changes is your only chance to make  a 10 gallon work. And if the writer is looking for an easy way out then be aware that dwarfs are the most time consuming of all horses because it is almost impossible to get them to eat anything other than live food. A good source of info about all seahorses and dwarfs in particular is http://seahorse.org. I used to have dwarfs and that site was very useful. <Thank you for this useful input Samuel... Is it getting time for you to be joining the Crew? BobF>

Re: My opinion regarding a question of 10 gallon tanks and dwarf seahorses  5/15/07 <Thank you for this useful input Samuel... Is it getting time for you to be joining the Crew? BobF> Thanks for the offer but really all I have is 4 years with a 10 gallon which is really a very limited experience.  And you would be upset with me if I told you what was in it. But I give you the credit for making it work. And besides, I do not think I could handle seeing some of those ungrateful emails. <This I do understand. Thank you for your ongoing friendship. BobF>

My opinion ... gobies feeding comp. with seahorses  7/28/07 Hi Crew, <Hello Sam> Below is a conversation about fish in a seahorse tank. I agree that the fish being considered are peaceful but I would still not suggest them for a seahorse tank. Seahorses just feed too slowly and will be no match for gobies. Have you ever seen gobies in action when food is around. They are really fast. <Most gobies, at least the ones I have encountered, feed at the extreme lower level of the tank, very apprehensive about gaining too much altitude (like me with flying). Seahorses generally grasp onto objects somewhere near mid-level putting them in a different food zone. While I agree that seahorses do best in a specie tank, I have seen tanks with seahorse/goby combinations doing well with no ill effects. Just have to be careful which gobies are selected in this scenario.> Thanks <Thank you for your input, Sam. James (Salty Dog)> Goby Compatibility, Gobiodon, Gobiosoma/Elacatinus 8/25/07 My 55 gal tank has been running for 4 months. Currently the tank contains LR, LS, and cleaning crew with snails and red legged hermits. I plan on keeping tank-raised seahorses, some macros, soft corals, and a couple mellow fish. How many neon gobies and/or clown gobies could I get? Will the two types live together peacefully? <The two types should live together peacefully, but having more than one of each, could lead to fighting unless they are a mated pair. In your size tank, this may not happen, and this holds true for both gobies. The Citron Goby or Clown Goby may occasionally nip at corals, something to keep in mind. James (Salty Dog)>

Automatic live food feeders, e.g. for seahorses   8/3/07 Hi Wonder if you can help- I'm desperately trying to find an automatic feeder to dispense live food. I'm hoping to keep captively bred sea horses but need something to dispense food when I'm away. Hope you can help thanks Anber <Mmm, you might be able to devise something like this yourself (DIY), but otherwise I would add a live sump/refugium... with a DSB, macroalgae, LR... and perhaps a "starter kit" of useful crustaceans and worms to get all going. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugrationalefaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Pellets for seahorses, fdg.   7/31/07 Hello Crew, <Hi there! Leslie responding this morning> I am an aquaculturist and have been working with seahorses for about the last 3 years. We are looking into different diets for nutritional reasons and I am having a hard time finding any information on people using pellets with seahorses. We currently feed frozen mysis and live adult brine (2 days a week at most), and occasionally amphipods. We have someone working with us that would like to see a change to pellets since he believes it would be a better diet for the broodstock. I have some reservations as far as will the pellet be digestible to them and will they eat it consistently? I feel that the variety of diet that we are feeding them now is fine and that we should concentrate more on the fry nutrition, like copepods. Does anyone know of anyone that has had success transitioning any kind of seahorse to a pellet only diet? I would appreciate any help you could give me on this request. <I do not know of anyone who has had any success training seahorses to accept pellets or most other fish foods. I have heard of an occasional seahorse that would eat some flake here and there but not consistently. Seahorses have a very short digestive tract, which you may already know and I suspect even if you could train them to accept the food I am not certain it would be broken down and the nutrients completely absorbed before it has passed through their GI tract. Frozen mysis especially the mysis from www.mysis.com is an excellent source of nutrition for seahorses. Since varying their diet presents a problem in terms of the foods they will accept I have always varied the supplements I have added to their food. I use Spirulina, betaglucan, Vibrance available from www.oceanrider.com and Selcon.> Thank you! <Your most welcome and if you decide to give the pellets a try and have any success I would certainly appreciate hearing back about that. Best of luck. Leslie!

