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Seahorse.Lover
01/31/2016, 08:52 PM
I have always wanted a seahorse tank. I am thinking about finally starting one. But I am having trouble finding a guide to help me set up a tank correctly. I have no idea what I need. any help would be appreciated!!

rayjay
01/31/2016, 09:21 PM
Well there are quite a few ways to set up for keeping seahorses and no one thread is going to tell you all you need to know.
First off, the MINIMUM tank size for ONE pair of seahorses is 29g with and EXTRA 15g for each ADDITIONAL pair of seahorses. Dan Underwood I believe goes even further suggesting it's best to have and additional 29/30g for each of the additional pairs.
You need to be able to control temperatures to be in the 68° to 74°F range to help control the bacterial issues seahorses so often succumb to.
Your husbandry practices need to greatly exceed that of a reef tank as the water "dirties" (even though it looks great and hobby test kits all check OK) fast due to seahorse eating habits.
While some do fine with other tank mates, it's advisable to go with a species only tank IMO.
For some reading, check out post #5 in "Pledosophy's discourse" at http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2274878
And, My Thoughts on Seahorse Keeping (http://www.angelfire.com/ab/rayjay/seahorsekeeping.html)
Hopefully others will chime in here with their thoughts also.

vlangel
02/01/2016, 05:10 AM
With my first seahorse tank I should have heeded some of the conventional wisdom on seahorses. I learned from that experience that a species only tank is best. Also to strive for a minimum of 10Xs turnover and if possible have an oversized protein skimmer. That will help with dissolved organics in the water column. My tank has places with high flow, medium and low flow so the seahorses can choose what they want. I have seen them hitched directly in front of my rio powerheads hanging on for dear life so they apparently like that some times, ha ha!

I also have my rockwork pulled away from the back wall so that the flow is free flowing and so I can wipe down all the surfaces once a week.

BlueCat1949
02/01/2016, 09:20 AM
You will get a lot of opinions on this subject but here are a few basic tips for beginners.

Make it a seahorse only tank. Choose a tank that is about 30 gallons for a pair of seahorses and at least 16- 20 inches deep. Seahorses are veritically oriented fish and then need the extra height for swimming and courting/breeding.

Buy captive bred seahorses from an established breeder like seahorsesource. Avoid the temptation of buying unknown species from LFS. Don't buy because of color as seahorses will change color according to their moods. Very dark colors can be signs of stress.

Make sure your tank is cycled, your tank temp is stable and below 75 and have frozen mysis on hand when your seahorses arrive.

Avoid introducing pests like bristle worms and aiptasias and make sure any inverts are seahorse safe.

Have a feeding station and plenty of places with soft non-pokey hitches. The feeding station will make it easier to feed and keep uneaten food from getting lodged in your rocks etc.

Do your research on seahorse health issues and have items on hand to treat the most common maladies. If you have to post online and ask what is wrong with my horse and then obtain the medicine before you treat them you will have let the condition deteriorate to the point that it will be harder to correct the problem.

Seahorse are messy eaters and you must have good filtration to keep your tank in tiptop shape.

Do as much research as possible before you buy and you will increase your chances of success. Seahorses are not that hard as long as you do the basics correctly but if you make mistakes they are hard to correct in time to save your horses.

These pix show what a well fed full grown H. erectus should look like.

Seahorse.Lover
02/01/2016, 12:42 PM
What kind of filtration and things such as that would I need?

rayjay
02/01/2016, 09:31 PM
No one type of filtration as keepers are successful with a variety of types.
Just be sure it's extreme. At the same time it should be able to be cleaned relatively easy or the tendency down the road would be to sometimes skip a cleaning here or there, in the end, to the detriment of the seahorses.
An greatly oversized skimmer is a big help also.

Tigé21v
02/06/2016, 11:53 AM
Could one add a sea horse tank to an existing system if the water fed to their tank was passed slowly enough through an oversized UV sterilizer?

rayjay
02/06/2016, 12:10 PM
What would be the purpose? Do you perceive some advantage to doing so?
Stand alone species only offers the best chances of success.
If you tie in to another system, you will have to chill the water coming from the system to the seahorse tank unless you have a cold water system.
Also you will need supplementary water movement in the seahorse tank as you have low flow coming from the system and you need a decent flow properly dispersed to keep uneaten food and detritus in circulation long enough to be captured by the filtration in the seahorse tank.
While you don't normally see it, the water produced by seahorse tanks is "dirty" and if some of that is going back to the system, there are some sps corals that won't fare too well with that dirty water (perhaps others that will do even better though), but again serious filtration before the return might take care of that for you.
In my mind, the stand alone would be the simpler task.

