View Full Version : erectus just had first brood.. now what?

10/07/2016, 09:12 AM
My erectus just had babies. I saw it happen by random chance. I pulled out about 30 of them . I dont have a lot of time to research like I should on what to do. I have a 20 gallon long and a 10 gallon tank in storage. I can get some air pumps today. What about food? what do I do? they are so cute! lol

10/07/2016, 12:06 PM
I think I have a good web site to go by: http://fusedjaw.com/breeding/help-my-seahorse-just-had-babies/

10/07/2016, 09:59 PM
Keep us updated on how their doing.
I am hoping mine have fry soon. Get the bbs going and keep reading and gathering info.
Your male might be pregnant already so it is important to get things up and running for the next batch.

10/07/2016, 10:02 PM
They are still in the 1/2 gallon tupperware... I'm setting up a 20 gallon long this weekend.
***ANyone know of a breeder I can give/sell the babies to, maybe after they are 1 month old so they have some size on them?
I emailed SeaHorseSource (who I got them from) but they won't respond. I guess it's a dumb question. Though they are a great source! lol


10/08/2016, 09:29 AM
Seahorsesource can't respond at the moment as they are dealing with the hurricane.
Normally you would raise the seahorses to around the six month stage where they can be mostly sexed properly, and have reached an age where the most vulnerable have already died off.
If you haven't already got the bbs hatching, there isn't a lot of hope that this first batch will survive though.

10/08/2016, 10:42 AM

I'm using pre packages live pods til the brine shrimp eggs get here. LFS doesnt even have them. SHS responds to my emails but not that that ?

10/08/2016, 11:51 AM
This is going to be a big learning process so don't be discouraged by outcome but use every moment and advice given in a positive manor.
My first 300 fry survived a few weeks and I figured I was going to be a millionaire. ha ha
That was 30 years ago and still struggle getting it all figured out.
Enjoy the little ones and take lots of pictures.
Go to Rayjay's sight since he has lots of info to share and has been very successful.

10/08/2016, 02:04 PM
SHS responds to my emails but not that that ?
I'm sorry but I don't know what that means!!

10/08/2016, 03:35 PM
I put in the pods, but it doesnt seem like the horses are eating them at all. So it has to be baby brine? these pods are tiny .

10/08/2016, 03:43 PM
What species are the pods?
Are they as small or smaller than baby brine nauplii?
Do you have access to rotifers? They can bridge the gap until you get the brine cysts hatched.

10/08/2016, 03:50 PM
i'm pretty sure most are about same size as baby brine. they are not big pods. I'll see if LFS has rotifers. i think they do.
**THey still seem to have yolk sacs. So can that be why they are not eating the pods also?


10/08/2016, 03:51 PM
Again, what species are the pods?

10/08/2016, 03:53 PM
Tigriopus californicus ... tiger pods brand

10/08/2016, 04:06 PM
OK, the tiggers are too large as adults and only their nauplii might be small enough for the fry.
For me, I used nitokra lacustris along with enriched baby brine.

10/08/2016, 04:09 PM
The pods do look as small as baby brine, but I guess not small enough. Will I be ok getting rotifers? If I can find them here.


10/08/2016, 04:14 PM
Enriched rotifers should get you by until you have the brine shrimp hatched.
When raising H. reidi fry I started them on enriched rotifers for the first 4-7 days before switching to enriched brine.

10/08/2016, 11:24 PM
Here's the babies!

10/09/2016, 07:29 AM
Did you have any luck finding a food for them?

10/09/2016, 07:50 AM
Chances are slim to none that any of this batch will survive. They do have a small yolk sac that will get them through a few hours maybe 24 at most, but after that they need live foods and lots of it. You will have to feed them small quantities several times a day and keep your water quality up. It is a lot of work but can be very rewarding.

Do what you can to try and save them but having everything in place for the next batch is very important. If you keep doing your research it can be done but it is not easy.

Good luck

10/09/2016, 10:10 AM
They were born on the worst day for being not prepared, Friday. LFS here has and knows nothing. I'm going to try to go to another 2 today. I'm at least trying to get brine shrimp eggs. **WIll I even see them snick at any food, or are they so slow to eat I will miss them snicking? And am I ok getting DT's live phyto (some type of mix) to enrich the baby brine / copepods / rotifers? Since californicus may be too large, what species is acceptable for pods? Something like Tisbe?: https://premiumaquatics.com/products/tisbe-copepods-16oz.html
So far I think they still have the yolk sacs.