Re: Zulu - lulu Seahorses, sys. fdg., sel.     7/15/07 Dear Bob, Thank you for responding to my email quickly. I just came up with another question or two. 1) What did you mean when you said this? "I would keep the spg constant as is practical and NSW strength... likely 1.026 with a floating type hydrometer at this temp". I realize that I may not get a correct reading if I have the hydrometer with the swinging pin because of the temperature, is that what you were partly getting at? I just don't understand the bolded portion. <Mmm doesn't show up as such on our webmail... Likely the area you're referring to is related to the calibration of such devices. My point is I would NOT keep your spg artificially low, but akin to Natural Seawater strength... which on these hydrometers reads about 1.026... and that such readings do vary by temperature, but that this reading is about where you want to be at this part. temp> 2) I have read about getting rid of hydroids with Panacur. Could you guide me to a place on your site with this solution? Or anywhere else for that matter. <Mmm, do just try the Search Tool embedded on the site with these terms: Panacur Hydroid Control. There may be little...> 3) Can female seahorses get bubbles caught in their bodies as well, or is it just males with the brood pouch? <Much less common, but there are some similar complaint/symptoms... Please see Ocean Rider's archives. PeteG's input here> 4) Can a full grown Zulu eat Hawaiian red shrimp? <Mmm, I think these may prove to be too large. Mysids would be a better choice> I am thinking about getting my ponies from Ocean Rider, but they are real expensive...... all seahorses are. <Mmm, yes... a good deal of time, handling goes into these captive raised animals> My LFS didn't really know much about this species and it wasn't in the book they had of marine fish! <See fishbase.org... there are tens of thousands of species likely not in "their book"> I am thinking I will have to buy them from Ocean Rider despite the expensive price, but I hear that seahorses from Ocean Rider are of really good quality and that they will always eat frozen food. A big plus in my book!! <Ah, yes> Thank you very much Bob. <Welcome! BobF>

Seahorse feeding question  - 05/26/07 Hello Wet Web Media, Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer a few quick questions of mine.  I have been reading that other aquarists use their toadstool leather corals as a natural feeding station for seahorses. <Mmm, can...>   I will be adding 3 captive bread <Heeeee! Bred> mustang seahorses <Ah, yes... Ocean Rider... fine folks, stock> to my small reef this week, and I have two toadstool leather corals in that tank.  I'm worried that placing the frozen Mysis on top of the toadstool will put the coral in danger while the seahorses are eating.  As I understand it they have fairly powerful jaws for such a delicate species. <Well... actually not so much for "biting" as for sucking up food items...> Is there any validity to this concern, and is there a better way to feed seahorses other than using a natural feeding station? <I want to defer, refer you to the fine folks that specialize re these tube-mouthed fishes... at OceanRider.com's site (see their extensive archives), Syngnathid.org... They know much more that is current/useful than I re the captive husbandry of this group>   I have removed all of the boisterous fish (only one Ocellaris clown and one small green Chromis remain) and I will keep the current down to a reasonable level.  Any other tips you could offer would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks again. --Danny Riskam <You have also read what we have posted?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm Scroll down to the Gasterosteiform Tray... Bob Fenner>

