View Full Version : Additional filtration for bioload

11/23/2016, 04:00 AM
Quick question. When housing tank raised sea horse and feeding them mysis, how do you deal with the extra bioload in a mixed reef tank? Is a larger skimmer (like 3x the needed size) enough, or is water volume a huge factor as well?

Thanks so much

11/23/2016, 05:30 AM
When you say mixed reef, do you mean corals and macros or are there fish in with the seahorses? Fish can be problematic to seahorses.

I have soft coral and macro algae and the way I deal with the bioload is a lot of flow and an oversized skimmer. My skimmer is rated for 180 gallons and my tank is 56 gallons. With my return pump and powerheads I have about 1500 gph of flow. Since my system is bare bottom some of that flow is directed at the bottom to lift uneatten food and detritus into the water column.
Even with that however I do a minimum of 2 WCs a week.

11/24/2016, 06:48 PM
If the extra seahorse food particles can't get to your corals or other small fish to feed them, then yes the the particles should be removed. But any/all other filtering techniques can be increased too. The horses, like fish, will put a lot of ammonia into the water, and this will need to be processed.

11/25/2016, 07:58 AM
I have never worried about ammonia in a properly cycled and maintained seahorse tank, but I certainly have worried most about the water quality that CAN'T be measured that induces plague proportion growth of nasty bacteria like the vibrio species. There ARE NO TEST'S that can tell you when the water is about to allow these nasty bacteria to affect your seahorses so you have to have a combination of sufficient filtration and husbandry to keep the water clean enough that the bacteria DON'T get out of hand.
IMO you can depend mostly on equipment to do the removal of uneaten food/detritus or you can depend mostly on doing most of the work yourself on a frequent basis. Even with the equipment though, you need to clean any pads or surfaces that trap the detritus BEFORE the decay becomes food and bedding for the nasty bacteria. I'd suggest that you choose equipment that is very easy to clean as the more difficult cleaners like canister filters for instance, tend to make one lazy, and a few lapses in time lead to bacterial infections.
Having many tanks, and, being retired, I chose to go with the hands on approach rather than spending a lot of money on each of the tanks for equipment.

11/26/2016, 06:21 AM
There is no uneaten food due to a huge CUC in my sump. By mixed tank I mean, LPS, SPS, Softies. I have a couple of fish (6 small in a 180) but not enough to out compete the seahorses. They get plenty. I just feed significantly more with the seahorses in there.

11/26/2016, 07:17 AM
Even when a seahorse eats the food, you still have lots of organic matter left over. According to one article I read, up to 1/3 of the food eaten due to the inefficient mechanical and biological processes of the seahorse. Watch the seahorses when they eat, it looks like smoke coming out their head. That is very fine food particles from the maceration process of the snicking. It can be roughly 8 % of the food taken in. Then due to the lack of a true stomach and the fast transit time of the food through the digestive system (roughly 10 hours or so), roughly 1/4 of the food doesn't get fully digested. Because of these inefficiencies, seahorses typically need to ingest more food per weight than many fish to be properly fed.
So to the original question, yes both an oversized protein skimmer and larger water volume are good. The more mechanical filtration you run, the less there is for the biological processes. Much of the organic matter is too small for the clean up crew, though the clean up crew is good for uneaten food.

11/26/2016, 08:46 AM
I'd also add that a "huge cleanup crew in the sump" isn't going to tackle the problem of the uneaten food/detritus that gets trapped in and around rocks qne decor in the display tank, especially when it is out of sight. If left there, it becomes bedding and food for the nasty bacteria, and while the tank volume is larger than most seahorse tanks, it may just take longer for the seahorses to succumb to infection.
I hope you have done due diligence in the corals and fish you have placed the seahorses with. Many corals and fish are NOT suitable for seahorse tankmates, and, some sps corals don't do well in the quality of the water created in time by seahorse feeding habbits.

11/26/2016, 11:39 AM
This video talks about how much of the food is kept by the animal, and how much is passed on:

11/26/2016, 11:29 PM
What Dan said.

I also would recommend carbon dosing.

If you can do a refugium for things like pods to grow, that will help a lot as well.

Another thing I think is very important is designing the tank with enough water movement so each section of the tank cleans out everyday. You might have to do a closed loop for this. Sometimes a wavemaker is needed. Depends on the tank. Think of moving the water out and through the rocks and not over/across them.

If you can get your flow up enough it brings all of that food to your mechanical filter. I see to many tanks with bad water movement that have problems.