10/09/2016, 11:13 AM
There are VERY FEW LFSs that know much about seahorses let alone raising their fry, even though many of them THINK they do.
Yes, you will see them snick at food they want.
For enrichment there are better products, see http://seahorsesource.com/?wpsc_product_category=enrichments
I believe that the Tisbe are also too large although their nauplii might be OK.
Although I've only used Nitokra Lacustris for fry, ReefPods™ Parvocalanus is the pod I've seen mentioned by some hobbyists using pods for fry and Dan also has those. http://seahorsesource.com/?wpsc-product=reefpods-parvocalanus
It's really bad timing the birthing occurring when seahorsesource is affected by the hurricane as Dan has anything you need pretty well for raising the fry.
Unfortunately, I think the chances of survival are quite small (not impossible) if you don't get them eating something today, as by the time they get food tomorrow or later, their systems will have become stressed and weakened.

10/09/2016, 05:59 PM
Back from far away LFS lol... have rotifers supposedly. I put some in tank. And I see no reaction at all. I also cant actually see the rotifers. :-/

10/09/2016, 10:38 PM
I think i was sold a bottle of salt water... I cant see any rotifers at all. I looked rotifers up on youtube. They are not much smaller than the pods. The pods I have are tiny, maybe 1/4 mm. But the horses not eating those. They still have the yolk sacs, I think. Is the little ball at base of their tail not the yolk sac? *I did start a brine shrimp hatchery. So now in a race for time.

10/09/2016, 11:45 PM
Rotifers are extremely hard to see unless you have the right lighting coming through at the right angle, and sometimes the background behind the container can help or hinder the viewing. I found that a tinge of greenwater in the culture will help accent the rotifers, but much more than a hint of colour can make it harder to see them.
I believe the average saltwater rotifer adult will be around the .2mm range, a little more and a little less, but about 1/2 to 5/8 the size of Tisbe pods and roughly 1/5th the size of tiggers.
I think the egg sack depletes fairly quickly but the sack itself may take a bit longer to disappear. To be honest, I've never bothered to take notice of that point specifically.
Make sure to rinse whatever food you do use before feeding to the fry, and with your brine hatching, don't allow any hatch water to come in contact with the fry water.
It's actually the best idea IMO, to either decap or at least sterilize the cysts before hatching, but many use peroxide to sterilize after the hatching as that process is also seen to make separation of empty and unhatched cysts from the live nauplii easier.

10/10/2016, 07:21 AM
My babies may be eating whatever I'm giving them, rotifers, pods. Since all of them are still alive. *when I rinse the brine shrimp in H2O2 , do i just pour it over them (in a strainer net)? Thanks

10/10/2016, 09:21 AM
It can be a long time for them to die from lack of food, and, once they go a few days without, they won't eat again usually. I know that adults can live months after they stop eating before they pass on.
From Dan Underwood of seahorsesource.com:
3 % Hydrogen Peroxide = 33.9 mg/ml according to my calculation. I have seen many figure it at 30 mg/ml. To use this I would add 250 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide to 750 ml water.
When I do this, I add the artemia to a hatching cone with strong aeration for mixing and then add the peroxide. After 45 seconds to 1 minute, I pull the airline. The live artemia will migrate to the bottom of the cone. Unhatched cysts, dead artemia and debris will collect on the surface in the foam. At the end of 5 minutes, I open the valve on the bottom of the cone and drain the live artemia into a net with freshwater running. I stop about 1 inch from the foam layer.

Now for me, I don't have hatching cones and use pop bottles for Hatcher/Enricher (http://www.angelfire.com/ab/rayjay/Hatcher.html) and use air line with rigid tube attached to siphon off the nauplii.
Mesh size would be best at about 120 mesh which is about 125 microns. A few decades ago I used to use old nylons but at my age I don't know if they are still suitable as they may have changed with modern technology.

10/10/2016, 10:07 AM
will i see lots of snicks in a short time if they are eating? Because as I stare at them, I see a snick here and there, like once every minute I guess (that's not per seahorse, that is overall).


10/10/2016, 11:03 AM
That would depend on the density of the food they are being attracted to.

10/10/2016, 11:04 AM
are they going to chase after it? or does it need to be so dense they re engulfed? I'm guessing something between the two?
THanks.. you are the best help :-D

10/10/2016, 11:06 AM
Some will hunt and some will just snick as they pass by the food they might want.
Not the best help, just available more than most people because I'm long time retired and have nothing else on the go.

10/10/2016, 11:36 AM
I'm pretty sure my Reidi had babies las tnight also lol. He was squeezing his pouch a lot for a few mins. I THINK i saw a baby pop out. I Couldnt watch too long, as I was working (work at home).
Do they normally give birth in morning or night?
**And YES I for sure just saw a baby go after a pod :) . Snicked and missed, but at least attempted!