Carotenoids and seahorses  - 05/07/07 Hello Bob, <Hey Jorge! Howzit? Last time I saw you, your wife was about to deliver and we were giving pet-fish pitches!> I have read some of your articles about color in fish and I thing they has been very informational. I work with seahorses and I have done several experiments to improve the color in seahorses that naturally in nature present varieties of red, orange and yellow (i.e. Hippocampus reidi) I have used Canthaxanthin as well Astaxanthin in their diet with some not very satisfactory results. I think it should be another factor that is necessary to synthesize the Carotenoids, Light for example, the type and color temperature of the light that they are exposed to. I have exposed yellow seahorses to strong metal halide and they have turned black in few hours. Of course background color is also important for mimicry <Oh yes> Did you know publications or work done on Syngnathids and their color? <I do not... would have to do a computer search... But do know some folks (am sure you know them too) that will know re such, likely up to current literature... Am cc'ing Pete Giwojna here> If you cave ideas of what we can do to improve the color in seahorses please let me know Thank you very much in advance Jorge <And would ask other friends in the trade... but this is likely a proprietary area. Bob Fenner> Jorge A. Gomezjurado President Draco Marine Aquaculture, LLC Center of Marine Biotechnology Pier V, 701 East Pratt Street Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3101 U.S.A < http://www.dracomarine.org>
Re: Carotenoids and seahorses  5/9/07
Dear Jorge: For display purposes, I find it is best to avoid high-intensity lighting such as metal halides due to the phenomenon you observed with your yellow seahorses.  If the lighting is too intense, the seahorses expand their  melanophores and produce excess melanin, which causes them to darken and  obscures their underlying coloration.  I believe this is a protective  mechanism designed to safeguard the seahorses against the ultraviolet radiation  associated with excessively bright light, just as we will develop a deep tan if  we spend a lot of time outdoors in the bright sun. If you have red or orange Brazilian seahorses (Hippocampus reidi), display them under lighting that is shifted towards the red end of the spectrum to show off their coloration to best effect. For example, I find that the Osram Gro-Lux fluorescent bulbs, which put out wavelengths of light that are   concentrated toward the red and violet regions of the spectrum, produce  spectacular results in that regard.  They are intended to stimulate better plant growth, but have the added  affect of greatly enhancing any red or orange or purple colors they  illuminate.  When bathed in Gro-Lux  light, bright red or orange seahorses literally glow! In  fact, when I first discovered this effect with a Red Philippine Lobster (Enoplometopus sp.) in a specialty tank I  believed I was witnessing actual fluorescence. The seven-inch bulldozer of a  crustacean was covered with sensory bristles that made it look almost fuzzy, and  under the Gro-Lux bulb, the extraordinary excavator was instantly suffused with  a fiery radiance that dazzled the eye. At first I thought it's exoskeleton was  glowing, and I hypothesized that perhaps the chitin was infused with the type of  calcite crystals that fluoresce under ultraviolet, and which perhaps could be  similarly excited by the wavelengths emitted by the Gro-Lux bulb, akin to the  way scorpions fluoresce under UV.    I  only realized the truth of the matter when I added the same type of bulb to an  aquarium containing, among other choice specimens, a gorgeous purple-and-yellow  Royal Gramma and a rare red-orange erectus.  Now, that seahorse was very colorful  under any kind of lighting, but as soon as that Gro-Lux lamp switched on, the erectus was ablaze with a shade of  brilliant Day-Glo orange ordinarily only seen from neon signs, nuclear  meltdowns, and psychedelic posters displayed under UV.  The stunning steed shone with a luminous  aura, awash with glorious orange glow that made it look like it was swathed with  liquid fire.  Suddenly, it was the  color of  red-hot lava, aflame with  a blinding orange incandescent, and the result was truly spectacular.  Then my shy Royal Gramma emerged from  it's sleeping cave to keep the seahorse company, and it's magenta end was  immediately suffused with a dazzling hot-pinkish purple glow that ended abruptly  where it's yellow half began.  That  made it obvious that the new bulb was accenting colors at the red and violet  regions of the spectrum, which are precisely the wavelengths of light  chlorophyll absorbs best.    In short, sir, your red or orange H. reidi will be  dazzling if displayed under the right type of lighting that enhances their  natural coloration. Best of luck with your display animals,  Jorge! Respectfully, Pete Giwojna <Thank you for this input Pete... Do I understand there is not much/documented influence from nutrition on Seahorse color? Bob Fenner>
Re: Carotenoids and seahorses   5/10/07
Dear Bob: <Pete> Yes, sir -- I know of no published studies or research regarding the influence of Carotenoids or other natural color enhancers on the coloration expressed by seahorses. <Interesting... I "did a little paper" in college on the role of these compounds on the development of reddish-orange color in a local obnoxious Damsel... the Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicunda), named in honor of Louis and his colorful tunics... The folks at Longlife foods (yes, a while back) gave me 1/2 a k towards... and got to chat with none other than Carl L. Hubbs (he and Feder did a paper in the mid-50's re sources of predisposing nutritional factors (sponges mostly) and their role here...>   I don't have anything more to offer in that regard  that Jorge isn't already well aware of through his own efforts and  contacts.  That might be a good question for him to pose on the Syngnathidae  pro discussion group; perhaps other curators and zoo keepers and aquarium  professionals can advice him regarding their own experiences along those  lines. Respectfully, Pete Giwojna <Good idea! BobF>

Seahorse Feeding Problems, env. dis.   12/29/06 I have 7 adult seahorses and all have always seemed to do well, eating heartily, that is until a few days ago. I feed them frozen Mysis shrimp.   They seem to want the food but when they snap at it, they miss. It's as if they cannot see the food well enough to latch onto it. Any  ideas? <Yes... something is amiss here... either nutritionally (which I doubt that all seven individuals would go blind from simultaneously) or the environment (which I DO suspect)... Check your water quality, stat.! And/or at least start a series of good-sized water changes (25%) or so, every few days... Bob Fenner>
Re: Seahorse Feeding Problems  - 12/29/06
Thanks will try the water changes. <Good... and do you read Ocean Rider's listserv? Very valuable info. there from PeteG, LeslieL, others... free to subscribe. BobF> Thanks. Do they have a website? <http://www.seahorse.com/>