Tigé21v
02/06/2016, 12:37 PM
The tank in question is a 40 breeder that is currently bare-bottom and used to grow chaeto. The system is in the basement. Total system is currently 325 gallons. Tank is fed with an extremely flow rate- maybe 30gph(?). Temp averages in the low to mid 70's depending on the season. Supplemental flow with a maxijet 1200 connected to a spray bar. I have a Turbo-Twist 3x sterilizer (rated up to 125 gallons) I could plumb in to only process the feed water to the 40 breeder.
I would think that if the incoming water were fed through a UV sterilizer at such a slow flow rate, it would knock out any possible issues arising from the water column?
In fact, if water-borne pathogens are an issue regarding sea horse care, wouldn't it be best to process the water through a UV sterilizer, dedicated system or not?

rayjay
02/06/2016, 01:27 PM
OK, first off, a UV hooked up to a stand alone seahorse tank is of limited value because only pelagic life is treated. The benthic life forms don't pass through it and therefore remain alive and well to create their havoc.
UV might well be an asset but a very limited asset in a stand alone IMO.
I don't know if they can achieve a 100% kill of what goes through them, but definitely they can't kill the benthic that don't.
Parasites are in my estimation, the second biggest killer of seahorses in captivity. Number one IMO is still bacteria.
Unfortunately, there ARE no test kits that tell you when the conditions are improving for bacteria to multiply faster. Every test kit available to the salt water hobby can show ideal situations, but in fact, conditions may be becoming ideal for the nasty bacterial growth.
This bacterial growth stems from uneaten food and detritus that is situated out of site around/behind rocks, trapped in decor/corals/hitching and as it decays it produces food AND bedding for the nasty bacteria to grow. Filters not cleaned very regularly are excellent breeding grounds for nasty bacteria.
In addition to all that, when seahorses snick up their food, they masticate it and micro particles get passed out through the gills and into the water, further degrading water conditions. While you sometimes see this "cloud" coming from the gills, it dissipates quickly and the water LOOKS clear, but in fact can be full of this micro particle material, more food for the nasties.
Because it is the "unseen" killer, it requires a preventative protocol that would be considered extreme if you were looking after a delicate reef tank but normal for a seahorse tank.
Years ago we used to think low flow was ideal for seahorse tanks, but the present thoughts are to have higher flows in order to keep crap in suspension until it can be captured by filtration.
10X flow would now be a minimum but more practical would be perhaps 20X and more, with hitching provided in areas of low, medium and high flow so they can choose where to be when they want. Also, no flow directly blasting any part so they can't be blown against anything to be damaged.
For me, I feel you need multiple sources of this flow as one source is impossible to keep the crap in circulation long enough.
A maxi 1200 is restricted hooked to a spray bar and would need extra help anyway.
I wipe down the glass inside the tank once a week also, wiping off the bacterial slime that accumulates, and then use a good filter to remove this from the water column before I do a LARGE water change.
When I wipe the glass I also use a power head in my hand to blast all areas of the tank to dislodge trapped and hidden particles that escape the regular flow and filtration. I let this settle after the filter(s) have removed the slime, and siphon this dislodged matter when doing the large water change.

That being said, I didn't see where you mentioned WHY you would want to have the tank hooked to the system?

Tigé21v
02/06/2016, 03:17 PM
rayjay,
Because it's already there. And not easily removed. And I'd like to try my hand at the guys without a totally dedicated system at this point.
The maxijet/spray bar combo does a decent job of circulation, will keep a ball of cheato up to 3/4 the height of the tank slowly tumbling. And since it's a bare bottom tank, and detritus has a tendency to build up in the corner under the spray bar.
The ultimate goal is once I get the new tank up and running is to turn my 90 into something different. I'd like to have it tied to the current system, but not at the detriment to the livestock. Maybe a macro algae/softie tank with mandarins and shrimp fish, and I was hoping to add seahorses and pipe fish also. If this is not realistic, then I'll probably just use it for another octopus, or maybe a cryptic zone.
From what I could gather from your post, anything but a bare bottom sea horse only system is less than ideal.
I hope this isn't coming across as argumentative, I assure you it's not my intention. Just trying to better understand if my future plans for my 90 would be viable or not.
And my apologies to the OP if I'm getting this thread off topic.

rayjay
02/06/2016, 04:06 PM
No definitely not argumentative. That's my tag I get because I have a hard time explaining without offending. I think it's my age.
I think the OP will quite possibly benefit from this added Q&A.
Now unfortunately I have to throw another wrinkle at you as you mention pipe fish. While it has been a successful combination at times, the majority of times it ends up leading to the deaths of one or both species.
Best if you can get true captive bred seahorses AND pipe fish from the same breeder but the only one known to breed pipe fish is Ocean Rider I believe.
The more fish you put in with the seahorses, the greater your odds of problems down the road, but it can be done, just not with good odds. The UV might slightly increase your chances of success.
I'm hoping others who have had successes with mixing species will chime in here and give their advice and why they feel they succeeded.