10/10/2016, 12:37 PM
For H. reidi babies, it is much harder to accomplish and you will probably need a lot more rotifers than you have right now as they produce smaller fry needing a bit smaller food than standard brine nauplii.
I had some luck using San Fran cysts as San Fran artemia are a little smaller than the Great Salt Lake artemia, but, I had better luck starting them off with enriched rotifers and better still with the nitokra lacustris added to the mix.
Most seahorses I've had over the years almost always kicked out a few warning babies a day or two ahead of the main birthing. I don't recall any birthing starting at a time other than early morning just before or just after lights on time, but the warning babies seem to be able to kick out just about any time of day.
I haven't had reidi fry for a long time now but here is a page for my method at the time. http://www.angelfire.com/ab/rayjay/fry.html
I used the same method for when I first started rearing erectus, other than erectus fed easily on enriched brine nauplii, but eventually I changed my method to use the "muck bucket" approach which was just a "muck bucket" from TSC stores here in Canada that I drilled for using with a sump, and water and aeration directed the flow around in a circle.
Dan has pictures of his round tub set ups on seahorse.org.

10/10/2016, 01:24 PM
Yes I had a feeling about the Redi's . I didtnt want to attempt those for a while. He may not have given birht, but lookes like he was having major contractions, with one baby coming out that I saw, I could be wrong though.
**I do see the babies goign after the food.. I think its the pods they go after. I havent seen a successful snick, but some chase them for a bit til they get tired. When the baby brine are ready tomorrow morning (or late tonight) I'm going to put enough density in the nursery so the babies have less trouble seeing one.

10/10/2016, 03:58 PM
As the cysts don't hatch all at once, you CAN do a partial harvest as soon as enough have hatched. Let the culture sit for five minutes and siphon off some of the live ones. You can use a strong light to get them to congregate together for higher concentration. Then pour through the mesh with the fluid going back to the hatcher, and the recovered nauplii going to a container to peroxide and rinse. For now, forget about enrichment and just get the newly hatched nauplii in for feeding. I would change out the fry container water first though so it starts off fresh.
Once you have the enrichment you can grow out the hatched nauplii for a day, and then enrich them for one or two stages of 12 hours, with new water and enrichment for each stage. They will be gut loaded after the first 12 hours, but will be more nutritious after the second 12 hour stage as the nutrients will have become assimilated into their flesh.

10/10/2016, 04:00 PM
Should have also added, that you CAN'T be too clean for seahorse tanks, and that goes doubly for the fry. (bacterial reasons)

10/10/2016, 09:32 PM
I just fed them a bunch of baby brine. Good enough density for them to be surrounded by the brine at all parts of the tank (which is currently 5 gallons of water in a 10 gallon aquarium), with bubbler and a live rock << this will change to 20 gallon Long, with sponge filter by end of the week. Anyhow, I see some snick, but it's not a snick fest lol. They at least seem to be more active since the baby brine are in the water.
**Should I see a "snick fest"<< constant snicking that I dont have to "look" for, it's just happening all the time from each baby?


10/11/2016, 08:48 AM
**so far no one seems to be dead yet. maybe 1 or 2 out of the 40-50 that I have. Is that a sign of anything? or is it normal for all the babies to survive 4 complete 24 hour days?

10/11/2016, 10:04 PM
The fry at times may consume so much food they pass living nauplii through their digestive tracts, but mostly it will vary with the individual much like humans were some eat faster than others. The majority will eat at a certain pace and others with be a little faster or slower.
Survival for any given lengths of time will vary from batch to batch IME, but losses will usually start happening within a week to ten days.

10/12/2016, 09:57 AM
I seem to have half left, about 24 from the 40+ at the start. But I dont see any dead ones anywhere. I would see the dead babies, right? I did a water change last night, which I'll do eery few days, butI was sure to not suck any babies up. Do they somehow get disintegrated that fast?
Do you suggest using fresh made salt water or changing out with the Main seahorse tank water for water changes? Would it matter to the babies, since they are getting ammonia and nitrite free water either way? It might matter to the SH tank if i'm spiking their levels. I did it last night and teh SH tank seems fine now.

THanks again!

10/12/2016, 10:16 PM
Yes, you should see dead babies but only for a couple days until they disintegrate.
I would ONLY use aged new salt water, never water from another tank in use. That would be adding an additional bacteria threat to the fry.

10/13/2016, 09:33 AM
Putting live rock in the fry tank is a bad idea. You will need to do water changes several times a day and keep the sides of the aquarium clean. I used 2 gallon fish bowls and sterilized everything every 5 days.