Pete Giwojna article  - 12/05/06 Hi, Bob !   <Cindy> My name is Cindy Williams, the Owner of Tropical Resources, the webforum for TFH Magazine ... I hope you are doing well today !  The reason why I am contacting you today is, as you may know, TFH has added a new "WebExtras" feature on their website which serve as supplements to articles that are published in current editions - these are generally videos, photos, supplemental articles, etc.  Because Pete Giwojna has an upcoming feature article in TFH Magazine, Pete has issued TR and TFH Magazine permission to use his article "The Feeding Station: a Better Way to Feed Seahorses" as a WebExtra supplement to his article in TFH.   <Ah, very nice> Because this article has been previously published in the Conscientious Aquarist's online magazine, I have been asked by David Boruchowitz and Pete Giwojna to contact you as a courtesy so that you will be aware that it is Pete's wish to also use this article as a WebExtra to accompany his upcoming piece in TFH Magazine.  It is our sincerest hope that others will benefit from Pete's wonderful wealth of knowledge by sharing his amazing articles with the readers of TFH ! <I do appreciate this courtesy. The article is of course Pete's property...  I'm very glad to see his good work get more exposure. Bob Fenner> If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.   Respectfully yours, Cindy Williams Owner/Administrator Tropical Resources TFH Magazine Webforum www.tropicalresources.net  www.tfhmagazine.com

Seahorse Feeding  - 10/10/06 Hi guys, <Hi Christine, MacL here with you today> I really enjoy your website and have found tons of information.  I was hoping I would never have to bother you, especially for something like this, but I can not find what I am looking for and could really use some help.  I have a pair of seahorses and have read all about feeding trays for them.  I really like the plastic ones and think it would help me feed mine and for me to get the uneaten food out.  I have been scanning the web trying to find where I can order one, but I can not find one anywhere.  All the articles I've read mentioned them, so I am thinking they should be out there.....  Can you please help me locate these?   <I know there are some commercial ones located through several sponsors but I know several people on the seahorse.org site have come up with ways to make their own. I know lots of the people on this site personally and they are all good hearted people. Good luck, MacL> I really appreciate your help! Christine

My seahorse is refusing to eat   7/28/06 Thank you for your fast reply, but I have yet again been plagued with another problem. My seahorse is refusing to eat. He has never done this before, as he always enjoys his mysis shrimp, but when I went to feed him, all he did was look at the food, and let it pass by. I was looking for something that may be preventing him from eating, and I noticed that his throat just beneath the skin is red. <Good observation, bad sign> I am not sure what could have caused this, but I would like to know if there is anything I can do to get him eating again, or to aid him in this problem that might be in his throat. Also, I checked my water and everything seems to be just fine. I was also wondering, if what you stated could be the problem with my eel, is it possible that this could happen over the span of a couple of days. One day he was looking normal, and two days later, is when I saw what was wrong. Thanks again, Krista <Please take a read over the archives on OceanRider.com's site, and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/seahorsdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above on Seahorse Feeding, Disease... Bob Fenner>

(Coldwater) Seahorse feeding and housing   7/12/06 Hello Wet Web Media Crew, <Adam> I recently purchased a beautiful pair of captive bred southern knight seahorses (Hippocampus abdominalis) from my local petshop. They have been raised on frozen mysids but I thought it would be a nice treat if I gave them some amphipods and isopods which I collected from the local estuary. The seahorses absolutely loved them and have spent two solid days hunting around the tank and eagerly snapping up every one they could find and I was amazed with the change in colour and behaviour they displayed after consuming live crustaceans, the male has even begun to court the female. I was happy about this until I attempted to feed them some frozen mysids which were completely ignored in favour of the living crustaceans present in the tank. Have I completely sabotaged myself by offering live feed? Will they eventually go back to frozen foods when all the live food has been consumed or will I have to supply them with live foods from now on? <Likely will revert to the frozen> Also, the tank is "aquascaped" with pieces of local live rock with Sargassum and various other macrophyte algae attached. Will this algae survive in an aquarium or will it deteriorate over time and cause pollution issues? <... depends... are these species coldwater? You are "chilling" this system I take it/hope> The southern knights care page suggests that only sterile rock and plastic plants be used for decoration but they seem much happier in these more naturalistic surrounds than in the comparatively sterile setup they came from. Any suggestions on how to best maintain these fish would be greatly appreciated. Yours Sincerely Adam Harbeck Mandurah, Western Australia <I agree with you re the naturalistic approach, appearance... and would try to keep all going together... including the occasional feeding of wild-collected small crustaceans... Perhaps you can/could culture these?  Bob Fenner>