Tigé21v
02/06/2016, 04:57 PM
LOL, I was referring to myself as being argumentative. When I reread my posts, they seemed as if they could possibly come across as such. Not your responses. I am the grasshopper in this conversation.
I have tried to read what I could on the care for the fish I mentioned, especially the seahorses. From what I have been able to determine, sea horses are the most susceptible to issues (beyond feeding) of the four. As such, I'm trying to determine which would be in the best interest of the livestock. I've never been one to entertain my wishes at the expense of the critters.
I'll check OR's website. They seem to be the rayjay of the commercial seahorse aquaculture world. If I ever make it to Hawaii, a visit to their operation will definitely be on my list. If anyone has had luck with breeding pipe fish, it would probably be them.

rayjay
02/06/2016, 05:23 PM
For me, the best breeder is Dan Underwood of seahorsesource.com, but OR has a following as well. Dan posts helpful info here and on seahorse.org.
Unfortunately we don't have a library for seahorses on this site but if you check out the library at seahorse.org you can find a Tankmates Guide and other topics although some need to be updated to new acceptances.
There is also a lot of information on Tami's site, fused jaw.

iluvmyfishes
02/11/2016, 01:42 AM
You set up could work for several reasons. You have plants that will absorb the extra waste, you probably have plenty of larger size pods, your temp stays under 75, I agree you should get captive bred, especially since wc have more parasites that you don't want going into your main system. Try a pair to start and see how it goes.

vlangel
02/11/2016, 05:02 AM
LOL, I was referring to myself as being argumentative. When I reread my posts, they seemed as if they could possibly come across as such. Not your responses. I am the grasshopper in this conversation.
I have tried to read what I could on the care for the fish I mentioned, especially the seahorses. From what I have been able to determine, sea horses are the most susceptible to issues (beyond feeding) of the four. As such, I'm trying to determine which would be in the best interest of the livestock. I've never been one to entertain my wishes at the expense of the critters.
I'll check OR's website. They seem to be the rayjay of the commercial seahorse aquaculture world. If I ever make it to Hawaii, a visit to their operation will definitely be on my list. If anyone has had luck with breeding pipe fish, it would probably be them.
Hi Tige21v, I was reading your posts and thought I would jump in because I did what you want to do. My seahorse tank and system were smaller than yours but I set up a seahorse tank that was connected to an already established reef tank. I had the same UV sterilizer inline between the tanks and it was 74 degrees. I ran it like that for about a year but ended up taking it down and setting up a stand alone seahorse system. The reason for taking it down are with the slow flow in and out of the seahorse tank, (and mine was 100gph which was less than 4Xs turnover) i began to get an algae build up on the glass sides and back of the tank. Water changes on the main system were not benefiting the seahorse tank sufficiently nor was the protein skimmer. Also if I did a deep clean and stirred up a lot of detritus with the lower turnover it did not clear quickly. My male developed an infection on his pouch right after one of those cleaning sessions. It took me months of multiple rounds of antibiotics to restore his health and I think I was lucky in that I saved him. I decided for my ponies' sake that they needed their own tank that catered to all their needs.

I will say that my seahorses are CB from OR and I have them with a CB pipefish also from OR and that has worked just fine. I would not recommend mixing seahorses and pipefish under any other circumstances however.

rayjay
02/11/2016, 07:19 AM
You set up could work for several reasons. You have plants that will absorb the extra waste, you probably have plenty of larger size pods, your temp stays under 75, I agree you should get captive bred, especially since wc have more parasites that you don't want going into your main system. Try a pair to start and see how it goes.
Sure, go ahead and try it. It's only the seahorse lives that can be lost, not the keeper's.
In actual fact, while plants DO use nutrients from the water, the plants ALSO enable entrapment of more uneaten food and detritus and if not removed/cleaned can contribute even more to the bacteria blight.
The pods are NOT going to keep bacteria at bay.
Again, it's not an IMPOSSIBLE task, just fraught with low success rates.

Tigé21v
02/11/2016, 09:33 AM
What is the proper quarantine regimen for sea horses and pipe fish?is it the same as for other fish? And I'm guessing seas and pipes are susceptible to diseases from other fish? Are pipe fish as touchy as seahorses? If so, I may just go the route of shrimpfish / mandarins.

Jeff4777
02/11/2016, 10:58 AM
As long as you know all the reasons of why you should not do this but still want to then okay. You will do what you want as does anyone.

rayjay
02/11/2016, 01:08 PM
What is the proper quarantine regimen for sea horses and pipe fish?is it the same as for other fish? And I'm guessing seas and pipes are susceptible to diseases from other fish? Are pipe fish as touchy as seahorses? If so, I may just go the route of shrimpfish / mandarins.
If you are buying from a reputable seahorse breeder and the seahorses won't be going into an LFS system before you get them, you don't have to quarantine them IMO. (unless you already have seahorses there from another source)
Personally, I'm not big on quarantining anyway, as getting through a quarantine period only shows that conditions in the QT are not conducive to triggering parasitic outbreaks. The parasites are always present, so if they don't get stressed in the QT then you put them in the DT, an outbreak can still occur somewhere down the road if conditions stress the seahorse enough.
If you get the OR seahorses and pipefish, again, from the same breeding facility, you shouldn't have to Q.
If I were to try non captive bred pipefish with seahorses again, I would put them through the 9 week deworming protocol for wild caught seahorses and hopefully that might help external parasite kill off as well, helping to facilitate mixing of the species.