I suggest doing more reading on the subject of raising H. erectus fry so you will be ready next time. Learning to raise seahorse fry is difficult until you get a system and routine down pat. As to the reidi fry they can be much harder than erectus. Good luck.

10/15/2016, 01:59 PM
Silence is never good sign in posts like this one.

10/15/2016, 05:02 PM
Hi Ray and Blue,
There's only one horse left, and he's probably not going to make it. I read that I can refirgerate the brine shrimp babies. But they died within three days. So I had nothing to feed the about 10 the remained after about Wednesday. about the same time looking back allt he ones in the tank died also. So I wont be fridging them again in the future for future seahorse babies unless I find out how to perserve them alive correctly.
**I actually bought a 30" stand for my 20 Gallon long tank, and have a light coming also. I have a large sponge filter. So, blue cat this is not a good idea? << I'd like to use this set up as I just set it up :sad2:

And as far as bacteria I understand the point that they can cause infection of course. But the bacteria were in the original tank water that the babies were in. So why keep everything so sterile, when the babies were already exposed to bacteria? Similar live rock was in the SH tank they came from. Keeping everything sterile after they already were exposed to such bacteria at the start could just make them less resistant in the future, no? << Not disputing you, just trying to make sense of it also.

10/15/2016, 05:50 PM
Hi Ray and Blue,
There's only one horse left, and he's probably not going to make it. I read that I can refirgerate the brine shrimp babies. But they died within three days. So I had nothing to feed the about 10 the remained after about Wednesday. about the same time looking back allt he ones in the tank died also. So I wont be fridging them again in the future for future seahorse babies unless I find out how to perserve them alive correctly.
**I actually bought a 30" stand for my 20 Gallon long tank, and have a light coming also. I have a large sponge filter. So, blue cat this is not a good idea? << I'd like to use this set up as I just set it up :sad2:

And as far as bacteria I understand the point that they can cause infection of course. But the bacteria were in the original tank water that the babies were in. So why keep everything so sterile, when the babies were already exposed to bacteria? Similar live rock was in the SH tank they came from. Keeping everything sterile after they already were exposed to such bacteria at the start could just make them less resistant in the future, no? << Not disputing you, just trying to make sense of it also.

Keeping things "sterile" is because the fry can not handle bad water quality and exposure to ammonia or nitrates etc. Anything from the parent tank can be a breeding ground for hydroids which can kill the fry outright. Hydroids and bacteria can go crazy in closed system with lots of food. I started my fry off by putting them in a 2 gallon plastic fish bowl that was hung on the top, front rim of the parent tank and filled with natural seawater( I only used natural SW because it was always the same and all I had to do is make it the right temperature). I realize that natural SW is not available to everyone. I had to drive five hours round trip to Scripps Pier in La Jolla and fill up 12, five gallon jugs once a week.

I used sponge filters in the grow out thanks with older fry and juvies but relied on frequent feedings and water changes, sometimes up to 5 a day at the beginning and when the fry got through the first couple of weeks I moved them to 10 gallon tanks. I like the small bowls for two reasons, one you could get a good concentrations of food with out major overfeeding and two I could move the fry to another identical fishbowl setup after five days and sterilize the older bowl and everything in it with watered down bleach.

There are many ways to go with fry raising Dan at seahorse source has the most comprehensive fry rearing system that I have seen and does a great job. In the home with a single brood, but I had up to 10 batches of fry at one time when I got going, I like my method. I was able to raise several hundred erectus fry to adulthood and sell enough to put a small dent in the many $$$$ I spent on my hobby.

The hardest part about raising seahorses is the attention to detail. Anyone with a good knowledge of SW aquariums can do it if they are willing to put in the time and learn from mistakes. Seeing a tank full of thriving juvie seahorses makes it all worthwhile.

P. S. Ray has given you a good heads up on feeding the fry so that is one more thing you will have to learn.

10/15/2016, 07:41 PM
Hi guys...
This thread is a wealth of info, over and above what I have found. On top of the mistakes I been through along the way.
I'm going to get the two fish bowls and use the 20 long as a grow out tank, for WHEN I have babies large enough to put in there. I should be able to put a few generations in there, right? Feeding might be tricky then, but the space is at least large enough (I think).
**Would very small sponge filters for the fish bowls help with water quality?
I dont think the male is prego now. But I didnt think he was before either. His pouch is not deflated, but it's not round either, it looks slightly full without bulging. I'll post a pic, but he's very elusive. The female is out in the open 5 times as much as he is. At times I thought he died and disappeared << didnt see him for days. Only to reappear and happy later.