Weekend feeding (and keeping) of dwarf seahorses    4/14/06 Hi!  I've been searching online for an answer to this question, but the one response that I found doesn't seem right to me.  I want to set up a dwarf seahorse tank at work (I spend more time there than at home, so I'd be able to enjoy the ponies more at my desk.  Sad, huh?). <Mmm, no... not necessarily. I may be a simpleton (if volunteering, building this/these sites for the last decade for free isn't proof enough), but have always enjoyed my work, workplaces...> But I refuse to do it until I can figure out a way to feed them on the weekend (Fri PM - Mon AM)   The one site I found that addressed weekend feeding of dwarves just said to dump in some de-encapsulated brine shrimp cysts to hatch over the weekend.   <Mmm, I would not do this... Too likely a chance of pollution, choking...> I just see this as adding possible residual bleach and/or capsule bits to the tank and endangering the dwarves.  It's also been my experience with fishkeeping that the easy answer is never the right one and usually leads to disaster. <Too often, yes> I plan to set up a 2 gallon tank with a sponge filter and probably 4-6 seahorses.   <Mmm... a bigger tank is likely to have "more chance" of success> I plan on feeding newly hatched brine shrimp 2-3 times per day.   So my quandary is how to get brine shrimp from a hatching vessel into the tank over the weekend without me being there?   <Mmm... other choices... in foodstuffs, feeding> Or is a better solution a floating hatchery of some sort that would be placed in the tank only over the weekend (I don't care about the aesthetics over the weekend)?  Or am I barking up the wrong tree entirely? Thanks much! Milly <Do consider a larger tank with an ancillary "refugium" to grow/supply live food organisms continuously. Hippocampines need more/different foods than just Artemia... the refugium will go a long way in improving, stabilizing the environment. Bob Fenner>

Pipefish/Feeding  - 03/05/06 Hi Bob, <James today.> I have a quick question about what type of pod the bluestripe pipefish  usually eats, copepods or amphipods? <Anything alive that will fit in their mouth.> I am pretty sure copepods,<Live brine shrimp enriched with vitamins is another food that is used and easily produced.> and if I am  right what would be the best way of producing copepods without amphipods  eating them. <A refugium would be one idea initially stocking it with a good supply of copepods. James (Salty Dog)> thanks <You're welcome.>

Seahorse stupidity, cont. (7/9/05) Dear Leslie Many thanks again. <You're most welcome!> Just thought I would let you and Bob know that they all seem fine. They have settled and all are feeding on frozen Mysis shrimp which the supplier I got them off told me they had been feeding on, although I am of the understanding that I should enrich them and vary the diet also, but so far so good! <That's great news. I am thrilled to hear they are doing well. You may find varying their diet difficult. IME most, once on frozen Mysis, will not accept other forms of frozen foods. One of the ways to vary the diet is by varying the types of enrichment used. You can occasionally offer live foods, but I am always leery that if fed live more than as an occasional treat they may go off frozen, which then makes feeding a much greater challenge. Also be aware that a steady diet of Mysis is believed to tax the liver possibly being a contributing factor in the cause of fatty liver disease. Most of the successful keepers these days give the GI tract and liver a rest by either fasting the seahorses once a week or an even better alternative is to feed something less nutrient dense like brine shrimp once a week in lieu of fasting.> These chaps are out on display in our public aquarium and are very, very popular. < I bet they are. The first time I saw a live seahorse display at my LFS, I was absolutely captivated. I still am ?.>  It's been a real boost for us all here and in a way is actually a bit of a step up for the lads and I because up to now we have only ever looked after cold water native marine species, but thanks to you and a lot of our aquarium friends around Ireland it all seems good. Thanks again, will keep you posted. <Please do> PS Got some juvenile cuttlefish today so it all seems to be happening.  I think it's going to be a busy summer........Alex Stewart, SeaWorld Ireland <Best of luck with all your critters, Leslie>

