View Full Version : How to feed seahorses flake food?

01/22/2017, 07:18 PM

Do you think it would be possible to build a refugium to sustain the live food needs of dwarf seahorses?

What size refugium would be enough to keep a lightly populated dwarf seahorse tank of ~20g without seahorse specific feeding?

I dont have experience in sustaining live food for seahorses and I just want to know if this can even make sense.

Please let me know what you think.

I kept seahorses for a year and gave them to the LFS before I moved. The most laborious part of keeping the seahorses for me was the daily routine of thawing the frozen mysis shrimp twice a day and making sure that the mysis shrimp does not get eaten by the overzealous cleaning crew before the horsies. Then clean up the remaining mysis shrimp. Also going to vacation was stressful.

The idea is to have a big refugium that would flow in to the display tank. Keep and sustain a big enough population of live copepods, amphipods and similar critters in the refugium to feed the seahorses. And feed the copepods and amphipods dry food in the refugium.

Detailed description of the tank planned:

Please note that I have some experience building baffles in a tank. I built my current tank out of an aquamaxx 33g cube and acrylic false walls myself, similar to a biocube. It took me a while but it was not that bad

I will begin with a 75g fish tank (48 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 21 3/8). Separate an area of 11" x 22-1/2" in the middle section of the tank to make the display area using acrylic false walls. This will make a display area off ~22.5 gallons and ~52.5 gallons of sump.

Sump will be:
2 refugiums (20 gallon + 20 gallon = ~40gallons), protein skimmer chamber chamber(4.4gallon), mechanical filtration section with filter floss and active carbon(4.4 gallon), ~5.5gallon evaporation/pump section)]

I am planning to use an undergravel filter matching the size of the display area. At this point, most saltwater folk that has dealt with seahorses should be going "This is blasphemy!!..." But please bear with me.
The idea is to minimize strong current by pulling high volume of water through a large surface. We need to screen the water intake for circulation one way or another. I am planning to use larger 1/2" marble from homedepot with 1.5" thickness total substrate and vacuum during water changes.

I am planning to connect the lift tubes of the undergravel filter to a middle chamber (right behind the display section) where the water is going to overflow and pass through a mechanical filtration with floss and carbon. After the filtration the water is going to be pumped to two refugiums at the sides of the tank where the majority of liverock and sand will reside for biological filtration. These refugiums will overflow into the tank without going through another pump. Having two refugiums can technically allow variety in fauna for different types of critters.

In addition, there will be a 25 Vecton uv sterilizer with 200gph powerhead and a chiller. All in all the total flow rate aimed is close to actual 600gph-800gph through the display tank. I am not planning to have a protein skimmer but the chamber at the back of the display section will have enough area for one if necessary.

All the non display areas are going to be covered by black vinyl sheet. At the end it will look like a 20g tank built in to a wall. : )

Advantages of having the display and sump in the same tank:
1-Having the sump in the same tank eliminates the possibility of over flows if the separations(baffles) are 1" lower than the tank height.
2-More of the sump volume becomes available to use because there is no overflow concern
3-Refugium will flow in to tank without going through another pump.

Thanks for reading

01/22/2017, 10:56 PM
Well first off, I didn't see anything about flake feeding as the title suggested, but then I'm old and maybe missed it.
As far as under gravel filter, it is a recipe for disaster unless you make it a pre-filtered reverse flow under gravel filter.
Seahorses, including H. zosterae, have an extreme propensity for bacterial diseases, and an under gravel filtration system draws the detritus into the sand bed providing food and bedding for the nasty bacteria like the vibrio species and others.
If you pre-filter the water and then push it down the uplift tubes, the water will flow upwards through the sand bed, keeping the crap at the top for easier removal.
You will need to make sure the dwarfs cannot be sucked up by the water overflowing to the sumps.
UV is not really much help in seahorse tanks other than fry rearing containers because the problematic bacteria species are benthic and not pelagic. Pelagic can be drawn through the UV unit as they are water borne, but the benthic ones that do the damage are surface dwelling and don't normally distribute through the water column.
Have a read on this thread about a 40g dwarf with very few dwarfs in it. (http://forum.seahorse.org/index.php?showtopic=49302)

01/22/2017, 11:55 PM
Thanks rayjay,

I can get rid of the idea about the undergravel filter for sure. No problem.
UV is meant to decrease the bacterial algae in the system and allow macroalgae a better opportunity for growth.

I can not access the link you provided for the 40g dwarf tank. (It says "You do not have permission to view this board") Is there any other way to read the content of the link?

My primary idea is to feed the refugiums with dry food(flake and pellets) to rear the pod populations, which in turn will feed the dwarf sea horses.

Do you think that it is feasible with large enough refugiums and small enough species only seahorse population?


01/23/2017, 09:11 AM
Sorry, I just assumed you were also a member on seahorse.org.
I don't know of a way to view that thread without you applying and being accepted for membership.
If you DO apply and don't get approval soon, let me know and I'll see if I can speed up the approval.
I don't think your concept will work for any seahorses available to us in North America other than the dwarfs H. zosterae. For any others, the size of the set-up would be almost prohibitive for most homes I would guess.
Over the years I've seen where people set up external cultures of various pod forms as well as mysids to add to the seahorse display tanks, but MOST of these people are using them as an addition to frozen mysis. Growing sufficient pod cultures to totally replace all foods for standard sized seahorses would be a huge task and require larger sized pods because smaller ones would require inordinate quantities to have sufficient mass and nutrition.
Another point I should have mentioned regarding use of UV is that the UV will kill any pods that go through the system as you are going to have to have primarily pelagic pods rather than benthic ones to be able to have them move on their own to the display section from the sumps.

01/24/2017, 06:41 PM
Do some research on tanks for dwarves. This would be far from ideal set up for these little guys. As to feeding they need very small live foods. most people keep them in small tanks because they can concentrate the live foods as dwarves are not active hunters. They usually hitch and wait for things to swim by. Also you would never see them in the sump unless you have your face up against the glass. It could be done but I think you would have to hatch baby brine or culture something else for them to eat.

01/24/2017, 09:07 PM
I believe the intent was to place the dwarfs in the display, not in the two sumps.
What I get from his (I'm assuming male) posts is that he is aware of the live food needs and appropriate sizes but was inquiring as to how this might be done without having to culture external pod forms or hatching/enriching brine.
If you check out the post I linked, you will see that she has a few dwarfs in a 40g tank, for the same reasons, and, at this point it is successful for almost 2 years now. Next step for her is to see what numbers she can sustain long term in that size tank with the limits of food supply possible for that tank she is using.