10/15/2016, 10:43 PM
Before you get too much into buying things, I'd be doing more research first to be sure of how to advance from where you are right now. Fish bowls may NOT be the best way IMO, if you are going to raise several batches. I personally wouldn't go with less than about 6g of water for about 300 fry to start with, upping that weekly as they grow. As you progress further into their survival you will probably want to make changes in what you are doing, as most of us have done as we learn.
I personally don't use anything other than aeration, greenwater, and water changes for the first few weeks of a batch, eventually moving them to 20g tanks with sterilized cycled rock in the sumps for biological filtration. Depending on how many survive, you make have to move then into much larger systems as they grow. I go to 37g tall after the 20, and then to a 90 to finish off before I sell them at about 6 months.
With every species I've had, the male is more reclusive than the female, especially when they are pregnant. I moved all my live rock to the sumps so they couldn't hide from me as much, only in the hitching/decor still in the tanks.

10/16/2016, 06:42 PM
Any thoughts on using a marine pure block in the fry tank? I have a few dry ones at the moment. I was considering setting up a tank just to get the bacteria going on them and them placing a block in my fry tank. My erectus just had its first batch of fry (that I noticed before being sucked into the overflow at least). They are going on 10 days so far with minimal losses.

10/16/2016, 08:36 PM
I obviously have no help to offer if you seen the thread lol, but congrats pfan :)

10/18/2016, 02:33 PM
Something to think about is maybe just try to raise small batches of fry first. I had success my very first time but I think that is largely due to the fact that I started with only 22 fry, (I gave the rest away). That way you need less food and not as much space. With all the cleaning and sterilizing it was more manageable on a small scale as were water changes. In the end I raised 15 to 5 + months. I was doing it mostly for the experience rather than the money, which was good because I was lucky if I broke even, ha ha! I think to make money you need to do larger batches.

12/24/2016, 10:29 PM
Update: I'm on batch 2 now. They are in a 20 gallon long tank with a lightly bubbling sponge filter in the corner. I happened to see the male give birth and saved about all the babies.

I have the brine shrimp eggs in the hatcher now. Should be hatched by the a.m. (24 hrs from the birth). *question is in regard to sterilzing with h2o2. From above, I seem to straight add the 250 ml to the brine hatchery, assuming that hatchery is 750 ml. and then I siphon off the bbs... To collect in a separate container (?). I then keep those in a new batch of brine water with aeration (???). And THIS I feed the baby horses?

Assuming above is correct, when I try to enrich the bbs with selco and /or phytoplankton, aren't they immediately non-sterile again? And then I need to to the process over again???

OR **What if I just soak briefly a feeding-sized portion in h2o2 . Say, siphon off some bbs from the hatchery (which itself has no h2o2 in it). If this is something like 10 ml, then add 3-4 ml h2o2, and after a few mins strain off the bbs with brine shrimp net, and rinse with RO DI water, then feed to the horses?


01/10/2017, 04:35 PM
What is the H2O2 for?

01/10/2017, 05:06 PM
The peroxide is for sterilization.
CT, you add 250ml of peroxide to 750ml of the culture water with the hatched brine cysts in it and using strong aeration, so, you need the container to be at least one liter, or, scale back the amounts of both for a smaller container.
Then, remove the airline to allow settlement of the nauplii to the bottom.
Five minutes after removing the airline, siphon off the nauplii from the bottom of the container, being careful not to siphon up the guck from the upper layers. Collect in an appropriate mesh and rinse with room temperature water before feeding them to the fry, or transferring to an enrichment container.
I don't know what others do but I sterilize at whatever step I am going to feed to the fry after. As I enrich, I sterilize after enrichment.
Remember that the nauplii CAN'T feed until they reach the second instar stage as they don't have a completed digestive tract at instar one. For me I use a general guideline of 24 hours hatching, 24 hours growout to instar II, and enrich with Dan's Feed for two 12 hour stages with new water and new enrichment for each 12 hour stage.
Some people like the peroxide aiding in separation of the nauplii from the cysts and garbage but it can be done without and then transfer to a growout/enrichment container from which you can remove some, sterilize, and add to the fry.
Remember that the nauplii star using the egg sack as soon as they emerge, and because they emerge at differing times, by the time the last ones have hatched, the first ones are quite diminished in nutrition so if you have need of food before you have enriched the nauplii, then start separating hatched nauplii as soon as you can see there are sufficient to harvest, leaving the remainder to continue hatching for later enrichment.
Phyto, unless you have a good blend of types, is not sufficient for enrichment.
Use the Selco, or Dan's Food is even better using a blender for minimum two minutes to micronize the particles, Selco or Dan's Food.