Housing Finicky Feeders Together (Mandarins and Pipefish) Good Morning Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I have a quick question if you don't mind. I would like to know if it would  be possible to keep 2 Mandarins (1 male & 1 female) & 2 Banded Pipefish  in a 20 gallon reef tank (lots of live sand/live rock, small in-tank refugium), providing I add live copepods on a regular basis. If this is a possibility,  how  often should I replenish their food supply? (the live copepods arrive in   quantities of 2,000) <If you are up to the challenge of feeding them (and it sounds like you are), and husbandry is up to par, it seems like this could work! Just pay extra special attention to water quality in this small tank. On the other hand, a smaller area puts the fish closer to their food, so it could be a win-win situation. I would not add any more fishes after this, however.> I also have 2 10 gallon & 1 29 gallon tank that I can use to culture  copepods in. <Go for it!> Thank you in advance for your reply, Julie <Best of luck to you, Julie! Regards, Scott F.> 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

Baby Seahorse Not Eating (6/18/04) 1 baby seahorse, hippocampus reidi, out of 16, does not want to eat anymore live brine shrimp. <Utto .....Not eating is not a good sign. This is unfortunately a difficult species to rear.> After 5 days of fast, he looks well but tired. <I bet. 5 days in a long time for a young seahorse to go without food. Lack of appetite is a common and often one of the first symptoms of disease. In the absence of any other symptoms like a weak snick, white patches, peeling, flaking or erosion of the skin,  rapid respiratory rate or/and  exaggerated gilling, or lethargy and without additional information, it is difficult, at best, to even begin to know what the problem is and how to treat it. The following information would be helpful ......age and size of the seahorse; tank size; tankmates if any; changes in or new additions to the tank; specific water parameters including temperature, specific gravity, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, and pH; changes in the temperature; and  what you have been feeding and using to enhance the nutritional value of the brine shrimp.>   I am waiting for live Mysis/sandhoppers/mud shrimps from UK. <Additional live foods are a good thing to keep on hand for just such emergencies. Hopefully they will arrive soon. > Have you heard of bath in sugared water to help this baby ? <No sorry I have not heard of any such treatment. The treatment would depend on the cause of the problem. What to do ? < I would do a good sized water change now, continue with daily small water changes and increase the gas exchange and oxygenation of the water by adding anything that will increase the surface agitation without creating to much flow for the young seahorse. Best of luck with your little survivor.> Waiting for an answer... Thanks, Patrick Andre < Your most welcome!, Leslie>

 Seahorse Not Eating 1 baby seahorse, hippocampus reidi, out of 16, does not want to eat anymore live brine shrimp. After 5 days of fast, he looks well but tired.  I am waiting for live Mysis/sandhoppers/mud shrimps from UK. <Have you considered temporarily putting a piece of live rock in with the seahorse?  I'm saying this because there might be some pods that he would eat off of it.  Also do any of your stores locally have any Mysis or pods they will sell or give you?> Have you heard of bath in sugared water to help this baby ? <No and to be quite honest I don't think it would work. But let me send you to www.seahorse.org.  Lots of people there who know much much more than I do about seahorses> What to do ? Waiting for an answer...Thanks, Patrick Andre <Good luck, MacL>

Trained Seahorses Untrained? >Hi Guys! Hope you are keeping well in fishy land! >>Indeed, and yourselves as well. >Two weeks ago, I purchased 4 Brazilian seahorses from my LFS. I had been waiting on them for quite some time as they were captive bred and were being trained to eat frozen food (Mysis shrimp) by their breeder.  He wouldn't release them until they were ready which I agree with wholeheartedly. >>We do, too. >Anyway, I have had them 2 weeks now and they ignore the frozen shrimp completely. Panicking, we are providing them with live brine shrimp soaked in Zoe (vitamin solution) but I know these are not good food for them. We feed the brine shrimp at the same time as the frozen but the seahorses go straight for the brine shrimp every time. I have got live mud shrimp, Mysis and copepods on order but do not really have the facilities, or time, to raise these myself. I wouldn't have got these seahorses if I had known they wouldn't eat frozen but I was told they did.  My LFS says it could be because they have had a change in environment and may start eating frozen again soon.  Is this true? >>I, unfortunately, can neither confirm nor verify this definitely one way or the other.  I don't' know how long you waited before offering brine, but would strongly suggest you consider one of two options: let them get hungry for two or three days, THEN offer FROZEN only, or; ask the LFS if they will take them back for a bit of 'retraining', at least while you're on vacation. >While I was waiting for them, the tank built up a nice supply of critters, which the seahorses started eating the minute they were introduced. Unfortunately, I think the supply of these guys is unsustainable with four hungry horses munching on them! >>Time for a refugium!   >Are there any articles/books - or perhaps you may know - what the procedure is for training seahorses to eat frozen food? Looks like I am going to have to retrain them from scratch.  I was told that Seahorse.org have  a "how to" article, but I cannot find it anywhere. >>Have you posted your query to the boards there?  That is THE place to go, and it was the first place I was going to suggest you look for answers.  Also, try our board, http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk - one of the regular posters there is, I believe, involved with seahorse.org. >Another problem is that we are going on holiday for 3 weeks in May and I cannot expect my regular fish feeding friend to purchase live brine shrimp or anything else and feed them to the horses on top of his other duties with our other 3 tanks!  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Many thanks!  Lesley >>Lesley, as above, and best of luck in finding a quick solution.  Marina

Mandarins and seahorses. Quick question.....While most of the animals in my tank (150gal w/ 150lbs of live rock) readily accept Mysis shrimp, (animals are mostly serpent stars, lots of hermit crabs and lots of shrimp) the 2 newest additions (a false mandarin and a seahorse) seem to only be interested in grazing off of the live rock. Will this over time prove to be detrimental? or will the rock continually replenish itself? And, I like these animals, so if they are depleting my rock, what can be done to keep the rock healthy and safely add more seahorses & mandarins, (which I think are really cool)?<First of all mandarins and sea horses eat pods (small crustaceans that live in live sand/ live rock. I hope your live rock is full of pods that are reproducing readily, if not your mandarin will surely starve eventually. The mandarin and the sea horse will eat these small crustaceans that live in crevices in the LR-I wouldn't be too concerned with it being detrimental to your LR...they are just eating creatures that live in the rocks not eating the rock itself!, Do research more on mandarins and sea horses on WWM, IanB> Your friend in CT, -Pat

Seahorse eating on the sly (06/23/03) <Hi! Ananda here today...> Is it possible that my seahorse, (newest addition to a 2 yr old 150gal with inverts only (so far) & 150lbs of live rock) which we've had for about a week now is eating secretly off of the live rock? <Not just possible, but likely. Since you have no other fish, your seahorse is happily decimating the population of critters in your live rock.> Have not seen him accept any frozen foods (Mysis shrimp & prime reef), <Most captive-bred seahorses are trained to eat Mysis, but I have never heard of one eating Prime Reef or other prepared/mixed foods> even seems to repel it, yet 1 week later is very active with good reactions, good eye movement and seems to have a full belly. Is he secretly eating? <Probably on a near-constant basis. Do chat with the good folks at www.seahorse.org about getting him onto a diet of Mysis or other foods; even 150 pounds of live rock is not sufficient over the long term... presumably, this is going to be a seahorse-only tank, yes?> Your friend in CT, -Pat <Best wishes for you and your seahorses... --Ananda>

- Horse Food - <Greetings, JasonC here...> Do sea horses eat amphipods? <They might, but they are more prone to get their food out of the water column.> Can a well established amphipod colony in a ten gallon aquarium sustain a couple of smaller sea horses? <Amphipods have a talent for staying on the substrate and may never get eaten because they just aren't noticed. I'm sure a horse would wise up to this in time, but may starve to death in the meanwhile. I wouldn't risk it.> Ana M. Saavedra <Cheers, J -- >
- Re: <Sea>Horse Food -
So what do they eat then? <Live foods in the wild that move through the water column - Mysis shrimp for example.> Ana M. Saavedra <Cheers, J -- - More on Horse Food - Can Mysis shrimp reproduce in a ten gallon tank faster than two sea horses could eat them or do they require additional feeding?  <Sea Horses eat constantly... all day long. You could not produce enough food in a 50 gallon tank to feed sea horses.> Where could I get a starter culture of Mysis shrimp? <Pick up frozen Mysis shrimp instead, you won't be able to culture the live ones quickly or efficiently enough. Cheers, J -- >

Sea Horse Haven Hi Guys ! <Scott F. Here Today> I recently purchased a seahorse and placed him in my refugium. The refugium is a 50 gallon Tenecor acrylic tank and contains a minimal amount of live rock, 8" live sand bed, and Caulerpa. I also have 4 peppermint shrimp in the refugium as "plankton producers". There are all kinds of little creatures swimming around in the Caulerpa, some of which look like tiny shrimp, some of which are copepods, amphipods, etc. The refugium has been up and running for 6 months and is connected to my main display tank (300 gallon reef) that has been up for around 2.5 years. The seahorse hunts all day and eats the small animals in the refugium. He seems to be relishing his newly acquired home (3 days). <Sounds like a nice home for him!> My question is: Do I need to supplement his diet or will the live food in the refugium suffice to keep the seahorse healthy and growing? Thanks again for your valuable advice ! Chuck Spyropulos <Well, Chuck- if he appears to be healthy, fat, and happy on this diet, then I'd say that supplemental feeding is unnecessary. however, a lot of my friends who keep seahorses will tell you that a single horse is usually kept in smaller quarters. The rationale is that you want them "close to their food!" You may want to see if he will eat frozen Mysis (like PE Frozen Mysis, enriched with nutritional additives). Just make sure that he's eating well and looks satisfied. Probably no reason to be concerned. Good luck!>

Seahorse feeding Hi and sorry to bug you;) I have been doing LOTS of research on seahorses in captivity and it seems the most often reason for failure is that they require a lot of different types of food..... Has there been any ways developed recently (it is the year 2000 and the advent to the internet has hobbyists conversing at the speed of light) in the raising of zooplankton and the shrimps necessary for long lives? I think this is the source of the problem. There NEEDS to be a way to raise these fascinating creatures in captivity or the species will soon become extinct! << Hmm, like your enthusiasm... and all sorts of food organisms can be/are cultured... and do think these and all other animals are/would be best left as "pools" in the wild... less human influence, more "no entry" corridors on the planet... that's my advice. Bob Fenner>>

Seahorse Mr. Fenner I really appreciate all the help your FAQ's have given me.  <You are welcome my friend> I just have one small question you may could help me with. Last week I purchased a yellow seahorse (Hippocampus Reidi). He is doing great in my tank and see no real problems. He however only seems to take brine shrimp. <Yes... most tube-mouthed fishes (family Syngnathidae) only do so... until, unless trained to non-live... like the excellent job the fine folks at Ocean Rider have done with their captive seahorse propagation projects... training all on dead mysids...> He tries to catch ghost shrimp but he is only about 2 in long. I know this horse cannot survive just off brine shrimp because he will not receive essential fatty acids. I have looked at many sites including WetWebMedia and they say that these horses can be trained to frozen foods over time with a little, or sometimes a lot, of patience. However none of these sites mentions how to go about doing this. If you could give me a little instruction on how to train this little guy to some frozen foods it would be of much help. Thanks, Jeremy <Please see the WWM Links Page, go to the Ocean Rider site... read through there. Bob Fenner>

Seahorse Feeding Hello <Cheers mate! Anthony Calfo in your service> I have recently acquired three 5 inch seahorses who totally refuse to accept anything dead as food. I am currently raising brine shrimp which I feed prior to introducing them to the seahorses.  <wow... brine shrimp even enriched is a staggeringly inadequate food for any significant part of a fishes diet. Adult brine shrimp is really water made to look like a shrimp...heehee> They accept them with relish.  <Of course... given to choose between eating a big bowl of your favorite fried food or a dry mash made of soybeans which would you choose?!? Ha!> After reading Pete Giwojna's articles "Seahorse Nutrition Parts I to V "http://www.oceanrider.com/seahorse_nutrition_part_i.htm, I need to make available a greater selection of live food to include hard bodied creatures. <yes, my friend!> Mysis - Can not find a supplier in the UK for live shrimp - can they be raised in a similar way to Brine Shrimp at home? <not easily... but I suspect that you should be able to find some sort of source for mysids. Most of the mysids as with krill come from CANADA. And I suppose you must have some local aquarium shoppe that sells frozen Pacifica or superb krill? If so ask them to pursue their distributor for mysids> Gammarus - I have fresh water Gammarus in my pond. They are in the filter and in the sludge at the bottom of the pond. Can I clean them in any way before feeding them to the Seahorses or perhaps start a culture of in clean conditions to reduce unwanted contamination of the marine tank? <actually a very fine food! Strain them and let the, swim in clean water and then gut load them with HUFAS (fatty rich foods or supplements like Argents Cyclopes or Selcon and dry yeast, etc)> I am attempting to train the Seahorses to eat frozen food as suggested in Pete Giwojna's articles but any suggestions would be appreciated. <yes... kudos to you on your noble attempts to keep these fascinating fishes healthy. Best regards to you in your endeavors! Anthony Calfo> Thanks, Colin

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